Hoofing it in the USA
As spring brings rising temperatures and the sun stays up well into the evening, we want to be outside exploring. So we’ve laced up our walking shoes and put together a list of six surprisingly walkable communities across the United States. If you aren’t planning a warm-weather trip to the biggest pedestrian-friendly cities—NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston—use this as your guide to hoofing it in some unexpected places.
We’ve consulted each destination’s Walk Score, weather, and overall travel vibes, and we’ve come back with the most walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods in the country, and the best things to do without a set of wheels slowing you down. (Yes, you can skip the car rental line and parking fees. You’re welcome.)
1. Miami, FL
You’ve always known Miami’s great for sunning and swimming, but you might be surprised to hear that in the same state where you need a boat to get around the Everglades, you can go from city center to seaside without a car. In fact, with a Walk Score of 78 and year-round temperatures ranging from 60 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, Miami is a walker’s paradise.
Walk this way: When you crave the golden rays of the Sunshine State and a sight for art-deprived eyes, check out the street murals at Wynwood Walls. This revitalization project has brought color and energy to the warehouse district and it’s a great place to recharge before you follow your feet to one of the many amazing Miami activities.
Pit stop: Get your sips at one of the neighborhood breweries. Concrete Beach Brewery, Wynwood Brewing Company, and J. Wakefield Brewing all have tasting rooms on-site within a few blocks of the Walls.
2. Madison, WI
Sidled up to Lake Mendota, State-Langdon is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the country, and you’ll find it in Madison, Wisconsin. See the area’s impressive 92-point Walk Score in action and you’ll agree. Plus, this waterfront area is bordered by downtown Madison and Vilas, both of which are best seen on your getaway gams.
Walk this way: Sprinkled with colorful picnic tables and piers, Memorial Union Terrace is the place to go paddle boarding in the summer and people-watching year-round. Rent a kayak and let your core do all the work for a while.
Pit stop: Take it easy in this Midwestern destination with a delicious espresso and pastries at Fair Trade Coffee House on State Street. Sit near the front window for charming street views and savor each sip of independently roasted java.
3. Portland, OR
Oregon’s famously weird city shouldn’t be a shocker on this list of walkable cities, what with its Walk Score of 64. But you might wonder about its reputation for rainy days. Well, Portland’s public transportation is on point, and there are plenty of free places to duck into if it does start to sprinkle.
Walk this way: Spend a few hours shopping your favorite titles in Powell’s Books, or tuck into an indie coffee shop and blend in with the locals. At Powell’s, each genre has its own color and section. For a glimpse of rare and antique books go to the Pearl Room, but finish your coffee outside first.
Pit stop: In Southeast Portland, at the corner of SE 82nd Avenue and SE Harney Street, Cartlandia is a cornucopia of gourmet street eats. Whether you’ve got a hankering for crepes or ramen or something in between, you’ll find it here.
4. Coronado, CA
Coronado may have a humble Walk Score of 55, but you can cover the bulk of this city on foot, from the San Diego Bay on the east side to Coronado Beach on the west. Craft breweries, beach shops, and chic brunch spots line Orange Avenue as you make your way to the tombolo’s glittering sand laced with fool’s gold.
Walk this way: For a combination of surf and turf—by which we mean actual surfing paired with hiking and biking—wander down the Silver Strand, the narrow stretch of peninsula on Coronado’s south end. The sunsets are spectacular and the waves are another great way to get around.
Pit stop: Housed in a lovely refurbished Victorian home, Chez Loma serves up French fusion in an elegant, breezy setting. Stop for weekend brunch before your stroll on the Strand.
5. Honolulu, HI
You may picture yourself hiking through Honolulu with your flip-flops flapping, but slow down, traveler. You’ll still want some good walking shoes to get the best out of these beachside streets. Honolulu has an overall Walk Score of 63, but if you zero in on its most coastal districts—downtown, Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, and Waikiki—the numbers go up considerably. And need we mention the weather and laidback island ambiance?
Walk this way: All within a compact and very pedestrian-accessible city center, tour the stunning Iolani Palace, several art and history museums, and of course a world-renowned beach. Once you reach the shore, go ahead and hang 10.
Pit stop: If your walk through Honolulu doesn’t end at a tiki bar in Waikiki, something ain’t right. If the name doesn’t whisk you away to another decade, wait till you see the neon lights and outdoor dining at Cuckoo Coconuts on Royal Hawaiian Avenue. Bottoms up!
6. Jackson, WY
The Wyoming wilderness sprawls in all directions from Jackson. You may want to join a shuttle service for a ride into the mountains, but inside the city limits you’ll give your hiking boots a run for their money. Here, the streets are lined with art galleries and museums. Look around at Snow King Mountain and the National Elk Refuge and you’ll see why these local artisans are so inspired.
Walk this way: You’ll spend plenty of time hiking—that’s a given. But don’t skip an afternoon or crisp morning wandering around Town Square, officially known as George Washington Memorial Park. Walk under the antler archway into the world of old Jackson, complete with carriage rides, a Shootout brought to you by the Jackson Hole Playhouse, and plenty of dining and shopping.
Pit stop: Feeling fancy? Make a reservation at Wild Sage, the award-winning culinary gem of The Rusty Parrot Lodge. Enjoy organically grown produce, local game and meat, and sustainably caught seafood—all prepared before your eyes in the exhibition-style kitchen.
What are you planning to do in the most walkable cities in the U.S. this year?
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