Are you travelling to America and want to explore as much of the country as possible on foot? From Boston to San Francisco, Miami to Chicago, and the hallowed pavements of New York City, these are the top pedestrian-friendly cities you need to visit on your America trip to ensure you meet your daily step quota and get your Fitbit firing. Get ready for a walking holiday you (and your feet) won’t soon forget.
New York City
Ask any New Yorker or visiting tourist and they’ll tell you that The Big Apple is not only one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the US, but also the world. New York City is a triple threat; extensive walking paths, major attractions within close proximity to one other and a fantastic public transport system combine to create the ultimate strolling city. With sidewalks that stretch the entirety of the island, it’s super easy to wander around and do some New York sightseeing on your own, but if you like to walk with purpose, there’s a plethora of New York walking tours to join. And did you know you’re never more than 10 minutes away from a subway station? So if the thought of trekking from Midtown to the Upper East Side sounds too hard, all you need to do is jump on a train. No wonder a majority of New Yorkers have never owned a car!
The history-laden city of Boston has long been regarded as a mecca for pedestrians; after all, it was the first city in America to open a subway system. It’s conveniently compact too, and you can walk from one side of the city to the other in less than an hour – provided you don’t get distracted by the many shops, bars and restaurants. The four-kilometre Freedom Trail is one of the best ways to explore Boston, and pedestrians need only follow the red brick path to discover 16 important Revolutionary-era locations, including Boston Common, Massachusetts State House and the Bunker Hill Monument. There’s also the lure of Harvard University, which offers guided and self-guided options to walkers keen on seeing the most revered and famous university in the country.
It may be ridiculously hilly, boast the most crooked street in the world and a stroll through the streets often quickly turns into a hike, but San Francisco is actually a very walkable place. The densely packed city centre means you can hit up all of the major San Francisco attractions – from the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square, to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge – in a day (if you set a cracking walking pace, of course). And don’t forget, there’s perks to all those steep inclines too, including increased fitness levels (all that extra activity means you can tuck into San Fran’s tastiest treats guilt-free) and incredible views of the city at the end of almost every street. Plus, no trip to San Fran is complete without a trip on the iconic cable cars, so if the hills have zapped your energy, just jump on one and enjoy the ride.
Sun, sand and sidewalks; that’s what it’s all about in the beachside city of Miami. Blessed with a tropical climate that sees both residents and tourists alike spend more time outdoors than in, it’s no surprise Miami is equipped to handle the extra foot traffic. Walkways and bike paths weave through the entire city, and if you’re wondering what to do in Miami, start with a saunter along the foreshore of Miami Beach – that’s where all the colourful action takes place. Miami’s public transport system is also one of the most underrated in the country, with buses, a monorail and an old-school free trolley network to choose from. It’s also not unusual for the mayor of Miami to shut down major roads to cars every now and then, just to let walkers have free rein over the city. Now that’s a pedestrian-friendly initiative.
Chicago has come a long way in terms of walkability, with the Windy City now set to rival its East Coast counterparts, New York and Boston, as one of the top pedestrian-friendly cities in the country. There’s no denying Chicago’s dense urban sprawl, but in conjunction with a reliable public transport system, city developers and planners have been working to design streets and neighbourhoods that are pedestrian focused, rather than vehicle-centric. A perfect example of this is the 606 – Chicago’s answer to New York’s Highline. This former abandoned railway line, now elevated walking, running and biking trail, is lined with art installations and manicured gardens, and runs through four of Chicago’s coolest districts, linking bars, restaurants, music venues and shops.
Ready to strap on your walking shoes and hit the pavement? Book flights to the United States and any of the cities above with Webjet, and walk into your next American holiday today.
Feature image: San Francisco. Credit: Patrik Göthe on Unsplash