Walking around a city is a fun way to get to know it as a local would. Traveling at a slower pace, you pick up on the smaller details of life in that place, and you come home with a wonderful sense of what life in that city is really like. Furthermore, walking is great exercise, and you can enjoy the fresh air (and earn yourself many delicious meals) by walking during your next vacation! Here are the cities in the United States that are most friendly for pedestrians.
Top 9 Walkable Cities In the U.S. Worth Visiting
You may be surprised to find Columbus on this list because Ohio isn’t the first place you think of in terms of walkable cities. In fact, Columbus has unique neighborhoods that can be visited via walking. In the Short North Arts District alone, you can find locally owned shops, breweries, a meadery, the best sushi in town, and a handful of LGBT friendly bars. Check out Bodega for some craft beers, then walk to Union Café for a night of dancing. For a quieter evening, walk to Goodale Park and enjoy the natural scenery before walking to North Market for a meal made by local food vendors.
With Portland divided up into geographical neighborhoods, each section of the city is walkable in and of itself. The Southwest part of the city houses Portland’s downtown and Courthouse Square. It is also the site of Portland University. The Northeast portion of the city is home to the Oregon Convention Center, the Moda Center (where the Portland Trailblazers play) and is increasingly becoming more of a mecca for nightlife and entertainment. Check out The Doug Fir Lounge for some music!
The Southeast is home to family neighborhoods and is known as an incubator for new businesses. It’s also known for its 8 wineries and tasting rooms. Walk the neighborhood and check some of them out! Finally, the Northwest attracts a mix of restaurants, art galleries, and pubs. On the first Thursday of every month, the galleries sponsor an artists’ reception called First Thursday. With all these unique neighborhoods, walking through the city would provide for entertainment and much more.
A short bus-ride away from both Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada, Seattle sits in the Northwest corner of the U.S. But don’t let its distant location fool you, there is plenty to do and see in the city all within walking distance. Just a mile apart, the Space Needle and Pike Place Market are two great places to visit. The market is an institution in the city, and the Space Needle provides a panoramic view of the city below. The 9-acre Olympic Sculpture Park is just a few blocks down from the Space Needle and is neat for visitors to walk through.
Though most known for its Rocky Mountains, Denver also has a bustling arts and restaurant scene that is easy to navigate by foot! Check out Larimer Square where you can spend the day shopping, eat dinner at a locally owned restaurant, and stay for some live entertainment. LoDo, or Lower Denver, is Denver’s oldest neighborhood and home to some of the best art the city has to offer. Walk throughout LoDo to get a feel for the city’s local art scene, restaurants, and nightlife, all without the need for transportation.
San Francisco would come in at a higher ranking if it weren’t for its infamous hills. A 1-mile walk can take much longer than expected because of the incline on many streets. Nonetheless, San Francisco offers visitors delightful food, views, and people-watching at almost every place in the city. The Embarcadero provides a walking and biking trail along the water and takes you to AT & T Park, where the San Francisco Giants play their home baseball games. A walk along Mission Street in the Mission district will provide visitors with the best tacos in the city, as well as low-key bars and a close proximity to Delores Park. With these options alone, tourists will have no trouble finding something they like, despite the hills.
The city of Chicago is well-known for its architectural buildings, waterfront, and skyline. Luckily for travelers, the city is also known to be easily walkable. Take a trip to the Buckingham Fountain to the iconic Cloud Gate, or “Bean” as most call it, in Millennium Park. Snap a photo in front of the sculpture and head to the famous Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. If you’re feeling really ambitious, head back in the direction the the Bean and walk a little over a half-mile to the renowned Michigan Avenue for some shopping.
Known for its museums and monuments, Washington, D.C. has hundreds of walking destinations. The city is a great place to walk in and feel like you’re seeing history before your eyes. Take a jaunt to the White House, where visitors flock everyday in droves. From the White House, walk through the Constitution Gardens to reach the Lincoln Memorial. Within the vicinity is the Washington Monument, the National WWII Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. These are just a few options, and Washington, D.C. has many more to offer!
The city of Boston is home to three professional sports teams, over 20 colleges and universities, and the Freedom Trail. A city with as much history as Boston, it’s hard to walk throughout it and not find something of interest. Most notably, the Freedom Trail is a physical line on the pavement that leads visitors on a self-guided tour of Bean Town, making sure some of the most historically significant places in the U.S. are seen. Take a stroll through the Boston Common, the first public park in the U.S., and walk to the site of the Boston Massacre. Or, head to the Charles River and walk along the riverfront (on the Cambridge side) which offers an incredible view of Boston’s skyline.
New York City is known for its outrageously chewy bagels, pizza by the slice, and Broadway shows. What better way to get to these places than to walk? New York comes in as #1 Most Walkable City because of the proximity of things to do. Walk to Central Park and you can get lost in the seemingly endless paths that lead you through tunnels, baseball fields, and even a reservoir. Take a walk from the 9/11 Memorial site to Wall Street and into Washington Square Park where you can take a break and snap a photo of the Washington Square Arch. Head to Time Square from here and experience the everyday rush and excitement of the city!
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.