Recently, I read an article by Walk Score listing the top 10 US cities with the best walking.
This is an excerpt from Walk Score…
Here are the top walkable cities in the U.S. as determined by Walk Score.
10: Baltimore, Maryland: If succulent crab and free museums are your thing, Marlyand’s historic port city of Baltimore is probably one of the best weekend trips you’ve never considered. Summer and fall mean festivals galore—seafood, wine, Belgian beer, oysters, jazz, and rhythm & blues festivals are just a few that take place between April and November.
Stroll around Little Italy, bike along the harbor, and mill about downtown on a Segway tour or seafood crawl. Don’t forget to stop in at the Baltimore Museum of Art or the Walters Art Museum—both are free.
9: Oakland, California: San Francisco’s oft-overlooked little sibling, Oakland is the perfect Bay Area alternative to pricey San Fran. A bustling waterfront bar scene and diverse historic neighborhoods make picturesque spots like Grand Lake Theatre and Jack London Square worth a visit. Sip slowly on an outdoor patio or head to Redwood Regional Park, which is accessible by public transit.
8: Seattle, Washington: Seattle offers both downtown sheen and adventure-packed outskirts. See the Space Needle and skyline from Kerry Park before you hop a bus downtown to peer the opposite way from the skyscraper’s 50th floor. The city is easily connected to its airport via a new light rail line, which makes it perfect for a day-long stopover between flights.
7: Washington, D.C.: Despite some recent minor transit woes, Washington D.C. remains one of the most walkable cities in the nation with the fourth largest American Metro system.
It’s no secret that cherry-blossom season brings flocks of tourists to the city’s monument-flanked Tidal Basin, and free national museums draw crowds year round. Transit service can also take restless visitors out to Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, and a public bike share system makes the nation’s capital your oyster.
6: Chicago, Illinois: The Windy City’s towering skyline, eclectic neighborhoods, and urban Lake Michigan beaches make it a young and vibrant destination that draws hoards as soon as it warms up each summer. Chicago’s museums and culinary scene make it worthwhile in the winter, too, but music, comedy, sports, and food festivals from spring through fall are all comfortably accessible by foot or transit—Chicago boasts the second largest public transportation hub in the nation. You’d be sorely mistaken if you brought a car with you to this city.
5: Miami, Florida: From South Beach relaxation to street art walks and Little Havana, Miami is best explored on foot to get a feel for its colorful neighborhoods and friendly locals. Leisurely lying on the beach, learning about art deco architecture from the sidewalk, and strolling brightly lit Calle Ocho at night are all easily within reach of downtown.
4: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Get in touch with American history at the Liberty Bell, eat authentic cheesesteaks and hoagies, and stumble upon public art and festivals in the first American World Heritage City. Philly’s SEPTA system is reliable and far reaching, but the City of Brotherly Love is also almost entirely walkable and outdoor friendly, with more than 10,000 acres of public green space to be explored.
3: Boston, Massachusetts: Boston is the smallest city by far to make Walk Score’s top five. Its public transportation system, the MBTA (locally called the T) is expansive, and downtown can be almost entirely walked if you’re up for it. Narrow cobblestone roads and picturesque parks dating back to colonial times make this charming utopia perfect for grabbing a public bike and riding from the harbor to the sprawling green Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Mall, which stretch from downtown to Back Bay. Boston also has the third largest transit authority in the country, beating out D.C. and San Francisco.
2: San Francisco, California: Cable cars are an iconic symbol of California’s northern hub, and visitors take advantage of their rickety capabilities more often than the locals do for a reason. Bay Area Rapid Transit is likely to get you where you’re going faster, but the street cars make for perfect sight-seeing. While the hills might tire you out a bit, San Francisco is the second most walkable U.S. city, and has plenty of bike and Segway tours to take advantage of once your legs are worn out. Bike across the Golden Gate on your way to Alcatraz or hop public transit to gape at the Redwood trees north of the city—no car required.
1: New York, New York: Manhattan and greater New York City are of course home to the biggest rapid transit system—the MTA—and without a doubt the best place to visit sans wheels. Having a car here might very well cost you as much as your accommodation, so instead wander Central Park and take the subway like a true New Yorker—or hail a yellow cab if traffic isn’t too bad. Walking food tours, outdoor parks, and art museums are a good place to start—just make sure you obey the crosswalk signs.
Do you agree with these? What are your favorite walking cities?
Ever wondered how to say “cheers” in a different language? If so…here are 30 languages, including how to pronounce them.
If this is something you’ve never wondered about…just look at the photos!
Afrikaans – Gesondheid (Geh-soond-hate)
Albanian – Gëzuar (Geh-zoo-ah)
Arabic – في صحتك –(Fi-sih-tik)
Bosnian – Živjeli (Zee-veh-lee)
Chinese (Mandarin) – 干杯(Gan-bay)
Croatian – Živjeli (Zee-veh-lee)
Czech – Na zdravi (Naz-drah-vee)
Dutch – Proost (Proost)
Filipino – Mabuhay (Ma-boo-hay)
Finnish – Kippis (Kipp-iss)
French – Santé (Sahn-tay)
German – Prost (Prost)
Greek – ΥΓΕΙΑ (Yah-mahs)
Hebrew – לחיים (Luh-kai-um)
Hungarian – Egészségedre (Eg-esh ay-ged-ruh)
Icelandic – Skál (Skowl)
Irish (Gaelic) – Sláinte (Slawn-chuh)
Italian – Salute (Sah-loo-tay)
Japanese – 乾杯(Kan-pi)
Korean – 건배 (Gun-bay)
Norwegian – Skål (Skowl)
Polish – Na zdrowie (Nahz-droh-vee-ay)
Portuguese – Saúde (Sow-ood-uh)
Russian – Будем здоровы (Boo-dem Zdor-oh-vee)
Slovak – Na zdravie (Nahz-droh-vee-ay)
Spanish – Salud (Sah-lood)
Swedish – Skål (Skowl)
Thai – ไชโย (Chon-gow)
Turkish – Şerefe (Sher-if-fay)
Vietnamese – Dô (Djo)
Think about these few suggestions next time you’re in France…
Want Produce at le Marché?
Strolling through a local fruit and vegetable market is one of the many simple pleasures awaiting you in France. Everything is so fresh, so appealing, so artfully displayed, perusing and purchasing produce can be a highlight of your trip. However, be forewarned that poking, prodding or picking up the goods is not accepted. There’s an unspoken hands-off policy at a French marché . Let the vendor pick up the produce for you, and just point if you want to select a specific item.
In some countries, it’s okay to just nod, smile or ignore the staff when you walk into a shop. Here, when you walk in and out of a small boutique, bakery, pharmacy or shop, you should always acknowledge the clerk with a crisp bonjour – better yet, bonjour Madame or Monsieur. Mercis are always appreciated as well.
Ask Your Waiter to Bring You the Bill
The French are very laissez fair about hanging out in cafes, bistros or restaurants as long as you’d like. There’s no pressure to turn tables here, and so you can nurse a glass of wine or a cup of coffee to spend all day at a coveted spot on a sidewalk table should you choose. The flip side is the waiter won’t anticipate your need for the bill or present it to you in a timely manner unless you specifically ask for it. To them, handing out the check is akin to rushing you out the door. They’re not necessarily ignoring you, neglecting you or providing poor service. They’re just happy to have you linger.
In many countries, it’s okay to have a cup of coffee, sip soda, or drink a flavored beverage throughout a casual meal. Sometimes we expect the refills to keep coming. Not so in France. Water or wine are the accepted liquids to accompany food. Sure, you can order a Coke or juice or whatever you like, but you’ll be going against the grain here. If you don’t want to stand out like a sore foreign thumb, do like the French do. A glass of wine is usually cheaper than a soda, and tap water is free (no need to pay for the bottled stuff), so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Check the exact hotel location
View the map and look at street view if you want to make sure the location is as great as it seems on the website. Busy roads, tracks, and freeways might be too close for your comfort.
Look at all reviews…not just the bad ones or the fantastic ones. Weigh what is being said and if the same issue comes up several times…you may want to rethink your hotel. Also, check what reviewers have to say about room location, extra options, shuttle services, and nearby attractions.
This could save you time and money in many ways.
Check parking availability and cost
If you will have your own car, check both availability and pricing on parking at the hotel. Many times, hotel parking can add anywhere from $10 to $35 or more to your daily hotel cost.
If no hotel parking is available, check where the nearest parking ramp is and the cost of parking there.
What does the hotel offer? Coffee and pastries…or a full breakfast.
You can usually find out this information on the hotel website or by calling the front desk directly. If you are concerned about budget…this is an important question to ask.
If you absolutely need Internet access…ask if it is included or what the charge is. It may be free for loyalty members, but not for others.
Usually, I recommend booking directly through the hotel if you are a loyalty club member. You can ask questions about upgrades, points, etc. Also, you can make sure they have your member number in order to receive points for this stay.
Sign up for the rewards program
If you are not yet a member and it is free to sign up for a hotel’s loyalty program, do it. You may receive some complimentary services for doing so. One more reason to call the hotel directly.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a better rate
Again…if you call directly, you can ask for a better rate. Be polite and ask about specials or deals. Sometimes websites do not list programs like AARP or AAA, but the reservation desk will.
Again…don’t be afraid to call the hotel directly
You’ve read the reviews and looked at the website. Maybe you still have questions about the Wi-Fi cost, or if the room you want is pet friendly, or their cancellation policy. By calling, you can get your questions answered. It’s also a great way to get a feel for the vibe of that hotel.