The 25 Most Walkable Cities in the United States
Do you dream of ditching your car and running errands on your own two feet? In these cities, where stores, restaurants, and parks are often a mere stroll away, walking is not just an option, but a way of life.
Roaming the streets on foot might elicit stares in some car-dependent corners of the country, but did you know that there are plenty of walkable cities, small and large, where you can rely on your own two feet to commute, shop, dine, and explore? To make it easier to find these more pedestrian-friendly gems, Walk Score, which is owned by online real estate site Redfin, generates walkability ratings for cities around the United States. Taking into consideration factors such as population density, road metrics, and the proximity of amenities like grocery stores, restaurants, and shops, the company hands out walkability scores that range from 0 to 100.
Cities with higher scores are pedestrian paradises, where daily errands can be easily taken care of on foot. In addition to a bumper crop of walkable amenities, the top scorers are rife with vibrant neighborhoods, scenic parks, bustling markets, and historic streets that offer a refreshing perspective on the American urban experience. You won’t want to miss out on exploring them one step at a time.
1. San Francisco, California
Walk score: 89
While the iconic Golden Gate Bridge may lead you to believe that Fog City has a big car culture, ample park trails, cable cars, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system make the city friendly to those who prefer to hoof it. If you’re looking to give your legs a workout in the most walkable city in the U.S., with a walk score of 88.7, head to pedestrian-friendly and scenic (though at times steep) neighborhoods like Chinatown, Union Square, and Lower Nob Hill.
2. New York, New York
Walk score: 88
If its sky-high walk score of 88 is any indication, the city that never sleeps also never stops moving its feet. Of course, walkability is no surprise in a metropolis where a short trip on any subway puts visitors within easy walking distance of world-class restaurants, shops, and theaters. According to U.S. Census data, 77 percent of all Manhattanites go car-free, but some neighborhoods, such as Union Square, the West Village, and Nolita, are especially friendly to those on foot.
3. Jersey City, New Jersey
Walk score: 87
Residents of this so-called “sixth borough” of New York City have access to the PATH transit system, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system, and a number of bus lines, but they also have a wealth of places they can get to on foot. The typical resident can walk to, on average, six restaurants, bars, or coffee shops in only 5 minutes, a convenience that earns the city a walk score of 86.6. Some of the most walkable neighborhoods of Jersey City are Historic Downtown, Journal Square, and McGinley Square.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Walk score: 83
Wherever the MBTA system, known locally as “the T,” doesn’t go, Beantown residents can reach by foot. Boston earned a walk score of 82.8, making it the fourth most pedestrian-friendly city in the country. Whether you’re ambling through the Leather District, the North End (aka Little Italy), or the Bay Village neighborhood with its stately Federal-style houses, you’ll find food and fun aplenty.
5. Chicago, Illinois
Walk score: 77
Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” of shops and restaurants along North Michigan Avenue may be a focal point for those on foot, but it’s not the only district that caters to walkers. With a walk score of 77.2, the city as a whole welcomes pedestrians, who will find the Near North Side, West Loop, Wrigleyville, and Ukrainian Village among the most walkable neighborhoods.
6. Washington, D.C.
Walk score: 77
While President George Washington may have traversed this terrain on horseback, today his namesake city is best explored on foot. Washington, D.C., scored a 76.7 walkability rating for its easy-to-roam, rowhouse-lined neighborhoods, most notably Dupont Circle, U Street, and Penn Quarter and Chinatown.
7. Miami, Florida
Walk score: 77
Sun-drenched Miami is not only a hotbed for beachgoers, but also a paradise for perambulators. Setting itself apart from much of car-reliant Florida, Miami snagged a walk score of 76.6. Its most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are Downtown, Wynwood-Edgewater, and Little Havana.
8. Newark, New Jersey
Walk score: 76
The Newark Central Business District, North Ironbound, and University Heights neighborhoods are some of the most walkable in Newark, but the entire city garnered an impressive walk score of 75.9. Downtown, the bustling Market Street is home to a sea of shops, restaurants, and lofts all within walking distance of one another.
9. Oakland, California
Walk score: 75
Transit- and bike-friendly Oakland clocks in at number seven on our list of the best walkable cities in the U.S., with a walk score of 75.3. For memorable meandering, head on over to the never-dull downtown, the craft beer gardens and pubs of Koreatown Northgate, or the indie shops of Temescal.
10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Walk score: 75
Stroll Schuylkill River Trail, catch a matinee, or marvel at the architectural grandeur of City Hall—you can do it all on foot in Philadelphia, which has a high walk score of 74.8. Among the most walkable neighborhoods in the oldest city in Pennsylvania are Center City West, Avenue of the Arts, and Rittenhouse Square.
11. Seattle, Washington
Walk score: 74
From the Space Needle to The Mark, Seattle’s soaring skyscrapers keep the eyes of tourists fixed overhead, but the city also packs in plenty of pleasures at ground level—and many of them can be easily reached on foot. Thanks to this accessibility, reflected in the city’s walk score of 74.4, visitors can ditch their car for the day and explore Pike’s Place Market downtown, take an art walk in Pioneer Square, or lose themselves in one of more than 150,000 reads at the beloved Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill.
12. Long Beach, California
Walk score: 73
Bike lanes and buses galore make car-free living a possibility in Long Beach, and residents are encouraged to stroll the seaside city, which has a walk score of 73.3. Young adults prefer to saunter along the sands of Alamitos Bay Beach, while families flock to Mother’s Beach. If you’d rather not get sand between your toes, head to the walkable downtown or Saint Mary’s neighborhoods.
13. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Walk score: 71
Famed for its Chain of Lakes, numbering five in total, Minneapolis is also touted for its walkability. The city has a walk score of 71.4 thanks to pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods like Lyn-Lake, Uptown, and Lowry Hill East. If you’re partial to a scenic promenade, try the 52-mile walkway alongside the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.
14. Arlington, Virginia
Walk score: 71
Over 60 neighborhoods make up this city located across the Potomac River from our nation’s capital. The fact that so many of those neighborhoods are densely clustered is a major contributor to the city’s walk score of 71.2. Some of the most walkable of these urban villages are Clarendon-Courthouse, known for its mom-and-pop shops, Ballston-Virginia Square, home of the Taste of Arlington Food Festival, and Colonial Village, a lush landscape with appealing winding paths.
15. Los Angeles, California
Walk score: 69
The Walk of Fame isn’t the only part of LA you can stroll. Urban revitalization, along with the city’s investment in express buses and light rail, is helping to turn Tinseltown into a more walkable landscape. In fact, notoriously car-dependent Los Angeles now boasts a walk score of 68.6. The best neighborhoods to explore on foot are the densest, including downtown, MacArthur Park, and Central Hollywood.
16. Hialeah, Florida
Walk score: 68
One of only two cities in Miami-Dade County with its own street grid system, Hialeah also distinguishes itself from neighboring towns with its walkability score of 67.9. This haven for pedestrians boasts an average of two restaurants and bars within a 5-minute walk from any home. Trojan Park, Seminola City, and the Palmetto I-75 Industrial Center are among the city’s most walkable districts.
17. Portland, Oregon
Walk score: 67
The smaller-than-average blocks that compose most of Portland give those traveling by foot more opportunities to cross streets, fostering a smaller scale that helps them feel more connected to their surroundings. The second most walkable city in the Pacific Northwest boasts an overall walk score of 67.3, with Old Town Chinatown and downtown being among the best areas for pedestrians.
18. Santa Ana, California
Walk score: 67
Santa Ana’s star power lies as much in its walk score of 67.1 as in its proximity to sandy beaches to the west and Los Angeles to the north. The city’s density—it’s part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which in the last census was the most densely populated urban area in the nation—is largely to thank for its high rating. If you’re relying on your own two feet to get around, make a beeline for the pedestrian-friendly downtown, Willard, and Heninger Park.
19. Buffalo, New York
Walk score: 67
The second-largest city in New York has long served as a gateway for travel across the border into Canada, but it’s notable in its own right as a walkable paradise. Buffalo’s pedestrian-friendly districts garnered it a walk score of 66.6. The best neighborhoods to explore on foot include Allentown, the Central Business District, and Bryant.
20. Honolulu, Hawaii
Walk score: 66
From the Foster Botanical Gardens to Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the country, Honolulu’s attractions are best seen up close, and the best way to do that is on foot. A few neighborhoods worth a stroll are downtown, Ala Moana-Kakaako, and Waikiki, which is home to a series of overlapping, glistening beaches. All of this foot-accessible beauty gives the city a well-deserved walk score of 65.7.
21. St. Louis, Missouri
Walk score: 66
The hustling and bustling downtown, gallery-lined Benton Park West, and brewery-filled Benton Park neighborhoods all contribute to the walking cred of St. Louis, which picked up a walk score of 65.7.
22. Baltimore, Maryland
Walk score: 64
This harbor city with a walk score of 64.3 has been dubbed “a city of neighborhoods,” with Mount Vernon, downtown, and the University of Maryland at Baltimore being among the most pedestrian-friendly. Baltimore’s 5,000 acres of green space make the city all the more scenic to strut.
23. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Walk score: 62
While sports lovers flock to this town on game days, the streets outside of the big-league stadiums are abuzz with pedestrian activity. The city as a whole earned a walk score of 62.4, but pedestrians have the biggest footprint in the downtown, Central Oakland, and Friendship neighborhoods.
24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Walk score: 62
While you’ll encounter your fair share of motorcycles in the home of Harley-Davidson, Milwaukee’s walk score of 61.5 suggests that two feet will do almost as well as two wheels. The Juneau Town, Lower East Side, and Yankee Hill neighborhoods are particularly good for traversing by foot.
25. Denver, Colorado
Walk score: 61
With a walk score of 61.2, Denver makes the cut as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. You can stroll through the lively streets of downtown, where you’ll find notable attractions like the 16th Street Mall and historic Union Station. Nature lovers will surely find a walk or bike along scenic Cherry Creek Trail worth their while. And there’s no better way to soak in the stunning Rocky Mountain views than by sauntering through City Park or hiking in nearby Red Rocks Park.