Considering a visit to a new city this summer? Sometimes the real gems are best experienced on foot (and with a stroller!). We found 15 must-see destinations that are huge on family fun and high on walkability so you can easily stroll from lunch to shopping and then on to the next big attraction. Keep reading to see them all.
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1. Portland, Oregon
With plenty of green space, funky neighborhoods and tons of activities for families, Portland scores high on our list of walkable cities. Hit downtown’s Pearl District for an abundance of restaurants, shops and the famed Powell’s Books (plus a bunch more great bookstores), or head over to the Southeast side of town to stroll the trails of Mt. Tabor Park. Walk along Tom McCall Waterfront Park for amazing views of the Willamette River, swing by the Salmon Street Springs fountain and don’t forget to take a leisurely scenic trip across Tilikum Crossing, the first major car-free bridge in the United States. There's definitely no shortage of stroller-friendly trails in the Portland area, and there are also plenty of places where you can go bird watching and spot spring flowers. Looking for more cool ideas to explore Portland on foot? Click here.
2. San Francisco, California
Aside from the obvious sights like the Golden Gate Bridge and those famous cable cars, The City by the Bay has a huge variety of neighborhoods to experience. Don't let the hills or hidden stairways stop you! We love the Shipwreck Walk at Sutro Park for a scenic peek that is stroller accessible. Explore the 1500 acres of The Presidio, experience the laid-back cafe scene in Cole Valley, or spend some time in the hustle and bustle of Market Street. In North Beach, stop for play time and a picnic in Washington Square Park. When you need a break, be sure to try out the slides, climbing structures and sweeping city views at Mission Dolores Park before strolling to the coolest pirate store in town. Check out even more adventures you can have in SF today, from playground expeditions to farmer's market trips.
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Packed with lively music, delicious food and plenty of festive celebrations, the unforgettable culture of New Orleans is something you and the kids don’t want to miss. The city was even named one of the top ten vacation destinations in the US. The compact size of the French Quarter makes it easily walkable, and little legs can rest while you enjoy a beignet at Café Du Monde or grab lunch at the French Market. French Quartour Kids offers fun and educational tours of the city designed specifically for the little ones.
4. St. Louis, Missouri
Visiting St. Louis with tots in tow? You’ll find plenty of kid-pleasing attractions and activities within walking distance. The iconic Gateway Arch is a must, but make sure to reserve a few hours to explore City Museum, a wildly fun spot with a ten-story spiral slide, a rooftop Ferris wheel and lots of tunnels, caves and passages to explore. Definitely swing by Citygarden, a beautiful downtown park and sculpture garden, where you can grab a quick break while the kids splash through the fountains to cool off. The St. Louis Zoo is another can't-miss attraction—it's one of the best in the country and even has free admission.
5. Boston, Massachusetts
You can easily spend a day navigating the sites in Boston, MA, an incredibly walk-friendly, kid-friendly city. Stop by the Boston Public Garden and let your tiny tourists visit the famous Make Way for Ducklings statue before taking a Swan Boat ride. Newbury, Charles and Boylston streets hold plenty of shops and restaurants to explore. You can also walk your crew along the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, visit Paul Revere’s House, and grab unforgettable food in the North End. Boston is totally road trip–worthy, and there's no shortage of kid-approved things to do in the city.
6. Washington D.C.
D.C.’s numerous activities and historical sights are perfect for viewing on foot. (Or wheels, if someone's cruising in a stroller!) We've put together a parent's guide to the most popular monuments here. Check out the National Mall and see the all the biggies including the National Monument, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Jr. Memorial and more. We've also got the scoop on the Mall's hidden gems, if you're looking to venture off the beaten path. For a more structured walking tour of the city, these cool picks are just right for the younger set.
7. Chicago, Illinois
Spend a day exploring Chicago’s Grant Park, and you’ll find plenty of activities to keep the kids happy. Visit the 25-acre Millennium Park, explore one of our favorite baby-friendly parks or let the kids run wild in the Play Garden spaces and at the climbing wall at Maggie Daley Park. Want to introduce your babes to some amazing art? One of these museum stroller tours might be the perfect place to start. We've also got the inside scoop on walking downtown Chicago with the tots in tow. And when you're ready to head back home, our guide to Chicago's airports will make your travel day a breeze.
8. New York City, New York
A trip to the Big Apple is an exciting multi-sensory experience that's a must at least once in your lifetime. And no surprise, beloved NYC takes the #1 spot for Walk Score's most walkable city. While the size and speed of the city may feel overwhelming at first, with a little planning you can find dozens of family activities that are just the right pace. Central Park hosts the Central Park Zoo and Central Park Carousel, along with acres of green space, fountains, a fun Alice in Wonderland statue and so much more. If you want to venture off the beaten path, we've also got the rundown on an equally beautiful NYC park. The city also has plenty of stroller-friendly museums, some of which offer free days that you can take advantage of. For even more ideas, try this bucket list of essential NYC activities for the smallest ones.
9. Seattle, Washington
A visit to the Pacific Northwest isn’t complete without a stop in the Emerald City of Seattle. With lots of walkable area attractions, the hardest decision will be figuring out what to do first! At Seattle Center, you’ll find the Space Needle, the International Fountain, Seattle Children’s Museum, the Museum of Pop Culture and an awesome food court. You can also explore our favorite playgrounds and step back in time in Pioneer Square. Want to see the city from a different perspective or find a troll under a bridge? These walkable bridges will make your trip memorable. We've even planned out the perfect three-day Seattle getaway for your whole crew.
10. Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden are essential stops when visiting this exciting city with no shortage of family-friendly things to do. Take a walking tour and enjoy the sights. Kids will love the enormous and ever-popular Spoonbridge and Cherry. The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge is a pedestrian and bicycle walkway that will take you over the Interstate to Loring Park, a spacious spot with gardens, ponds and a summer arts festival. The city is also home to the Bell Museum, which made our list of the best science museums for kids in the country. Plan your trip to a T with our handy guide to the Twin Cities.
11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
It’s a living history lesson when you spend an afternoon in Philadelphia’s Historic District, which is perfect for a walking tour. The neighborhood is jam-packed with educational sights, and you can make a day out of visiting them all. Visit the Liberty Bell, see where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed at Independence Hall, explore the African American Museum, learn about the life of Benjamin Franklin at the Benjamin Franklin Museum, engage in interactive activities at the National Museum of American Jewish History or experience a 1902 firehouse at Fireman’s Hall. Top off your day with a visit to Franklin Square where you’ll find mini golf, a carousel and SquareBurger’s signature Cake Shake. In case all that hasn't worn out your little ones, we've also got a list of our favorite things to do when visiting the City of Brotherly Love.
12. Honolulu, Hawaii
The paradise of Honolulu offers some great family sights. If you’re strolling near Waikiki Beach, you can visit the Waikiki Aquarium (it hit our list of the best aquariums in the country!) and enjoy an afternoon at the Honolulu Zoo. Make sure to spend some time at the beautiful Kapiolani Park where you can relax with a picnic and enjoy the sunshine. Learn more about the historic downtown with a self-guided walking tour.
13. Denver, Colorado
The Mile High City boasts plenty of fun, even for the smallest visitors—we've got the scoop on everything you should do while you're there. In the Lower Downtown area (LoDo), you can visit Larimer Square, the Downtown Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of Denver. The cable-stayed Millennium Bridge connects to 16th Street and offers some cool city views, plus you can continue on for a stop at popular Little Man Ice Cream. You'll find more options for a Denver walking tour here.
14. Miami, Florida
Miami is the #4 most walkable U.S. city according to WalkScore, and you'll be trotting all over town in no time with our guide to the city's best kid-friendly spots. The artsy and colorful Wynwood neighborhood is sure to wow with its galleries, shops, massive street art and large-scale murals. Take a tour of the Wynwood Walls, then stop and refuel at one of Wynwood’s restaurants or carts. If the kids have more energy to burn, drop by Planet Kids Indoor Playground and Café, or try the arcade, laser tag and indoor playground at FunDimension.
15. Long Beach, California
You might associate Southern California with lots of traffic, but the city of Long Beach falls in the top 10 cities for walkability. Make sure to check out the Aquarium of the Pacific, as well as Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor. Hit up a family-friendly beach and make a pit stop at an amazing shave ice spot. Find a range of Long Beach guided tours, self-guided tours and even a walking tour phone app right here.