General Question

sarah826's avatar

Is there a difference between "Uptown" and "Downtown"?

Asked by sarah826 (446points) November 25th, 2009

I have heard both (“I am headed uptown” or “I am headed downtown”). I would think they are interchangeable from how they have been used. But, being that up and down are opposites, wouldn’t you think that the words uptown and downtown are opposites, or at least don’t mean the same thing. Explanation, please! I’m confused!!

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13 Answers

SamIAm's avatar

I believe uptown generally means north, downtown being south… but i suppose it depends on where you are. For example, in NYC, uptown is north of midtown (higher number streets) and downtown is south of the midtown area.

ru2bz46's avatar


Actually, we never use “uptown” in Sacramento. Downtown is the Capitol area, East Sac is the far eastern portion of the city, and Midtown is the part in between. On the other side of Downtown is West Sac, which is across the river and in a different county…not part of Sacramento at all. Apparently they have regional definitions.

oratio's avatar

I thought downtown was the city center?

SamIAm's avatar

i guess it depends on where you are!

PretentiousArtist's avatar

Oh I thought we were talking about NYC, nevermind

Narl's avatar

Downtown is the city’s center, and uptown is north of downtown (in Chicago).

dpworkin's avatar

In Manhattan, uptown is to the North and downtown is to the South. In Los Angeles, downtown is the city center, but there is no uptown. In Albany, NY, downtown is near the Capitol, uptown is near the University. I think the terms are idiosyncratic for each city.

DominicX's avatar

According to the dictionary, the only definition of “downtown” is the main business area of a city, in other words, the center of the city, the financial hub. “Uptown” can be used variously to mean the part of the town higher in elevation, the more residential part, or the more affluent part.

augustlan's avatar

I think in most areas, only downtown is used. In the larger cities, you get more variety.

faye's avatar

My city is a river valley with hills around so downtown literally is. We don’t have an uptown only N,E,S,W hills.

sferik's avatar

The lights are much brighter there.
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go…

Buttonstc's avatar

Well in Philly, downtown is South St ” where do all the hippies meet? South St , South St.”

The business district is Center City (a phrase I had never previously heard).

And then South Philly, North Philly (where you really don’t want to go unless you have an armed bodyguard) and Northeast Philly which still speaks fondly of the possibility of secession.


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