The internet has made official what we pretty much already knew: Downtown Fort Lauderdale is a kickass place.
How kickass? According to Livability.com, it's the seventh-best downtown in the U.S.
The website is all about tracking down and ranking the best cities to live and work in, avoiding the obvious bloated metropolises and focusing more on midsized burgeoning cities.
And, among them, Fort Lauderdale is, indeed, the bomb. (Do the kids still say things are "the bomb" nowadays? The ones I chased off my lawn won't tell me.)
"Great downtowns unite residents from all walks of life, even those in the suburbs, by providing places to connect," Livability.com says in the introduction to their list. "Above all, the top-performing downtowns must maintain a high level of energy and give all residents in a city a reason to come on down."
The website collected the usual data for these kinds of lists -- growth of income, growth in population, office vacancy rates, unemployment, the ratio of people who live and work in the area, and livability.
But they also went the organic route, factoring in respective downtowns' skylines and talking with people who live and work there. They even factored in the street sounds. A great downtown has to have great street sounds.
As for Fort Lauderdale's downtown, the website says it made the list thanks to more businesses moving into the area, as well as the growing number of young professionals who work there and have moved into the downtown's condos
Growth of income and the fact that it's a livable downtown is what made Fort Lauderdale stand out.
And also, its beautiful aesthetics:
The meandering New River and an intricate canal system give Fort Lauderdale a Venice-like feel. Downtown high-rises offer expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean, intracoastal waterway and saltwater lakes. Both tourists and locals head to Himmarshee Village for shopping, live entertainment and locally owned restaurants and pubs. Many patrons of the nearby Broward Center for the Performing Arts stop here to extend their evenings. More than 40,000 Fort Lauderdale residents live on yachts docked at the more than 100 marinas and boatyards, many of which are connected to downtown by sidewalks and bike paths covered by a canopy of trees. Families flock to the Riverwalk area in downtown, which includes a park and cultural amenities like the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens along with the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art.
Here's the full rankings:
1. Fort Worth, TX
2. Providence, RI
3. Indianapolis, IN
4. Provo, UT
5. Alexandria, VA
6. Frederick, MD
7. Fort Lauderdale, FL
8. Bellingham, WA
9. Eugene, OR
10. Birmingham, AL
You can read about the full rankings here.