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25 Best Walking Cities for Vacation in the US

25 Best Walking Cities for Vacation in the US

Looking for walking cities for vacation stateside? If you are the kind of person that prefers walking and public transportation to renting a car, then you will love this list of most walkable cities to visit. Walkable cities are the best to visit because can see the sites on foot, no rental car is needed.

Best Walkable Cities to Visit

We came up with the best and most walkable cities by factoring in each city’s walk score, looking at the distance between major sites, and how easy it is to walk around.

Read on for the ultimate list of walkable cities to visit on vacation!

1. New York City, New York

Times Square
Photo: werkunz/Flickr

There is no place like New York City. The streets are full of restaurants and vibrant shops on every corner, making it the most walkable city in the state of New York. Here you can avoid crowded subways with so much to do within easy walking distance.

One of the most well-known major cities, New York City has excellent public transit, but it is also home to some of the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods – especially post-covid. Now many streets are pedestrian-only making it a walkable paradise.

New York City is also home to the most walkable neighborhoods including Chinatown, West Village, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Union Square, Hells Kitchen, and Chelsea – to name a few. Our personal favorite is Williamsburg, with excellent vintage shops, tattoo parlors, and restaurants.

The second most pedestrian-friendly neighborhood in New York City is West Village. With downtown being a few blocks away and several other walkable destinations nearby, it is a vibrant destination to explore on foot. It’s also home to some of the best restaurants.

Walking through these areas will bring excitement and a sense of awe to you and your whole family. There are a few places you’ll definitely want to stop by when you go for a visit.

  • Central Park – a large park within New York City limits. Abundant green space and walking paths line Central Park.

  • Times Square- it may seem cliché, but visiting Times Square is a must when heading into the walkable neighborhoods of the city. This part of the area is even safer now that the streets between 42nd and 47th are closed off to traffic.

  • 9/11 Memorial- many people can remember where they were that day when the towers burned to the ground. Visiting this memorial will bring back many memories from that time.

  • Rockefeller Center- the deck on top of the Rockefeller Center is a great place to survey the city from a high view. It brings new perspective on the bustling streets below.
  • Chinatown – the most walkable neighborhoods with everything you need for a culture experience within a few blocks.

New York City is at the top of our list with an unbeatable walk score and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods at every turn. If you are looking for a walkable city, put NYC on the list.

See Related: Best Parks to Visit in NYC

2. San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Out on the west coast, San Francisco is beautiful and sunny, and one of the most walkable cities to visit in the world. And of walkable cities with a high walk score, San Francisco has some of the best weather.

San Francisco tops the list as the second most walkable city. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Presidio, there are walkable neighborhoods for everyone. There are some very steep hills, but the walkable neighborhoods with restaurants and vibrant shops on every corner.

You can find some truly amazing things to see when you take a trip to California. Be sure to stop by these attractions.

  • Chinatown- this is an amazing part of the city to visit. It tends to stay crowded, but the walk is worth it to see all of the incredible architecture and excitement lining the streets.
  • Union Street- what a great place to walk through whether it be day or night. It is always bustling with activities and vendors.
  • Golden Gate Bridge – named one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Golden Gate Bridge is worth a gander, and a stroll. On cloudy days you can walk the bridge in peace, and on sunny days you can view it from one of the parks nearby.

San Francisco has plenty of amazing parks and neighborhoods, all with an impeccable walk score and plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy. Travelers should visit Saint Mary’s neighborhoods with a footbridge and park to stroll.

3. Boston, Massachusetts

Fenway Park, Quincy Market, the Freedom Trail – there are so many reasons to visit Boston. And with a Walk Score of 79, Boston is a great destination for tourists who like to walk.

In recent years, Boston has transformed its city into walkable neighborhoods with an impressive walk score. Best time to visit this New England state is in the summer months to enjoy the most walkable neighborhoods.

Another reason why Boston is a walkable city is because of its historic downtown and historical monuments within walking distance. Make sure to check out the Freedom Trail- this is a great place to walk through to see 16 different historical locations. It takes about 2 or 3 hours to complete the tour.

Visitors enjoy walking the Bay Village neighborhood. One of the most diverse historic neighborhoods, walkers must stop by this historic cobblestone sidewalks, tree-lined streets, and preserved red-brick homes. The Bay Village neighborhood is a walkable paradise.

4. Chicago, IL

Millennium Park
Photo: cjsmithphotography/Flickr

Chicago is an excellent walkable city for people of all ages. This vibrant city is full of towering businesses and bustling with many people. The walkable neighborhoods here, though, are endless. Public transit is also easy to navigate and easy to get from neighborhood to neighborhood.

The best time to visit Chicago is early summer or fall. The city’s walk score tells it all – you will want great weather to enjoy the pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and wonderful parks. Oh, and don’t forget about its bustling waterfront bar scene!

The “New York of the Midwest” has pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with corner bars and even urban Lake Michigan beaches, all within walking distance. The city’s walk score hovers around 90, many residents consider it the second most walkable city to New York City.

Some of the top spots are North Michigan Avenue with its spacious streets filled with luxury shops and just a few blocks away its sandy beaches. Off Michigan Avenue you will see the Hancock. Take a lift up to the Signature Lounge for a martini among the skyscrapers. The Willis Tower (or Sears Tower to the locals) has a viewing deck from the top floor.

Some of the most walkable neighborhoods include Lincoln Park, the West Loop, Boystown, and South Loop. The West Loop is the newest destination for tourists and locals alike. It is home to outstanding restaurants, coffee shops, and art pop ups. Lincoln Park has the highest walk score. There are likely more restaurants and shops than the population density.

Make sure to also see:

  • Millennium Park – a large green space in the hear of the city filled with art and museums. You can enjoy a scenic promenade viewing

  • Lincoln Park Zoo- of course the most walkable city would have a zoo in the heart of it all. The Lincoln Park Zoo is free and surrounded by large parks with walking paths.

The walk score of Chicago with all of its walkable neighborhoods makes it one of the most walkable cities in the world.

 See Related: Unique Places to Stay in Chicago

5. Portland, Oregon

Bank in a City
Portland on a rainy day

The Pacific Northwest boasts open-minded vibes and epic hiking trails, but it is also home to some of the most walkable neighborhoods in the lower 48.

As Oregon’s largest city, Portland is home to some of the most walkable neighborhoods in the state. Some of the most walkable neighborhoods are: Peal District, Downtown, Old Town, Hollywood, Goose Hollow, Northwest District, Boise, and Sunnyside. Each of these neighborhoods have a walk score above 90, ensuring that everything you need is within reach!

Perfect for tourists, Portland’s walkable neighborhoods have shops, restaurants, and art pop ups around every corner. And if you like craft beer, this is a great place to visit. You can walk from brewery to brewery.

Old Town Chinatown is one reason Portland makes the list of top walkable cities. Set on Willamette River, Old Town Chinatown is a walkable neighborhood with mom and pop shops, and unique cultural experiences.

Portland is also one of the most walkable cities because of all the wonderful hiking trails nearby. Unlike New York, here you can walk the city streets or take a scenic hike.

6. New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon Street New Orleans
Bourbon Street in New Orleans

With its French Quarter and endless nightlife, it is no wonder New Orleans is one of the most walkable cities in the United States.

The French Quarter is the most popular tourist destination in New Orleans and for good reason. With its cobblestone streets and historic buildings, the French Quarter is a great place to spend a day walking around.

Be sure to visit Jackson Square and take a walk down Bourbon Street. And if you want to experience some of the best food in New Orleans, take a stroll down Frenchmen Street.

See Related: Do you need a rental car in New Orleans?

7. Minneapolis, Minnesota

People walking on a spacious street
Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota has a surprisingly high walk score making it easy for travelers. From 10,000 lakes with walking paths to the interconnected skyways downtown to shelter in during the cold, there is an opportunity to walk in every season.

Downtown Minneapolis has several walkable neighborhoods. The top ones are the North Loop, Eat Street, Uptown, Northeast, and St. Anthony Main. A lot of tourists enjoy the Lowry Hill East neighborhood with lots of restaurants and bars.

Visitors who want new-age restaurants and overpriced cocktails will enjoy the North Loop. There you’ll find some awesome food and you can easily walk to a Twins baseball game and to the Mississippi River walking path.

If you want a hipster, just-graduated-college vibe, opt for Uptown. You’ll still have great restaurants and bars but at a lower cost. You can also walk to Lake Bde Maka Ska and rent a kayak to take in the city views from the lake.

Visitors to art and parks should opt for the Lowry Hill neighborhood. From here you can walk to the Walker Art Center to see the infamous Cherry and the Spoon in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and enjoy the winding bike and walking trails. You can also visit Lake of the Isles to look at the old mansions.

If you like international foods, visit the Eat Street neighborhood. From Pho to a German bier haus, there is something for everyone. There is also easy public transit to downtown.

Meanwhile, in St. Anthony Main, you’ll enjoy walking from historic Minnesota bars and restaurants to the Stone Arch Bridge where you’ll get the best views of the city. Tourists and locals alike enjoy walking the Stone Arch Bridge, especially during the fall colors.

See Related: Ultimate Guide to the Best Breweries in Minneapolis

8. St. Louis, Missouri

St Louis Skyline
Photo: hz536n/Flickr

Next on the list of most walkable cities in St. Louis. Home of the St. Louis arch, you can take great walking tours.

St. Louis makes the list of most walkable cities in part due to its high walk score. Several neighborhoods have a high walk score The land here is nice and flat and very easy for walking. Check out some of these exciting places when you go.

St. Louis Arch is an amazing and incredible place to tour. There are places to shop at the bottom of the arch. If you dare, take an elevator ride to the top of the arches. You can walk around this towering structure and even go to the top for an incredible view of the cityscape.

Laclede’s Landing is another great place to explore on foot. This historic district is full of cobblestone streets, unique shops, and restaurants.

The City Museum is another can’t-miss attraction. This massive museum has 10 stories of hands-on exhibits for all ages.

If you’re looking for a place to walk and explore, St. Louis is definitely the place for you!

9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia
Photo: mbell1975/Flickr

Philadelphia is a walkable city known for brotherly love and it has some great places for you to visit while walking. There are some areas in the city that you’ll just fall in love with.

  • Franklin Square- this is one of 5 public parks in Philadelphia. There are many great attractions in this area for the family to enjoy, such as a mini-golf course and carousel.

  • The Liberty Bell Center- if you visit this area, take the time to see the Liberty Bell. It is a spectacular part of the nation’s history.

  • Reading Terminal Market- this is a great place to go if you love food. There are over 80 vendors selling all kinds of deliciousness. All while walking!

  • Elfreth’s Alley- this is the oldest continuously inhabited street in America. It is a great place to walk and window shop.

10. Washington D.C.

National Mall
Photo: yotut/Flickr

Washington D.C., the nation’s capital is full of amazing sites that you can see on foot. Not only can you see the White House while you visit, but there are also other history-rich attractions that will capture your attention.

When visiting Washington D.C., stop by Mount Vernon Square. With the stately federal-style houses and upscale restaurants, Mount Vernon Square is a great place in this nation’s capital for visitors who like to walk. You can even walk into the Carnegie Library building.

Washington D.C. has a ton of amazing sights to walk to – the White House, Supreme Court, Capitol Hill, and the Smithsonian Museum are the top tourist spots. No wonder Washington D.C. has such a high walk score!

  • Georgetown- Georgetown sits right on the waterfront is full of amazing shops to browse through.

  • Smithsonian- this museum is amazing and full of so many relics from the nation’s history. It is almost impossible to see everything in one day. It would be good to give yourself more than one day to see it all.

11. Miami, Florida

Wynwood Miami
Wynwood neighborhood, Miami

You won’t find cobblestone in Miami, but you will find a great walkable city with an insanely high walk score.

South Beach Miami is one of the most walkable neighborhoods to visit. But our favorite of all the pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in Miami is Wynwood. There are modern art museums everywhere and the streets are lined with street art, unique shops, and funky bars.

Within a few blocks, you can experience so many different things, no car needed. And with the great weather, this is one of the walkable cities you can visit all year round.

All of these cities provide you with many options to walk through the area and not worry about driving a vehicle. These areas would make for good destinations that you fly into and rely on public transportation and walking to the attractions you want to visit.

See Related: Best Things To Do In Miami

12. Jersey City, New Jersey

new york skyline from jersey
View of downtown NYC from New Jersey

Rising up from the Hudson River across from New York City, Jersey City is quickly becoming one of the most popular places to live and visit in the New York metropolitan area.

Jersey City is the second-largest city in New Jersey. The city is also one of the most walkable, with a Walk Score of 86.

There are a ton of things to do in Jersey City, from exploring the Liberty State Park to visiting the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. And with easy access to New York City via the PATH train, you can explore even more of what this great region has to offer.

Those most walking-friendly areas around Jersey city include historic downtown, Journal Square, and McGinley Square.

13. Dallas, Texas

romantic getaways in USA
Downtown Dallas

Everything is bigger in Texas. That includes the number of stroll-worthy neighborhoods in Dallas.

Deep Ellum is one of the most walkable and vibrant neighborhoods in Dallas. With its artsy vibes, Deep Ellum is a great place to visit if you want to experience the creative side of Dallas.

There are also many historic districts that are worth exploring on foot. Take a walk through the West End Historic District or the Bishop Arts District.

And if you want to experience some of the best views in Dallas, take a walk along the Katy Trail. This 3.5-mile urban hike/bike trail winds through some of the most scenic parts of Dallas.

14. Seattle, Washington

Skyscraper and Cityscape
Downtown Seattle

Seattle’s sky-rocketing sky buildings keep tourists’ eyes locked up but also offer many pleasures below ground—and many can easily reach.

Thanks to its accessibility, visitors may ditch their cars for a day and enjoy Pike’s Place downtown, take an art walk in Pioneer Square or read more than 150,000 books at the famous Elliott Library.

15. Arlington, Virginia

arlington virginia
Sunset in Arlington

Arlington, Virginia is a great tourist spot for those who want to see a lot of national landmarks on foot. With its close proximity to Washington D.C., many of the city’s attractions are within walking distance.

The city is home to The Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Iwo Jima Memorial. There are also a number of museums and parks that can be explored on foot.

16. Denver, Colorado

Colorful graffiti
Denver Street Art

With a Walk Score of 74.6, Denver is one of the most walkable cities in the country. The Golden Triangle Creative District, Union Station North and Lower Downtown are all perfect places to explore on foot, and you’ll find plenty of things to see and do along the way.

Stop by Central Station to enjoy a food court and shops.

Recommended:30 Most Beautiful Places in America to Vacation

17. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston Skyline at Sunset
Dreamy sunset in Charleston

Despite being a historic city, with many older buildings and winding roads, Charleston has great walkability for tourists!

The Battery, Broad Street, and the French Quarter are all great places to take a stroll, and you’ll find plenty of delicious restaurants along the way. Charleston is also a vibrant city to photograph.

19. Madison, Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Capitol
State Capitol in Madison

Madison is not just a university town. It is a city with great walking neighborhoods such as downtown, Greenbush, and the Dane County Farmers’ Markets which are the largest in the nation.

Nearby the State Capitol Building, you’ll find numerous restaurants and bars, making this a great city to visit on foot.

See Related: Best Breweries in Wisconsin

20. Long Beach, California

Things to Do in Malibu, California
View of the ocean

Bike tracks and bus lines offer an alternative way to tour Long Beach and residents may enjoy walking through this coastal city.

Young adults prefer to go sand on Alamito Bay Beach, whereas families go for Mothers Beach. And you can also walk to Saint Mary’s or to the downtown.

21. Los Angeles, California

Do you need a car in Los Angeles
Walk the glamour of Los Angeles

The Walk of Fame is just one of many places in LA to walk around. The revitalization of Tinseltown is part of an effort aimed at improving walkability.

The best neighborhoods to explore on foot include Downtown, MacArthur Park, and Central Hollywood.

23. Baltimore, Maryland

Buildings and qcean view
Downtown Baltimore

This harbor city has been dubbed a town of neighborhoods, and you’ll find plenty of pedestrian-friendly streets in Mount Vernon and the center of Baltimore.

Baltimore also has over 500 acres of greenery making it an ideal place for walking. It’s also a great town for football, so long as you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan!

24. Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines City view
View of Downtown Des Moines in Winter

Downtown Des Moines is a great walkable destination to visit. Court Avenue is full of restaurants and bars, and local shops.

Every weekend visitors from around the country come to walk through the Farmer’s Market downtown. And if you visit during the Drake Relays there are dozens of events to stroll from.

Stop by Fong’s Pizza for unique pizza by-the-slice or a kamikaze shot complete with a bomber helmet. And walk along the riverfront for unique views of the little-big-city in Iowa.

See Related: Where to Stay in Des Moines, Iowa

25. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine Florida
Photo: neatonjr/Flickr

St. Augustine is the oldest city in America, making it incredibly haunted, but also one of the most walkable cities. The warm weather in the winter makes it a great city to visit year-round.

St. Augustine has a historic downtown complete with shops and attractions that you can easily walk through. Not many of the most walkable cities on this list have an excellent walk score and a lot of history. Some of the most walkable neighborhoods in St. Augustine are Butler Beach and Dupont Center.

There are so many amazing things for you to see while you are here including:

  • Castillo De San Marcos- this fort was made in the 17th century and is a prime example of the bastion system of fortifying a city. You are sure to be impressed with its structure.

  • Augustine Lighthouse and Museum- this lighthouse is beautiful to say the least. You’ll be able to take a tour inside of the tower and also see artifacts that have been salvaged from wrecked ships.

  • Casa Monica Hotel – this hotel built in 1888, has had a number of purposes including as a hospital, Confederate barracks, and a casino.

While walking around, enjoy the historic cobblestone sidewalks and Spanish architecture. Here you can enjoy grand vistas and a little history. Perfect for tourists yearning to learn.

All of these cities provide you with many options to walk through the area and not worry about driving a vehicle. These areas would make for good destinations that you fly into and rely on public transportation and walking to the attractions you want to visit.

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