For many people, walking is something you work into your schedule. If you don’t live in one of the most walkable cities in the United States, you may have to drive to a walking path or local park to find a safe place to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. While there are more and more walkable neighborhoods popping up across the country, few can compete with New York City. It’s the most walkable city in the country, but it’s not your only option if you want to escape on foot.
Regardless of the walkability score of your city, it’s fun to look at what some of the most walkable cities in the United States have to offer. They may inspire you to seek out a walkable neighborhood nearby and give your sneakers a trial run. Along with improving your nutrition by working with a nutritionist, walking is one of the best ways to improve your health, boost your mood, and lower your risk of disease.
The Many Benefits of America’s Walking Cities
If you’re looking for a fun way to pass the time, lace up your sneakers and head out for a long walk in one of the most vibrant neighborhoods you can find. As we’ll see with our list of the most walkable cities in the U.S., there are many benefits to giving your car a rest and allowing your legs to take over, including:
- Promotes active lifestyles
- Reduced obesity and related health risks
- More opportunities for socialization
- Encourages a community identity and sense of togetherness
- Reduces vehicular traffic and related pollution
Creating a very walkable city requires some effort by city planners, but it’s worth the investment when you consider the friendly, welcoming culture that it creates. The most walkable cities in the U.S. often have lower crime rates and higher property values while residents have a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening diseases.
4 Most Walkable Cities in the United States
Enough talking about the most walkable cities in the United States in general terms. It’s time to look at what some of the top walking cities in the U.S. have to offer. Major cities like New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia always have the lowest walk scores, but we wanted to highlight some of the lesser-known walkable cities in America. Those vibrant cities aren’t the only options for those who prefer to walk for transportation.
Seattle has a walk score of 74, which makes it “very walkable,” but it also ranks as “very bikeable.” With a new light rail system, it’s also easy to get around with public transportation if you want to live entirely without a vehicle. It’s also a vibrant destination for those who want a vacation away from the beach scene.
There are some great forests and parks in Seattle, but the highlights are the walkable neighborhoods and districts. The International District, First Hill, and Belltown all have a walk score of 98, which gives them the title of “walker’s paradise.” Pioneer Square is just one point behind along with many other highly walkable neighborhoods throughout the city. Add a thriving downtown area with restaurants, vibrant shops, and small businesses to explore, and you have a great place for a walking vacation or even a new home.
Charleston, South Carolina
If you want to escape on foot in a vibrant city, you can’t beat the friendly, upbeat atmosphere of Charleston. It’s an active tourist area with a wide variety of museums, restaurants, flea markets, small shops, bakeries, and boutiques. The entertainment district is a great place to spend a night walking, but there are also a variety of walking tours to enjoy. If you enjoy walking after dark, the ghost walking tours are a lot of fun.
For the most walkable neighborhood, check out Charlestowne. It has a walk score of 94, which makes it another paradise for walkers.
Downtown Baltimore is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city. It’s another walkable paradise with a walk score of 98. You can live rather easily without a vehicle in that area, but there are some other very walkable neighborhoods in the city as well. For instance, the University of Maryland at Baltimore, Fells Point, and Mount Vernon all rank as paradise settings for walkers.
What makes Baltimore stand out on our list of the most walkable cities in the United States is the diverse historic neighborhoods. You can stroll through Little Italy or interact with creative artists on the downtown streets. Enjoy the scenic harbor and take public transportation to Washington, DC, for a day trip. There are also some great parks and recreation areas if you want a little nature in addition to the small shops and restaurants scattered throughout this walkable city.
If you’re looking for a great reason to book your ticket to Honolulu, here it is. Downtown Honolulu, Ala Moana-Kakaako, and McCully-Moiliili all rank at Paradise status with a walk score of 94. They may not have the typical feel of a vibrant big city, but they are easy to maneuver by foot and offer scenery that you just can’t get anywhere else.
Instead of walking amongst the big buildings, Honolulu allows you to explore stunning beaches and some great parks with walking trails and paths. If you’re up for a five to six-mile walk, you can go from the downtown area to Diamond Head State Monument for photo opportunities. The walk is loaded with small businesses, so finding a stopping point isn’t too hard.
Find Your Own Walking Paradise
You don’t have to live in one of the most walkable cities in the United States to get your body moving and enjoy time in the great outdoors. Most American cities and even small towns have at least one highly walkable area. You can often find opportunities in historic districts, golf courses, squares, and local parks. If you live in a more rural area, consider making your own walking path through your own property.
One of the best benefits of a walkable city is the focus on healthy movement. That naturally leads to weight control and reduced risk for some of the most life-threatening diseases prominent today. Working with a weight loss nutritionist or dietitian to improve your diet can enhance those benefits to maximize your chances of enjoying a long, healthy life.