10 Most Walkable Cities in America, Ranked
Road tripping and car rentals aren’t for everyone. Luckily, whether you hop a cable car in San Francisco, or circle Washington D.C.’s blossom-dotted Tidal Basin, you can easily see many of America’s best destinations on foot. Here, the top walkable cities in the U.S. as determined by Walk Score.
#1: New York, New York
Manhattan and greater New York City are of course home to the biggest rapid transit system—the MTA—and without a doubt the best place to visit sans wheels. Having a car here might very well cost you as much as your accommodation, so instead wander Central Park and take the subway like a true New Yorker—or hail a yellow cab if traffic isn’t too bad. Walking food tours, outdoor parks, and art museums are a good place to start—just make sure you obey the crosswalk signs.
#2: San Francisco, California
Cable cars are an iconic symbol of California’s northern hub, and visitors take advantage of their rickety capabilities more often than the locals do for a reason. Bay Area Rapid Transit is likely to get you where you’re going faster, but the street cars make for perfect sight-seeing. While the hills might tire you out a bit, San Francisco is the second most walkable U.S. city, and has plenty of bike and Segway tours to take advantage of once your legs are worn out. Bike across the Golden Gate on your way to Alcatraz or hop public transit to gape at the Redwood trees north of the city—no car required.
#3: Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is the smallest city by far to make Walk Score’s top five. Its public transportation system, the MBTA (locally called the T) is expansive, and downtown can be almost entirely walked if you’re up for it. Narrow cobblestone roads and picturesque parks dating back to colonial times make this charming utopia perfect for grabbing a public bike and riding from the harbor to the sprawling green Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Mall, which stretch from downtown to Back Bay. Boston also has the third largest transit authority in the country, beating out D.C. and San Francisco.
RELATED: What Not to Do in Boston
#4: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Get in touch with American history at the Liberty Bell, eat authentic cheesesteaks and hoagies, and stumble upon public art and festivals in the first American World Heritage City. Philly‘s SEPTA system is reliable and far reaching, but the City of Brotherly Love is also almost entirely walkable and outdoor friendly, with more than 10,000 acres of public green space to be explored.
#5: Miami, Florida
From South Beach relaxation to street art walks and Little Havana, Miami is best explored on foot to get a feel for its colorful neighborhoods and friendly locals. Leisurely lying on the beach, learning about art deco architecture from the sidewalk, and strolling brightly lit Calle Ocho at night are all easily within reach of downtown
#6: Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City’s towering skyline, eclectic neighborhoods, and urban Lake Michigan beaches make it a young and vibrant destination that draws hoards as soon as it warms up each summer. Chicago‘s museums and culinary scene make it worthwhile in the winter, too, but music, comedy, sports, and food festivals from spring through fall are all comfortably accessible by foot or transit—Chicago boasts the second largest public transportation hub in the nation. You’d be sorely mistaken if you brought a car with you to this city.
#7: Washington, D.C.
Despite some recent minor transit woes, Washington D.C. remains one of the most walkable cities in the nation with the fourth largest American Metro system.It’s no secret that cherry-blossom season brings flocks of tourists to the city’s monument-flanked Tidal Basin, and free national museums draw crowds year round. Transit service can also take restless visitors out to Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, and a public bike share system makes the nation’s capital your oyster.
#8: Seattle, Washington
Seattle offers both downtown sheen and adventure-packed outskirts. See the Space Needle and skyline from Kerry Park before you hop a bus downtown to peer the opposite way from the skyscraper’s 50th floor. The city is easily connected to its airport via a new light rail line, which makes it perfect for a day-long stopover between flights.
#9: Oakland, California
San Francisco’s oft-overlooked little sibling, Oakland is the perfect Bay Area alternative to pricey San Fran. A bustling waterfront bar scene and diverse historic neighborhoods make picturesque spots like Grand Lake Theatre and Jack London Square worth a visit. Sip slowly on an outdoor patio or head to Redwood Regional Park, which is accessible by public transit.
#10: Baltimore, Maryland
If succulent crab and and free museums are your thing, Marlyand’s historic port city of Baltimore is probably one of the best weekend trips you’ve never considered. Summer and fall mean festivals galore—seafood, wine, Belgian beer, oysters, jazz, and rhythm & blues festivals are just a few that take place between April and November.
Stroll around Little Italy, bike along the harbor, and mill about downtown on a Segway tour or seafood crawl. Don’t forget to stop in at the Baltimore Museum of Art or the Walters Art Museum—both are free.
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