25 Most Pedestrian Oriented And “Walkable” Cities

Armed with policies and city designs that encourages citizens to forgo the heavy reliance on the automobile in favor of healthier alternatives such as walking or even biking; ‘walkable’ cities offer their citizens and tourists alike the opportunity to enjoy robust parks, great human scale environments, streetscapes that promote leisurely and enjoyable walks; and facilities that enable many transportation options such as light rail, buses, bike lanes, and yes even cars. If these are cities that peak your interest, then check out these 25 most pedestrian oriented and “walkable” cities.

25. Madison, Wisconsin

Ranked the best walkable city in 2007, this city still is included among the most walkable cities because of its extremely clean air, low accident rate for pedestrians, tons of walking paths and the huge number of athletic shoe sales (which hints to the fact that people walk a lot).

24. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh boast of a very active walking community and a dense urban layout. Littered with urban parks, riverfront trails, museums, shops, etc. Pittsburgh provides a haven for pedestrians.

23. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor has one the highest percentages of walking commuters, especially among Michigan cities. As a promoter of healthy living through walking, the city also houses the walking club Washentaw Wanderers which hosts a number of walking events on a regular basis.

22. Chicago, Illinois

When it comes to walking experiences, Chicago has one of the top spots. The city has really good walkable destinations like the Lakefront and the Miracle Mile, high numbers of parks and open areas and a lot of public transportation. It also houses a number of walking clubs which organize year-round walking activities.

21. Washington, D.C.

Washington is a city with fascinating walking destinations both for locals and tourists. Apart from the number of festivals and conventions which create opportunities for leisure and activity walking, the city offers a lot of forested trails and artistic monuments for sight-seeing during long walks.

20. Portland, Oregon

Portland is known as one of the cities that advocates pedestrian and bike-use the most. There is a Pedestrian Advisory Committee that monitors walkability in the city. It also houses an amazing 140 miles of interconnected walk trails, a number of walking organizations and walking marathons; and has a great light rail system which encourages independence from the automobile.

19. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a compact city that makes exploration on foot easy. The mix of modern architecture and old cobblestone streets is a joy to see and the lines of traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants adds that warm and inviting human scale that promotes an engaging walking experience.

18. Austin, Texas

Since 2006, Austin has earned a reputation for being walker-friendly and even ranked among the top five pedestrian oriented cities. Exercise clubs, walking conventions and fitness walking activities are numerous which help to promote an active lifestyle. Moreover, walking trails can be found spread throughout Austin offering citizens wonderful views and destinations such as the Town Lake.

17. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne houses a healthy mix of city sights, bayside views and parks that help create a inviting urban environment for both locals and tourists. Furthermore, the city offers a number of walking routes and key locations such as the St. Kilda Foreshore beach which includes a long walking track consisting of sunbathers, markets and waterfront bistros.

16. Miami, Florida

Miami is known as a city of wonderful beaches and a luxurious night life. The city’s sunny weather makes Miami not only a haven for tourists but also a paradise for walking and biking enthusiasts. With a walking score of 73 Miami is the 8th most walkable city in the US boasting of 399,457 residents. Proactive actions such as the mayor closing down major roads of Miami for pedestrians and bikers helps to promote a walking oriented culture.

15. Montreal, Canada

There is over 23,000 restaurants and coffee shops in Montreal which translates into a walking time frame of about five minutes to any eight restaurants, coffee shops or bars. This promotes walking and biking giving Montreal the title of the third most walkable large city in Canada.

14. Toronto, Ontario

With a huge population of more than 2.5 million residents, Toronto ranks high on the city walkability score chart and is the second most walkable large city in Canada. Most of the errands can be accomplished by foot and it’s home to Bay Street Corridor and Church-Yonge Corridor; two of the most walkable neighborhoods in Canada.

13. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is often at the top of the walkable cities list. They have been credited with walker friendly signage and longer walking signals creating a safer experience for pedestrians. Boston also boasts of one of the best walking commutes.

12. Torrance, California

Not only is the city good for retirees but it’s also very friendly towards fitness and leisure walkers. It has more than 90,000 street trees which, aside from offering shade, also help to create a human street scale and rythm for pedestrians. Torrance also boasts of an average of 30 city parks which offers citizens ample opportunities to experience health provoking green space.

11. Vancouver, British Columbia

It is commonly noted that Vancouver was designed and constructed with long walks in mind. This is because in addition to the number of cafes and shops, there are numerous long path walks available to the walking-enthusiasts as exemplified by the 1.5 mile walk on Ambleside Park consisting of coastal and mountain views.

10. Munich, Germany

One of the great aspects of Munich is its well placed land uses which are located close to each other creating a more active pedestrian experience (since most things are within walking distance). The streets are lined with shops, cafes, museums, and bars providing ample opportunities to shop, eat, and enjoy some culture.

9. Honolulu, Hawaii

Not only is Honolulu known for its wonderful beaches and resorts but it also ranks high on the top 10 walkable cities. The city has one of the highest number of citizens who walk for fitness and huge clusters of shops and destinations that can easily be accessed by foot.

8. Seattle, Washington

People don’t seem to mind the hills and the steady drizzle of Seattle since it still ranks as one of the top family walking cities. Pedestrians can enjoy the stunning views from Mr. Rainier, Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula in addition to the great parks situated across the city. It is also reported that Seattle has converted more railroad right of ways into trails than any other city.

7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

With five of its neighborhoods ranking really high on walkability and biking scores, Philadelphia ranks among the top five most walkable large cities in the US. They have really good walk paths and with the number of restaurants, bars and coffee shops in the city, one can walk pass four shops in five minutes on average.

6. Florence, Italy

Not only is walking an enormous joy in Florence but cars literally can’t fit and are not allowed in many parts of the city. With great masterpieces of architecture, frescoes and sculpture lining and facing the streets, one can only truly appreciate the city through walking.

5. Paris, France

As one of the most beautiful and artistic tourist spots, Paris highly encourages foot travel via gorgeous streets, boutiques, coffee shops, and small museums. Strong architecture is a highlight of Paris and it gives pedestrians a beautiful sense of scale by creating intricate yet beautiful facades that face the street.

4. Dubrovnik, Croatia

A city full of history and great architecture; Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This hillside town on the Adriatic coastline has medieval walls, monasteries, fortresses, and gardens; all of which add a dynamic layer perfect for exploring via foot.

3. Cambridge, Massachusetts

Being a college town, Cambridge topped the walkability scale in 2008. It boasts of having one of the greatest number of walking commuters and parks per square mile. Their public transport also is in great shape and they have a relatively low number of cars per household.

2. San Francisco, California

San Francisco ranks 2nd overall with its great West Coast weather, high level of walking commuters, excellent public transit and great sites. Its Bay Area is also great for outdoor activities and walkathons with shops and restaurants lining the streets. It also boasts of the most number of parks and points of interest per square mile, making fitness and leisure walking a very popular activity.

1. New York City, New York

With 90% of New York neighborhoods ranking high on the walkability scale; New York tops the list of the most pedestrian-friendly city. It showcases pathways and bike lanes across the five boroughs making walking and biking a popular mode of transportation. Walking is actually encouraged by the local government especially with the Mayor’s PlaNYC sustainability program which made the well-known Times Square a pedestrian area and off-limits to cars.

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