In cities across the United States, walking is popular among local residents and tourists alike.
According to the 2015 Sports, Fitness And Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report, published by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SIFA, www.sfia.org), 113 million people walk as a fitness activity at least once each year; walking leads all leisure activities in terms of participation; 77 million people walk 50 or more times a year.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association (www.nsga.org), among those who participate in fitness walking, 63% are female. The highest percentage of regular walkers, 39%, are men ages 65 and up.
Top Walking Cities
The American Podiatric Medical Association and Prevention magazine did surveys of over 500 U.S. cities to determine which are the best walking cities. Criteria include green space, safe streets, walkable destinations, air quality, rails-to-trails programs, cleanliness, fitness walking percentage, and walking commuters. The Top Walking Cities ranked as follows:
Top Walking Cities in USA Photo Gallery
1. San Francisco, CA
2. Boston, MA
3. New York, NY
4. Philadelphia, PA
5. Chicago, IL
6. Washington, DC
7. Seattle, WA
8. Honolulu, HI
9. Portland, OR
10. Pittsburgh, PA
11. Oakland, CA
12. Minneapolis, MN
13. San Diego, CA
14. Los Angeles, CA
15. Milwaukee, WI
16. Baltimore, MD
17. Rochester, NY
18. Santa Ana, CA
19. San Jose, CA
20. Denver, CO
21. Columbus, OH
22. New Orleans, LA
23. Austin, TX
24. Sacramento, CA
25. Tucson, AZ
Walk Score (www.walkscore.com) has quantified the walkability of the largest
3,000 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods in the United States and Canada. Ranked by Walk Score, the top cities in 2015 with population of 200,000 or more were as follows:
1. New York, NY
2. San Francisco, CA
3. Boston, MA
4. Philadelphia, PA
5. Miami, FL
6. Chicago, IL
7. Washington, DC
8. Seattle, WA
9. Oakland, CA
10. Baltimore, MD
Scenic City Walks
The following are among the most scenic city walks in the United States (sources: Travel + Leisure and local media sources):
Bayshore Boulevard (Tampa, FL)
• Bordering scenic Tampa Bay and the University of Tampa, Bayshore Boulevard is the longest uninterrupted sidewalk in the United States.
BeltLine (Atlanta, GA)
• The Atlanta BeltLine, a multi-use trail, is a 22-mile former railway corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other. The initial sections of the BeltLine opened in 2013. While the sections nearest downtown are paved, some discontinuities remain and portions are in a rough state but hikeable. The trail has been used for temporary art installations.
Cliff Walk (Newport, RI)
• The 3.5-mile circuit starts at Memorial Boulevard, where rugged cliffs meet Easton’s
Beach, and ends at Bailey’s Beach. The first third is paved and relatively flat; it takes hikers past Gilded Age mansions to the 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo The Breakers. Only the sure-footed venture farther, where it’s necessary to hike over boulders alongside 70-foot drop-offs to the Atlantic Ocean.
Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA)
• Estimates suggest that over 1,000 walk across the Golden Gate Bridge every day, making this one of the most popular leisure walks in the country. Over 300,000 people walked the bridge in the 75th anniversary celebration in May 2012. The round trip distance is 3.4 miles.
Mulholland Drive (Los Angeles, CA)
• High above the city, the eastern terminus of Mulholland Drive offers vistas of the Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Bowl, downtown Los Angeles, and then, proceeding west, Burbank, Universal City, and the rest of the San Fernando Valley – with views of the San Gabriel, Verdugo, and Santa Susana Mountains.
Tidal Basin (Washington, DC)
• The nation’s capital has countless monuments, but few have as serene a setting as those dedicated to presidents Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, which flank the Tidal Basin. On a 1.5-mile loop from the National Mall, the monuments are ringed by a pathway planted with 1,678 cherry trees (a gift from Japan in 1912).
The High Line (New York, NY)
• The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. The High Line, which opened in 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street.
Venetian Causeway (Miami, FL)
• Five residential islands dredged from Biscayne Bay and seven bridges (two bascule bridges) make up the 2.8-mile causeway that links Miami and Miami Beach. The causeway is popular for walking, jogging, and bicycling. Dolphins, manatees, stingrays, and a variety of seabirds can be spotted in the bay. Miami Beach and Downtown Miami skylines along with cruise ships docked at the Port of Miami provide the backdrop.
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