One of the best ways to explore a city is on foot. Whether traveling in your city or elsewhere, walking can give you a different perspective of a city than driving. Walking is also one of the best ways to travel, as it can be good for the environment, help you save on transportation costs and is an excellent way to get in some exercise.
To determine the most walkable cities in the U.S., we first looked at the top 20 most densely populated metropolitan areas from Statista. After compiling the 20 most densely populated cities, we then took a look at pedestrian fatalities in a city’s county from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Finally, we reviewed walk scores from WalkScore.com, which seek to measure a city or neighborhood’s walkability.
After compiling the top 20 most densely populated cities, we reviewed all of the data from NHTSA and WalkScore to come up with the top 10 most walkable cities.
The WalkScore was given a weight of 85% and the pedestrian safety score a weight of 15%. To determine our own Metromile walkable ranking, we subtracted the safety average from the walking average.
Metromile walkability score = walking score (85%) – safety score (15%)
We determined cities with the highest total scores were the most walkable and pedestrian-safe.
10. Chicago, IL
Chicago, Illinois, is the third-most populous metropolitan area in the U.S. Cook County in Illinois, where Chicago is located, had 103 pedestrian fatalities as of 2019. Chicago is well-known for its robust public transportation options and boasts a walk score of 77, earning its place in the top 10 most walkable cities in the U.S.
Population rank: #3
Pedestrian fatalities: 103
Metromile walkability score: 50
9. Miami, FL
Miami, Florida, is the seventh-most populous metropolitan area in the U.S. Like Atlanta, Miami is booming and becoming increasingly popular as a place to live and work.According to the NHTSA data from 2019, Miami had 90 pedestrian fatalities. While that can be of concern, Miami also has a walk score of 78, and the city closes portions of the road to give pedestrians and cyclists increased access each month.
Population rank: #7
Pedestrian fatalities: 90
Metromile walkability score: 52.8
8. St. Louis, MO
St. Louis is well-known for the Gateway Arch and also happens to be a very walkable city. While it’s considered the 20th most populous metro area, it has a walk score of 65 and has few pedestrian deaths, coming in at 15 total as of 2019.
Population rank: #20
Pedestrian fatalities: 15
Metromile walkability score: 53
7. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis is a city with a ton of greenery and nature to enjoy. On top of that, the city has murals and great public transportation options as well. Minneapolis ranks as the 16th most populous metro area and has a walk score of 70 and reported only 10 pedestrian fatalities as of 2019.
Population rank: #16
Pedestrian fatalities: 10
Metromile walkability score: 58
6. Seattle, WA
The Emerald City is home to the Space Needle, beautiful mountains and lakes, and strong coffee. It’s also one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. Seattle is the 15th most populous metro area and has a walk score of 74 and reported 30 pedestrian fatalities as of 2019.
Population rank: #15
Pedestrian fatalities: 30
Metromile walkability score: 58.4
5. Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the eighth-most populous metropolitan area in the country. The City of Brotherly Love boasts a high walk score of 79, making it our fifth most walkable city in the U.S. Though the population is large, the city had only 29 pedestrian deaths as of 2019.
Population rank: #8
Pedestrian fatalities: 29
Metromile walkability score: 62.8
4. Washington D.C.
The nation’s capital is ranked sixth as the most populous metro area in the U.S.
The District of Columbia only had 9 pedestrian fatalities as of 2019 which makes it more pedestrian-friendly than other cities. On top of that, Washington, D.C. has a walk score of 76, making it one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.
Population rank: #6
Pedestrian fatalities: 9
Metromile walkability score: 63.25
3. Boston, MA
The city of Boston, MA is part of our nation’s history and is home to many higher education institutions. Boston is ranked 11th when it comes to the top most populous metro areas. The city has a very high walk score of 82 as well and reported only 10 pedestrian deaths as of 2019.
Population rank: #11
Pedestrian fatalities: 10
Metromile walkability score: 68.2
2. New York City, NY
New York City is the most populated metropolitan area in the U.S. New York state also has low rates of pedestrian fatalities, according to the NHTSA with 24 deaths reported in a city of over 8 million people. The Big Apple also boasts a high walk score of 88, making it our second most walkable city in the U.S.
Population rank: #1
Pedestrian fatalities: 24
Metromile walkability score: 71.2
1. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is known as a tech hub and home to the Golden Gate bridge, amazing views, great sourdough bread, cable cars, and more. It’s ranked as the top most walkable city in the U.S. It is ranked 12th on the list when it comes to the most populous metro areas. The city has a walk score of 87 and reported only 18 pedestrian fatalities as of 2019.
Population rank: #12
Pedestrian fatalities: 18
Metromile walkability score: 71.25
The bottom line
Walking can be a safe and affordable way to travel in cities. You don’t need to drive to get around some of the largest cities in the U.S.
Many drivers in these cities are low-mileage drivers who don’t often drive at all. Low-mileage drivers can save with pay-per-mile auto insurance because they pay a low monthly base rate and a few cents for each mile driven. Drivers can save 47%* a year on average when they switch to Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance, according to a 2018 survey of new Metromile customers who saved.
You can see if pay-per-mile auto insurance is right for you by taking a free Ride Along™ trial.
Download the Metromile app from your favorite app store, get a free auto insurance quote, and then drive as you ordinarily would for about two weeks. At the end of your trial (you should keep your current insurance policy to maintain coverage), you can see how much you would save if you switched to Metromile. You can also earn up to an additional 15% off your initial quote in select states for demonstrating safe driving during your Ride Along.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.
* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.