July 30, 2021
A walkable city is where the most important things you need (dining, groceries, public transit, etc.) are within a 5-to-10-minute walk. In fact, many of your daily errands can be done on foot. Of course, the top three most walkable cities in the U.S. are New York, San Francisco, and Boston. But for the average homebuyer, real estate prices and even rentals in these cities are out of reach. That’s why we decided to focus on locations that were walkable and still somewhat affordable. If you’re looking for convenience and affordability, read on to discover the top five cities you might consider moving to.
Here’s how we came up with our list. First, we visited Walk Score to see the most walkable cities. They have a scoring method from 0 to 100. 90 to 100 is a walkers’ paradise, and 70 to 89 is very walkable. The cities we selected were 70 and up. From there, we checked out Zillow’s Home Values. As of June 2021, the median home value in the U.S. was $287,148. Although all of our cities are not below that amount, the locations we chose had a median home price of under $410,000, which is substantially lower than many walkable communities and still affordable to the majority of homebuyers. Of course, you can find homes, condos, and townhomes over $410,000, but in some of the higher-cost neighborhoods, smaller lower-priced condos are still available.
1. Philadelphia, PA
Walkability Score: 79
Median Home Value: $217,485
Philadelphia is rich in history and the city where our Constitution and Declaration of Independence were penned and signed. If you love classic architecture and taking a relaxing stroll, consider Philly. The city is made up of over 100 neighborhoods. The most walkable are Center City West, Rittenhouse, Avenue of the Arts South, Washington Square West, and Center City East. Homes styles vary from detached, stoop-front rowhouses, condos, and high-rise apartments. The job market here is strong in both the legal arena and the federal government. The variety of food and dining is incredible, and besides the well-known Philly sandwiches, you’ll have your choice of fine dining and casual eateries.
The walkability comes in from the original design of five beautiful tree-covered public squares throughout the city. It’s easy to stroll, ride a bike, or hop on public transit. If you’re considering moving to Philly, it’s best to find a good realtor who can tell you about the different areas and help you find what’s best for you. As with any city, some areas are more desirable than others, and traffic can be an issue, so it’s good to be aware of that too when selecting a new home.
2. Newark, NJ
Walkability Score: 79
Median Home Value: $358,307
The average walkability score in Newark is 79 — with some areas of the city higher. You can save time and get some exercise since it’s easy to do most of your errands on foot. The most walkable areas are University Heights, Newark Central Business District, and North Ironbound. This pedestrian-friendly community offers beautifully preserved history and museums. For those going into the city, the Penn Station connects Newark to NYC.
In the Central Business District, you’ll come across the James Street Commons Historic District with brownstones from the 19th-century, museums, and the historic public library. There are parks, shops, schools, and colleges for higher education. You’ll find condos and townhomes for sale.
North Ironbound got its name from the railroads that surrounded this area years ago. Now it’s a desirable neighborhood to live in because of its walkability and central location. Most of the homes are older and either single or multi-family, condos, or townhomes. There are a variety of family-owned restaurants that serve delicious international foods.
As you move away from downtown into Forest Hill, although it’s not as walkable, you can purchase a larger home for much less money.
3. Miami, FL
Walkability Score: 78
Median Home Value: $402,203
If you prefer warmer weather, don’t mind humidity, and have a bigger budget, consider Miami. This vibrant and colorful community prides itself on walkability, beautiful ocean views, and lively nightlife. Although there are millions of visiting tourists each year, there are just under 400,000 year-round residents. You’ll still be able to find some reasonable home prices — especially if you’re moving from higher-cost areas. But as you get closer to downtown, as the walkability increases, so do the real estate prices.
The most walkable neighborhoods are Wynwood-Edgewater, Downtown, and Little Havana. Wynwood is an art mecca filled with local artists and murals gracing the exterior of many buildings. If you live in Wynwood, you can get most of your errands done on foot. Little Havana is a great place to live with its stores, cafes, restaurants, and theaters. Homes are affordable, and people are friendly. The South Beach area has mixed-use buildings with both residential and commercial, so you can dine and shop where you live. Residents and visitors alike love the iconic Art Deco architecture. Public transit is accessible either by bus or trolly. Downtown offers high-rise living with condos, entertainment, restaurants, and nearby museums.
4. Chicago, IL
Walkability Score: 77
Median Home Value: $293,626
The windy city is the sixth most walkable city in the U.S. Almost 2.7 million residents enjoy excellent public transportation and bikeable streets. The most walkable neighborhoods are West Loop, Near North Side, and East Ukrainian Village.
West Loop is a popular trendy neighborhood for tech professionals. In the past, this neighborhood was all industrial, but now it’s been transformed into a walkable neighborhood with condos, restaurants, pubs and bars, live music, and plenty of nightlife. Near North Side is more expensive, but you may still find smaller one-bedroom one bath, affordable condos. Known for its iconic skyline and Magnificent Mile with high-end boutiques, it’s an exciting place to live.
East Ukrainian Village is walkable, dog-friendly, and has plenty of restaurants. Grocery stores are nearby, and on weekends residents enjoy farmers' markets. You can still find small affordable condos in this walkable neighborhood.
5. Minneapolis, MN
Walkability Score: 70
Median Home Value: $324,797
With a population of almost 400k, Minneapolis is the 11th most walkable big city in the U.S. Twin City residents enjoy public transit, miles of bike paths, and views of the Mississippi River. Farmers' markets are popular in the good weather where locals purchase organic produce. And even though the winters are bitterly cold, if you live in a walkable neighborhood, you can still walk for groceries, a cup of coffee, or a bite to eat.
A few prime walkable communities to check out are:
This walkable neighborhood has affordable single-family homes, multi-family homes, and condos. Step back in time, sit on your front porch, visit with neighbors, and shop at the corner store.
Similar to Kingfield, you can find a very affordable single-family home. This close-knit community offers local dining and shopping plus a few breweries. This is a great neighborhood to put down roots and raise a family.
If you’d prefer a condo or townhome, check out North loop. This trendy neighborhood is one of the most popular for young professionals wanting to live in a vibrant location. You’ll find sports centers, shopping, dining, bars, and pubs.
So, if you’ve been searching for a walkable city to buy a home in — check out Philadelphia, Newark, Miami, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Make it a road trip and have fun exploring!