A city’s walkability is important for those whose primary mode of transportation is their own two feet. Even if you’re not getting your 10,000 steps a day from walking around your city, it’s nice to have the option of walking to a grocery store located just a few blocks away. The most walkable cities in the US also tend to have the healthiest residents. Yet not every city is set up in a way that promotes walking. The walk score of major cities in the US, Canada, and Australia vary based on factors like “walking distance to amenities, population density, and road metrics such as block length and intersection density.” We’ll highlight the 10 best walkable cities in the US along with the least walkable cities and the other ways to sort the map (by transit and bike score) below.
View Most Walkable Cities in the US in a full screen map
The map was made using data we gathered from Walk Score. Walk Score identified the walkability of over 140 major cities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Plotted on a map, you can visualize data trends like which coast is home to a majority of the 10 best walkable cities in the US.
City officials know enhancing the walkability of their cities improves the health of current residents and may even attract more. After all, why would anyone not want to live in one of the most walkable US cities? However, the following 10 cities don’t need to make massive to increase walkability. Other cities may even want to take notes from the 10 most walkable US cities.
- New York, New York
- San Francisco, California
- Jersey City, New Jersey
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Newark, New Jersey (tied with Philadelphia)
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (tied with Newark)
- Miami, Florida
- Chicago, Illinois
- Washington D.C.
- Seattle, Washington
When it comes to the most walkable cities, New York, New York is #1. Based on “walking distance to amenities, population density, and road metrics such as block length and intersection density,” New York, New York scores 88.3 out of a possible 100, the highest walk score of any city in the U.S. (and Canada and Australia). New York, New York’s walk score, along with all the other cities with a walk score of 70-89, indicates “most errands can be accomplished on foot.”
On the opposite end of the country, San Francisco, California earns second place of the most walkable cities in the US with a walk score of 87.4. Looking at the map, you may notice the most walkable cities in the US are nearly all located on one U.S. coast or another. However, the East Coast, specifically the Northeast, is most concentrated with walkable cities.
Throw a stone from Washington Square Park and you could hit three of the 10 most walkable cities in the US: the aforementioned New York City, Jersey City, New Jersey (walk score of 86.8), and Newark, New Jersey (78.8). Add in the Northeastern cities of Boston, Massachusetts (82), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (78.8), and Washington, D.C. (75.9) and over 50% of the best walkable cities are located in the Northeast. Miami, Florida is another Eastern coastal city (albeit a Southern one) with a top walk score of 77.6.
Far, far away, previously discussed San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington (74) represent the West Coast in the 10 most walkable cities in the US. That leaves Chicago, Illinois (77.4) as the one city in the top 10 not located on a coast. But, you know what they say, Chicago is referred to as the “Third Coast”. With all the most walkable US cities located along coasts, we wonder where the least walkable cities in America are located.
We’ve discussed the most walkable cities in the US. Now it’s time to kick back and put your feet up just like those in the least walkable cities in America do.
- Chesapeake, Virginia
- Fayetteville, North Carolina
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Montgomery, Alabama
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Gilbert, Arizona (tied with Nashville-Davidson)
- Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee (tied with Gilbert)
- Durham, North Carolina (tied with Henderson)
- Henderson, Nevada (tied with Durham)
Chesapeake, Virginia is the worst of the least walkable cities in the US (and Canada and Australia). Its walk score is just (21), making it a “car-dependent” city in which “almost all errands require a” vehicle. Not too far behind Chesapeake are two North Carolinian cities: Fayetteville (21.4) and Winston-Salem (23.4). These are the second and third least walkable cities in America though they aren’t from North Carolina to appear on the least walkable list. In fact, four out of the 11 least walkable cities are located in North Carolina, including Charlotte (26.3) and Durham (29).
Overall, cities in the Southeastern US appear to be the least walkable. Seven out of 11 of the least walkable cities are located in the Southeast, which includes the five cities in North Carolina. Additional Southeastern cities are Jacksonville, Florida (25.7), Montgomery, Alabama (26.1), and Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee (28.3). Rounding out the least walkable cities are two Southwestern outliers: Gilbert, Arizona (28.3) and Henderson, Nevada (29) along with Anchorage, Alaska (27.8). In addition to the best walkable cities in the US and the least walkable cities, there are other ways to sort the map.
While a map displaying the walk score of more than 140 major cities in the US, Canada, and Australia is chock-full of fascinating insights, there are also other ways to sort the map. These include how each of the 140 cities fares in transit and biking.
Interestingly enough, the cities that score the best on transit scores are the same cities with the best walk scores. These familiar names include New York, New York (#1 in transit with a score of 84.3) and San Francisco, California (#2 in transit with a score of 80.3). Other top transit cities in the US are Boston, Washington D.C., Jersey City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark, and Seattle, all of which were among the most walkable cities. However, a city not included in the best walkable cities that has a high transit score is Arlington, Virginia.
As for bikes, New York and San Francisco didn’t quite make the cut. The city with the best bike score is Minneapolis, Minnesota. It scored 83.5 while Portland, Oregon has the second-best bike score of 82.4. Chicago once again pops up near the top as do Denver, San Francisco, Arlington, Boston, Jersey City, Seattle, and New York at #10.
As you can see, it’s possible to group a map by more than just one category. In this case, we were mainly focused on the walk scores of 140 major cities. But our data also included the transit and bike scores of those cities. Instead of just scrapping potentially useful data, you can utilize map grouping to group your custom maps by additional data you happen to already have. You can often get some unexpected insights into the other categories of your data with map grouping. Get started today.