There’s nothing better than exploring a city on foot – visiting shops, meandering through alleys, and saying hello to neighbors. Walking allows you to slow down and take in the atmosphere, scenery, and culture of wherever you are. It can also provide numerous health benefits and help reduce your carbon footprint if you would otherwise drive or taxi.
But what makes a city walkable? Walk Score, the authority on walkability, says that population density, intersection density, block length, and distance to amenities like restaurants and grocery stores are the most important factors. Walk Score takes all of this into account to determine a city’s Walk Score. In short, the more amenities and density an area is, the more walkable it is.
In this Redfin article, we’ll explore the ten most walkable cities in the U.S. according to Walk Score, diving into their amenities, infrastructure, and market trends. So, whether you’re a current resident or are looking for a new place to live, tie up your laces as we discover the most walkable cities in the United States.
List only includes cities with a population of 200,000 or greater.
1. San Francisco, CA
Walk Score: 89
Median Sale Price: $1,190,000
Median Rent Price: $3,325
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in San Francisco: Chinatown, Tenderloin, and Polk Gulch
Don’t let the hills fool you – San Francisco is the most walkable city in the U.S. The historic and compact city is home to dozens of popular parks like Golden Gate Park, hundreds of accessible world-class amenities, and a walkable street layout. Iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf are easily accessible on foot, among many others. No matter what you’re looking for, you can walk to it.
It’s also convenient to hop onto a BART bus or train for the longer trips. Stations are everywhere throughout the Bay Area, helping eliminate the need for a car.
San Francisco is also committed to improving its walkability further. Programs like the Pedestrian Program aim to quickly and effectively improve intersections, add public transportation, renovate large streets, and increase school safety. Pilot programs like Slow Streets, Play Streets, and Daylighting are also underway.
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2. New York, NY
Walk Score: 88
Median Sale Price: $800,000
Median Rent Price: $4,115
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in New York: Bowery, NoLita, and Little Italy
New York City, the largest city in the country, is the second-most walkable city in the U.S. Known for its iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, New York City is famous for its walkability.
Dense neighborhoods with shops on every corner, extensive public transportation, and 12,000 miles of sidewalks help make exploring the city on foot easier than ever. Residents take this to heart, too; just 45% of NYC residents own a car, and even fewer use a car to commute.
New York continues to prioritize pedestrian safety, reducing fatalities, and improving walkability throughout the city. Programs such as Open Streets and Parks Without Borders, along with efforts to expand green spaces like the High Line and East River Esplanade, are just a few ways the city is investing in pedestrians.
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3. Boston, MA
Walk Score: 83
Median Sale Price: $830,000
Median Rent Price: $3,465
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Boston: Beacon Hill, Chinatown-Leather District, and North End
Boston is a historic and charming city known for its compact layout and walkable streets. With amenities on every block and a network of parks and green spaces, pedestrians are prioritized and walking is encouraged. A highlight is the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail, which passes by 17 places significant to U.S. history. The Boston Common is another famous landmark easily accessible by foot.
The city’s walkability is multiplied by its robust and efficient public transportation system. Nicknamed the “T”, Boston’s public transit includes buses, ferries, and more than 153 subway stations that seamlessly integrate into the city’s dense and diverse neighborhoods.
Boston is continuously working to improve walkability and create more accessible public spaces for everyone. WalkBoston, Go Boston 2030, and Safety Surge are three initiatives that Boston hopes will make it the most walkable city in the country.
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4. Chicago, IL
Walk Score: 77
Median Sale Price: $322.500
Median Rent Price: $2,240
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Chicago: Wicker Park, Near North Side, and West Loop
Chicago is the fourth-most walkable city in the country. Characterized by its iconic gridded streets, lakefront parks, and efficient public transportation system, walking is a breeze in the Windy City. And when it’s too cold or wet to walk in the winter, the Pedway provides five miles of tunnels and bridges that connect downtown.
Like Boston, Chicago’s public transit system (the CTA) is widespread and accessible, promoting walkability throughout the city. It’s easy to take the “L” to Millennium Park, bus to Wrigley Field, or stroll along the Riverwalk and through the Navy Pier.
The city is currently working on the Chicago Pedestrian Plan, focusing on enhancing sidewalk infrastructure and road safety. It’s also collaborating on Elevated Chicago, which is a multi-sector project focusing on equity through walking, biking, transit, and opening up public spaces.
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5. Washington, D.C.
Walk Score: 77
Median Sale Price: 600,000
Median Rent Price: $2,670
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.: U-Street, Dupont Circle, and Mount Vernon Square
The nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is the fifth-most walkable city in the U.S. Designed over 200 years ago with pedestrians in mind, the city is home to an efficient metro system (WMATA), a navigable circular grid, and wide sidewalks and tree-line avenues throughout. The region’s iconic national monuments, museums, and well-maintained public spaces also contribute to an easy and enjoyable walking experience.
Because of the city’s compact layout, it’s easy to walk to the National Mall, take the Metro to the Smithsonian, or go on a stroll through Rock Creek Park.
Washington, D.C. is undertaking many large projects aimed at improving walkability: MoveDC focuses on improving pedestrian and transit infrastructure; the DC Circulator is connecting more walking and transit routes; and the Pedestrian Program focuses on making high-traffic corridors safer (currently they’re working on Maryland Avenue and East Capitol Street).
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6. Miami, FL
Walk Score: 77
Median Sale Price: $570,000
Median Rent Price: $3,300
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Miami: Downtown, Flagler Heights, and Wynwood-Edgewater
Ditch your car and take a stroll through sunny Miami, the sixth-most walkable city in the U.S. Miami combines bustling city life with the allure of beautiful oceanscapes, catering to a wide range of lifestyles. The city’s walkability is characterized by landmarks like the Miami Riverwalk Trail, the Wynwood Walls, and The Wharf.
Miami’s unique neighborhoods and iconic beaches also add to the city’s walkability. South Beach and Surfside Beach provide scenic walking paths along the shoreline, while Little Havana and Coconut Grove are lively and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with amenities everywhere you look. You can also take the Metrorail, Metrobus, or Metromover to plenty of spots throughout the city.
With a growing emphasis on public spaces and mixed-use developments, it’s easier than ever to explore the region’s unique landscapes on foot. Miami is working on dozens of walkability initiatives, including Miami 21, Baywalk, and Little Havana Me Importa.
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7. Oakland, CA
Walk Score: 75
Median Sale Price: $825,000
Median Rent Price: $2,325
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Oakland: Chinatown, Civic Center, and Koreatown-Northgate
Just across the bay from San Francisco, Oakland is the seventh-most walkable city in the country. The city is known for its gorgeous landscapes, large public spaces, and vibrant neighborhoods, with grocery stores, corner shops, and restaurants wherever you turn.
Oakland is also the transportation hub of the Bay Area and offers plenty of accessible ways to get around without a car. It’s easy to walk to a nearby BART or AC Transit station and get where you need to go, whether it’s to Berkeley for a day trip or into the heart of San Francisco for work.
Oakland is currently embarking on a number of pedestrian-first projects. For example, the 5-Year Paving Plan renovates high-traffic streets to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan aims to revitalize Lake Merritt with pedestrians as the focus.
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8. Philadelphia, PA
Walk Score: 75
Median Sale Price: $235,000
Median Rent Price: $1,725
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Philadelphia: Avenue of the Arts South, Rittenhouse, and Washington Square West
Famous for its unique cuisine and rich history, Philadelphia is the eight-most walkable city in the U.S. The city is densely populated and contains endless activities and amenities for pedestrians, like strolling through Rittenhouse Square, shopping at the Reading Terminal Market, or eating at one of hundreds of local restaurants.
Philly’s public transportation is world-class as well, which only adds to the region’s walkability.
Additionally, Philadelphia demonstrates its commitment to pedestrians through projects and initiatives. The Schuylkill River Trail expansion, for example, will extend and improve the iconic pedestrian greenway, and The Rail Park project aims to transform old railways into miles of trails.
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9. Seattle, WA
Walk Score: 74
Median Sale Price: $775,000
Median Rent Price: $1,980
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Seattle: International District, Downtown, and Belltown
The poster child of the PNW and one of the rainiest and cloudiest cities in the country, Seattle is the ninth-most walkable city in the nation. Seattle is chock-full of history, hills, and gorgeous vistas that make living there one of a kind.
Seattle has undergone tremendous tech-fueled growth in the past decade, helping bring density and amenities to the region, which has greatly improved walkability. The walkable and revitalized South Lake Union neighborhood and Elliot Bay waterfront area are just two examples of the city prioritizing pedestrians.
King County Metro and Sound Transit work to reduce the need for cars, but the system isn’t as robust as most other cities on this list. Seattle is actively working to improve walkability throughout the city, with initiatives like the Pedestrian Master Plan.
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10. Long Beach, CA
Walk Score: 73
Median Sale Price: $795,000
Median Rent Price: $2,225
Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Long Beach: Downtown, Eastside, and St. Mary
Relax and unwind by the ocean in Long Beach, the tenth-most walkable city in the U.S. A beach town that pairs endless urban amenities with sunny weather and year-round views, Long Beach provides historic charm and a great quality of life. Ocean Boulevard and Shoreline Village are especially walkable areas in the city, offering a mix of entertainment, dining, and attractions like the Queen Mary.
Long Beach also benefits from proximity to downtown Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the region’s public transportation isn’t as developed as many other large cities, so walking is less feasible for traveling longer distances.
The city’s commitment to pedestrians and green spaces is evident through programs such as the Mobility Element, Beach Streets, and Safe Streets LB.
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Where do we go from here?
The most walkable cities in the U.S. are San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, and Boston, MA. These cities prioritize accessible public spaces, dense and connected urban planning, and abundant public transportation.
Interestingly, some cities experimented with pedestrian-first initiatives during the pandemic, as fewer people were on the roads. Some of these initiatives stuck around, such as New York City’s Open Streets, and many others around the country. This shows that reducing the number of cars in cities can be a net positive for pedestrians. Fewer cars and more reliance on public transportation can also lower a city’s carbon footprint, helping some reach ambitious emissions goals.
So, if you want to know more about whether your area is walkable, search it on Walk Score. Walk Score is available for any address, neighborhood, and city in the U.S. and Canada, a total of more than 2,800 cities and over 25,000 neighborhoods.
Methodology: Walk Score, a Redfin company, helps people find walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly places to live, rating areas from least to most walkable on a scale from 0-100. To calculate a Walk Score for a city, Walk Score analyzes and aggregates thousands of walking routes to nearby amenities, population density, and metrics such as block length and intersection density. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category.
Walk Score and housing market data sourced February 2024.