Cultural districts are an increasingly popular and important element of both urban and cultural experiences in the USA. Cultural districts get invoked as a tool for revitalising neighbourhoods and regions, cultivating arts and cultural resources, and other goals. This article briefly describes the phenomenon of cultural districts in the USA, reviews some claims made about their impacts, and provides evidence of districts' effects. Neighbourhood-level statistical analyses identify socioeconomic trends in neighbourhoods affected by districts. The results reflect the heterogeneity in cultural districts and in cities' experiences with them. The findings inform policies supporting creative placemaking in general and cultural districts as a system.