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Grand Central's downtowns with swagger

These regional downtowns are wowing their guests.


Kristy Alpert
Published March 05, 2014


Lawrence, Kansas

Home to the University of Kansas, Lawrence is a city with a youthful spirit and a creative energy. Even though the university is located outside the downtown district, it’s partly due to that youthful vitality, infused with the city’s unmistakably proud history — the entire downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — that the downtown has been dubbed one of America’s most authentic main streets.

Lawrence is a downtown for all generations, offering an eclectic mix of dining and shopping adventures. The district boasts more than 50 locally owned boutiques and galleries, a 100-year-old theater, more than 50 global restaurants/coffee shops/bars, including the Burger Stand, selected by Zagat as one of the top 25 burger joints in the country. The area is also home to the Free State Brewery, the first brewery to open in Kansas after Prohibition.

“I love Lawrence’s never-ending sense of quirkiness,” said Christine Metz Howard, communications and marketing manager for the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau and a resident for more than seven years. “The street corner saxophonist, parades that celebrate cars that have been turned into works of art, a rotating outdoor sculpture exhibit with works of art on nearly every corner: Lawrence promises to delight and inspire its visitors.”

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