Best Neighborhood for Artists to Take Over Next

The phrase “fashionable Ferndale” used to be something of a running joke, as a bevy of cut-rate retailers cheesed-up the Nine Mile drag and Sam’s Jams was a lone oasis in the cultural desert of white trash and wigs. Not any more. Taking advantage of the Royal Oak refugees fleeing the high rents, Ferndale has quickly stepped into the breach with a tantalizing mix of hip retail, record stores, nightclubs and better-quality restaurants than its more established neighbor to the north. Galleries have also opened up, Nine Mile was streetscaped to be more pedestrian friendly (although they forgot the trees) and the once-sleepy community is now a destination for thrill-seekers looking for an alternative to the more mainstream Royal Oak scene. MT readers apparently equate such hipster cachet with desirable artist colonies. And, if you consider local indie-rock musicians to be “artistes,” Ferndale (second to Hamtramck) probably has one of the highest densities around. Although the home prices have spiked up more than in many other communities, Ferndale has a grip on its senses, and there are still some reasonably priced dwellings to be found. Now if only somebody would do something cool with the Rialto.

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