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America's Greatest Main Streets

Beloit, WI

As you stroll the thriving riverfront district of Beloit, it’s hard to imagine that it was once a faded downtown, depressed by the loss of factory jobs and the lure of suburban malls. Twenty years ago, a forward-thinking group of boosters stepped in to restore many buildings as mixed-use spaces—galleries, bookshops, music venues—and to launch a weekly farmers’ market. Now everyone’s a booster: locals brag about their 3.5 miles of bike paths, more than 20 works of public art, and the college town’s new reputation as a performing arts magnet.

Worth a Stop: The Angel Museum for its remarkable collection of 11,000-plus angels, including 600 black angels donated by Oprah Winfrey. Or the more down-to-earth pleasures of a Beloit Snappers minor league baseball game (tickets from $5.50) promises a big taste of small-town charm.

Ann Shields

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