To highlight the great walking communities in these cities, we've outlined a few of the best walking routes in each of the top 3 cities.
Seattle, Washington is the most walkable city on our list. With more than 108,000 residents commuting on foot or by public transportation each day, the city has less than 10 pedestrian fatalities each year. Seattleites agree—96% of those surveyed reported feeling that the city is safe for pedestrians and 97% said that the city is proactive in ensuring pedestrian safety. Whether you choose to take a stroll to soak up stunning views of Mount Rainier and Puget Sound, or visit the many historic and arts-focused attractions, there's a little something for every walker.
- . Seattleites love the outdoors and art. So there's no better way to combine the two than a walk through the nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park off Western Avenue, where views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliott Bay are offset by massive whimsical sculptures from the Seattle Art Museum.
- . The 14-mile long Burke-Gilman Trail winds along Lake Union and Lake Washington. The southernmost end point, is a 19.1-acre public park built on the site of a decommissioned gasification plant—the ruins of which provide a delightfully quirky backdrop to a big hill popular for flying kites, and beautiful views.
- . Discovery Park is the largest park in the city. Few tourists are aware of the park, but Seattle residents love its 534-acre expanse, and the views from its Magnolia Bluff are some of the best in town. The park also offers tidal beaches, open meadows, sand dunes, and quiet, shady forest land.
Boston comes in at number two on our list. Boston's moderate size, and numerous bike and walking paths make it a great place for pedestrians—plus the city has made safety improvements like the installation of 195 traffic monitoring cameras, more than 3,600 public safety signs posted annually, and more than 90 city traffic signals retimed in 2013. Some of the best spots to walk in Boston include:
- . On the Boston side of the Charles River, which separates the city from Cambridge, is the Esplanade—a three-mile grassy park along the water. The Esplanade is a magnet for runners, bikers, dog owners and visitors looking to take a scenic stroll.
- . The Fenway area of Boston is known mostly for Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. But The Fenway Victory Gardens offer a beautiful green space for those who prefer to skip a home game and spend their days under a blossoming tree or in a rose garden.
- . Jamaica Pond is a freshwater pond with a 1.5-mile perimeter. Complete with a boathouse and a walking/running path that circles it, this integral piece of Boston's Emerald Necklace is a respite from traditional city living.
Washington, D.C. set an ambitious goal to reduce pedestrian and traffic-related accidents by 50% by 2025. Some of the initial improvements include new LED lights to brighten city streets and expanding the number of bike lanes each year. From the waterfront trails by the Potomac River to the grassy lawns of the National Mall, a stroll among the monuments and landmarks of Washington, D.C. offers a whole lot more than an opportunity for exercise.
- . The long, grassy lawn that lies between the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol just begs for a long walk. Venture past the Washington Monument and you'll happen upon the Lincoln Memorial and its always stunning reflecting pool. Lined on both sides by Smithsonian museums, the National Mall offers pedestrians over two miles of sightseeing.
- . Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Eastern Market is a public market famous for its food and crafts. Unlike a typical farmers market, Eastern Market is located in a 19th-century brick building. But in the warmer months, the fresh produce and food vendors spill out into the surrounding streets.
- . If you're looking for blocks and blocks of high-end boutiques, quaint cafes and adorable brownstones with perfectly landscaped gardens, then Georgetown is your destination. Georgetown oozes charm from its pedestrian-friendly brick sidewalks and narrow streets. Be sure to make your way to the waterfront for the picturesque bike and walking trail.