Change is constant and sometimes positive, but not always. Sometimes, places cease to exist due to new enhancements, environmental change or just lack of need. These places rarely just vanish; instead, they slowly disappear until they are no longer there.
In certain cases we can see the transformation coming, and in others it is a slow disintegration that catches us by surprise. These places may still technically exist in 20 years, but in most cases they will just be a shell of their current (or recent) existence.
This list looks at both destinations as well as traditional places we take (or have taken) for granted in our daily lives. What doesn’t make the list? Predictions for the “big” earthquake taking out Los Angeles or terrorism wiping out a city do not. That would be too easy. Also, if we were going to go there you might as well predict Florida will just do away with prisons because, why bother?
Here you will find a few places we all see coming as well as a couple surprises. Technology comes into play a lot, but that doesn’t mean everything goes away. Amazon hasn’t eliminated Walgreens and Tinder hasn’t eliminated escort services, so there is still hope. Here are 10 places that will probably not exist in 20 years.
10 Detroit, Michigan
The Motor City was once one of the most powerful cities in the US. Now, the city is bankrupt and the main attraction is a casino where if you don’t get robbed it’s only because you already lost all of your money. For years the auto industry has been moving out of Detroit, leaving empty warehouses, houses and skyscrapers. Everyone has migrated to the suburbs, out of the city. If you like the idea of buying a house for a few hundred dollars you can do that in Detroit, just know that you will have to kick out the squatters because like most ex-residents, the cops don’t want any part of the city of Detroit either. One thousand Eminem songs can’t save this city.
9 Mom and Pop Stores
Big stores such as Walmart and Petco have been pushing out the “little guy” for years. A few have held strong, but eventually the lack of profit margin will shut the doors of the final “mom and pop” establishments. Whether it’s the local hardware store, “shoe guy” or pet store, it’s impossible to compete with chains that buy in bulk, can afford to advertise more and offer products much cheaper (due to buying bulk). If you enjoy walking into your local grocery where everyone knows your name I suggest you frequent it often because they will not be around forever.
I’m sure some malls will still exist, but only a few will last due to how shopping habits have changed. Shopping has shifted focus to online shopping, as well as shops that specialize in certain styles and genres. People no longer shop at the mall department stores (traditionally the anchors of the mall) and the mall is no longer a place where kids hang out thanks to social media…and social media. Also, the food court concept is dead. Unless you are at an airport there is no reason to ever eat at a food court. Scratch that; don’t ever eat at a food court, even if at an airport.
7 Apple Stores
Apple, Inc. is one of the strongest companies in the world, no question, and Apple will exist (at least in some form) in 20 years. However, the Apple Store may not have a place in our future society. History has a tendency to repeat itself and we are already witnessing the copycat companies that use Apple’s core technology with new bells and whistles: think Windows, people! Also, it’s very possible that Apple’s best days of innovation are behind them. Whether it was all Steve Jobs or not, it will be difficult to reproduce the iPod, iPhone and iPad success Apple has experienced. Fads and trends change and eventually even Apple Stores won’t be cool.
6 The Post Office
There is nothing worse than having to buy a stamp. Each time I go to the post office I wonder why I am there. Do I really need to mail this item? Usually the answer is no and there are other alternatives; however, sometimes in today’s society you still need a stamp. Hence, the standing in line because the automated machines never work. Not only is the post office impractical, it continues to lose money and business. No one is going to miss the mail when it finally goes away, even if you really need to send something, worst case you can always overpay at FedEx.
5 Branson, Missouri
I’ve never understood Branson, Missouri and never will. So it’s Broadway for country folk? It really doesn’t matter and it’s not because of Branson itself. Despite being only busy during certain times of the year, what really hurts Branson is Las Vegas and cheap prices. For just a couple hundred dollars you can fly and stay in Vegas where you have access to the best casinos, nightly entertainment and countless ways to find trouble. If you don’t like the desert than you can always head to Memphis or Nashville, Tennessee where I hear there is pretty good music there as well.
4 New York City's Little Italy
Little Italy in Manhattan is pretty much just a tourist destination today. A glorious tourist destination full of pasta, pizza and guys who all believe they should have been cast on The Sopranos. Unfortunately, the blocks of Mulberry shrink each year as neighboring Chinatown and SoHo neighborhoods absorb more and more Italian eateries. This proud neighborhood, once spanning 12 square blocks is now a little over a quarter of the size. Assuming the current takeover continues, in 20 years you’ll be lucky to even find a restaurant on Mulberry that sells pasta, never mind a make-shift Sopranos character. If you plan to visit New York City, make sure you stop off for a dish of linguini, fresh pizza pie or multiple bottles of red wine.
3 The Record Store
I have always had a love/hate relationship with record stores. I’ve always enjoyed knowing they exist and also the occasional browsing. What I have never enjoyed are the arrogant kids running the joint that roll their eyes if I’m not interested in their indie band of the month and am just looking to replace my scratched Guns N’ Roses album. The best stores are the ones that sell the bootleg copies of albums and live performances. You don’t get the same feeling buying a bootlegged Beastie Boys concert from some guy wearing an ironic tee who reeks of weed versus eBay. It’s not even close.
2 Cigar/Tobacco Shop
In a few years smoking will be all but dead and it will be more socially acceptable to shoot heroin than light a cigarette. Maybe once marijuana is legalized in all states (5-10 years) some of these shops will transform into head shops and support the cannabis business instead of tobacco. Every other year cigars become hip, but that’s a shaky business at best and only lucrative if you can find high rollers (not hipsters) looking to pay a high price. There’s also the whole politically correct aspect of owning a tobacco shop. Even the most destructive person knows smoking is bad. Best to hope for the legalization of marijuana!
1 Atlantic City, New Jersey
Casinos rarely shut down, they are inherently profitable. That goes for everywhere except Atlantic City. Las Vegas’ dirty little brother is not doing well. Casinos are going bankrupt and shutting down often. Part of this is due to online gaming, but a lot of it is that it never upped its game. A.C. is almost exactly the same as it was 20 years ago. Sure, there are a couple new casinos, but there are also a few that have come and gone, too modern for the homeless crack addicts this city seems to attract. If you go to A.C. today the best part is Jimmy Buffet’s restaurants and bars. That’s depressing, but understood when the alternative is casinos owned by Donald Trump.