Most Walkable Cities

Rankings of Top Walking Cities

Walkers on High Line, New York City
Walkers on High Line, New York City. Wendy Bumgardner

Each year, a list of top walking cities is produced by one or more organizations. Walkable city criteria vary each year, with the lists of the most walkable cities seeing many changes.

Walk Score Walkable Neighborhoods

Walk Score began as a project of Front Seat, a civic software company based in Seattle. It is now owned by the Redfin real estate brokerage. It ranks neighborhoods for the ability to live in an area without using a car for most errands, not for livability.

A high score does not mean that the walking environment is pleasant or that the neighborhood has access to mass transit. The rankings are based on using Google Local Search API database and other databases to locate restaurants, stores, schools and parks. The closer these are, the higher the score, with maximum points for being within a quarter mile and no points for farther than a mile.

Walk Score Most Walkable US Cities 2016: New York, NY tops the list, but Long Beach, CA edged out Baltimore, MD for the top 10. The biggest improvement came for Omaha, NE. While it's still car-dependent, it's heading in the right direction.

Walk Score Top Walkable Cities 2015: US, Canada and Australia.

WalkScore's list of the top 10 walkable cities 2011: press release July, 2011.

Pedestrian Danger Index

Transportation for America ranks 52 US cities for pedestrian safety. They factor in how many people walk to work and the pedestrian death rate.

Most Dangerous Cities for Walking 2014

Walk Friendly Communities

This award debuted in April, 2011. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center grants these designations.
11 Walk Friendly Communities 2011

American College of Sports Medicine - American Fitness Index

America's Fittest Cities 2015 - ranking 50 US cities for health and supporting active lifestyles.

Prevention Magazine

2012 Best US Cities for Walking: The list does not cite any criteria other than the WalkScore for each city, but they list walking amenities for each of those selected.

American Podiatric Medical Society Walkable Cities List

The APMA produced a list of the Top Walking Cities in America for many years. Changes to the rankings of walkable cities is guaranteed by using different criteria each year.

10 Best Walking Cities 2009: 19 criteria were used on the 100 most-populous cities in the US. The results are more logical than those of the past couple of years. The criteria included walking and hiking trails, forests and parks, fitness walking percentage, walking commuter percentage, mass transit commuting percentage, cars per household and miles driven, mass transit miles, pedestrian fatalities and crime rate. The top 10: San Francisco, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Honolulu, Portland OR, and Pittsburgh.

10 Best Walking Cities 2008: The criteria included expert panel rating, walking commuters, green space and safe streets. Other criteria included crime, pedestrian fatalities, fitness walking percentage, schools, mass transit, cars per household, WalkScore of walkable destinations, air quality, Rails to Trails program, and cleanliness.

The rankings are dubious as Trenton, New Jersey ended up in the top 10. The top 10 were: Cambridge MA, New York City, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, Honolulu, Trenton, Boston, and Cincinnati.

10 Worst Walking Cities 2008: Cities on the list may rate poorly because they have more suburban sprawl and lack public transportation, as opposed to lacking nice places to walk.

  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • North Las Vegas, NV
  • Gadsden, AL
  • Davenport, IA
  • Mount Pleasant, SC
  • Enid, OK
  • Laredo, TX
  • Springdale, AR
  • Clarksville, TN
  • Lafayette, LA

10 Best and Worst Fitness Walking Cities 2007: The criteria included being on the Walkable Communities list, an index of physical activity and exercise, percentage walking for exercise, and household expenditure on mass transit.

Other criteria include parks, crime, climate, ozone rating, points of interest, schools, and athletic shoes purchased.

  • The best: Madison WI, Austin, San Francisco, Charlotte NC, Seattle, Henderson NV, San Diego, San Jose CA, Chandler AZ, and Virginia Beach, VA.
  • The worst: Newark NJ, Laredo TX, Miami FL, Hialeah FL, Detroit.

Top 10 Walking Cities 2006: Criteria included percentage walking for exercise, health, or walking to work. Other criteria include parks, trails, points of interest, crime, dog ownership, climate, and participation in exercise, sports and golf. The top ten: Portland OR, Colorado Springs CO, Madison WI, Boise ID, Las Vegas NV, Austin TX, Virginia Beach VA, Anchorage AK, Fremont CA, and Raleigh NC.

Top 10 Walking Cities 2005: The ranking categories were healthy lifestyles, modes of transportation to and from work and involvement in fitness and sport activities. The top ten were: Arlington VA, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland OR, Boston, Washington DC, New York City, Eugene OR, Jersey City NJ, and Denver CO.