Most Walkable Cities to Visit in the Fall

The summer months aren’t just draining your energy bill. The majority of the country battles oppressive heat leading us to scurry to pools, lakes, and oceans in search of relief. But the fall is a welcomed change of scenery for travelers and sightseers, especially those in walkable cities where you can take advantage of perks such as cooler weather, fall colors, and foliage (not to mention getting those steps in.)

Trade in your swimsuits and flip-flops for a light jacket and comfortable walking shoes as you take advantage of these six cities that make getting around on foot very easy. We’re sharing the top walkable neighborhoods, scenic areas to explore, and eye-catching places to visit. To assist in the breakdown, Walk Score—a product created by Redfin to measure the walkability of places around the country—and a 2019 foot traffic study from Smart Growth America helped provide factual backing to what you’ll find below.

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Walkable Neighborhoods in New York City, New York

Central Park

Central Park isn’t a neighborhood, but at 1.3 square miles, it’s on par with some small, rural U.S. towns. There’s more to do and see here than you can handle in one trip, so choose wisely. This sprawling urban park is full of scenic walks, gardens, and bodies of water to explore year-round. It’s hard to beat the fall foliage during autumn, especially if you can sneak in a visit during October when the leaves change. 

Central Park is quintessential for fall colors, with brown and amber hues encapsulating the 843-acre park. Here are some of the top spots to capture the park’s fall colors, starting with the famous Gapstow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, and The Loch.

For hotel accommodations, open your checkbook for The Mark New York. A fall night here may run you close to a grand, but this NYC hotspot located a half-block from the park is well worth it thanks to its bold, lavish designs.

Greenwich Village

Nestled between Soho and Chelsea, this popular neighborhood is home to Washington Square Park and New York University. You’ll find tree-lined streets and cafes on nearly every block. Pop culture enthusiasts may recognize the area, as Greenwich Village served as the main setting for “Friends.”

For a quick cruise of the area, make sure to stop by the High Line. This 1.45-mile elevated walkway is positioned 30 feet off the ground, perfect for views of the city’s skyline to the southeast and the Hudson River to the west. Your stomach is likely to rumble during this stroll, so head down the stairs on Ninth Avenue to Chelsea Market, an indoor marketplace full of restaurants and shops. Los Tacos No. 1 can help curb your appetite. The tacos are small, so we recommend ordering two. Or 10; we won’t judge.

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Walkable Neighborhoods in Boston, Massachusetts

Back Bay

This is the best way to jam-pack Boston culture with extensive shopping and eating options. Back Bay is famous for landmarks such as Copley Square, Boston Public Library, Boston Common, and Boston Public Garden. The latter two stops are perfect for New England fall foliage, most notably when peering over the Lagoon Bridge

Nearby, Newberry Street is a mashup of retail shops, boutiques, and restaurants. If you have some leftover funds from your travel budget, Copley Square features high-end shopping options such as Barney’s New York or Hermes. As you continue with the historic cultural experience, spend a night at the Newbury Guest House. This spot features three interconnected townhouses to form a classic inn.

North End

Go here if you like history and crave Italian food. The Paul Revere House and the Paul Revere Monument allow you to brush up on your American history. Hanover Street is a foodie’s delight, with Italian eatery after Italian eatery lining the block

Whatever you do, make sure you hit up Mike’s Pastry. Don’t let the long lines scare you off—the cannolis and lobster tails are worth it. You can grab a box to go, but they’ll likely vanish by the time you make your way to Langone Park. Here, you’ll catch the autumn breeze off the cool Boston Harbor waters.

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Walkable Neighborhoods in Denver, Colorado

LoDo

Typically known for cold weather and snow in this mountainous city, the fall is quite pleasant. Lower Downtown is Denver’s oldest neighborhood and hosts a mix of shopping and dining, with entertainment coming from Coors Field, home of MLB’s Colorado Rockies. This area doesn’t expand more than 10 blocks in any direction, so the dense location is a reprieve for your walking shoes. 

At night, head to Larimer Square and its label as Denver’s most historic block. You’ll have trouble saying “no” to the upscale restaurants, trendy boutiques, and bars that churn out craft cocktails. NATIV Hotel fits in with these vibes, blending upscale style and an artistic atmosphere in a boutique setting

Capitol Hill

Denver’s most densely populated neighborhood may make driving and parking in Capitol Hill a bit hairy, but it allows for advantageous walking spots. Here, you can find the Molly Brown House, where the famous Colorado activist called home. Coffee shops and bars are sprinkled throughout. 

Depending on the time of year, you may find festivals, concerts, or local food trucks at Civic Center Park. The hip vibes play into the overall personification of Denver.

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Walkable Neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Center City

The hub of Philadelphia, Center City’s proximity makes it one of the city’s most walkable areas. Chinatown, Rittenhouse Square, Avenue of the Arts, and Old City mix 1,500 properties full of culture and history into 233 blocks. Explore Center City West, which features Rittenhouse Square and Philadelphia’s City Hall. 

The adjacent area known as Avenue of the Arts ties music and theater together with historic buildings such as the Academy of Music. As the leaves change, one of the many parks, such as Dilworth Park, John F. Collins Park, or Cret Park, provide a colorful glimpse of the city. Located up the street, The Bellevue Hotel was transformed from a national historic landmark to one of the city’s more popular hotels.

Fishtown

The name is location-based in origin, as the bordering Delaware River made it a popular spot for fishermen. A former working-class spot full of Irish Catholic and Eastern European immigrants, Fishtown has quickly morphed into one of America’s hottest new neighborhoods

A two-mile stretch of Frankford Avenue, from Interstate 95 to Kensington, used to be a hodgepodge of abandoned buildings. Now it features trendy concepts like a craft beer bar with classic video games and retail shops. If you grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, be sure to wander over to Penn Treaty Park at sunset for views of New Jersey off in the distance.

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Walkable Neighborhoods in San Francisco, California 

Mission District

The oldest neighborhood in San Francisco balances Latino culture with a budding restaurant scene that features Michelin-rated spots. Explore the history of Spanish settlers who once occupied the city via Dolores Park. This former cemetery evolved into one of the more popular parts of San Francisco. 

On your way there, you’ll catch a glimpse of Mission Dolores, the oldest surviving structure in the city. The neighborhood’s international profile is present with several notable taquerias. If you’re not too busy eating your weight in tacos and burritos, walking through Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley gives a unique perspective on street art through murals that line the exterior of buildings and fences.

North Beach

Come here for the Italian food and stay for the views. The neighborhood retains its Italian charm rooted from the immigrants who settled here in the 20th century.

Beyond that, the allure is views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay. Use Coit Tower to soak up 360-degree views of the city. There’s something about the amber leaves that blend in with the red hue of a sun-soaked Golden Gate Bridge. Since you’re right near the water, visit Pier 33 to catch a cruise to Alcatraz Island or Pier 39 to see the sea lions. There are many hotels near the water in the north part of the city. Check out San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Walkable Neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.

Georgetown

Sure, you can spend days, or weeks, indoors exploring Washington, D.C., museums. Save those for a rainy day, though, and enjoy cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks in historic Georgetown. The area on the northwest side of town hugs the Potomac River, which is always a good source of views in the fall. (For more aquatic views, head to the east side of D.C. to check out the 20-mile Anacostia Riverwalk Trail).

Splurge on either The Watergate Hotel or The Graham Hotel. Make sure you stop by their respective rooftop bars or head to the basement to taste small plates and sip on hand-crafted drinks at The Graham’s unique take on Victorian life, The Alex Craft Cocktail Cellar & Speakeasy.

Glover-Archbold Park, with its canopied walking and hiking trails, and Dumbarton Oaks Park, full of scenic gardens, provide an escape from the bustling city that surrounds them. These lands help account for the best city park system in the U.S.

U Street Corridor

Browse many of the U Street murals or dip your toes into a culinary melting pot that features anything from down-home favorites such as Ben’s Chili Bowl to Ethiopian food. Walk off the food intake by visiting the African American Civil War Memorial, home to a sculpture and wall of servicemen names, and Meridian Hill Park, home to the longest cascading fountain in North America. 

If any of these cities or locations resonate with you, let us help you plan your next trip. We compare loyalty rates from our hotel partners around the globe. If you see something you like, we’ll take you right to the hotel’s website to complete the booking process. We’ll filter out the nonsense so you can get on with your travel. No pushy sales, just great search.

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