Walking is a healthy, enjoyable, and cost-efficient way of getting around. Cardio is good for your ticker and doesn’t hurt your waistline, either. Exploring on foot is one of the best ways to get to know a place at a slow enough pace to take in the beautiful and interesting sights and landmarks. It’s also inarguably the most affordable form of ground transportation.
Recently, TravelAwaits readers voted in our 2022 Best of Travel Awards to help us determine everything from the best beaches to the best national parks. When we asked what the most walkable city in the U.S. is, we didn’t give any parameters such as pedestrian zones, the quality of the sidewalk, or the potential danger of being run over by bicyclists. Our readers simply nominated and voted on what they perceived to be the most walkable cities in the country.
Of course, to be truly walkable, a city must have destinations to which people want to walk. That’s why we included some walkable attractions you might want to check out using your own two feet. Now put on your comfy walking shoes and check out the top five most walkable cities in the U.S. according to TravelAwaits readers. And remember to watch out for cars!
1. Charleston, South Carolina (Winner)
Our readers voted slow-paced Charleston as the most walkable city in the country. Many Charlestonians choose to walk, especially around the city’s historic downtown area. Several tourist attractions are accessible without a car.
TravelAwaits writer Jeanine Consoli says the best way see a city is on foot and with an expert guide on a historic walking tour. This historic city is also a great place to take a ghost tour — check out Ghost City Tours or Old Charleston Walking Tours.
Downtown Charleston is very walkable. King Street, the main artery of the city’s entertainment district, is dotted with antique stores, cute clothing boutiques, bakeries, and other independently owned shops.
2. New York City, New York
TravelAwaits readers were right on the money ranking New York City as the second most walkable city in the country. Walk Score agrees, giving it a score of 88, or “very walkable,” meaning that most errands can be accomplished on foot.
TravelAwaits writer Sharon Odegaard recommends staying near Grand Central Station on East 42nd Street. This puts you at a transportation hub within walking distance of Rockefeller Plaza, Bryant Park, Times Square, and Central Park.
You can even walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Brooklyn! It takes half an hour, but you’ll see the Statue of Liberty on the way and can take in stellar views of lower Manhattan from Dumbo or Brooklyn Bridge Park.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
Pedestrians have a preference for Boston, where you can catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park or visit Boston Common, the oldest public park in the U.S. Dating back to the early 1600s, Boston is full of histrorical gems, some of which are quite walkable.
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that meanders through the city, stopping at several fascinating places between Boston Commons and Boston Harbor. The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail is a collection of walks around the Boston area.
Walking is the perfect way to see the chic tree-lined streets of the Back Bay and Beacon Hill neighborhoods according to TravelAwaits writer Sandi Barrett. Beautiful Bostonian brownstones add to the charm while sweet sidewalk cafes and Boston’s quintessential Irish pubs are perfect places to stop, rest, and refuel.
4. Washington, D.C.
Walking is a well-known part of visiting our nation’s capital. You’re going to do a lot of walking just within one Smithsonian museum! Dubbed “America’s front yard,” the National Mall is a 2-mile grassy stretch that goes from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial.
Filled with monuments, memorials, museums, and a world-famous art gallery, it is worth every step! Many other attractions, such as the International Spy Museum are within walking distance of the National Mall.
5. Chicago, Illinois
It is almost a detriment to have a car in Chicago because then you have to figure out where to park. The best way to enjoy Chicago’s world-class architecture, parks, and vibrant neighborhoods is on foot. The Windy City boasts a walkable downtown and many walkable neighborhoods such as the West Loop, Near North Side, and East Village.
Known as “Chicago’s Front Yard,” Grant Park is home to Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus. Pick up the Lakefront Trail path on the Museum Campus, near Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and The Field Museum to stroll along Lake Michigan and take in one of the best views of the city.
From there, you can continue north to Navy Pier, or skip it and head West on Wacker Drive to walk along the Chicago Riverwalk, which runs 1.25 miles to Lake Street. It is accessible at street level from each major intersection. Here, you’ll find restaurants, seasonal concessions, boat rentals, and water tours.
Related Reading: 7 Amazing Walkable Cities Around The World
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