The Rise of the Design District

The downtown Naples neighborhood is starting to get a vibe of its own—and attracting crowds along with it.

Take a turn off U.S. 41 or Goodlette-Frank Road down any street between Fifth Avenue South and Seventh Avenue North, and you’ll find yourself in the Naples Design District. The quaint area lined with locally owned boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, design studios, antique stores, offices, and trade and specialty shops has been colloquially known as “the D District” or “the Design District” for a decade, but now the unique district is making a conscious effort to elevate itself and own its official title. The fresh reorganization, announced this fall, comes “(with the hope) that the area will become a vibrant destination of taste and style for like-minded people to live and flourish creatively,” says Laura Burns, president of the Naples Design District Board and executive director of the United Arts Council. The directors of the district are working to improve the area over the next couple of years with enhancements such as landscape design; banners and signs that resonate with the neighborhood atmosphere; improved lighting for a pedestrian- and bike-friendly area; public art; and increased accessible parking. “We sat down and said, ‘How do we work together with our municipality of Naples to grow this area in a way that is healthy for the businesses, but also for the community that lives here, so that we don’t become another area that’s just like every other area that we already have in Naples?’&rdq
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