One of the best ways to see any city is to walk around in it. Unfortunately, not every locale is safely laid out for those who like to walk, and sometimes there’s just no way around driving from point A to point B. But thankfully, the most strollable cities on the U.S. map also happen to be some of the biggest travel hotspots on earth.
Here are the top ten most walkable cities around, according to Walk Score.
Long Beach, California
Believe it or not, Long Beach takes the number ten spot. While it might be adjacent to the heavy traffic of L.A., this laid-back coastal city has a compact downtown. No matter where you stand, it’s an easy walk to restaurants, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the historic Queen Mary ship, and obviously, the beach.
Sitting so close to San Francisco, Oakland is often overlooked. But those who’ve spent time there know all too well, it’s the perfect Bay Area alternative, especially when it comes to the price point. From its waterfront venues to its diverse historic neighborhoods, this famously nitty-gritty city is surprisingly picturesque, covered in local art, and there’s easy access to public transit for even more zipping around.
The best way to take in Seattle in all of its splendor is to walk around. Browse Pike Place Market for hours, take a scenic walk to the art district or the waterfront, and venture on over to Kerry Park before you hop a bus downtown. If you’ve never been, you’ll undoubtedly want to check out The Space Needle, which is part of Seattle Center. This walkable area includes Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Pacific Science Center, and the Museum of Pop Culture.
Washington, D.C. comes in at number eight. The ideal spot to start your on-foot exploration is said to be the National Mall. It runs from the U.S. Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial and is jam-packed with enough attractions to keep you busy for a week. There are also endlessly gorgeous neighborhoods worth strolling through, including the lively Dupont Circle and the historic cobblestone sidewalks of Georgetown.
The Windy City is revered for its one-of-a-kind skyline, eclectic neighborhoods, and Lake Michigan beaches. Just be sure to visit in the warmer months. However, thanks to its nationally praised museums and hip culinary scene, it’s still worth exploring year-round. If you want a walkable, city-centric food or music festival, go any time from the spring through fall. If you get tired of walking, public transit is easily accessible. Make your way to a pedestrian trail along the riverfront for some of the city’s best water views.
Whether you’re going to South Beach for some R&R, joining the street art walks, or escaping to Little Havana, Miami is best explored on foot. In fact, it’s the only true way to fully take in all of the colorful neighborhoods and local flavor. Lie on the beach, learn its unique art history from the sidewalks, and stroll Calle Ocho at night for the most magical Miami experience.
The older the city, the more walkable it tends to be. So it’s no surprise that Philly comes in fourth. With its historic districts and cobblestone streets everywhere, it’s almost entirely walkable. On top of being immersed in American history, the community energy within this foot-friendly area makes walking the best way to really be on the scene.
There are art festivals running year-round designed with walkability in mind. And it’s the first American city designated as a World Heritage City by UNESCO. There are also more than 10,000 acres of public green space, making this bustling hotspot particularly special.
And don’t forget to try an authentic cheesesteak or hoagie. They’re totally worth the hype.
Boston might be the smallest of the top five best walking cities, but it’s full of major charm. For starters, its downtown core is entirely walkable if you’re in the mood to get everywhere on foot. And there’s no shortage of cobblestone streets and picturesque parks, all of which date back to colonial times. Not to mention, the Freedom Trail is often dubbed one of the country’s most popular walks.
San Francisco, California
You might get tired if you’re primarily walking up its hills and artsy stairways, but San Francisco remains the second most walkable city for good reason. For starters, it’s one of the most beautiful cities on the U.S. map. As a cultural mecca, there are endless things worth doing, seeing, and eating. And don’t forget — the higher the hilltop, the more scenic the bay views. If you do get tired of trotting around, there are easily accessible bike and Segway tours all over the city.
New York City
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that New York City has been ranked the most walkable. Not only is it home to the largest rapid transit system in the United States, the entire city caters to those who get around on foot. It’s such a walker’s city that having a car is downright inconvenient for most. And because most New Yorkers walk to get to where they’re going, it’s easy to do as the locals do.
It’s also one of the most romantic places to just let yourself get lost for a day. The Big Apple is covered in helpful maps, subways on almost every corner, and you can spend an entire day walking through one of its countless parks. But if you’re going to NYC, it’s imperative you stroll around Central Park, the heart of the most walkable city.