Celebrity Cities on the Rise

In today's world, it seems that almost any topic is open for debate. While I was gathering facts for this article, I was quite surprised to find some of the issues I thought were settled are actually still being openly discussed.

Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you're fully informed about , keep reading.

Los Angeles and New York are the go-to galaxies for stars to cluster in America. But consider how many famous people don't need to be in L.A. or New York often for work, or those who like more privacy, or who are loyal to whatever place they feel at home.

All those celebrities have to live somewhere, too, so we've compiled a list of cities and towns that aren't as obvious, but still host their share of recognizable faces, and where (if you have enough scratch) you can move into one of their former homes.
Celebrity Cities on the Rise

We looked at the up-and-coming cities where stars are hanging their hats. Incidentally, Oprah has a house in enough of them that the alternate title for this slideshow could be Mrs. Winfrey's Neighborhoods.
Austin, Tex.

Austin is the state capital of Texas, but thanks to the presence of the University of Texas and a thriving music and arts community, it's also the cultural capital of Texas.

Earlier this year, part of 2nd Street was re-christened for hometown legend Willie Nelson, and a statue of the red-headed stranger will soon stand in front of the new Austin City Limits studio. Austin is also where Matthew McConaughey used park his Airstream trailer, play his bongos in the nude, and where he has been known to show up to a UT game or two.

Sandra Bullock keeps a home there and owns several businesses including the restaurant Bess Bistro and Walton's Fancy and Staple floral shop/deli/coffee shop. Lance Armstrong has been spotted training in the hills of the Jollyville section of town, and he's got his own local bike trail named for him.

It may be deep in the heart of the Lone Star state, but for over a week every March, Austinbecomes star-studded for the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conference, complete with A-list actors at red carpet premieres. Just this year when promoting his film "Get Low," Bill Murray strolled off the red carpet into the 6th Street nightlife, drinking with the locals and out-of-towners, and even tending bar.
Alpine, N.J.

A block party in the North Jersey town Alpine would give Dave Chappelle's Brooklyn bash a run for its money. Located across the George Washington Bridge from upper Manhattan is an exclusive enclave that might well get touched by the hand of Oprah, who recently toured a $68 million mansion for sale on the former Frick Estate.

Eddie Murphy was one of the first stars in the area when he moved to his estate Bubble Hill in nearby Englewood (a gold nugget's throw from CNBC World Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs). Since then, Alpine has become a who's who of hip-hop artists and other prominent African Americans: P. Diddy, Jay-Z (pictured above), Lil Kim, Fabolos, Cam'ron, the late Biggie Smalls, Chris Rock, Wesley Snipes, and Stevie Wonder.

Also among the residents are music execs like Damon Dash, Andre Harrell, and Producer/DJ Eddie F, formerly of Heavy D and the Boyz, who has recorded 50 Cent, TLC, and Mary J Blige (the last whom lives in nearby Cresskill) in his home studio.
New Orleans, La.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are the celebrity king and queen of New Orleans, and have done their part to help their adopted city recover from Hurricane Katrina, as with Pitt's charity Make it Right. Sandra Bullock recently joined the pair when she bought a $2,250,000 Victorian home and adopted a local baby, and she also donated to a struggling NOLA school and other local educational causes.

Since Louisiana began offering tax breaks for film and television productions, New Orleans has added to its nicknames "Hollywood South." But although these Hollywood types are bringing new attention to an old city, they certainly didn't invent NOLA: musicians like Harry Connick, Fats Domino, Lil Wayne (who for most of 2010 left the Big Easy for the big house) and a host of other musicians have long made this troubled romantic city their home. The annual Jazz Fest, Voodoo Fest, and the Essence Music Festival bring even more famous musicians to town.

Lenny Kravitz is selling his French Quarter 1-bedroom 2-bath home for $775,000, which looks like a humble, traditional stucco cottage from the shuttered street view, but the interior combines sleek and rustic elements and like many NOLA hideaways, it conceals a courtyard.
Atlanta, Ga.

Atlanta has been expanding since the 1970s and today is known as the home of Turner Broadcasting, and all that entails, like CNN, Cartoon Network, HLN, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, TBS, and Tyler Perry Studios.

Atlanta also has many hip-hop recording studios and artists, such as rapper T.I. (when he's not in jail), and Ludacris, who wrote in the song "Georgia" of his "five Georgia homes, where I rest my Georgia bones." Other Atlanta celebs include Usher, Jeff Foxworthy, Janet Jackson, and Elton John.

Those in the upper reaches of the Atlanta homebuying market can even purchase the home of the former first lady of Atlanta: Jane Fonda's Atlanta North loft is on the market for $1,950,000 (down from $4.5 million this spring). The two-story contemporary space features three bedrooms, three baths, his and her closets, and two fireplaces.
Miami, Fla.

Miami is swimming with musical celebrities: Gloria Estefan is practically synonymous with the city (lest we forget, her band is the Miami Sound Machine), and Ricky Martin has been photographed by many a paparazzo when working out on the beaches.

Other local big name musicians include Julio Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz, Billy Joel (pictured), Jennifer Lopez, and Whitney Houston. Oh, and Oprah has a residence (just a modest little one, no doubt) on Fisher Island.

LeBron James just bought a 6 bedroom, 8.5 bath beachfront residence for $9 million, and Jim Clark, founder of Netscape, has a beachfront condo apartment in a Miami Beach high-rise on the market for $27 million. What does that buy? The Asian-themed penthouse has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a 4-car garage, and spectacular ocean views.
Chicago, Ill.

Oprah has a home on Lake Shore Drive, and until the end of this final television season, her eponymous talk show tapes in Chicago as well. The Obamas still maintain their Windy City residence, and other luminaries include Vince Vaughn, Michael Jordan, Jerry Springer, Joan Cusack, and newscaster Giuliana Rancic and her Apprentice-winning husband, Bill.

Some say Chicago's real celebrities are its skyscrapers and other distinctive architectural treasures, and one famous structure is for sale-although this one isn't known for its design. The former Playboy Mansion is for sale for the reduced price of $2,700,000. Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly's 2 million-dollar house is also on the market.
Montecito, Calif.

Located on the California coast north of Los Angeles, Montecito naturally has a celebrity past, this one involving The Montecito Inn, which was built by Charlie Chaplain and Fatty Arbuckle to host getaways for their famous friends. Unfortunately, it opened right before the Great Depression hit, so all did not go as planned.

The small town with a population of about 10,000 caught on with Hollywood types nonetheless, and is now one of the priciest zip codes nationwide. Notable residents include Jane Russell, Rob Lowe, Steve Martin, Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Al Gore, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Bridges. Guess who else lives here? Oprah's estate, "The Promised Land," sits on 42 acres with mountain and ocean views, and legend has it she first visited to attend a party then was so captivated that she bought the house, which was not on the market.

Paul Hogan has a 5-bedroom, 7-bath home for sale in Montecito with an asking price of $2,252,499.
Westlake Village, Calif.

Westlake Village is a planned community located northwest of Los Angeles, close enough to be considered a bedroom community, although more than half the area is located within the city limits of Thousand Oaks.

It's home to many celebrities like Pete Sampras, Heather Locklear, Hulk Hogan, Mickey Rooney, Will Smith, and longtime residents Wayne Gretzky and Frankie Avalon, the latter who has lived there since his "Back to the Beach" days in 1987.

Maureen McCormick, TV's Marcia Brady, has compared her town to a "Leave it to Beaver" setting and to Andy Griffith's Mayberry. If that sounds enticing, "Newlywed Game" host Bob Eubanks currently has his 4 whoopie-room, 4.5 bathroom home on the market in the gated community Hidden Valley Estates for $2,495,000.
Jupiter, Fla.

Jupiter is located on Florida's east coast, north of Palm Beach, with a population that surged in the aught years from around 40,000 to around 50,000. Residents that may look familiar include Celine Dion, Bryant Gumbel, Tori Amos, and Burt Reynolds.

Tiger Woods just built a $50 million estate on Jupiter Island that includes an oxygen therapy room, a diving pool and a lap pool. His neighbor Michael Jordan recently built a 12.4 million, 11-bedroom 38,000 square foot mega mansion in a gated golf community with a course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Sometimes it's tough to sort out all the details related to this subject, but I'm positive you'll have no trouble making sense of the information presented above.

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