23 Best Walkable Cities and Small Towns to Visit in the USA

Mom pushing stroller in historic downtown Skagway Alaska

If you’re looking for a laid-back vacation getting to know a place while exploring on foot, I know the feeling. Or maybe you’re looking to cut costs and want to vacation without a rental car. Well, you’ve come to the right place! After all, there are so many walkable cities and small towns to visit across the United States, and in this post, I’m trying to list the very best of them! 

In this article, I’ll explore some of the most walkable cities and small towns to visit this year (in no particular order). I’m a sucker for some charm, so you can bet that these walkable destinations are beautiful and full of unique things to do.

Let’s get to it!

1. Leavenworth, Washington

In the mood to visit Germany but not entirely up for leaving the country? Leavenworth, Washington could be a great vacation spot for you.

Two hours east of Seattle, this little town looks like a village out of Bavaria. It’s a bustling, four-season tourist destination that offers guests many things to do regardless of the month you decide to visit.

It’s a great place to walk around with picturesque views and many bars, wine-tasting rooms, souvenir shops, and restaurants. 

Leavenworth’s spring and summer activities include hiking at the famous Waterfront Park Trail or Icicle Gorge Trail, biking, and golfing. There’s also plenty of good food and drink to enjoy during April’s Restaurant Appreciation Month. 

If you like beer (I don’t 🙈), you may want to visit Leavenworth during Oktoberfest in the fall when there is lots of good food, dancing, and, of course, plenty of varieties of beer.

Some think Leavenworth is most beautiful during winter. When the village is blanketed with snow, it sure looks like a winter wonderland. Though horse-drawn carriage rides are available all year round, they become even more magical in the snow. Enjoy the scenery with your family and celebrate a White Christmas with them. And don’t forget to visit Kris Kringl (a year-round Christmas shop) and the Nutcracker Museum!

If you’re traveling without children, I can’t recommend staying at the Post Hotel enough! Not only do their balconies feature incredible views of the Wenatchee River, but this adults-only hotel immerses you in a spa experience. 

You can access it whenever you want, too! It’s an incredible spa with saltwater hydrotherapy pools, steam baths, saunas, plunge pools, and more. The eucalyptus room was my favorite! Guests walk around in their plush robes and slippers and can enjoy a European-style breakfast and lunch during their stay. 

Check out more of the best things to do in one of Washington’s most walkable small towns here!

Getting to Leavenworth from Seattle

If you don’t have a rental car and are flying into Seattle, the fastest Amtrak route to Leavenworth goes from Seattle’s King Street Station to Icicle Station in Leavenworth. The trip is about 3 hours and 22 minutes, and at the time of writing, riding in coach costs $25 one way. You can also take a Greyhound bus which has a shorter ride time of 2 hours and 55 minutes but costs $40 at the time of writing.

2. Balboa Island, California 

Balboa Island is an incredibly charming and walkable small town located in Newport Beach, California. You can fly into Santa Ana Airport and take a quick Lyft or Uber to Balboa Island. From there, walking is my transportation method of choice, though you may want to take a rideshare to some of the surrounding areas.

What makes Balboa Island in California a good place to visit? It has incredible charm with the prettiest cottage houses and a beautiful main street on Marine Avenue. As far as Newport Beach goes, this is one of the most idyllic walkable small towns in the area!

Looking for family-friendly activities? Take a quick ferry from Balboa Island to Balboa Peninsula where you’ll find The Balboa Fun Zone. It’s one of Southern California’s oldest coastal amusement parks. Here, you and your kiddos can enjoy riding the waterfront Ferris Wheel, playing games at the arcade, or visiting the nautical museum.

Biking, harbor cruising, whale-watching, and fishing are also great activities to partake in with or without kids. Strolling through the local shops and restaurants is one of my favorite ways to spend time here. And one thing you can’t miss on Marine Avenue is grabbing a famous Balboa Bar and Frozen Banana! I recommend getting the “everything” topping on your banana.

If you love swimming, surfing, kayaking, or almost any type of water sport, you may want to make visiting Balboa Island (and Balboa Peninsula) part of your travel itinerary this year!

The best way to stay on Balboa Island is to book an AirBNB since there aren’t any hotels here. However, if you stay on Balboa Peninsula, there are hotel options there!

Check out my full list of things to do on Balboa Island here!

3. Rosemary Beach, Florida 

Known for its crystal waters and white sand beaches, Rosemary Beach in Florida is a great walkable small town to visit, especially if you’re looking for fun in the sun.

It’s located in the Florida panhandle within a charming part of Florida known as 30A, named after the highway (more like a small-town road) that runs through this cluster of beach towns. But aside from swimming and beach activities, there are also plenty of other things to do here.

Many of the great restaurants and attractions in the area are close enough to walk to, while others are also accessible via bike rides- which is great to do as a family bonding activity. There are also nearby state parks that you can visit via bike or rideshare. 

Golfers have plenty of course choices in the area- though you’ll need to Lyft or Uber to these as they aren’t in walking distance.

While you can stay at The Pearl Hotel, most book a vacation home to share with their friends or family. That’s what we’ve done for the past several years… Rosemary Beach has been my husband’s family’s annual summer vacation for several years!

Getting to Rosemary Beach from PCB

If you’re flying into the Panama City Beach airport, one thing I recommend is hiring a car to take you to Rosemary Beach. There are plenty of taxi options available to do this. While it’s easy to get an Uber or Lyft from the airport to Rosemary Beach, it can be really hard to find one for the return journey! (Harrison and I almost missed our flight home as we frantically refreshed our Lyft and Uber apps, waiting for a car to be available! We finally ended up finding a taxi service that could do a last-minute pickup- phew!)

4. Charleston, South Carolina

If southern charm is what you’re after, then one of the go-to places to experience it is in Charleston, South Carolina- which is actually the largest city in South Carolina. It’s one of the most charming walkable cities I’ve ever visited!

There are few things better than exploring beautiful places on foot, and Charleston easily lets you experience the city this way. Some spots to not miss along your walk include Waterfront Park, the Battery, the Rainbow Row houses, and the many shops and restaurants along King Street.

Girl in lobby at the Loutrel hotel in Charleston

I recommend staying near King Street or anywhere within downtown Charleston to maximize walkability. Our favorite stay in Charleston has to be The Loutrel, a stunning hotel that focuses on making the best possible stay for its guests.

While downtown Charleston is incredibly walkable, you’ll want to take a rideshare to the surrounding plantations. My favorite is Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, especially when the azaleas bloom in April! And don’t forget to check out Charleston’s best nature spots, too!

And I know the point of this article is to highlight the most walkable cities so you can vacation without a rental car. But there’s one place about 40 minutes away from Charleston that I just have to share with you! It’s one of the dreamiest places I’ve visited: Cypress Gardens.

If you’re up for a romantic boat ride straight out of Hollywood, you’ll fall in love with Cypress Gardens like I did. This gorgeous spot may look familiar to you since it’s featured in the movies, The Notebook and The Patriot.

To enjoy this blackwater swamp, you can get a guide or simply do the paddling yourself- that’s what we did. Boat rentals are included in the low price of admission, but you should go early since boats are first-come-first-serve. And keep your eyes out for alligators- but don’t worry, you’re safe in your boat.

5. Waikiki, Hawaii

Surf, sun, and sand. If you’re like me, that’s the very first scenario that pops into your head when anyone says Hawaii. And Waikiki on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is one of the best walkable cities if you’re looking for a tropical paradise.

To share just how walkable Waikiki is, my husband and I honeymooned here when we were broke in our young 20s. Our hotel and flights were given as gifts, which is how we found ourselves in Waikiki, but we didn’t have enough money to get a rental car. As a result, we walked all around Waikiki and took the public bus to get to further spots around the island.

Waikiki Beach is one of the best locations to visit if you want to enjoy white sand and turquoise blue waters. It’s definitely worth a spot (or ten!) on your Instagram! (Check out the most Instagrammable places in Oahu here!)

Swimming, snorkeling, and surfing are just some activities tourists can enjoy at Waikiki Beach. It helps that most hotels are within walking distance of one of Waikiki’s beaches.

If you’re interested in some non-water related activities while in Waikīkī, you might enjoy partaking in a Pearl Harbor Tour, which lets you see the USS Arizona Memorial and board the USS Battleship Missouri. You might also like joining a tour of the scenery and locations from the TV show Hawaii Five-O, which is fun to do – whether you’ve seen the show or not!

Check out my list of things to do on Oahu for more!

6. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Walking around The City Different (aka Santa Fe) in the Land of Enchantment (aka New Mexico) certainly sounds appealing, doesn’t it? (Those are two very intriguing titles, and they really hold true!)

You can experience so many things that Santa Fe has to offer. The city even offers suggestions on how to spend your first 72 hours, as well as guided walking tours. These are great ways to experience the city’s rich history and architecture, especially if you want to visit historic sites like Native American ruins and centuries-old churches that are just teeming with tales of the past.    

If you want to refresh your body and rid it of pent-up stress, a trip to Santa Fe Day Spas just might do the trick. They even have a Japanese Spa that mimics a Japanese hot spring resort!

Regardless of what you do here, just being in such a unique place is refreshing. It really feels like you’re in another country with its stunning architecture and charm.

Families will also love a visit to Santa Fe. We traveled there with our baby and I loved how walkable this city is! It made it so convenient to stroll around or baby-wear James as we explored.

We stayed at the beautiful Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in the heart of Santa Fe. It made for the perfect location, giving easy access to one of the most walkable cities in New Mexico.

For plenty of things to do in Santa Fe, check out my Santa Fe itinerary here! It has some day trip options but you can eliminate those if you’re visiting without a car. 

7. Savannah, Georgia

Forsyth Park fountain Savannah

If you like visiting walkable cities with plenty of history, then I recommend Savannah, Georgia. Between their trolley tours, historic museums, and beautiful historic homes, there’s no shortage of history here.

Of course, one of the best ways to explore Savannah is on foot. And the way the city is set up makes it so easy to walk around! There are 22 squares (charming green parks) within its 1 square mile of downtown.

It’s easy to walk from Forsyth Park down to River Street- I’d consider the area in between these to be the main part of Savannah with the most attractions.

Also, if you’re feeling spooky, Savannah also has its fair share of historic cemeteries and even walking ghost tours. Of course, if you’re not up for a scare, you can always join a trolley tour!

If you do want to get out of downtown Savannah, the best spots to visit are Wormsloe Plantation and Bonaventure Cemetery. (A cemetery? Trust me, this cemetery is beautiful and full of fascinating history!) You can arrange rideshare to these locations or join a tour.

On our most recent trip to Savannah, we stayed at the Perry Lane Hotel and found it to be the perfect hub for our time in Savannah. The location is perfect and it’s such a beautiful hotel! Whether you stay there or not, you simply can’t miss the rooftop views at Peregrin (get their Brussels sprouts and French dip!).

Savannah is truly one of my favorite walkable cities with its historic charm and gorgeous aesthetics. It might just be my favorite city on this list of walkable cities and small towns!

Check out my list of Instagrammable places in Savannah to see just how beautiful this city is!

8. Key West, Florida

If you’re looking for a peaceful Florida vacation spot, you might enjoy taking a trip to Key West.

Grab some key lime pie, walk around the vibrant downtown, and hit up the beach. You can also visit some of Key West’s most famous attractions like the Hemingway Home & Museum and the Southernmost Point of the USA.

It’s not Florida if it doesn’t have water attractions though, and Key West is no exception. Families can enjoy swimming, diving, snorkeling, or kayaking. You can even rent a boat and island hop!

It has an incredibly walkable downtown area with plenty of hotels and bed & breakfasts within walking distance.

Check out my list of Instagrammable places in Key West for more photos of this charming part of Florida!

9. San Luis Obispo, California 

If a place is dubbed “the happiest place in America” then it’s worth visiting to experience why. 

That’s just how San Luis Obispo in California is. Known for its historic Spanish mission, museum and art galleries, hiking trails, farm-to-table dining, and lively downtown, it offers something for pretty much anyone.

Downtown San Luis Obispo is definitely walkable and bustling with shoppers and diners. Walking downtown is a great way to shop for locally-made goods or enjoy great farm-to-table food. (Sally Loo’s and Mint & Craft are the food spots pictured above!)

When we visited SLO, we didn’t have a rental car and enjoyed walking around downtown and Ubering when necessary (to visit wineries!). But one thing to note… Uber prices here are expensive!!

For adults, however, a visit to San Luis Obispo might not be complete without going to Edna Valley. It’s one of the most scenic wine regions in California. Here you can sample some of the world’s best chardonnay and pinot noir! We had fun Ubering from winery to winery in San Luis Obispo.

All in all, San Luis Obispo is one of the lesser visited and most walkable cities in California- I highly recommend visiting! You can see all of the best things to do in San Luis Obispo here!

10. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Head to Puerto Rico to check out a stunning place in the Caribbean with no passport required! Old San Juan is the oldest continuously inhabited post-European contact city in United States territory.

Walking in history is very possible when you walk around Old San Juan. You can see so many great examples of historic military and religious architecture that still stand today. Visiting El Morro is a perfect way to glimpse the military history here, and the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery (pictured below) is right next door.

While you can definitely explore the town on your own if you want, you can also join free tours organized by its visitors center, where a tour guide shares historic facts of the places you’ll visit.  

Also, don’t forget to visit Calle de la Fortaleza, where you can shop for souvenirs and take pictures of the colorful canopy of umbrellas overhead! 

While staying directly in Old San Juan is a great way to experience its charm, you can easily Uber here from Condado in San Juan. We stayed at the Vanderbilt Condado, a historic hotel that has been here for over a century! If you prefer to stay directly in Old San Juan, I recommend the Hotel El Convento. You can see El Convento’s courtyard area and the Vanderbilt Condado’s Infiniti pool pictured above.

And while we didn’t have a rental car for our whole trip (no need in one of the most walkable cities in Puerto Rico), we did do a day rental so that we could visit El Yunque National Park. If you love waterfalls, it’s worth visiting!

Check out my favorite things to do in San Juan here!

11. Chicago, Illinois

Girl in front of the Bean in the afternoon

Chicago is definitely one of the most iconic and walkable cities in America. Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted it the Best Big City in the US 6 years in a row!

For all my life, I’ve had family in Chicago, so grew up visiting each year. And now that I’m married, Harrison and I have been able to visit a few times! Each time, Chicago amazes me more and more.

It’s a beautiful city- and you can get an incredible view of it at two of the best observatories in Chicago: 360 Chicago and the Chicago Skydeck. Go early to avoid larger crowds!

Couple kissing in front of downtown Chicago at 360 Chicago
Girl on the Ledge at SkyDeck Chicago

Families taking a trip to Chicago can look forward to plenty of activities. Walking around Museum Campus allows you to visit the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. There’s also the Navy Pier, a great destination with its various rides and games.

If you’re looking for some of Chicago’s best photo spots, check out this list of Instagrammable places in Chicago!

Girl at Wrigley Buidling, an iconic Instagrammable Chicago photo spot
Girl in the Instagrammable Lurie Garden in Chicago

Some of my favorite things to do in Chicago include walking around Millennium Park (home to The Bean and lesser-known spots like Lurie Garden, pictured above!), strolling along the River Walk, and dining at Chicago’s fun eateries.

Lastly, walking around The Loop is always a great idea as it’s where you can visit museums, on-trend boutiques, dazzling shops, and a bustling nightlife. 

For places to stay, check out the Four Seasons or the Viceroy Chicago. We’ve stayed at both places and have loved both!

P.S. Don’t forget to try their Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Chicago Style Hotdogs!    

12. Washington, DC

I grew up in a town very close to DC, so I went there countless times as a child. And I’ve returned several times as a travel blogger to capture its beauty on camera!

And as far as walkable cities go, the DC metro system makes this one incredibly convenient!

Simply fly into Ronald Reagan Airport, hop onto the metro from there, and make your way around this city!

There are so many metro stops, meaning that wherever you want to explore in DC, you’ll be able to get there easily. Whether you want to see the National Zoo (hello pandas!), the Smithsonian, charming downtown Georgetown, or countless numbers of museums, the metro system has you covered.

DC has some of the best museums in the country, and I personally love the National Museum of Natural History. This city also has plenty of kid-friendly attractions that are also fun for adults, like the National Geographic Museum, the International Spy Museum, and more.

I can’t stress enough how there are so many things to do here. Go from monument to monument, see the cherry blossoms in April, or do a food tour of the city… Washington DC has some amazing food! (One of my favorite restaurants is Das Ethiopian Cuisine in Georgetown! If you’ve never had Ethiopian food, it’s so good, and I highly recommend trying it here!)

13. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is such a unique place, and it’s very walkable, too. Harrison and I went to college at USC and each year we’d head to San Fran for a USC football game! It’s actually a USC tradition called “the weekender” to make a road trip out of going north to either the Cal or Stanford game. Over the years, I’ve learned just how awesome- and walkable- San Francisco really is!

Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge is a very photo-worthy activity (we actually got the photo above at Baker Beach). And riding the trolly is really fun too! There’s also the iconic Lombard Street which is said to be the most crooked street in the world given its eight sharp turns. You can safely walk instead of driving down it, though!

And one of my favorite things to do in San Franciso is simply walking around Fisherman’s Wharf. You can see the seals that live there (head up, they are noisy!) and walk along the shops and restaurants. And don’t forget to grab some chocolate ice cream from nearby Ghiradelli’s!

14. Seattle, Washington

We recently stayed in Seattle without a car for a few days before our Alaskan cruise. While I’ve visited Seattle multiple times now, this was actually my first time without a rental car- and I was very impressed. We walked everywhere and got to experience so much!

I like to stay somewhere near Pike or Pine Streets in downtown Seattle for added walkability. You’ll have easy access to Pike Place Market, a Seattle staple.

While you’re here, watch the workers at the fish market throw huge fish across the floor, grab some fresh donuts, and stop at Turkish Delight for a fantastic lunch!

You can also check out the (gross, but cool?) gum wall behind Pike Place.

Don’t forget to walk by the water as well! You can join a boat tour of Elliott Bay or simply walk around.

Seattle is also known for being home to Starbucks’ original store where the coffee phenomenon officially began. While you can visit that Starbucks, I find it to be pretty overrated… instead, go to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, pictured above.

You’ll find way more than just coffee here; they’ve got food, cocktails, baked goods, etc.- it’s an unmissable experience. There are only a few of these in the whole world! (And if Starbucks isn’t your thing, there are other great places to get coffee in this city as you walk around.)

On our last visit, we stayed at an AirBNB near Cal Anderson Park and were able to easily walk to Pike Place, explore the area, and then head back with a baby in tow. (If you’re in this area, Manao Thai Street Eats serves up fantastic Thai food! And Annapurna Cafe has incredible Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetian food!)

Seattle also has several districts that you can stroll and shop in, like the Ballard District, Belltown Neighborhood, and Pioneer Square.

For business-savvy folks, many Fortune 500 companies call Seattle their home – like Nordstrom, Microsoft, and Amazon. Some, like Amazon, even offer tours of their campus.

TL;DR Seattle is one of the most vibrant, walkable cities in Washington.

15. Beaufort, South Carolina 

If Beaufort, South Carolina looks familiar to you but you haven’t been yet, it’s probably because you’ve seen it in famous movies like Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, or The Prince of Tides. It’s super Hollywood-worthy because of just how charming it is!

If small-town Southern charm is calling your name, this is truly the perfect walkable destination for you.

We visited on our Charleston to Savannah road trip and realized we didn’t need a car to get around Beaufort. Walking around was the perfect way to experience this gorgeous town. (And if exploring by boat sounds fun, Beaufort offers water activities like kayaking, parasailing, fishing boat rentals, or boat tours.)

Our first afternoon in Beaufort was rainy but it turned into the most magical evening and sunset. (We saw this beautiful rainbow (below) come out as we were at dinner and I ran to find a good spot to photograph it. I love how it turned out- this random couple added a touch of romance to my photo!)

When it comes to food, there are plenty of great options- many of which are on the water! Walk inland a bit to dine at Wren, one of our favorite restaurants in the entire Lowcountry.

Also, Beaufort isn’t called one of the country’s most charming art towns for nothing! The city has a number of art galleries and museums that you can visit and enjoy.

We stayed at the Best Western Sea Island Inn which was perfectly situated for easy access to downtown. There are plenty of charming Bed & Breakfasts in the area, too. As long as you stay around downtown, you can explore so much on foot.

It’s really easy to walk around on a self-guided tour to get up close and personal with the city. But they also offer horse-drawn carriage tours that add a whole new level of romance and historic charm to this small town! 

Check out this post for more incredible things to do in Beaufort!

Getting to Beaufort

The closest airports to Beaufort are Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), approximately an hour away, or Charleston International Airport (CHS), approximately 1 hour 20 minutes away. If you don’t want to get a rental car, the easiest way to get to Beaufort is renting a shuttle or arranging taxi service. You can see a list of transportation companies here!

16. Las Vegas, Nevada  

welcome to fabulous las vegas sign

Las Vegas is one of the most walkable cities in the US. And when you come to Las Vegas, you know you’re in for some fun. While it’s definitely famous for its numerous casinos and hotels along The Strip, even if you don’t want to try your hand at cards or whatever else people do in casinos, there’s so much to do here.

We didn’t spend any time in casinos on our trip to Vegas- just wanted to explore what it had to offer. What I found was cool shows, beautiful architecture, and incredible food.  

high roller las vegas
trevi fountain las vegas

We loved going up the High Roller, an observation wheel that takes you 550 feet above The Strip. The entire ride takes about 30 minutes and gives you fantastic views.

There’s no limit to tasty dining here, too, but I have to give a shout-out to the milkshakes at The Black Tap (pictured below). While there, I also ordered the house cobb salad and added crispy chicken- the whole meal was SO good!

On another note, Las Vegas also offers one of the best nightlife scenes, and if that’s something you’re looking for, know that oftentimes getting from one bar to another is just a matter of walking.

Shopping is also a great thing to do in Las Vegas, from high-end designer stores to premium outlets. It’s fun to window shop and walk around the hotels on The Strip as well. There are some incredibly beautiful and Instagrammable spots- check out my favorites here!

black tap milkshake las vegas
Neon Museum Stardust sign

Las Vegas also offers other interesting attractions like visiting The Neon Museum or the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. No car needed- we took an Uber to the Neon Museum and did a pink jeep tour of Red Rock Canyon.

But one thing to note about getting around Las Vegas- sometimes it’s faster to walk than Uber as there’s typically a long wait for ride shares!

17. Southeast Alaska 

Girl walking in front of welcome to Ketchikan sign

If you think of snow when you think of Alaska, you’re not alone. However, summertime in Alaska is a whole new world with wildflowers, lush greenery, access to glaciers, hikes, wildlife, and so much more! Best of all, if you head to Southeast Alaska, you’ll find some picture-perfect walkable small towns full of charm and history.

Mom pushing stroller in historic downtown Skagway Alaska
Juneau Alaska port view from cruise ship at sunset

Putting the entire Southeast of Alaska on this list of walkable cities might seem absurd, but let me explain. If you go on a cruise to Southeast Alaska, you’ll get to visit several cities on one trip with no rental car needed. (Side note: Cruises are also so convenient with kids in tow, even babies! We had our one-year-old with us and you can see why I recommend cruising with babies here.)

Our cruise from Seattle to Alaska stopped at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. These three cities are really easy to explore on foot. And if you want to see glaciers, wildlife, or other nature experiences, they are so easy to do through different tour companies.

Misty Fjords National Monument from a flightseeing float plane tour
View of the Goldbelt Tram car from Mt Roberts in Juneau Alaska

For example, from downtown Ketchikan, I did this two-hour helicopter tour of Misty Fjords National Monument. In Skagway, you can easily hop on the scenic train to see Canada’s Yukon. And in Juneau, join a tour of the Mendenhall Glacier or walk a few minutes to reach the Goldbelt Tram, which takes you to the top of Mt. Roberts.

All in all, cruising around Southeast Alaska is a great way to experience multiple charming, walkable cities in one trip! You can book a cruise here!

What about Anchorage?

Anchorage isn’t in Southeast Alaska but it is one of the more walkable cities in the US. So if you’d rather fly somewhere and explore on land, Anchorage offers some incredible activities. From Anchorage, you can take the train to Denali National Park, do a helicopter tour, or simply explore the city itself.

For those visiting the city with kids, Anchorage offers abundant parks and kid-friendly trails that they can enjoy with you. You can also learn more about Alaskan wildlife and natural history by visiting the Alaska Zoo and Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

For those wild and adventurous at heart, go dog sledding or hiking and ice climbing.

18. New Orleans, Louisiana

Exchange Alley New Orleans on Exchange Place

If you love Cajun food, jazz, Mardi Gras, or simply want to explore somewhere walkable with unique charm, New Orleans is a perfect destination. Known for its jazz music and cajun cuisine, there’s much to enjoy in one of the most distinct and walkable cities in America.

Cafe du Monde beignet New Orleans French Quarter
St Louis Cathedral from Jackson Square New Orleans

When in New Orleans, don’t forget to grab a beignet from Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet, visit Jackson Square to see the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, and simply walk around the French Quarter. Buy some artwork, listen to some music, and sample excellent Cajun food along the way.

If you want something pre-planned for you, join a walking tour! For a taste of the spooky and macabre, opt for a Ghosts, Vampires, & Voodoo guided walking tour or join a French Quarter Ghost and Murder Tour. For something a little tamer and less hair-raising, you can join a French Quarter Walking and Storytelling Tour that will allow you to not only learn more about the city’s rich history and culture but allows time for shopping and dining. And food lovers can even go on a French Quarter Food Tour with a Local!

Bourbon Street New Orleans
The Chloe pool New Orleans

For maximum walkability, stay in or near the French Quarter. We stayed at The Chloe (pictured above) and it’s one of the best boutique hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Impeccable decor and the best hotel breakfast I’ve had! The only downside is it is either a long walk or a short Uber to the French Quarter from here, so keep that in mind.

For more great photo spots, check out my list of the most Instagrammable places in New Orleans here!

19. Miami, Florida

If you’re looking for warmer weather and sunshine, Miami is one of the best walkable cities to visit. This vibrant city is known for its beaches, Art Deco architecture, and diverse cultural attractions.

If relaxation is on your mind, hit up South Beach for exquisite beaches and hotels.

Soaking up the sun and sand may be the foremost reason you’re booking a ticket to Miami, but there is truly so much else to do here!

From excellent cuisine and cool museums to world-class shopping and luxury hotels, you’ll find them all in Miami. Between the city’s many museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks, you could spend your whole vacation exploring if you wanted to.

And when it comes to food, Miami is a fantastic place to sample Cuban, Caribbean, and Latin American cuisine.

For those who love a lively nightlife scene, experiencing Maimi’s nightlife is truly something else. (For an out-of-the-box idea, enjoy Miami’s nightlife by joining a party bike bar crawl, which is as wild as it sounds!)

We stayed at the Mondrian South Beach and loved our stay- the balcony views of the bay are beautiful and their restaurant is top-notch.

Some of my favorite things we did in Miami were visiting the Frost Museum of Science and the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens- one of the prettiest gardens in Miami. You can see more beautiful places on my list of Instagrammable spots in Miami!

TL;DR Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an exciting city break, Miami has something to offer everyone.

20. Boulder, Colorado

With the majestic Flatirons serving as your backdrop, you can be sure there’s always something picture-worthy about your visit to Boulder, Colorado.

Harrison’s brother used to live in Boulder, so we’ve traveled there a few times. Each time I fall in love with its gorgeous scenery and walkability!

If you aren’t familiar with Boulder, it’s an outdoorsy city in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It’s known for its stunning scenery, arts scene, and incredible nature activities. Whether you go hiking, biking, and camping or stay in town and explore the museums, shops, and art galleries, you can experience the best of Colorado right here.

Boulder also has a cute, super walkable downtown and great restaurants with healthy, delicious food.

Foodies will love the farm-to-table restaurants and microbreweries here. I particularly love the Dushanbe Tea House so much that I go more than once each time I visit!

For nature lovers and hiking fans, I highly recommend the Mount Sanitas hike. It’s 3.2 miles and considered challenging, but I was able to do it as someone who rarely works out. The trailhead is very close to downtown Boulder. Make sure you bring enough water!

Another Boulder must that doesn’t require any hiking at all is walking along the outdoor Pearl Street Mall. Stop into boutique shops, bookstores, and cafes.

You can also visit the University of Colorado or the Fiske Planetarium if you prefer more academic adventures!

Getting to Boulder from Denver

Most people visiting Boulder fly into Denver since it’s roughly 40 minutes away. If you’re not renting a car, there are multiple options for getting to Boulder. For example, the Boulder Shuttle takes you from the airport into Boulder and is $55 for the first adult and $30 for additional passengers. There are also bus, taxi, and rideshare options- check out all of your options here!

21. Stillwater, Minnesota

I was invited to explore Minnesota with the state’s tourism board recently. And I’ll be honest… Minnesota was not at all on my radar before that trip. But this walkable Minnesota town completely charmed my socks off. Who knew that Stillwater would end up being a destination I’d want to visit over and over again? I sure didn’t.

Let’s get into what makes this one of the best walkable cities to visit.

First off, Stillwater has a completely charming downtown. Lined with boutique stores, antique shops, trendy restaurants, and more, you’ll love walking around downtown.

Hotels like Water Street Inn, Hotel Crosby, and Lora Hotel are just steps from Main Street.

And Main Street is just a couple of blocks away from the St. Croix River- yup, Stillwater is a waterfront town. That means you’ve got access to boat tours, gondola rides, kayaking, and more.

Getting to Sillwater from Minneapolis/St Paul

Stillwater is conveniently located just under 40 minutes away from Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport (MSP). That means that if you don’t want to rent a car, you can easily take a rideshare to Stillwater.

22. San Diego, California

Let me add yet another California destination to this list because you simply can’t beat the weather when it comes to walkable cities!

San Diego is known for its beaches, theme parks, and cultural attractions. Between the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, and Legoland California, you’ve got great family-friendly things to do. Beach lovers can go surfing, swimming, or simply sunbathing at a number of beaches, like La Jolla Shores, Coronado Beach, and Mission Beach.

If it’s not quite beach weather, treat yourself to shopping and dining in one (or more) of San Diego’s beautiful neighborhoods.

One of my favorite things to do in San Diego is to visit Balboa Park. It’s definitely not your typical park… this 1,200-acre historic urban cultural park has green belts, gardens, walking paths, museums, theaters, restaurants, and the famous San Diego Zoo.

Besides one of the most popular zoos in the world, some of the most popular attractions in Balboa Park include:

  • Fleet Science Center
  • The Natural History Museum
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Mingei International Museum (featuring folk art from around the world)
  • San Diego Museum of Art

Balboa Park also has so many photo-worthy places in it, so bring your camera! If you’re interested in more Instagrammable places in San Diego, check out this list!

Besides beaches and Balboa Park, there is truly no shortage of things to do in San Diego. I particularly love the La Jolla area and find it to be a charming area to stay in. Its downtown area is so centralized, meaning shops, cafes, and more are all right by each other.

I recommend La Valencia Hotel for convenience and added charm! It’s a beautiful hotel (pictured above) in this walkable area of La Jolla.

23. San Antonio, Texas 

Last but not least, it’s time to throw a Texas city into the mix! As a Dallasite, I’ve gotten to explore quite a bit of this state, and San Antonio deserves a spot on this list.

Downtown San Antonio is one of the most walkable areas, home to the famous River Walk. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and hotels in the area where you can shop, dine, and sightsee along this world-renowned 15-mile urban waterway.

Explore the River Walk by foot along its walking path, or go ahead and board a river barge for a ride and guided tour – either way, you’re in for a scenic treat.

You can see the charming La Villita area of the River Walk in the picture below. (Check out more photo-worthy places in San Antonio here!)

You of course can’t forget to remember the Alamo! The Alamo is American history brought back to life, which you can experience when you visit the Alamo. They offer a walking tour that explores the events that made the story of the Alamo famous for generations of Americans- not just in Texas but all over the country.

Besides the Alamo, there are actually four more beautiful missions that make up the Mission Trail. And the city of San Antonio has created The Mission Trails hike-and-bike system. It connects San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions together with a pedestrian and bicycle route.

Museum lovers will enjoy visiting the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and the Spanish Governor’s Palace.

However, not everything is about history in San Antonio! Visit the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden, pictured above, to feel like you’re in an oasis, not a city. Check out Market Square for a lively atmosphere, and stay in the Pearl District for boutique hotels, great food, and the Pearl Farmers Market.

And for kids and theme park lovers, there are a lot of contemporary fun places to visit like SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Morgan’s Wonderland– the world’s largest and ultra-accessible theme park for people with special needs.

In conclusion…

If vacationing without a rental car sounds appealing to you, you’ll love visiting one of these walkable cities and small towns this year.

These are the ones that you can easily walk around to soak in the sights, sounds, history, and beauty that these areas have to offer. 

I hope you enjoyed reading my list of the best walkable cities and small towns to visit this year. Let me know in the comments which you’d love to visit most out of this list!

Lastly, since I’m just listing my favorite walkable cities and small towns, I know there are so many more out there worth mentioning! If there’s any city or small town you think we should include, please let me know in the comments as well!

And if you’re looking for more travel inspiration, check out these posts:

Happy exploring!

Jasmine

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Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.

One Response

  1. Happy you enjoyed your visit to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens when you were in Miami.

    -Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
    https://vizcaya.org/

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Hi, I’m Jasmine! I’m a nature-obsessed, beauty-finding, Jesus-loving dreamer with a serious case of wanderlust. I love to create photo-worthy travel content and hope to fill your travel plans with incredible beauty and breathtaking views! Thanks for following along on my adventures!

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