You know how it goes. You leave for vacation with the best of intentions: to visit the hotel gym every morning, to eat healthfully three times a day, and to limit yourself to only one beach cocktail. But the best of intentions do not hold up when you’re confronted by so many new restaurants and the promise of sleeping in.
However, there’s a way to feel good about yourself on vacation without getting up at the crack of dawn for a jog. If you choose to visit a walkable city, you’ll get plenty of exercise throughout the day without breaking a sweat.
An added bonus? You don’t need to rent a car in cities like these, cutting your travel costs and leaving more money left over for hotel rooms in the best neighborhoods with the most attractions.
Some cities even offer citywide bike share programs that don’t break the bank. You can rent a bicycle for a half hour, hour or even a day so you can bike around town to see all the sights. Click here to find a bike share program at your desired destination.
#1: New York City
A major metropolis built before the advent of cars, it’s no wonder NYC is at the top of this list. This year, its Walk Score has risen to 85 out of 100, an increase due largely to the city banning cars from Times Square and allowing only pedestrians. Stay in Midtown for the highest concentration of hotels and some of the city’s biggest attractions.
#2: San Francisco
Another tightly packed city that’s best explored on foot. (Also, the extremely hilly terrain means you wouldn’t want to drive anyway.) Stay in the heart of Chinatown to explore the hidden teahouses and temples of one of the city’s most unique neighborhoods.
Take a walk back in time in Boston’s Haymarket neighborhood. This historical center is home to hundred-year-old pubs and is convenient to the Freedom Trail, a walking path linking the city’s most historic sites. Come for Haymarket’s history and stay for its lively farmers’ market and street fairs.
Book a room in downtown Chicago and be within walking distance of Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). With all the exercise, you’ll have plenty of room for a slice of the city’s famous deep-dish pizza.
Another city whose history is just a step away. Stay in Center City and walk to Philadelphia’s City Hall (the world’s second-tallest masonry building), the Opera Philadelphia, and a selection of the city’s best restaurants.
With dense, walkable neighborhoods connected by an easy-to-use light rail system, Seattle is a pedestrian’s paradise. Stay in Belltown and reach Puget Sound, the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market on foot.
#7: Washington, DC
Though often viewed as a sprawling city, Washington’s most compelling neighborhoods are also its most walkable. Book a room in downtown and stroll to the White House, the National Aquarium, Ford’s Theater, and the National Portrait Gallery. Join a walking tour for more insight into the city’s history.
From the Art Deco District to Little Havana, Miami’s liveliest neighborhoods are best explored on foot. Spend a couple of nights in each and book guided walking tours to get the most out of them.
The Midwest’s most walkable city. Book a room in Downtown West or Downtown East to be near the restaurants and attractions of Nicollet Mall, Hennepin Theatre District, and the Mill District. And the world-class Minneapolis Institute of the Arts is just a short bus ride away.
#10: Oakland, CA
Across the bay from San Francisco, Oakland is nearly as pedestrian friendly as its bigger sister. Skip downtown and stay in Uptown instead—with its art galleries, theaters, and live music venues, it’ll keep you walking from day till night.
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