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Downtown Resurgence

1 Mins read

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the downtown areas of many of America’s largest cities took a big hit. Businesses were deserted as employees worked from home, and people stopped shopping and dining out. Tourist activity practically came to a halt.

Many small businesses suffered and even closed their doors due to the lack of activity.

But, thankfully, the tide is turning, tourists are returning, and things are on the upswing, according to data from the University of Toronto, reported in Axios. From March 2023 to February 2024, “Most American downtowns saw a bump in visitor activity.”

While the recovery is “slow,” the data shows 50 downtowns are attracting more visitors, while 14 are still hurting (the report includes some Canadian cities).

With many cities experiencing this seasonal activity boost, it’s crucial for small business owners in downtown areas to act now. Promote your business through visitor bureaus and local chambers to prepare for the anticipated surge in visitors. This proactive approach can help attract both tourists and local residents. Check with your city to see if they’re planning anything special for the summer season.

The top five reviving downtowns:

  1. Minneapolis
  2. Chicago
  3. Louisville, KY
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Cincinnati

Downtowns are not the only parts of a city that thrive when tourists return. Again, it’s all about marketing and reaching these folks as they plan to visit your city.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Twitter @Rieva, and visit her website to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free Currents newsletter.

Minneapolis stock image by ostreetphotography/Shutterstock

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