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The 5 Most Walkable Cities in California

The 5 Most Walkable Cities in California

Explore California's top walkable cities, from San Francisco's iconic streets to West Hollywood's vibrant lanes. Walk the Golden State! Team


2 min read

October 09, 2023

California, the third-largest state by area in the U.S., is renowned for its diverse landscape, ranging from scenic beaches to sprawling urban cities. While the state's car-centric culture is well known, there are cities that have embraced pedestrian-friendly designs. Whether you’re a tourist exploring the Golden State or a local searching for a weekend getaway, these five cities offer delightful walking experiences. Here are the top five walkable cities in California:

San Francisco

Perhaps the most iconic city on this list, San Francisco is renowned for its steep hills and historic cable cars. The compact nature of the city, combined with its vibrant neighborhoods like Chinatown, North Beach, and the Mission District, makes it a haven for pedestrians. Popular walking routes include the Embarcadero waterfront, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the twisty Lombard Street. Additionally, the city's commitment to enhancing pedestrian safety and accessibility has made it one of the most walkable cities not just in California, but in the entire country.

Santa Monica

Situated along the coast of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica offers a unique blend of beach vibes and urban sophistication. The iconic Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade are the heartbeats of the city's pedestrian culture. The promenade, a car-free zone filled with shops, street performers, and eateries, provides a leisurely walking experience. Moreover, the city’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean means you can always take a detour to the beach for a stroll on the sand.

West Hollywood

Commonly referred to as WeHo, West Hollywood is a vibrant city known for its entertainment venues, trendy shops, and lively nightlife. The Sunset Strip, with its historic music venues and colorful billboards, offers a dynamic pedestrian experience. Additionally, the Design District on Melrose Avenue is a hotspot for fashion enthusiasts and design aficionados. Sidewalk cafes, public art, and regular community events further make West Hollywood a walker's delight.

San Fernando

Often overlooked, the city of San Fernando, located in the San Fernando Valley, boasts a rich history and a revitalized downtown area. The city's efforts in preserving historic buildings and enhancing pedestrian pathways have paid off, making it a serene location to explore on foot. With local shops, eateries, and parks interwoven in its urban fabric, San Fernando provides a wholesome and authentic walking experience.


As the home of the University of California, Berkeley, this city naturally embodies a youthful energy. Its compact downtown area, combined with a commitment to sustainability, has made walking a preferred mode of transportation for many residents and students alike. Telegraph Avenue and Shattuck Avenue are popular streets lined with eclectic shops, cafes, and bookstores. The university campus itself, with its historic buildings and expansive green spaces, is also a treat to explore on foot.

In conclusion, while California might be famed for its car culture and sprawling highways, these cities offer a delightful contradiction. Each providing its own unique walking experience, they prove that the Golden State can be best explored at a leisurely pace, one step at a time. Whether you’re traversing the hilly streets of San Francisco or immersing yourself in the vibrant ambiance of West Hollywood, these cities beckon walkers to explore, discover, and relish the joys of pedestrian life.

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