The Top 10 Most Bikeable Downtowns

These cities are doing the most to make biking to work safe and convenient



Reposted from

A big consideration for people as they choose a home is their commute to work every day, so what better way to celebrate this year’s Bike to Work Week than by highlighting the cities with the most bikeable downtowns?

We looked at Bike Score ratings of downtown neighborhoods across the country to see which cities offer the best biking commutes for their residents, and reached out to their local government officials to find out what they have done to reach such high scores. We also talked to our agents and found out that bikeability is not going unnoticed for local homebuyers who increasingly factor a daily bike commute into their home search.

To see the full ranking of the top 10 most bikeable downtowns among major cities with more than 500,000 people, as well as information on local bike-focused transportation initiatives, take a look at the report below.

1. Center City West, Philadelphia, Pa. – 96.4

Center City West, the heart of Downtown Philadelphia, topped our list with a 96.4 Bike Score. Redfin agent Minh Che says the city’s urban dwellers increasingly use a combination of bicycling, public transit and car-sharing programs to navigate downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

“It’s not uncommon for my home-buying clients to bike from one home to the next during home tours or on a weekend open house outing,” said Che. “For a couple of recent clients, a garage was a must-have, not to park cars, but to store bikes. Buyers today see bike routes and bike storage as an important amenity, more so than previous generations.”

The city has more than 440 miles of bike lanes, according to Mayor Jim Kenney’s Deputy Managing Director for Transportation and Infrastructure, Clarena Tolson, giving Philadelphia the most bike lanes per square mile of any large city in the country. And in downtown specifically, she says nearly 5 percent of people use a bicycle as their main form of transportation.

In addition to increasing downtown bike lanes, the city is expanding its Indego bike sharing program to more Philadelphians. “We are committed to an inclusive and equitable bike share program that serves all citizens of the city,” said Tolson. “The program provides stations and connectivity to some of our more challenged communities with the intent of connecting those communities not only to downtown, but to our parks and waterways. In our transportation system we believe access equals opportunity.”

As the bike network grows, safety continues to be a concern as well as an increasing priority for bicyclists and governments, in Philadelphia and elsewhere across the country. Tolson says that bike fatalities decreased by 25 percent in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2014, and education has been a big part of that. “One of the keys to bicyclist safety has been greater education and appreciation for bicyclists as people who deserve to share the road, so we’ve made that a focus.” Tolson says that as more bikers get on the road, awareness of road-sharing grows and our streets become safer for everyone.

2. El Presidio, Tucson, Ariz. – 95.8

The El Presidio neighborhood located in downtown Tucson is a historic district, home to City Hall and to many of the city’s jobs. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says the city has been working to improve bikeability across the downtown neighborhoods.

“Tucson is a gold-level bike-friendly city according to the League of American Bicyclists, and we’re working to get to the next level. Tucson’s downtown has protected bike lanes, which we’re expanding, and many bike parking facilities. A number of downtown businesses offer discounts and incentives to customers who bike to their location. We’re also working with the private sector to launch a bike share program in downtown Tucson,” said Mayor Rothschild.

Redfin agent Sara Fischer says bicycling in Tucson is popular among residents, despite the hot climate. “Because Tucson enjoys such beautiful sunny weather almost year round, biking through this historic district allows you to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of our amazing southwest desert surroundings.”

3. Downtown, Austin, Texas – 93.4

Austin is rapidly growing as people—especially millennials—flood in from major cities and tech hotspots around the country. And those newcomers are entering a highly competitive market where every extra dollar put toward an offer on a home counts. That’s part of why new residents are foregoing the expense of a car and putting the money toward a condo or house near downtown where daily bike commuting is easy, according to Redfin agent Andrew Vallejo.

“I’ve worked with three clients in the past two weeks who do not own a car and rely on biking and walking to get to work and other parts of the city. Our downtown corridor is so bike-friendly that it’s possible for people to easily get to their jobs every day, especially if they live in a neighborhood near downtown like Zilker or East Austin,” Vallejo said.

The city of Austin has an Active Transportation Division that specifically focuses on connecting bicyclist and pedestrian pathways and making it safe for residents to commute to work via bike. Austin Mayor Steve Adler has also worked to increase the number of protected bike paths in the city.

“Building protected bike paths downtown has been great for Austin. Not only has it made getting around downtown safer and quicker for cyclists, but the protected paths have moved them out of harm’s way and relieved traffic congestion. Having a bikeable downtown has made everything better in Austin,” said Mayor Adler.

4. Downtown, Denver, Colo. – 92.6

The city of Denver operates a program called Denver Moves, which is aimed at enhancing the city-wide bicycle network to be more attractive to cyclists of all abilities. This year, the city updated that plan to include a network of enhanced on-street bicycle facilities downtown—such as protected or buffered bike lanes and marked intersections—and identified key corridors that link downtown to some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods like Cheesman Parkand Washington Park West.

“We have many clients who have relocated to Denver, in part, for its bikeability. Denver has more than 20 miles of bike lanes in downtown alone and 85 miles of paved trails throughout the city connecting the central business district to many of Denver’s most popular neighborhoods. With over 600 bike racks downtown and the ability to transport your bike on both our Light Rail and Regional Transportation District bus systems, the city makes it easy and convenient to commute by bike,” said Redfin agent Megan Leddy.

5. Downtown, Portland, Ore. – 92.3

Portland residents have been thinking about bikeability for a long time; the Portland City Council adopted the official Bicycle Master Plan back in 1996. More recently the city adopted a plan for 2030, which sets the stage for a vastly expanded bicycle transportation program.

“Portland has done such a fantastic job of creating designated bike boulevards throughout the city and the result is that commuting via bike into the downtown core is easy, safe and efficient, and is why we have one of the heaviest volumes of bike commuters in the country. Once you get downtown by bike, the combination of bike boulevards, designated paths and an abundance of bike racks gives the downtown biking community easy access to food carts in NW Portland, the waterfront park in the Pearl District and the hip breweries in the up-and-coming Central Eastside Industrial District. Our roadways are becoming more congested with vehicles, so commuting by bicycle is also currently one of the fastest ways to commute to downtown,” said Redfin agent Michael Morris.

6. Old Louisville, Louisville, Ky. – 89.9

Bicycle education is a key focus for the city of Louisville, which ranked sixth on our list. The city provides bicycle safety classes for individuals and brown bag lunches for businesses who want their employees to learn more about daily bicycle commuting.

The city has also improved its local bike infrastructure. “Louisville has invested in bike lanes to meet the huge demand from the community, and this ranking shows we’re getting results,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer “Those lanes have given residents a healthy, safe option to travel between neighborhoods and to downtown. But the work is hardly done. Our city is in the process of rethinking how we connect, and bicycles are a major part that strategic mobility plan.”

7. Downtown, Washington, D.C. – 88.2

Washington, D.C., takes bicycle safety seriously—it has committed to a Vision Zero Initiative, with the objective of reaching zero fatalities and serious injuries to travelers of the transportation system by the year 2024. As part of the initiative, citizens can report transportation hazards around the city via the Vision Zero Safety Map so that they can be promptly corrected by city officials.

“D.C. was one of the first cities to adopt a bike share system, and it’s taken off in popularity both with locals and tourists,” said Redfin agent Steve Centrella. “With the increase in dedicated bike lanes, as well as improvements to the Metropolitan Branch Trail, it’s easier for residents to commute downtown by bike, and we’re seeing a growing number of residents who bike as their primary means of transportation.”

8. Downtown, San Jose, Calif. – 87.3

San Jose residents are part of the Bay Area Bike Share network, which also operates in San Francisco, Palo Alto and other cities in the region. The bike share program aids the city’s efforts to increase bicycling until it accounts for 5 percent of all trips by 2020 and 15 percent of all trips by 2040. The city is also building a 400-mile on-street bikeway network to make getting around town easier and safer.

“In addition to recent improvements in biking infrastructure, San Jose also has a budding bike culture,” said Redfin agent Ashley Rabello. “One prime example is the San Jose Bike Party: a nonprofit group that brings together cyclists in the community for monthly rides and group excursions. Also, for those who don’t live right downtown, many bike enthusiasts opt to bike to public transportation as a way to shorten their commute without having to get in a car.”

9. Downtown, Indianapolis, Ind. – 86.7

Part of what makes downtown Indianapolis such a bike haven is the Indy Bike Hub at the YMCA. The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis partnered with the city government and Bicycle Garage Indy to create a centrally located hub where commuters can store their bikes during the day, repair their cycles in the bike shop or shower before work in the locker rooms.

“Biking has gotten a lot more convenient in Indianapolis over the past few years,” said Redfin agent Jake Johnson. “People have really taken to the Indiana Pacers Bike Share program, and there are a few well-used trails that lead to downtown that make commuting especially easy. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects different parts of the downtown core, and the Monon Trail gives residents in northern parts of the city like Meridian Kessler and Carmel a quick bicycle route to jobs downtown.”

10. The Loop, Chicago, Ill. – 84.2

Chicago has more than 200 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, more than 13,000 bike racks and sheltered bike parking areas at Chicago Transit Authority bus and train stations throughout the city to make commuting to downtown a possibility for residents living in even farther outlying areas. The city also operates the popular bike share program Divvy.

According to Redfin agent Niko Voutsinas, Milwaukee Avenue is an especially popular route for cyclists to get to and from downtown every day, and is full of bike commuters come rush hour. But for many of these cyclists, there’s more to consider than just adequate roadways.

“A lot of my clients are pretty serious bicyclists, so good storage is a major priority when they look for a home. If you own a $10,000 bike, you’re not going to want to just lock it up outside every night—you’re going to want interior storage, so many of my buyers factor that in when deciding on a home. Can they set up a hoist system to hang their bikes in their loft? Is there a private garage that can fit multiple bicycles? These are all non-negotiables,” said Voutsinas.

Bike Score Methodology

Bike Score measures whether a location is good and safe for biking on a scale from 0–100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle

To establish the top 10 list, Redfin ranked the Bike Scores of downtown neighborhoods across the country among cities with populations larger than 500,000.


The Nation’s Most-Walkable Cities Got Even More Walkable in 2016

Reposted from

New York remains the nation’s most walkable city in the latest ranking by Walk Score®, a Redfin company. Walk Score ranked the most walkable U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000.

Rank City Walk Score Change from 2015
1 New York, NY 88.9 +1.3
2 San Francisco, CA 85.7 +1.7
3 Boston, MA 80.1 +1.2
4 Philadelphia, PA 78.3 +1.7
5 Miami, FL 78.2 +2.6
6 Chicago, IL 77.5 +2.7
7 Washington, D.C. 77.0 +2.9
8 Seattle, WA 72.9 +2.1
9 Oakland, CA 71.5 +3
10 Long Beach, CA 69.0 +3.2

Long Beach edged out Baltimore (68.7) to bring some SoCal spirit to this year’s ranking. The Southern California region was unrepresented on the top 10 list each of the past two years. Long Beach also had the largest yearly increase of all 10 cities, up 3.2 points, helping it rank among the most walkable cities in the nation.

“Recognizing Long Beach as the most walkable city in Southern California, and one of the most walkable in the entire country, is a testament to the hard work we’ve been doing to improve and expand pedestrian infrastructure and support safe and convenient travel for everyone,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We intend to continue making Long Beach a great place to walk and to live, work and visit.”

“A renaissance has been happening in Downtown Long Beach, which now has a Walk Score of 92,” said Redfin agent Michelle Zabukovec. “In addition to some brand new buildings, developers are rehabilitating structures that were already in place. The city has even created an incentive program for rehabilitation projects, and has also focused on improving walkability by adding more pedestrian lighting to create safer sidewalks. One example of this is the Pine Avenue Improvement Project. And of course everyone loves First Fridays on Atlantic Ave. and 2nd Street in Belmont Shore.”

All of the top 10 cities saw an increase in their respective Walk Score ratings, indicating that the nation’s most walkable cities are becoming even more walkable. Of the top 50 most walkable cities, only two, Honolulu and Columbus, improved by less than a point.

“Improving a city’s Walk Score takes work. In these communities, construction crews have built an invitation for walking,” said Eric Scharnhorst, livability analyst at Redfin. “Safer sidewalks are now connected to a greater variety of everyday amenities. This creates opportunities for both local businesses and families.“

Omaha, which ranked 32nd, had the largest year-over-year Walk Score increase of the 50 most walkable cities, with an improvement of 4.3 points. With a Walk Score of 45.4, the city is still considered “car dependent,” but many neighborhoods saw big gains in their ratings.

“This improvement in Omaha’s Walk Score is likely thanks to revitalization projects underway in neighborhoods across the city,” said Redfin real estate agent Travis Thomas. “Notable areas of development include Downtown, Blackstone and Aksarben Village where developers have been creating a mix of residential and commercial real estate and rehabilitating older buildings.This efficient use of space and resources means that people can live, work and shop on the same block.”

Six additional cities that ranked among the top 50 most walkable cities saw notable increases in their scores from last year. St. Louis, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, Santa Ana, California, as well as Austin and Houston in Texas, all saw a Walk Score increase of four points or more.


The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Texas

Reposted from 

Texas may not have a reputation for walkability, with its wide open spaces and 800 miles of land between its northern and southern borders, but there are actually many densely populated, highly walkable neighborhoods throughout the state. But which city has the most walkable neighborhoods? Is it Austin, with its burgeoning Millennial cohort, densely populated Dallas or the expansive city of Houston?

According to our calculations based on Walk Score data, Dallas is the big winner when it comes to walkability. Not only did Downtown Dallas nab our number one spot for the most walkable neighborhood in the state with an 89 out of 100 Walk Score, but Dallas also tied for the most neighborhoods to make the top 10 list, with a total of three neighborhoods. Austin came in a close second place to Dallas, with three neighborhoods in the top 10 list, including the number two and three slots.

Which cities didn’t fare so well? Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, which made the bottom slots of our list, and Fort Worth, which didn’t make an appearance at all.

To see the full list and how the neighborhoods shake out, take a look at our findings below, which rank neighborhoods based on their Walk Score ratings and our own agents’ local insights. Do the winners surprise you? Leave a comment! And to see how your hometown or neighborhood stacks up, head over to

1. Downtown Dallas – Walk Score 89

Downtown Dallas tops our list of the best neighborhoods in Texas for pedestrians with a Walk Score rating of 89. Residents living in the many high-rise condos enjoy easy access to centrally located jobs, cultural opportunities in the museum district and the popular Klyde Warren Park.

“Downtown Dallas is continuing to grow and develop into a top-tier urban destination,” said Redfin agent Bob Plessinger. “Our city has seen incredible growth over the last decade, especially from out-of-state buyers looking to escape sky-high prices in places like San Francisco. Many of these buyers purchase homes downtown because they know they’ll be able to quickly familiarize themselves with the city and all it has to offer, even without a car. They can walk across Klyde Warren Park and tour Oak Lawn/Uptown, or they can walk any other direction and access excellent restaurants and bars.”

2. Downtown Austin – Walk Score 88

Recent efforts by the City of Austin through programs like the Great Streets project have made Downtown Austin one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Texas. Public spaces along the roadways, updated sidewalks, ample lighting for night-time activities and streetside cafes give residents safe, easy access to the heart of the city.

“There has been a huge push to make Downtown a more livable place,” said Lauren Johnson, an agent with Redfin. “Many cities have downtowns that stay busy and vibrant during the day, but once 5 p.m. hits people pack up and go home. Austin’s downtown, however, is full of people through the evening because they have access to a huge variety of interesting places to eat, drink or shop. If you live in one of the many condos downtown, you’ll be in the center of it all.”

3. West Campus, Austin – Walk Score 87

West Campus is aptly named for its location directly west of the University of Texas. Since most of the neighborhood’s 15,000 are college students without cars, the neighborhood is highly walkable. You’ll find many small craftsman bungalows built in the 40s, a swath of decade-old condos and a recent influx of brand new apartment buildings.

“Not surprisingly, this neighborhood is densely populated with students. They really have everything they need within walking distance – they can run or exercise along the Shoal Creek Greenbelt, study for finals at one of the many coffee shops or go out to one of the local bars on a Friday night, and when they land an internship downtown they’re just a short commute away,” said Lauren Johnson.

4. Oak Lawn, Dallas – Walk Score 86

Walk across Klyde Warren Park on the north side of Downtown Dallas and you’ll be in Oak Lawn/Uptown. This neighborhood has a bustling retail corridor and a slew of new restaurants and eateries. It also has all the necessary amenities like grocery stores, gas stations and the like. Residents can easily access downtown jobs, but can remain somewhat separated from the dense urban core.

“There is a huge variety of homes in Oak Lawn — for example, you can get a mid-rise condo with expansive city views, or you could move farther north to Turtle Creek and get a small rambler,” said Bob Plessinger. “Property values in Oak Lawn run the gamut as well, anywhere from $350 per square foot to $1,800 per square foot, so the neighborhood is accessible to all types of homebuyers.”

5. Midtown, Houston – Walk Score 82

Houston dwarfs its fellow Texas cities in size and population, but it’s not known for its walkability. Most Houstonians will tell you that their main method of transportation is a car, but there are certainly pockets within the I-610 Loop where walking is a viable way to get around. Midtown is one of those neighborhoods. It is close enough to downtown that residents can walk to work, yet it is full of its own local hang-outs, restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and bars.

“Residents living in Midtown can walk to downtown or hop on the rail line and quickly get across the city and catch a sporting event at BBVA Compass Stadium, Minute Maid Park or Toyota Center, but one of the best things about Midtown is that it has its own vibrant scene,” said Redfin agent Irma Jalifi. “Locals really don’t need to leave the area for fun or entertainment – it’s a one-stop-shop with plenty of options within walking distance for nightlife or running quick errands on a weekend.”

6. Knox/Henderson, Dallas – Walk Score 81

Knox/Henderson is farther from Downtown Dallas, but still within a reasonable commute time for residents with inner-city jobs. This area is undergoing stunning growth as residents flood to the area and developers rush to meet their demand.

“Many Dallas neighborhoods have older, classic homes, but Knox/Henderson is seeing an inflow of new, modern townhomes and condos, in styles that typically appeal more to out-of-state buyers,” said Bob Plessinger. “More restaurants and shops are cropping up as new residents arrive in the neighborhood, so I expect that this neighborhood’s walk score will continue to improve over time.”

7. Downtown San Antonio – Walk Score 81

Downtown San Antonio has all of the typical attractions of an urban core — retail shops and businesses, restaurants and cultural happenings — but the River Walk is the real draw for pedestrians. The lined pathway sits one story below street level and stretches from downtown to Mission Espada, with pet-friendly bars and lively restaurants, as well as more tranquil sections without businesses all along the way.

While the river walk is certainly a tourist attraction, local residents make use of it, too. “The river walk is an especially popular destination for local families and their kids,” said Erin Pierce, a real estate agent with Redfin. “The majority of the homes nearby are condos and lofts, and a lot of new developments are coming into the area. The river walk creates a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the downtown streets.”

8. East Austin – Walk Score 81

East Austin has been on the rise in recent years as new developments make their way to the neighborhood. Many developers are replacing older homes with more modern structures, but some residents still favor the 30s and 40s style and opt for heavy renovations that keep the charm and personality of the home in-tact. The variety in home styles, coupled with the neighborhood’s close proximity to downtown (it’s just on the East side of I-35), draw in all types of homebuyers.

“This neighborhood is increasingly popular with my customers,” said Lauren Johnson. “One of the most important things to my buyers is finding a home that fits their unique style, and the variety in structures in East Austin provides that. One of the other important things for my buyers is a high Walk Score, and this neighborhood is full of interesting shops, bars, restaurants, stores and public spaces in close proximity to the quiet residential streets.”

9. Neartown/Montrose, Houston – Walk Score 80

Neartown/Montrose is one of Houston’s older, more colorful neighborhoods. You’ll find a mix of home styles from ultra-modern to 1920s craftsman, and a mix of residents to match. Young professionals working downtown can live in Neartown/Montrose and manage an easy commute, students attending the University of St. Thomas are within striking distance of campus and golfers are a short drive from Hermann Park Golf Course.

“Everything you need is really within walking distance here,” said Irma Jalifi. “There are several parks, including dog parks, all along the Buffalo Bayou Trail, fun restaurants and bars on and just off of Westheimer Road, and a plethora of boutiques, shops and convenience stores scattered throughout. This is also one of Houston’s more laid-back neighborhoods — the quiet streets make it feel very far from the noise and activity of downtown, yet it’s just a short commute away.”

10. Virginia, El Paso – Walk Score 78

The Virginia neighborhood of El Paso isn’t known for its bustling night life or active daytime scene, but it is still a highly walkable neighborhood for its 1,100 residents. Running along the north border of I-10, Virginia is a narrow strip (just two blocks wide) of older homes and the occasional mom-and-pop shop. Locals can get most of their shopping done within walking distance, and are just a short distance from businesses and attractions downtown.

“Residents on the southwestern end of the Virginia neighborhood are just a short walk away from some of downtown’s main attractions, like the convention center, the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art, while residents on the northeastern side are within walking distance to El Paso High School, Tom Lea Park and the city’s main hospitals,” said Redfin agent Maggie Garcia. “If you want to live in quiet residential neighborhood that also has access to the more lively areas of town, Virginia is a good bet.”

Walk Score Methodology: Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities to determine a neighborhood’s Walk Score, which is a number between 0 and 100.  Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk. Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density.


Redfin Presents Opportunity Score at White House Open Data Event

Reposted from

Today, Redfin joins with the White House to announce Opportunity Score, a data-driven tool based on Walk Score®that will help Americans find housing with easy access to jobs. Watch the Expanding Opportunity with Open Data event here.

We’re excited to participate and talk about Redfin’s Opportunity Score, which we’re designing to help Americans find a house or apartment within a 30-minute commute of work, even for someone who doesn’t own a car.

Today’s event is the culmination of a fast-paced, collaborative hackathon launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Participants included developers, data scientists and engineers from the private and non-profit sectors as well as subject-matter experts across a variety of disciplines. Redfin’s Eric Scharnhorst led Opportunity Score’s design based on Walk Score infrastructure.

“We applaud the administration for bringing the technology community to the table to talk about economic mobility in America,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said. “We’re hopeful that Opportunity Score and other tools born of this initiative can help people make informed decisions about where they live and give more families the opportunity to thrive.”

Economic mobility isn’t always determined by skill, education or luck. Your ZIP code can play a role, too. Opportunity Score identifies neighborhoods within a 30-minute walk, bike ride or transit trip to employment centers where jobs pay $40,000 a year or more.

The tool includes information about the price of housing. Combining White House opportunity data, Redfin data on home sales and rentals, and mobility data from Walk Score and Transit Score, Opportunity Score can pinpoint housing within easy reach of job centers or opportunities for employment within easy reach of home.

“Affordability is a growing challenge, one we see first hand as a real estate brokerage helping people buy and sell homes,” Richardson said. “But the price of a home or the cost of rent is only part of the equation. People want a home where they can have a reasonable commute to work, participate in the community and access opportunities that can provide a better future for their children.”

Opportunity Score is still in development as we build our prototype to scale. Watch this space for updates or to learn more.

At Redfin, we’re passionate about harnessing data and embracing technology to educate consumers and make buying and selling a home easier. We measure homebuyer demand, pinpoint the best day to market a home, and predict which houses will sell quickly, information that helps our customers and informs the broader housing market.

Opportunity Score will join our existing arsenal of tools, including Walk Score and Transit Score, to empower the public and help people understand what it’s like to live in a particular neighborhood. Combined, these tools can help people make choices that can have great impact on quality of life and long-term outcomes for their families.

When the government and private sector join forces to harness and mine big data, we can build great things.


Why You Should Buy the Cheapest Home on the Best Block

Reposted from

I bet you think buying an affordable city home requires a sacrifice: the neighborhood will have a low Walk Score and the highly rated schools will be out of reach.

Not necessarily. Some affordable homes are in city neighborhoods near highly rated schools and within walking distance to everyday amenities. But there’s a catch. To find them, you’ll need to search in neighborhoods that have plenty of expensive homes in them, too.

Here’s why: neighborhoods with a mix of home prices are three times more likely to be walkable and have highly rated schools than are purely affordable neighborhoods.

Even when compared with purely high-end neighborhoods, home to the highest-rated schools, neighborhoods with a mix of home prices are the most likely to have it all: a high Walk Score and schools with above-average ratings.

Median Walk Score, GreatSchools Ranking for Different Types of Neighborhoods

Neighborhood Home Price Mix Median Neighborhood Walk Score Median Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable 54 4.1
Balanced-Mix 70 5.1
High-End 57 6.9

The problem is that areas with a balanced mix of home prices cover just 13 percent of major U.S. cities. We looked at the 20 most populous cities Redfin serves and identified these neighborhoods in the fall because communities with a wide range of incomes, and by association, home prices, give families a better shot at getting ahead.

But are these actually the kinds of places where most people would want to live? After affordability, homebuyers’ top two demands are good schools and walkability. So we ranked the 170 balanced-mix and affordable neighborhoods by their Walk Scores and GreatSchools school ratings and found that only 24, or 14 percent, actually meet those common demands. Here they are:

Top 24 Affordable and Balanced Mix Neighborhoods Ranked by Walk Score and GreatSchools Score

Rank Neighborhood Home Price Mix Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
1 University District, Seattle Balanced 91 7.8
2 West End, Washington, DC Balanced 95 6.5
3 Adams Morgan / Kalorama Heights / Lanier Heights, Washington, DC Balanced 94 6.5
4 Queen Anne, Seattle Balanced 80 7.4
5 Ravenna, Seattle Balanced 74 7.7
6 Rosedale, Austin Balanced 69 8.1
7 International District, Seattle Affordable 97 5.2
8 Columbia Heights, Washington, DC Balanced 93 5.5
9 Fulton River District, Chicago Balanced 92 5.2
10 Hillcrest, San Diego Balanced 80 6.3
11 Banker’s Hill San Diego Balanced 84 5.8
12 Zilker, Austin Balanced 64 7.6
13 Westmoreland / Montrose, Houston Balanced 83 5.6
14 Platt Park, Denver Balanced 75 6.3
15 Eastlake, Seattle Balanced 69 6.8
16 Windsor Square, Phoenix Balanced 74 6.2
17 Victory Heights, Seattle Affordable 64 7.0
18 Rolando / SDSU, San Diego Affordable 74 5.9
19 Columbia City, Seattle Affordable 80 5.2
20 Bouldin Creek, Austin Balanced 75 5.4
21 West Highland, Denver Balanced 74 5.1
22 Highland, Austin Affordable 63 6.1
23 El Cerrito, San Diego Affordable 65 5.8
24 Schorsch Village, Chicago Affordable 68 5.2

Only eight of the original 20 cities from our last report have a neighborhood on the list. Not a single neighborhood in Boston made the cut, even though Boston topped the list in our last report for having the most area covered by a balanced mix of home prices. These neighborhoods are walkable, but the schools have below-average ratings.

So, what’s going on here? There just aren’t enough of these kinds of neighborhoods for everyone who’s looking for an affordable home. It’s one reason we’re asking policymakers to loosen restrictions on building in Seattle and other cities so that more integrated housing can be developed and more people can live in these types of neighborhoods.

Take Los Angeles, for example.

“Homebuyers have to pay a significant premium to live in a neighborhood with highly rated schools and amenities,” said Redfin agent Nikki Kilmer. “Although there are technically some neighborhoods in L.A. that could be considered affordable, there’s not much demand to live in those areas.”

If you are looking for an affordable home, your instinct might be to search in affordable neighborhoods. But if you also want highly rated schools and a high Walk Score, look for the least-expensive home in one of the mixed-priced neighborhoods on this list. This is a lot like grandpa’s strategy to make a safe real estate investment, “buy the cheapest home on the best block.”

Check out the table below to see how the affordable and mixed-price neighborhoods in your city stack up in terms of walkability and school scores. Click here to download a spreadsheet complete with the Walk Score, average GreatSchools rating and median sale price for each neighborhood analyzed in this report series.

The Top Affordable and Balanced Mix Neighborhoods in 20 Cities by Walk Score and GreatSchools Ranking

Austin Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Highland 63 6.1
Balanced Mix Rosedale 69 8.1
Baltimore Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Brewer’s Hill 90 1.8
Balanced Mix Otterbein 90 1.7
Boston Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Jones Hill /
Uphams Corner
85 3.6
Balanced Mix Hyde
88 3.6
Chicago Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Schorsch
68 5.2
Balanced Mix Fulton River District 92 5.5
Columbus Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Misty Meadows 48 7.9
Balanced Mix German Village 86 1.9
Denver Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Score
Affordable Cole 75 3
Balanced Mix Platt Park 75 6.3
Detroit Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Sherwood Forest 68 4.1
Balanced Mix South
University Village
92 4.4
Houston Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood Greatschools Rating
Affordable Sagemont 39 6
Balanced Mix Westmoreland 83 5.6
Indianapolis Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Augusta
42 4.5
Balanced Mix Downtown Indianapolis 76 4.9
Jacksonville Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Southwood 36 5.2
Balanced Mix Isle of
17 6.4
Los Angeles Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable South Los Angeles 68 4.1
Balanced Mix
Memphis Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Binghampton-Lester 55 4
Balanced Mix Central
60 4
Philadelphia Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Castor Gardens 77 3.7
Balanced Mix Olde City 97 4.6
Phoenix Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Estrella Northwest 42 6
Balanced Mix Kierland 52 9.1
San Antonio Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Timber Ridge 39 5.4
Balanced Mix Alamo Plaza 79 4.7
San Diego Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Rolando 74 5.9
Balanced Mix Hillcrest 80 6.3
San Francisco Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Hunters Point 43 5.4
Balanced Mix Visitacion
62 5.2
San Jose Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Downtown 82 4.2
Balanced Mix
Seattle Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable International District 97 5.2
Balanced Mix University District 91 7.8
Washington, D.C. Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Lamond-Riggs 70 4.4
Balanced Mix West End 95 6.5

Method and Data
We used home sale price data from Redfin from July 2013 through June 2015. City-specific median family income came from the 2014 one-year American Community Survey.

To define affordability in each city, we kept it simple: A home was considered affordable if 28 percent of the local median family income could cover the monthly mortgage and principal payment, assuming the buyer put 20 percent down and took out a 30-year loan with a four percent interest rate. Homes with sale prices 20 percent above that threshold were considered expensive.

To get the price mix of different areas, we summarized the price of recently sold homes in a 500-meter grid. Affordable areas had at least three affordable homes for every expensive home. Areas with a balanced mix of home prices had a ratio of affordable to expensive homes between 0.33 and 3.0. High-end areas had at least three expensive homes for every affordable home.

We considered a neighborhood “walkable” if it had a Walk Score of 60 or higher. Read more about the Walk Score methodology here. An above average GreatSchools score meant 5 or above. Read more about the GreatSchools methodology here.


New York Ranks Best City for Public Transit in 2016


Transit Score Now Available for 350 U.S. Cities and More Than 10,000 Neighborhoods Across the Country

New York is the best city for public transit in the U.S., according to the 2016 Transit Score ranking. New York’s Transit Score increased 2.9 points to 84.1 from 81.2 in the last published ranking in 2014. We describe an address, neighborhood or city with a Transit Score of between 70 and 89 as having excellent transit, and a place scoring between 90 and 100 as a “rider’s paradise.”

In September, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) celebrated the first addition to New York City’s subway system in 26 years with the extension of the 7 line to the new 34th St.-Hudson Yards Station, connecting riders to the Javits Center, the High Line, the Hudson River Park and surrounding commercial and residential developments.

Below is a ranking of the top 10 U.S. cities (with populations of more than 300,000) for public transit.

Rank City Transit Score
1 New York, NY 84.1
2 San Francisco, CA 80.4
3 Boston, MA 74.4
4 Washington, DC 70.6
5 Philadelphia, PA 66.8
6 Chicago, IL 64.7
7 Miami, FL 59.4
8 Baltimore, MD 57.8
9 Minneapolis, MN 57.5
10 Seattle, WA 57.0

“Urban dwellers today want convenience,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “Particularly in congested urban areas, a car may be the slowest way to get around the city. Homes near bus and subway lines tend to have higher values that hold up even during housing downturns. The fact that many cities are also investing in alternative forms of transit, like bike share, indicates how highly prized access to transit is by their residents.”

With the addition of 130 new U.S. cities and more than 3,000 new neighborhoods, Transit Score ratings are now available for 350 cities and more than 10,000  neighborhoods. Among the newly added cities are big ones like Phoenix (32.2) and Detroit (37.9), as well as smaller cities with big Transit Score ratings like Union City, NJ (80.2) and State College, PA (63.7). For a full ranking of U.S. cities by Transit Score, click here.

“After schools, access to public transportation is what New Jersey homebuyers ask about most frequently,” said Nick Boniakowski, Redfin market manager. “We spend a lot of time with our clients researching nearby bus and rail routes and stops, so being able to easily see that Union City, for example, has a higher Transit Score than pricier Jersey City (70) gives buyers another easy way to compare and evaluate homes, neighborhoods and cities.”

None of the cities on the list score in the rider’s paradise range, from 90 to 100. However, individual neighborhoods in many cities are riders’ paradises, like Boston’s Bay Village (100), Philadelphia’s Logan Square (100), The Loop (99.1) in Chicago and Belltown (98.1) in Seattle. Some cities that didn’t make the top 10 list are home to riders’ paradises, including downtown Pittsburgh (97.1), Old Town Chinatown (92.2) in Portland, OR and downtown Houston (92.8).

Old Town Chinatown has basically every kind of public transportation imaginable, including a streetcar that zips around town (and is free of charge), the MAX light rail, a high-speed train that connects to a variety of suburbs and the airport, as well as a new Greyhound bus line and the Amtrak station,” said Redfin agent Megan Ronning. “Homebuyers in the greater Portland area are very drawn to the accessibility of its downtown neighborhoods and even the surrounding suburbs.”

To see how your home, neighborhood or city stacks up, search or

The Transit Score algorithm calculates a score by summing the relative usefulness of public transit (bus, subway, light rail, ferry, etc.) routes near a given location. Usefulness is defined as the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route (with twice as much weight given to heavy/light rail than to bus service). Transit Score is based on data published in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format by transit agencies across the country. For a more details on the Transit Score methodology, click here.


The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Minneapolis

Minnesotans love the great outdoors, summer and winter. Minneapolis is no different, with bike trails, lakes and parks that can be enjoyed year-round. But what are the most walkable neighborhoods in Minneapolis? After all, walking to do errands and meet friends is one of the best (and easiest) ways to get under-the-radar exercise. We put together a list of Minneapolis’s most walkable ‘hoods and asked our friends at Redfin for the inside scoop on each one.

1. Lyn-Lake – Walk Score 94

Via Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

Image Via Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons

A business district anchored by Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street, Lyn-Lake is centrally located for those interested in its eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and bars; it’s also very near other Minneapolis neighborhoods in the top 10, including Lowry Hill East and Uptown.

It’s also bike-friendly with a Bike Score of 96. “Residents have access to the Midtown Greenway, a fantastic walking and biking trail, that can quickly take you to the lakes and the Midtown Market,” said Redfin real estate agent James Garry.

2. Downtown West – Walk Score 92

One of the primary beneficiaries of Minneapolis’s downtown renaissance, this is what most Minneapolitans think of when they think of downtown. Lucky residents can often walk to work, when they’re not busy enjoying the parks along the Mississippi River, or using the skyways to keep out of the cold.

Downtown Minneapolis, as seen from the Warehouse District. Via Gomattolsen / Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Minneapolis, as seen from the Warehouse District. Image via Gomattolsen/Wikimedia Commons

That said, it’s not for everyone; as befitting the density of a center of commerce, you’ll need to live in a condo to live there. “Options range from a $2.999M 2-bedroom penthouse, all the way down to a more typical 2-bed, 2-bath condo for a little over $200k,” said Redfin real estate agent James Garry.

3. Lowry Hill East – Walk Score 92

Served by several grocery stores, including the iconic Wedge Co-op, within blocks of the Lake of the Isles, and bordered by the commercial hub of Hennepin Avenue South, Lowry Hill East is a mix of single family homes and small condo buildings.

The result is a residential feel. “What draws people to Lowry Hill East is the duality: you can live on a quiet, tree-lined street, yet be steps away from some of the city’s restaurants and nightlife,” said Redfin real estate agent Chris Prescott.

4. Uptown – Walk Score 91

Subject to a condo-building boom over the past decade, there’s no longer any doubt that Uptown is one of the hippest places in the Twin Cities. With the Uptown Theater, Calhoun Square and Chino Latino all right there, the neighborhood shines for those who love nightlight.

However, it also doesn’t skimp on the practicalities with two groceries, Cub Foods and Lunds, one on either end of the neighborhood. And it’s right by Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun, as well as the Midtown Greenway . “Uptown also offers great outdoors opportunities,” said Redfin real estate agent James Garry.

5. Loring Park – Walk Score 89

Radiating from the eponymous Loring Park, this neighborhood is home to the Minneapolis Community & Technical College and the Minneapolis Convention Center, making it a hub of activity. Adjacent to the Walker Art Center on the west, and downtown on the east, residents don’t lack things to do – and many can walk to work.

“Homebuyers looking in the neighborhood will find mostly condos and townhomes,” said Redfin real estate agent James Garry, “while renters will find mostly high-rise opportunities.”

6. Nicollet Island – East Bank – Walk Score 88

View of Mississippi River from Nicollet Island Park, via Angelainmpls/Wikimeddia Commons

View of Mississippi River from Nicollet Island Park, Image via Angelainmpls/Wikimedia Commons

For those who love being along the river, this is the perfect neighborhood. If you’re fortunate enough to live on the island itself, you’ll find an oasis of calm in an oft-overlooked piece of land. On the east bank, there’s the beautiful St. Anthony Main, which includes a strolling promenade, restaurants and a movie theater. And in either place, you’ll only be a hop, skip and a jump away from the happening scene along 1st Avenue NE and Hennepin. Surdyck’s, anyone?

7. Stevens Square – Walk Score 88

Directly south of I-94, Stevens Square is a walkable neighborhood between walkable neighborhoods. With lots of early 20th century buildings, renters and buyers alike will find august, well-crafted residences, in a neighborhood that boasts more than its fair share of restaurants, groceries and hardware stores.

8. Whittier – Walk Score 88

Home of the famous “Eat Street” on Nicollet Avenue, residents of Whittier never lack restaurant options. Nor are they lacking in culture, with the world-class (and always free) Minneapolis Institute of the Arts anchoring the neighborhood.

“For homebuyers, there are deals to be had in Whittier,” said Redfin real estate agent James Garry. “Prices are a touch lower than some surrounding neighborhoods, but you still have great amenities and proximity to downtown.”

9. East Isles – Walk Score 87

Directly on Lake of the Isles, this neighborhood is known for its stately mansions. Almost exclusively composed of single family homes, it abuts busier Uptown and Lowry Hill East.

“Home prices might seem high, but the value is there,” said Redfin real estate agent Chris Prescott. “You have the lake almost in your front yard, yet you’re near everything that’s happening along Hennepin Avenue. There’s also a skating rink on Lake of the Isles in the winter, a plus for people of all ages and, of course, hockey enthusiasts.”

10. North Loop – Walk Score 85

Residents are within blocks of Target Field and Target Center, making this neighborhood a sports lover’s paradise. “The North Loop has really taken off,” said Redfin agent James Garry, “Buyers will find lots of loft conversions, as well as a few townhomes right on the river. It’s also well-located for samplers of the Twin Cities’ high-end restaurant scene, so it’s a foodie’s delight.”

Wondering how your neighborhood stacks up? Click here for a full ranking of Minneapolis’s neighborhoods, or enter your address to get the Walk Score for your home.

Image via: Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons

Chicago’s 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods

Food-wise, Chicago is known for deep dish pizza, hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Delicious, but not-so-healthy fare. Fortunately, some of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods are also very high on walkability, meaning it’s easy to walk to your favorite restaurants – and there will be plenty to do afterward if you choose to walk off your heavy meal.

Using Walk Score, Redfin put together a list of Chicago’s 10 most walkable neighborhoods and asked their real estate agents for the inside scoop.

1. West Loop – Walk Score 96

It doesn’t get much hotter than the West Loop, with its trendy Restaurant Row, hip bars and plenty of grocery stores. Shoppers have their choice between specialty, organic and conventional grocers, and with Google’s Chicago campus moving in, there will soon also be the opportunity to walk to work.

Throw in a transit score of 100, and you have a neighborhood where owning a car is definitely optional. Though, buying in may be tough: homes for sale stayed on the market only 9 days, fastest in the city. “A well-priced home here won’t last long and will often have multiple offers,” said Redfin real estate agent Alex Haried.

2. Near North Side – Walk Score 96

This is a classic walkable Chicago neighborhood, composed of several smaller hoods, notably River North, Streeterville and the Gold Coast. “One of the things that my clients love about searching for a home in River North is that most of them will get to walk to work in the Loop,” said Redfin agent Jenn Kim. “You’re within 15 minutes walking of almost anything – the business district, the shopping district, grocery stores, bars and restaurants and even the Chicago Water Taxi.”

3. East Village – Walk Score 96

This neighborhood’s restaurant and retail offerings have increased over the last several years, most notably along Chicago Avenue, which is quickly becoming one of the hippest areas to spend a night on the town. People are noticing. “Buyers now covet the East Village,” said Redfin agent Al Medina.  “Prices have caught up to the more well-known Wicker Park, and we’re seeing lots of sales here.”

4. Wicker Park – Walk Score 94


Image via: Thshriver/Wikimedia Commons

Once a bohemia that nurtured the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt and Liz Phair, Wicker Park has long since become one of Chicago’s most well-known and mainstream-trendy neighborhoods. Featuring numerous brunch spots, well-maintained vintage greystones and plenty of over-trendy condos, residents will find a weekly farmer’s market, plenty of shopping, bars and restaurants.

5. Lincoln Park – Walk Score 94

Adjacent to the well-known park of the same name, Lincoln Park features high-rises with spectacular views of Lake Michigan to the east, and historic, late 1800s brick row homes to the west of the neighborhood. Residents also have access to plenty of green space, the El’s Brown and Red lines, and nightlife along Lincoln Avenue.

With a median home price of nearly half a million, Lincoln Park is the city’s third most-expensive neighborhood – but those who live there get a lot.

6. Noble Square – Walk Score 94

One of the city’s lesser-known neighborhoods, Noble Square benefits from the popularity of nearby Wicker Park and East Village. “Noble Square is seeing a lot of new construction, as developers take advantage of the neighborhood’s burgeoning popularity and its in-fill possibilities,” said Redfin real estate agent Al Medina. “Historically it had been priced at a discount compared to its neighbors, but that’s changing in many areas.”

Touching upon sections of commercial corridors along Milwaukee, Chicago and Grand Avenues, Noble Square offers a cross-section of area nightlife, easy access to the expressway and the Blue line.

7. The Loop – Walk Score 93

Contrary to popular belief, many people live in the Loop. Approximately 14,000, in fact. With spectacular views, luxury penthouses and easy access to the Art Institute, Millennium Park, and a variety of high-quality restaurants, living among skyscrapers has its benefits.

“The convenience of living in the Loop can’t be beat. Most buildings have doormen and luxury amenities, which appeals to buyers who value concierge services and a high-end touch,” said Redfin real estate agent Jacqueline Colando.

8. Ukrainian Village – Walk Score 93


Image via: Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons

Known for its relaxed residential character, Ukrainian Village is well-located for walkability: next to Wicker Park and East Village, the neighborhood also has its share of restaurants along Division and Chicago Avenues, as well as a Mariano’s grocery.

However, as walkable as it is, Ukrainian Village has a transit score of only 69, the lowest of any neighborhood on the list – it’s also the only neighborhood without at least one El stop. “More people who live here rely on a vehicle,” said Redfin real estate agent Al Medina, “but the neighborhood does have great bus routes.”

9. Fulton River District – Walk Score 92

Once a center of industry and shipping, the Fulton River District is growing in popularity. “Buyers here will find a combination of new construction condo buildings and converted lofts and warehouses,” said Redfin real estate agent Niko Voutsinas.

Served by three El lines, the Ogilvy Transportation Center, and near to River North, the West Loop and the Loop, it’s very well-located. A growing bar and restaurant scene makes it even more walkable for residents, plus there’s always cocoa wafting through the air, thanks to the Blommer Chocolate Factory.

10. South Loop – Walk Score 91

At the heart of a high-rise building boom, expect the South Loop to get even more walkable in the next ten years, as more retail and food options come to a neighborhood already near the lakefront, museums, Millennium Park, Soldier Field and downtown.

“After being hard-hit by the real estate crash in the late 2000s, the South Loop is once again the focus of increased development,” said Redfin real estate agent Jenn Kim. “With its dense urban environment, and close proximity to downtown, it’s once again top-of-mind for buyers who want an easy commute to work.”


Top Ten Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Richmond

This summer, Redfin named Richmond a Top 10 Most Walkable Mid-Sized City of 2015. Take a look at the specific neighborhoods that helped Richmond earn its spot and get the scoop on the local real estate market from Redfin agent Warren Teller. “Many areas in Richmond are best explored on foot thanks to the city’s historic architecture, tree-lined avenues and local businesses and shops, he said. “In the last decade or so, there has been a resurgence of interest in Richmond’s downtown neighborhoods. Once-neglected areas have seen new interest and investment, in part because more homebuyers want walkability and a more urban lifestyle.”

Here’s a look at the Richmond neighborhoods with the highest Walk Scores:

1. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)  – Walk Score 93

“It’s no surprise there are a lot of people on foot on and around the campus of VCU,” says Teller. “More than 30,000 students attend VCU, so the area is always abuzz with activity.”

Walk Score considers the neighborhood a Walker’s Paradise and estimates that the average resident can walk to an average of 24 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in five minutes. “In terms of housing, the area has mostly rental options, though there are a few condo buildings in the VCU neighborhood with a median sale price a little over $250,000,” Teller explains.

2. Monroe Ward – Walk Score 93  

Monroe Ward is in the heart of Richmond’s historic downtown, tucked between the VCU’s Monroe Park campus and medical campus.  “The area is known for its boutique apartment and condo buildings, many of which have been well preserved,” says Teller. Monroe Ward is home to the famous Jefferson Hotel. Even if you aren’t staying there, Teller says it’s worth taking a look in the lobby. Check out the homes for sale in the Monroe Ward on Redfin.

Photo: Morgan Riley, Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Morgan Riley, Wikimedia Commons

3. Carytown – Walk Score 92

“Carytown is characterized by the eclectic mix of restaurants, boutiques and independently owned businesses along Cary Street,” says Teller. Residents enjoy having great local establishments within walking distance and quick access to Byrd Park. The local residents and businesses organize street fairs, concerts and other activities for the community. “The homes in Carytown are a mix of townhomes, single family homes and condos. Most Carytown properties were built between 1910 and 1930, so they have historic character,” says Teller.

4. Carver – Walk Score 91

“Carver is a historic neighborhood bordering the VCU campus characterized by  townhomes along tree-lined streets with a variety of bars, restaurants and coffee shops, including the popular Sugar Shack Donuts, nearby,” says Teller. “The median sale price for homes in Carver is $210,000 and with close proximity to VCU, the opportunity to easily rent out properties to students is a big draw for buyers and investors.”

5. Jackson Ward – Walk Score 91

Jackson Ward is rich in history and culture and has been designated a historic district by the National Park Service. The neighborhood was a significant center of African American culture and business in Richmond and nationally in the post-Civil War period, and is now home to the Black History Museum.

The National Park Service also notes the “large collection of historic cast iron porches that constitute some of Richmond’s great architectural treasures,” notably on Clay Street and East Leigh Street. “Porches with ornate iron railings, many two stories, are quintessential Richmond. Original iron work is a definite draw for buyers,” says Teller. “In addition to historic homes, Jackson Ward offers a vibrant and artsy scene, with many galleries and studios, as well as public art and colorful murals.” The city hosts RVA First Fridays to promote and celebrate the local art scene.

6. The Fan – Walk Score 89

“The Fan includes many beautiful historic homes, including some truly grand properties along Monument Avenue, which have been home to many wealthy and famous residents in the city’s history. Beyond the architecture, it remains and widely coveted neighborhood today thanks to the walkable lifestyle it offers.” The median sale price for homes in The Fan is approximately $475,000, above the city-wide median sale price of $382,000.  


Photo: Smash the Iron Cage, Wikimedia Commons

7. Shockoe Bottom – Walk Score 87

“Shockoe Bottom is located along the James River and has seen a lot of residential development in recent years. Old industrial buildings and warehouses have been converted into new condos and apartments, many boasting great river views. The area has a commercial vibe, with a variety of restaurants, bars, offices and retail stores,” says Teller. “Most of the residential properties in Shockoe Bottom are condos.”

8. The Museum District – Walk Score 86

“The Museum District, sometimes referred to as The Upper Fan or West of the Boulevard, is named for the museums along its border, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Historical Society. The quaint, old homes and leafy streets make it a pleasant place to stroll.” explains Teller. The average Museum District resident lives within a five-minute walk of six different restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

9. Shockoe Slip – Walk Score 82

Like neighboring Shockoe Bottom, Shockoe Slip is located on the James River and is known for historic commercial buildings, many of which have been redeveloped and converted into residential and office spaces. “It’s definitely possible to walk from your home to a job downtown,” says Teller. The median sale price for homes in Shockoe Slip is $299,000.  

10. Church Hill – Walk Score 80

Church Hill is in the East End of Richmond. It is named for St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is where Patrick Henry delivered his famous, “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. “The area is populated with historic homes and peppered with coffee shops, bars and restaurants. There are a number of recently completed and planned residential and retail development projects in the neighborhood as well,” says Teller.

Rounding out the top 15 most walkable neighborhoods are:

  1. Oregon Hill – Walk Score 73
  2. Union Hill – Walk Score 73
  3. Manchester – Walk Score 73
  4. Fairmount – Walks Score 69
  5. Blackwell - Walk Score 68

Wondering how your neighborhood stacks up? Click here for a full ranking of Richmond’s neighborhoods, or enter your address to get the Walk Score for your home.

Minneapolis Tops San Francisco, Portland as Most Bikeable City of 2015

Bike Score Now Available for More Than 150 U.S. Cities

Minneapolis is the most bikeable city in the U.S. in 2015. With a Bike Score of 81.3, Minneapolis has a strong lead over San Francisco (75.1) and Portland (72.0).

In celebration of National Bike Month, we’ve updated and expanded our Bike Score ranking to a total of 154 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods. Below we rank the 20 most bikeable cities with populations of 300,000 or more.

Bike Score Ranking of Large U.S. Cities

Rank City Bike Score
1 Minneapolis, MN 81.3
2 San Francisco, CA 75.1
3 Portland, OR 72.0
4 Denver, CO 71.3
5 Boston, MA 70.3
6 Chicago, IL 70.2
7 Washington, D.C. 69.5
8 Sacramento, CA 68.9
9 Tucson, AZ 67.9
10 Philadelphia, PA 67.5
11 Long Beach, CA 66.4
12 New York, NY 65.1
13 Seattle, WA 63.0
14 Oakland, CA 60.9
15 Aurora, CO 60.8
16 New Orleans, LA 60.1
17 Miami, FL 59.7
18 Albuquerque, NM 59.6
19 Mesa, AZ 58.5
20 Santa Ana, CA 57.1

“Biking is central to the healthy Minneapolis lifestyle and to a lot of people’s decisions about where to live in and around the city,” said James Garry, a Redfin agent and avid biker in Minneapolis. “In the past year, several of my clients have chosen to buy smaller houses in South Minneapolis rather than larger, similarly priced ones in the suburbs, simply so they could bike to work during the week and around Lake Harriet on weekends.”

Most Bikeable Cities of 2015

More Bike Scores!

A handful of smaller cities didn’t make the list but deserve recognition. All college towns, they boast some of the country’s highest Bike Scores:

Bike Score’s expansion means people now will be able to search for bikeable places to live (and visit) in more than 30 new cities, including Providence, RI (66.9), Baltimore (56.1), Detroit (55.0) and Fort Lauderdale (53.6). Many thanks to the local government officials in the newly added cities for providing the data used to compute the scores.

Better Infrastructure, Better Bike Scores

Thanks to investments in infrastructure such as protected bike lanes and networks of bike paths, several cities saw big increases in their Bike Scores since the 2013 ranking. On average, cities that ranked in the top 20 saw an increase of more than two Bike Score points. Chicago’s Bike Score increased by almost nine full points, from 61.5 in 2013 to 70.2 today. In the past two years, the Chicago Department of Transportation has launched and grown the Divvy bike share system and expanded its on-street bike network to include more than 225 miles of bike lanes and routes. Expect the city’s score to climb in the next five years as Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 includes completion of a 645-mile network of on-street bikeways by 2020. Many Chicagoans are already considering bike-friendliness when choosing a place to live.

“Many of my clients don’t own cars,” said Clayton Jirak, a Redfin agent and cycling proponent in Chicago. “They search for condo buildings with dedicated, secure bike rooms in proximity to bike lanes and major trails around Chicago. Our diverse transportation options have made Chicagoans less auto-centric and created a more bike-friendly city.”

In San Francisco too, cyclists have seen more protected bike lanes added over the past couple years, reflected in a five-point Bike Score increase from 70.0 in 2013 to 75.1 today. And there are more to come, as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) last month announced its commitment to start construction on more than 24 miles of bike infrastructure improvements.

Looking for a good place to ride a bike? Click here for our complete ranking of more than 150 cities and 10,000 neighborhoods. If you’re looking to move to a more bikeable place, Redfin offers Bike Score information about homes for sale across the U.S. Renters can search apartments by commute time on Walk Score and find places to live within an easy bike ride to work.

Bike Score measures whether a location is good and safe for biking on a scale from 0 – 100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle