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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.
|1||New York, NY||84.1|
|2||San Francisco, CA||80.4|
“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 walkscore.com or Redfin.com.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
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:
- Oregon Hill – Walk Score 73
- Union Hill – Walk Score 73
- Manchester – Walk Score 73
- Fairmount – Walks Score 69
- 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.
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
|2||San Francisco, CA||75.1|
|11||Long Beach, CA||66.4|
|12||New York, NY||65.1|
|16||New Orleans, LA||60.1|
|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.”
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:
- Cambridge, MA (92.8)
- Davis, CA (89.3)
- Berkeley, CA (88.8)
- Boulder, CO (86.2)
- Santa Cruz, CA (83.8), also a 2015 new addition to Bike Score
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
- Destinations and road connectivity
- Share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle
New York Ranks No. 1 and Increases Lead Over San Francisco; Revitalization is Pushing Detroit and New Orleans Up the Ranks
New York, the nation’s most walkable city, has increased its lead over No. 2 San Francisco in our 2015 ranking of the most walkable cities. The two cities essentially tied for first place in 2011. We ranked the most walkable U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000.
Walk Score Ranking of Large U.S. Cities
“New York is clearly leading the way in walkability by reclaiming space from cars for people,” said Matt Lerner, Walk Score co-founder. “One look at Times Square shows how New York has become a leader. It’s just one example of a place that went from being a gridlocked road full of cars to a park for pedestrians.”
Miami is becoming more walkable, with a Walk Score increase of more than three points since 2011, likely thanks to a surge of commercial development. New home construction has increased population density in some neighborhoods and made it easier for people to live, work and shop in the same part of town.
“People can now walk where they used to have to drive, especially in neighborhoods like Wynwood and the Design District where a lot of new restaurants and shopping and entertainment centers have opened up,” said Aaron Drucker, Redfin’s Miami market manager. “Even in traditionally walkable areas, like South Beach, public transportation is improving and becoming a more attractive option as parking rates and traffic are both on the rise.”
Detroit has seen a 2.2-point Walk Score increase since 2011 to 52.2 this year.
“Downtown Detroit has become noticeably more walkable over the past few years thanks to Dan Gilbert’s initiative to move his company, Quicken Loans, and others from the suburbs back to the heart of the city,” said Lauren Buttazzoni, Redfin market manager in Detroit. “Following these companies has come a slew of new restaurants, locally owned shops and small businesses. It’s not just millennials but families and people of all generations who want to live near work and enjoy the action and amenities of city living. As a result, real estate in the city is in great demand, new lofts and condos are being built, and prices–in rents and sales alike–are rising. It has all been a great boon for the motor city.”
New Orleans has changed, too, as the city continues to reinvent itself following Hurricane Katrina. The city is rebuilding with walkability in mind as it develops affordable housing and revitalizes commercial districts, which may have helped the city’s Walk Score increase from 55.6 in 2011 to 56.3 today.
To calculate the rankings, we analyzed over 10 million locations and computed more than 2 billion walking routes for 2,500 U.S. cities. For the second year in a row, the Walk Score ranking uses the Street Smart Walk Score algorithm that incorporates walking routes, depth of choice, pedestrian friendliness, population and neighborhood data. The changes in scores between the 2011 and 2015 rankings reflect changes in methodology (Classic Walk Score vs. Street Smart Walk Score) as well as changes in the cities themselves.
For the full ranking of America’s most walkable cities, click here. To see how your home fares in terms of walkability, get your score here. If you’re looking to buy, Redfin features Walk Score on listings of homes for sale. Renters can use Walk Score’s Apartment Search.
Living in a walkable neighborhood can save you a lot of money, particularly in savings on car costs. But with rents skyrocketing in many parts of the country, sometimes it feels like affordable rent and walkability go together like chocolate and salsa (hello, $4500 studio in San Francisco).
In the face of these sometimes dismal rent numbers, we decided to find the places in the country where you can live a walkable, urban lifestyle – affordably. To answer this question, we looked at Walk Score data, Cost of Living Index, and average rents for every major city in the country. And, in all of the cities listed below, there’s a nice selection of one bedroom apartments located in Walker’s Paradise neighborhoods (meaning a Walk Score of 90+) listed on our apartment search for $1000 or less. Take a look at our top 12 picks for affordable and walkable cities:
1. Buffalo, NY
Despite, the long, cold winters, this once-great industrial hub in western New York is home to a vibrant community of young professionals and students in walkable areas like Bryant and Front Park. Located where the Niagara River flows out of Lake Erie, Buffalo boasts great nightlife, an emerging dining scene, and neighborhoods with a strong sense of community.
Home of the Gateway Arch and the Cardinals, this Midwestern city boasts not only walkable neighborhoods and affordable rent, but also plenty of free activities. Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World’s Fair, houses a free zoo and world-class art museum. Walkable neighborhoods such as the revitalized Downtown, the Central West End, and the Delmar Loop offer a variety of apartments at affordable prices.
On the shores of Lake Ontario, Rochester brings together small-town charm with world-class culture. Even in the winter, when snow is high and temperatures are low, walkers can navigate downtown in the Rochester Skyway, a system of enclosed walkways. Residents, many of whom live in walkable neighborhoods like Pearl-Meigs-Monroe and Park Avenue, can also jump in a car share and head out for a day trip to the gorgeous Finger Lakes, a major wine-growing region.
4. Chicago, IL
Although the Windy City may not immediately seem like an affordable home, prices are well below those in comparable large US cities – we found tons of Walker’s Paradise apartments for less than $1000 a month, especially in neighborhoods like Lake View, Uptown, and Hyde Park. Chicago’s many walkable neighborhoods (seriously, there are 28 with a Walk Score of 90+) are connected by one of the country’s best public transit systems.
Famous as the center of the steel industry in the 19th century, Pittsburgh is located where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers join the Ohio River. Pittsburgh’s landscape is defined by waterways, hills, and bridges connecting walkable neighborhoods such as the Central Business District and the Southside Flats. A vibrant music scene, passionate Steelers fans, plentiful students, and a lively culinary scene come together in this surprisingly hip and liveable city.
One of the Twin Cities, together with nearby St. Paul, Minneapolis is known as the city of lakes. Although average rent is higher than some cities, there are plenty of affordable places to be found in Lowry Hill East, Whittier, and Loring Park, and with a bike score of 79, this city is the most bikeable city (with a population over 200,000) in the country.
Known for its breweries and its avid sports fans, Milwaukee sits on the Western coast of Lake Michigan. Locals flock to Brady Street on the Lower East Side for independent coffee houses and shopping, and foodies love the indoor Milwaukee Public Market in Juneau Town.
Yet another town on the Great Lakes that is both affordable and walkable, Cleveland is located on the shores of Lake Erie. The Downtown neighborhood is in the midst of a revival, making this a great place for urbanites on a budget.
This Maryland city may be near D.C., but Baltimore has a character all of its own. Home to the world renowned Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as the Baltimore Orioles, this city has something for everyone. Neighborhoods like Mount Vernon, Seton Hill, and Charles Village offer walkable and affordable apartments, and for those who love to live in a walkable city but still experience nature, Gwynns Falls Trail is an excellent example of an urban trail system.
10. Dallas, TX
Texas may not be known for a car-free lifestyle (and, to be fair, none of Texas’s main cities have an impressive overall Walk Score), but Dallas has a surprisingly walkable city center with plenty of affordable places to live around the Main Street District, the Farmers Market District, and the Government District.
11. Richmond, VA
First settled in 1607, Virginia’s capital city is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Now, residents can enjoy the historic Shockoe Bottom area and beautiful Edwardian architecture in The Fan district, as well as a quick walk to work at any of 60 public and private companies in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park.
12. Sacramento, CA
The hub of California politics, Sacramento is one city in the Sunny State where affordable rent isn’t out of the question. With beautiful weather year round, residents of Sacramento can enjoy affordable rent and a walkable lifestyle in neighborhoods like Boulevard Park and Mansion Flats. To top it off, they can jump in a car share and get to the Napa Valley or even Lake Tahoe in less than two hours.
Both these lovely cities are highly walkable and actually have a good number of apartments in our price range (under $1000 for a 1 bedroom in a Walker’s Paradise), but the overall high average cost of living index meant they got relegated to runners-up.
A food desert is a neighborhood without access to healthy food. Why does this matter? Living in a food desert can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease1.
Many cities are making access to healthy food part of their general plans. For example, Washington D.C.’s sustainability plan sets a goal of having 75% of residents within a 5 minute walk of healthy food.
But how many people can walk to a grocery store in 5 minutes?
The Best Cities for Food Access
Our ranking measures access to healthy food by calculating the percent of people in a city who can walk to a grocery store in 5 minutes. The ranking below includes U.S. cities with more than 500,000 residents.
The best cities for access to healthy food are:
|Rank||City||People with Food Access (5 min walk)|
The Worst Cities for Food Access
The following cities have the lowest percentage of people who can walk to a grocery store within 5 minutes:
|Rank||City||People with Food Access (5 min walk)|
Don’t See Your City? Urban planners and researchers, please contact us to unlock your city.
To calculate the percent of residents in a city with access to healthy food we use a variety of data sources and technologies. Our population data and city boundaries come from the U.S. Census. Our list of grocery stores comes from a mix of Google, Localeze, and places added via the Walk Score website. We calculated millions of walking routes for this ranking with our Travel Time API.
Our goal is to only include grocery stores that sell produce. We filter out convenience stores with a combination of algorithmic filters and crowdsourcing. That said, it’s harder than it sounds to get a clean list of grocery stores. If you see a convenience store miscategorized as a grocery store, please click the “Edit place” link and help us improve our data quality.
Our rankings are proximity based and do not include the cost of food. Some studies have shown that shoppers select supermarkets based on price as well as proximity2. For example, people with lower incomes may travel farther to shop at a cheaper grocery store.
Unlike other food desert maps, our maps are dynamic and updated in real-time as our database of underlying grocery stores changes.
Walk Score data is being used by a growing number of cities and planning districts. “The City of San Jose is using Walk Score data to start tracking performance metrics for our general plan such as how many people can walk to fresh food and parks,” said Joseph Horwedel, Deputy City Manager of San Jose.
Walk Score offers data in spreadsheet or shapefile format for every address in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. We have also aggregated our data for every city and ZIP code in the U.S.
Planners, researchers, and analysts are using Walk Score in a variety of ways:
- The City of San Jose is using Walk Score to measure access to fresh food and parks.
- The Michigan State Housing Development Authority is using Walk Score as part of their low-income housing tax credit application.
- The City of Toronto is using Walk Score as one of 15 criteria to measure healthy neighborhoods.
- The City of Phoenix is using Walk Score to analyze light rail station performance.
Contact us to learn more about using Walk Score data in your research and analysis and watch this video to learn more about Walk Score ChoiceMaps:
Following on our ranking of the best U.S. cities for public transit earlier this year, today we’re announcing our first ranking of the best Canadian cities for public transit.
We’ve calculated the Transit Score of 38 Canadian cities and almost 1,000 neighborhoods to help you find an apartment for rent or home for sale with a better commute and more transportation choices.
In comparison to the United States, Toronto and Montreal score better than any large U.S. city except New York and San Francisco. And Vancouver, with a Transit Score of 74, trounces nearby Seattle (our home town), with a Transit Score of 57.
The Best Large Canadian Cities for Public Transit
Here is our Transit Score ranking of Canadian cities with more than 500,000 residents:
Click on the cities in the list above to explore the best neighborhoods for public transit.
Transit Score Ranking Methodology
The rankings are based on our Transit Score algorithm, which measures how well a location is served by public transit. Addresses with a Transit Score of 90-100 are considered a “Rider’s Paradise.” Places with a score of 70–89 have Excellent Transit. Scores of 50–69 indicate places with Good Transit and ratings of 49 or lower indicate areas with Some or Minimal Transit options. Read the Transit Score methodology.
Find Apartments Near Public Transit
There’s growing evidence that living near good public transportation is a smart decision. For example, living near public transit can save you money. Transportation is the 2nd largest household expense in Canada. Taking public transit is cheaper than owning a car. And living near good public transit might just make you happier — after all, nobody likes being stuck in traffic.
Walk Score Apartment Search helps you find apartments near public transit. For example, here’s a map of rentals within a 30 minute public transit commute of Downtown Vancouver.
Take Walk Score on the Go