The Most Walkable Cities in America for Seniors

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Finding the perfect retirement spot means balancing costs, health care, and fun. But don’t forget about walkability. Being able to stroll to the park, grab groceries, or visit a cafe adds so much to life, especially for active seniors. And while the charm of smaller towns often draws retirees in search of peace and quiet, not everyone wants to give up the vibrant lifestyle of a big city. For seniors who prefer the hustle and bustle, big cities offer the best of both worlds: convenience and accessibility.

Using data from WalkScore — a service that calculates the walkability of any location by assessing proximity to amenities like grocery stores, schools, parks, restaurants, and public transit — and 2022 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we found the top cities that have walk scores of above 74, the highest percentage of residents aged 65 and older, and a variety of senior programs and activities. Here are the 10 most walkable U.S. cities for seniors.

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10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Walk Score: 75

Population: 1,567,258 (14% 65 and over) 

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, has a layout characterized by a grid system, which makes it easy to navigate on foot. Philly’s commitment to its senior residents is evident in its numerous senior centers and community programs designed to keep older adults healthy, social, and engaged. The city hosts events like the Philadelphia Senior Games, offering a number of activities tailored to the interests of the elderly population. Moreover, Philly’s extensive public transportation system complements its walkability, guaranteeing that even those living in the city’s outer neighborhoods can access its rich array of resources and activities without needing a car.

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9. Oakland, California

Walk Score: 75.3

Population: 430,553 (14.1% 65 and over)

Oakland, California, is a great place for active seniors, with a temperate climate, beautiful landscapes, and an array of cultural activities. The city’s walkability and efficient public transit system make it easy for older adults to explore its diverse neighborhoods and enjoy local amenities without relying on a car. From the shores of Lake Merritt to the farmers’ markets and the historic Paramount Theatre, there’s no shortage of places to visit. 

Oakland also prides itself on a strong community spirit, and for those looking to join a community of active older adults, the United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County hosts 31 walking clubs, creating plenty of opportunities to explore and stay active together.

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8. Newark, New Jersey

Walk Score: 75.9

Population: 305,344 (10.9% 65 and over)

Newark, New Jersey, might not be the first city that comes to mind for senior living, but it’s got its perks for the older generation. This bustling city is gradually becoming more pedestrian-friendly, offering several parks and recreational areas for seniors to enjoy. Newark’s Branch Brook Park, the nation’s first county park, is a particularly lovely spot for a leisurely stroll or picnic, featuring beautiful cherry blossom trees. Plus, Newark’s public transportation system makes it easy for seniors to get around without a car. The city is also home to several senior centers providing a variety of activities, from fitness classes to social events, ensuring that there’s always something to do.

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7. Miami, Florida

Walk Score: 76.6

Population: 449,514 (16.3% 65 and over)

It’s no shocker that Florida is a magnet for retirees, and Miami stands out as a fantastic place for active seniors. Magic City isn’t just about sandy beaches; it’s also surprisingly walkable, especially in areas like Downtown and Miami Beach. The Miami-Dade County’s Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces department spearheads the Active Older Adults Program, organizing group activities across various parks, including South Dade and Westwind Lakes. For those who love walking, the Walk 4 Life program encourages seniors to explore the city on foot, offering rewards for mileage milestones. Additionally, Miami’s natural landscapes, like Oleta River State Park and Everglades National Park, provide senior-friendly trails perfect for biking, hiking, and leisurely walks. 

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6. Washington, D.C.

Walk Score: 76.6

Population: 678,972 (13% 65 and over)

The nation’s capital is a prime spot for seniors who love history, culture, and walkability. The city scores high on walkability and is pretty flat, too, allowing seniors 65 and older to tick off most errands on foot. Seniors can also take advantage of numerous free or discounted activities, from touring the Smithsonian museums to enjoying the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. With a senior community and plenty of senior living facilities, Washington, D.C., offers a dynamic yet comfortable setting for retirement.

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5. Chicago, Illinois

Walk Score: 77.2

Population: 2,665,039 (13.3% 65 and over)

Chicago often ranks among the top spots for retirement for a number of reasons, one of them being its walkability. The city has invested top tax dollars recently to boost its walkability, notably by transforming an old 2.7-mile rail line into The 606 park and rolling out the Make Way for People initiative, which emphasizes pedestrian plazas and open streets. The Windy City also offers an extensive array of parks, museums, and cultural institutions, ensuring that there’s always something interesting to explore. Its world-class health care facilities is another major draw, providing peace of mind for residents in their golden years. There are also numerous senior centers and organizations promoting a supportive environment for seniors to stay active, engaged, and connected.

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4. Boston, Massachusetts

Walk Score: 82.8

Population: 650,706 (12.3% 65 and over)

Dubbed “The Walking City,” Boston is an ideal retirement spot for seniors due to its top-notch health care, rich culture, and high accessibility. Known for its educational institutions, health care facilities, and cultural richness, Beantown offers an active and fulfilling lifestyle for the older generation. The city’s compact nature and accessible public transportation system make it easy for seniors to maintain independence and mobility. With numerous parks, museums, historical sites, and a calendar full of events and festivals, there’s always something to do.

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3. Jersey City, New Jersey

Walk Score: 86.6

Population: 286,670 (11.3% 65 and over)

At just 21 square miles, Jersey City is an excellent choice for seniors looking for walkability and accessibility. With stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from its eastern waterfront along the Hudson River, residents get the best of both worlds: peaceful, scenic living with the vibrancy of city life just a short train ride away. The city’s walkable attractions, like Liberty State Park and the Liberty Science Center, are perfect for leisurely strolls. Moreover, Jersey City has been focusing on developing senior-friendly communities and services, including senior centers that offer a range of activities, workshops, and social opportunities tailored to older adults. 

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2. New York City, New York

Walk Score: 88

Population: 8,335,897 (15.5% 65 and over)

The city that never sleeps ranks among the country’s top destinations for walkability. Despite its sky-high cost of living, New York City is an excellent location for seniors — in four of the city’s five boroughs, more than 15% of the residents are 65 and older. Spread across 302 square miles, New York is certainly a thrilling place to achieve those 10,000 daily steps, and it’s easy to find everything you need within walking distance, be it groceries, a pharmacy, or a dinner spot. 

Seniors in the Big Apple are also spoiled for choice with an endless array of activities, from parks and Broadway shows to budget-friendly dining options and museums.

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1. San Francisco, California

Walk Score: 88.7

Population: 808,437 (18.2% 65 and over)

With an enviable Walk Score of 88.7 out of 100, San Francisco is America’s most walkable city, popular among seniors and retirees. The city’s layout makes groceries, pharmacies, parks, and health care facilities readily accessible, minimizing the need for car travel. Adding to its appeal for retirees are senior-friendly initiatives like San Francisco Village’s Neighborhood Circles, which foster community connections in various neighborhoods — including Haight Ashbury, Nob Hill, Glen Park, and Hayes Valley — through social activities. “The Golden City’s” year-round mild climate and vibrant culture also contribute to its desirability.

This article was produced and syndicated byMediaFeed.

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