SAN ANTONIO — The Alamo City’s best-kept secret is out. Wednesday, the historic Pearl district celebrated a prestigious national award.


The American Planning Association has named the Pearl one of our country's five great neighborhoods.


"It’s a community. It’s not just a commercial development," said Ann Bagley with the American Planning Association.


What started as an abandoned industrial complex has transformed into one of San Antonio’s most vibrant neighborhoods.


"Other cities are copying what we’re doing now, because it’s been successful," said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.


Every week, more than 30,000 people visit its 50 locally run businesses in the neighborhood just north of downtown.


"Every decision that we made at Pearl, we made with an aspirational vision in mind. And we let finances, economics and market follow that, rather than let those things lead that discussions,” said Pearl Managing Director Bill Shown.


While its historic structures, shops and music are being recognized, the role of food is also getting praised.


"Everything that we do, the way this place is reflected, we wanted it to be authentic. And so, I think people see in the locals – local businesses and local restaurants, they see something that may feel a little more real, and a little less mass produced," Shown said. 


"It’s a hoping place, but it’s relaxing," said San Antonio resident Courtney Flagg.


Courtney has lived at the Pearl for eight years; her family is one of many moving closer to downtown.

"So, you feel like you’re doing something fun, but you’re not in the midst of, you know, really busy crowd. You feel like you get a little of a tourist vibe without going over the top," Flagg said. 

Back in 2007, the APA also recognized San Antonio’s Main Plaza as one of America's great public spaces.​