Travel

The 10 Best US Cities for Getting Around Without a Car

Published On 03/25/2015 Published On 03/25/2015
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In Europe, if you don't have a car, it's a choice. People ride bikes, walk, or take the trains around most cities. But in America? You're a certified, TLC-described scrub without a ride. That is, unless you live in one of a few select cities -- where having a car isn't a requisite to getting love.

Unsurprisingly, New York City is the best city in the US if you're into biking, bipedal motion, and trains. That is, according to Seattle-based company Walk Score, which analyzed the largest 3,000 American cities to find those easiest cities for commuting without a car. The composite score combined data on walking routes, cycle paths, and public transportation, generating scores from 0 - 100 for each mode of transport.

NYC scored high for having the most efficient public transportation in the country, with 24-hour service and a transit score of 81.2. The Big Apple also rated no. 1 for its walkability, thanks to the city's grid system. But for bike-friendliness, it came in only no. 9, proving that more New Yorkers need to hop on their bikes.

San Francisco came in second overall, with an overall score of 80.5, ranking second-best in both walkability and bike-friendliness. Boston took third place, with a score of 74.8, and came in third for walkability, and fifth for bike-friendliness.

Most surprising, LA (aka automobile hell) made the top 10, with a score of 49.9. But from the way Angelenos complain about traffic, you'd never know anyone had ever heard of public transportation there.

Before you move to NYC to ride the A train, here are the top cities for public transit, along with the scores for bike-friendliness and walkability in each (where available). 

10. Portland - 49. 6 (cycling: 70.3, walking: 63)
9. Los Angeles - 49.9 (cycling: 54, walking: 64)
8. Baltimore - 56.9 (walking: 66.2)
7. Seattle - 57.3 (cycling: 64.1, walking: 70.8)
6. Chicago - 65.3 (cycling: 61.5, walking: 74.8)
5. Philadelphia - 67 (cycling: 68.4, walking: 76.5)
4. Washington, D.C. - 70.4 (cycling: 65.3, walking: 74.1)
3. Boston - 74.8 (cycling: 67.8, walking: 79.5)
2. San Francisco - 80.5 (cycling: 70, walking: 83.9)
1. New York City - 81.2 (cycling: 62.3, walking: 87.6)

Head here for a full breakdown of the results.


Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.

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