One of the best ways to de-stress, get exercise, save money, and really enjoy your surroundings while on vacation is to simply ditch your car for the week. Here are some of the most pedestrian-friendly destinations in the U.S. – consider it our guide to skipping the gas stations in favor of a walking vacation!
1. New York, NY
Fast-walking pedestrians and jaywalkers rule this city, and most residents don’t even want to own cars – it’s not worth the hassle. When you visit Manhattan, you can join the crowds surging through Times Square, Wall Street, and other world-famous locales. Or, for more peaceful walks, try the Hudson River Greenway (which runs almost the entire length of Manhattan), Central Park (over 800 acres of carefully planned park land), or the High Line (an elevated train trestle that was recently converted into a public park).
2. Boston, MA
You might get lost trying to drive the curved and cobblestone streets of this historic city, but walking is a cinch. Pedestrians have easy access to the waterfront, shopping districts, green space, and residential neighborhoods. If you’re interested in our nation’s history, follow the Freedom Trail, a red line on the sidewalk that leads you to 17 historically significant spots. Nature lovers will appreciate the Emerald Necklace, a series of connected parks and waterways that provide ample opportunities for walking and feeding the ducks.
Dense, scenic and culturally diverse, San Francisco earned the highest ranking in Walk Score’s 2008 list of the most pedestrian-friendly cities. It’s easy to find everything you need within walking distance, and there are always people out and about on the sidewalks. But the hills here are no joke, so be sure to get in shape before your trip, and wear comfortable, supportive sneakers; that way, you’ll be able to appreciate the stunning angles at sites like Coit Tower and Lombard Street. When your legs just can’t take it anymore, you can always hang onto a cable car and let it pull you up the steepest blocks.
Philly feels relatively small, friendly, and easy to get around on foot. You can wander residential neighborhoods to admire the quaint cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and patriotic décor, or join a walking tour to soak up some history. Another fun way to see the city is by following the colorful route of the Mural Mile, which offers a self-guided tour of some of Philly’s most creative and socially significant spots.