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The Ultimate Guide to Car-Free Travel: Best Cities to Visit in 2024

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By: KURU Footwear
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Summer’s here, and Americans are looking for their next vacation spot. Imagine visiting cities where you can easily walk everywhere or conveniently use public transit while seeing the sights and never worrying about parking!

To help you start planning your car-free vacation, we took the top 50 cities in the United States with the highest number of tourists and ranked them based on five factors. Our weighted scoring system considered the city’s walk score (out of 100), transportation score (out of 100), pedestrian deaths per 100K people in each state, average number of sunny days per city, and overall popularity among tourists.

If this type of vacation sounds refreshing, all you really need to make it happen is a good pair of walking shoes. At KURU Footwear, we care about your foot health so we design our shoes to provide the support you need for comfortable, all-day walking on vacation.

If you’re ready to ditch your car and explore on foot, check out our list of the top 10 walkable cities in the US for car-free travel!

The Top 10 Cities for a Car-Free Vacation in 2024

1. New York City

As the leading city for international tourists, New York City earned the top ranking in our analysis. Its impressive walk score of 88, transit score of 89, 107 sunny days annually, and low pedestrian death rate of 1.48 per 100,000 residents contribute to its top status. The city’s many hotels, restaurants, and famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Times Square further solidify its high rank as one of the most walkable towns in the US.

 

2. Boston

Boston follows with a walk score of 83 and a transit score of 72. Having 98 sunny days each year and a low pedestrian death rate of 1.06 per 100,000 people make Boston an easy #2 on our list. It’s also one of the top 9 US cities for international tourists in a year, so it’s already a popular travel destination. Adding to its appeal, Boston has a lively sports scene with prominent teams like the Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins—attracting fans worldwide.

 

3. Los Angeles

There’s a lot more to Los Angeles than just celebrities and palm trees! Sunny LA takes the third spot in our rankings with a walk score of 69 and a 53 transit score. It’s the fourth most popular city for tourists in a single year because there’s plenty to do there. With 147 sunny days every year, there’s an excellent chance the weather will be on your side as you explore on foot. Pack your swimsuit so you don’t miss out on LA’s 20 beautiful beaches, and be sure to make time for iconic attractions like the Hollywood Sign and Santa Monica Pier.

 

4. San Francisco

San Francisco—known for its Golden Gate Bridge and vibrant cultural scene—ranks fourth. It scores high on our list with a walk score of 89 and a transit score of 77, making it an excellent city to navigate by foot or public transit. Featuring an average of 160 sunny days annually, San Francisco offers more clear days than any other city on our list, allowing visitors to enjoy its numerous parks and scenic waterfronts almost year-round. Despite a pedestrian death rate of 2.82 per 100,000, its charm and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure make it a top pick for a car-free vacation.

 

5. Chicago

At #5 on our list, Chicago is famous for its stunning skyline and deep dish pizza. It has a walk score of 77 and a transit score of 65, making it easy to get around. Chicago gets 84 sunny days each year and has a low pedestrian death rate of 1.65 per 100,000, so you can expect your walks to be safe and enjoyable. Tourists flock to landmarks like Millennium Park and the Skydeck while also enjoying the legendary music scene. 

 

6. Washington, D.C.

Snagging the sixth position, Washington, D.C. is celebrated for its historic landmarks and world-renowned museums. The city impresses with an outstanding walk score of 98 and a flawless transit score of 100—the highest on our list. D.C.’s Metrorail is the second busiest transit service in the US and it’s used by over 600,000 people each day! Expect around 96 sunny days a year and a pedestrian death rate of 2.69 per 100,000 at our nation’s capital—one of the most walkable cities in the United States.

 

7. Miami

Ranked seventh, Miami earned a walk score of 77 and a transit score of 57. The city is recognized for its pristine beaches and expansive street art. Miami is also the only US city bordered by two national parks—Everglades and Biscayne—offering plenty of outdoor activities beyond its famous shores. Though Miami has just 74 sunny days each year and a pedestrian death rate of 3.75 per 100,000, it’s a great travel spot that’s easy to experience without a car.

 

8. Philadelphia

Philadelphia holds the eighth spot and it’s well deserved. It has a walk score of 75, a transit score of 67, about 93 sunny days per year, and a low pedestrian death rate of 1.36 per 100,000. These numbers show that Philadelphia offers a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for tourists. When navigating the city, you can use one of two major transit systems, both of which feature wheelchair-accessible buses with lifts and ramps—making Philadelphia one of the best vacation spots for handicapped seniors.

 

9. Minneapolis

Minneapolis, also known as the City of Lakes, ranks ninth. It has a walk score of 71 and a transit score of 55. Averaging 95 sunny days per year and the lowest pedestrian death rate on our list at 0.88 per 100,000, Minneapolis is a safe and scenic spot to travel on foot. Its 11-mile skyway system connects buildings to provide protection from weather and easy access to shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. You can also shop at Mall of America—one of the largest US shopping malls—and access over 500 stores and several other attractions.

 

10. Honolulu

Honolulu caps off our top ten, offering a blend of tropical paradise and peaceful vacation spots. With a walk score of 66 and a transit score of 56, the city is perfect for on-foot adventures. Enjoy 90 sunny days annually, warm temperatures year-round, and a pedestrian death rate of 1.73 per 100,000 while exploring Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, historic Pearl Harbor, and much more. 

Conclusion

In a world where we often rely on cars for convenience, traveling without one can be a refreshing change. It lets you explore cities at a slower, more relaxed pace and helps you connect more with your surroundings. You also won’t have to worry about the cost of renting a car, paying for gas, or the headache of finding a parking spot.

As you walk through the streets, parks, and world-famous sites of 2024’s best walkable cities US, you’ll find that each step brings a new discovery. So lace up your comfortable shoes, embrace the opportunity to travel differently, and enjoy the many benefits of a car-free vacation.

Methodology and Sources

To determine our ranking of the best cities for a car-free vacation across the United States across five key metrics. First, we took the top 50 cities in the USA with the most visitors in 2022. 

To determine the overall score, we assigned each city a score based on the following metrics, and then combined their scores to find a total out of 100 points.

  • Pedestrian Deaths by 100,000 People (more deaths = lower score) (30 points)
  • Number of Tourists in 2022 (30 points)
  • Walk Score (15 points)
  • Transit Score (15 points)
  • Clear Days per Year (10 points)

Sources:

  1. WalkScore
  2. International Trade Administration
  3. National Highway Traffic Administration
  4. CurrentResults
  5. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  6. RetireGuide

 

About Us

At KURU, we’re on a mission to help you Heel Better™ with footwear technology designed to relieve foot pain, so you can live a life you love. Since launching our innovative technology in 2008, we’ve received more than 35,000 five-star reviews from thousands of customers who tell us their KURU shoes helped them with conditions (such as plantar fasciitis) and got them back to doing what they love.

For all media inquiries, please contact us at pr@kurufootwear.com.