The 35 Most Walkable Cities in America

The ability to walk to work, schools, shops, restaurants and errands is growing in importance to real estate shoppers. The millennial generation, especially, loves walkability.

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Can you get there on foot?

The demand for walkable neighborhoods is driven by real estate shoppers and residents looking for relief from long commutes and by the old-fashioned desire to walk to work, schools, shops, restaurants, clubs, schools and parks.

Walk Score, a Redfin product, measures the walkability of addresses throughout the United States. (Type any address into Walk Score to see its walkability score). Walk Score says:

For each address, Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk.

Walk Score also calculates a score for nearly every city block (focusing most where people live) to assign cities ratings from zero to 100 — the higher the better. A city with a high walk score has more neighborhoods with amenities within walking distance.

Cities have many reasons to work at improving their Walk Scores. Walkability affects residents’ health. More walkable neighborhoods have higher rates of physical activity and less obesity and air pollution from traffic, researchers say.

Here are the 35 most-walkable American cities with populations over 200,000, with their Walk Score ratings and population numbers.

35. San Jose, California

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San Jose is not a walker’s paradise. Its big suburban neighborhoods are accessible mostly by car or bus. But its excellent light rail system joins walkable neighborhood districts, and San Jose has a vibrant, highly pedestrian-friendly downtown with art galleries and museums, restaurants and high-tech workplaces.

Walk Score: 49.8

Population: 945,942

34. San Diego, California

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In sunny San Diego, life is lived outdoors. The city is famed for its beaches, boardwalk, marina and parks. All the same, this is Southern California, a place that helped make suburbs and the car culture famous. And that means sprawl and bedroom communities — accessible mostly by car.

Walk Score: 49.9

Population: 1,307,402

33. Cincinnati, Ohio

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A big force behind the drive for walkability is demand from the huge millennial generation. They tend to put a high premium on walkability when shopping for real estate purchases and rentals.

Walk Score: 50.2

Population: 296,943

32. Richmond, Virginia

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Living in Richmond, you can accomplish some of your errands on foot, depending where you live. Walk Score says the city’s most-walkable neighborhoods are VCU, Monroe Ward and Jackson Ward. Above is the footbridge over the James River.

Walk Score: 51.6

Population: 204,214

31. Anaheim, California

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  • When we think Anaheim, we think, “Disneyland!” But Anaheim has some good neighborhoods for walking, including North Euclid, The Colony and The Anaheim Resort.

Walk Score: 52.9

Population: 336,265

30. Detroit, Michigan

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Walk Score: 55.1

Population: 713,777

29. New Orleans, Louisiana

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You can get there by foot in some older New Orleans neighborhoods, like the famous French Quarter, the Central Business District and Faubourg Marigny, bordering the French Quarter.

Walk Score: 57.2

Population: 343,829

28. St. Paul, Minnesota

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St. Paul is not unusually walkable, but it earned the Trust for Public Lands’ No. 2 award among U.S. cities for its parks. Here historic Streetcar Station, seen through a footbridge at Como Park.

Walk Score: 58.3

Population: 285,068

27. Cleveland, Ohio

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Walk Score: 58.9

Population: 396,815

26. Denver, Colorado

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Denver’s light rail traverses the downtown’s pedestrian corridor, helping to make walking possible in the Mile-High City — winter, spring, summer and fall.

Walk Score: 59.9

Population: 600,158

25. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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  • Pittsburgh’s 36-acre Point State Park downtown takes walkers along the 6.5-mile River Walk trail system on both shores of the Allegheny River.

Walk Score: 61

Population: 305,704

24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Walk Score: 61.2

Population: 594,833

23. Honolulu, Hawaii

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Walk Score: 63.3

Population: 337,256

22. St. Louis, Missouri

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St. Louis’ most-walkable neighborhoods are downtown, Benton Park West and Grand Center, according to Walk Score. Here, baseball fans pass Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, just south of downtown and near the city’s landmark Gateway Arch.

Walk Score: 63.9

Population: 319,294

21. Portland, Oregon

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Farmers markets, like Portland’s Saturday Market at Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, encourage people to get out of the car and stroll.

Walk Score: 63.9

Population: 583,776

20. Rochester, New York

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  • Rochester’s Highland Park beckons snowshoers in winter and walkers in warmer seasons.

Walk Score: 64.3

Population: 210,565

19. Santa Ana, California

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Walk Score: 64.7

Population: 324,528

18. Los Angeles, California

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Los Angeles may be ground zero for the American car culture, but “a better Los Angeles is emerging from a city that was built for cars” as new light rail and express buses come into service and redeveloped neighborhoods encourage walkers. Walking to work here is still a dream for most Los Angelenos, though.

Walk Score: 66.3

Population: 3,792,621

17. Buffalo, New York

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Walk Score: 67.1

Population: 261,310

16. Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The Trust for Public Land ranks Minneapolis the top U.S. city for parks, with 5,064 acres of parks within the city limits. The photo of downtown Minneapolis, above, gives an idea of the city’s commitment to parks.

Walk Score: 68.2

Population: 382,578

15. Arlington, Virginia

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Arlington borders Washington, D.C., along the Potomac River. Its most-walkable neighborhoods include Ballston-Virginia Square, Clarendon-Courthouse and Lyon Village. Like Washington, it has earned respect for its parks. The Trust for Public Land ranks it fourth as a city for parks.

Walk Score: 68.4

Population: 207,627

14. Baltimore, Maryland

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Walk Score: 68.7

Population: 620,961

13. Hialeah, Florida

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Hialea? Yes, Hialea! The city next door to Miami has several walkable neighborhoods, including Trojan Park, Seminola City and Hialeah Acres.

Walk Score: 68.9

Population: 224,669

12. Long Beach, California

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Walk Score: 69

Population: 462,257

11. Oakland, California

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Farmers markets, like this one in Oakland’s Jack London Square, are a nod to traditions in old-world cities where residents walk daily to do their marketing.

Walk Score: 71.6

Population: 390,724

10. Seattle, Washington

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Walk Score: 72.9

Population: 608,660

9. Washington, D.C.

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  • Washington, D.C., is ranked No. 3 in the nation for its 8,525 acres parks by the Trust for Public Lands. The city contains the nation’s oldest municipal park, the National Mall (including the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, above), built in 1791.

Walk Score: 77

Population: 601,723

8. Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago earns its high-walkability score from a pedestrian-friendly downtown and numerous walkable neighborhoods that are linked by public transportation, including the “L” and Metra Rail systems.

Walk Score: 77.5

Population: 2,695,598

7. Miami, Florida

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Walk Score: 78.3

Population: 399,457

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Philadelphia, like many cities, is having a conversation about improvements to public transportation and better safety and access for pedestrians. The two are inextricably linked. Plan Philly, a publication of WHYY/NewsWorks, quotes Walkability guru Jeff Speck (author of “Walkable City”): “With rare exceptions, every transit trip begins and ends with a walk.” A walk in Philly might take you down this cobbled sidewalk on Market Street, above, a major pedestrian thoroughfare that passes numerous city landmarks. Danish architect Jan Gehl, a proponent of humanizing cities, takes Plan Philly readers on a walk down Market, describing which aspects of the street encourage or discourage walkers and a vibrant street life.

Walk Score: 78.3

Population: 1,526,006

5. Newark, New Jersey

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Walk Score calls Newark “highly walkable.” Among Newark’s best neighborhoods for walking: the central business district, North Ironbound and University Heights. Newark’s Patch.com gets more specific, nominating as most-walkable the parts of Old Newark, “centered at the intersection of Sycamore Street and Thornton Avenue and … from Mowry Avenue to Stevenson Boulevard, between Cedar Boulevard and Cherry Street.”

Walk Score: 80

Population: 277,140

4. Boston, Massachusetts

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  • Well-preserved historic city centers like Boston’s benefit from having been built at a time when people got around mostly on foot. Quincy Market, a complex of shops, was built in 1824 and its presence still encourages walkers today.

  • Walk Score: 80.7

Population: 617,594

3. San Francisco, California

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San Francisco is the second-most-dense city in the U.S., after New York, according to Governing Magazine. Much of the city’s exciting culture takes place in its streets. “It’s easy to live the walkable lifestyle in San Francisco,” says Walk Score.

Walk Score: 85.7

Population: 805,235

2. Jersey City, New Jersey

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  • Jersey City, the second-biggest city in New Jersey (after Newark), is rated highly walkable. Excellent public transportation encourages hoofing it, and the city’s most-walkable neighborhoods include the historic downtown, Journal Square and McGinley Square.

Walk Score: 87

Population: 247,597

1. New York, New York

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When you think of New York City, it’s likely the picture that springs to mind is of people walking. The combination of dense urban amenities and excellent public transportation makes walking everywhere easy, especially for the lucky residents of Manhattan.

“On the island of Manhattan, you’re never more than a 10 or 15 minute walk from a subway station, Walk Score says. The same’s true in the borough of Brooklyn and especially in its Williamsburg neighborhood. You’ll get the idea by watching just a few minutes of this GoPro walk in Manhattan, on YouTube. It’s common to live in New York without ever owning a car or learning to drive.

Walk Score: 88.9

Population: 8,175,133

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