Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Get your kicks in the most walkable cities
Strutting your stuff across 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 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 small cities, big cities, 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 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. If wandering around the gorgeous lake isn’t enough incentive to make the trip, Madison is also one of the more affordable walking cities for travelers.
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 the best walking 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
Before you get too surprised to see Jackson among the most walkable cities in the United States, hear us out. 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.
Southern California is known for its intricate networks of buzzing freeways. Thanks to Long Beach’s strong Walk Score of 70, you can skip the asphalt and wander the coastline on your own two feet. Located 25 miles south of Los Angeles, this seaport city is the perfect place to explore postcard-perfect SoCal. Walk under the shade of palm trees, dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean, and check out the region’s multicultural art scene and maritime history.
Walk this way: Walk, jog, or bike along the Shoreline Pedestrian Bikepath from Shoreline Village to downtown Long Beach for stellar sunset views. This lovely path is frequented mostly by vehicles with two wheels, but walkers are more than welcome, and the path is wheelchair accessible to accommodate adventure seekers with different abilities.
Pit stop: Reward yourself after a long walk with delicious drinks and waterfront views at Cielo at the Sky Room. We really can’t think of a better combination than a stroll and a smoky mezcal cocktail by the sea. Sip the spicy mezcal Paloma and tell us we’re wrong.
8. Key West, FL
Walking with a warm sea breeze at your back is what dreams are made of, and Key West’s easygoing Walk Score of 64 makes that dream a reality. The closer you are to the nearest stretch of sand, the more walkable the city becomes. And trust us; there’s sand aplenty. The relatively small key is among the most walkable cities in the South, but keep in mind that public transportation is limited. You might want to take some friends to help carry your haul back to the hotel from a shopping excursion along Duval Street.
Walk this way: Key West is great for four-legged friends, too! Take yourself and Fido for a stroll at Dog Beach downtown, and stop for a photo op a few blocks away at the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S. for a true bucket list moment.
Pit stop: Locally loved Louie’s Backyard strikes the perfect balance between fine dining and casual comforts. Chef Doug Shook crafts artful Caribbean cuisine served in a homey Victorian setting right by Dog Beach. Order a glass and sip as the sun sets.
Arlington may be synonymous with corridors bustling with America’s movers and shakers, but Northern Virginia locals know that this is the place to get outside. Do some of that moving and shaking along the many nature trails that meander through the community. In addition to a notable 69-point Walk Score, Arlington boasts one of the best ParkScores in the country—an impressive 76.5, awarded by the Trust for Public Land. So, take your hiking boots along for your next visit to the greater Washington, D.C. area.
Walk this way: With over 1,100 acres of accolade-attracting parkland and 75 miles of scenic walking paths, you’re sure to find your stride in Arlington. Mount Vernon Trail runs almost 18 miles along the west side of the Potomac River, offering a historically rich route for walkers, runners, and cyclists alike.
Pit stop: The most walkable neighborhoods include Clarendon–Courthouse and Lyon Village. Dine on a beautiful Balkan brunch at Ambar. The beet tzatziki is almost too pretty to eat, and it will match your berry mimosa perfectly.
10. Jersey City
Between Lower Manhattan and Newark, Jersey City is an up-and-coming city for young professionals looking for an affordable alternative to the five boroughs. Wander between historical brownstones and duck into trendy bars and indie art galleries that splash the city with contemporary colors and character. Jersey City’s Walk Score of 87 makes it an excellent choice for travelers who want easy access to the Big Apple, as well as international eats and a burgeoning boutique scene near the waterfront.
Walk this way: Visit the lush Liberty State Park and walk to the Empty Sky Memorial on the waterfront. This elegant monument honors the 749 who called New Jersey home before losing their lives in the 9/11 attacks that changed America’s landscape forever.
Pit stop: After a late night on your feet, there’s nothing better than wearing your comfy shoes and warming up with a fresh cup of pour-over coffee. The folks at modcup coffee co. are coffee-roasting royalty and they have three locations in town as well as a coffee truck, bring java joy to the masses. You’ll find them on the West Side, in The Heights, and in Journal Square—perfect for fueling your many walks throughout the city.
What are you planning to do in the most walkable cities in the U.S. this year?
Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.
Latest posts by Kohleun Adamson (see all)
- 11 Cities that will inspire your staycation - January 16, 2019
- 9 Awesome one-week vacation destinations you need to visit - December 10, 2018
- Seasonal drinks: America’s favorite fall and winter sips - November 12, 2018