Best City to Go Car-Free (2016)


Renting a car can put a huge dent in your travel budget (plus it's not the best for the environment). Luckily, visitors to these 10 cities – voted as the best in the U.S. by 10Best readers – can ditch the car and get around easily on foot, by bike or by riding extensive public transportation systems.

  • Cleveland


    A light rail connects the Cleveland Airport to downtown, and once there, it's easy to get around on foot, by bike (UH Bikes pre-launched in July 2016) or free trolley. Rail routes and city buses provide transportation to and from Cleveland's surrounding neighborhoods and inner-ring suburbs.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Denver


    With the recent opening of an airport rail between Denver International and downtown, visitors no longer need to rent a car to enjoy the Mile High City. A light rail system services 36 stops throughout the city, and city buses provide even more connections. The completely free 16th Street Shuttle, called MallRide, ferries visitors up and down the tree-lined core of downtown, while Denver B-Cycle offers 800 bikes for rent at 84 stations around the bike-friendly city.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Denver

  • New York

    New York

    New York has the biggest public transportation system in the nation, so it's no surprise that the Big Apple is actually better experienced without a car. For destinations too far apart to go on foot, visitors can choose between the subway (open 24/7), bus, tram (to Roosevelt Island), water taxi or ferry (to Staten Island). The Citi Bike sharing system rents out thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations throughout the city.
    Photo courtesy of NYC & Company / Wes Tarca

  • Chicago


    Chicago's easy-to-navigate downtown grid layout makes it a fantastic walking city, but for journeys further afield, visitors can take advantage of the country's second largest public transportation system. The Divvy bike sharing system and an extensive network of bike lanes make cycling another great car-free option for getting around in the Windy City.
    Photo courtesy of City of Chicago

  • Washington


    Our nation's capital enjoys the second largest public transit system in the nation; it's also one of the most convenient. The safe and clean Metrorail and Metrobus routes connect just about every destination in DC, while the DC Circular connects prominent neighborhoods at just $1 per ride. The walk-able National Mall area is home to many of the city's top attractions, while the 3,000 bikes from Capital Bikeshare make it easy and convenient to cycle.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Minneapolis


    Minneapolis rather compact, making it easy to navigate without a car. Not-for-profit Nice Rice is a bike sharing program that allows visitors to experience one of the nation's most bike-friendly cities. The Metro Transit buses are an easy and cheap way to get around, and a light rail connects downtown with the Mall of America, St. Paul and 43 other stations in the metro area.
    Photo courtesy of Gilmour Creative / Meet Minneapolis

  • San Francisco

    San Francisco

    Buses, trains, cable cars and the iconic heritage street car make getting around San Francisco without a rental a breeze. Visitor Passports and CityPASS provide unlimited rides throughout the public transit system. For those who prefer to see the city from the saddle, Bay Area Bike Share offers 700 bikes at 70 stations across the region.
    Photo courtesy of San Francisco Travel Association/Scott Chernis

  • Las Vegas

    Las Vegas

    Many top Las Vegas attractions are clustered in and around The Strip – easily navigable on foot with a good pair of walking shoes. Buses along The Strip run 24 hours a day, and the Las Vegas Monorail connects the MGM Grand to Sahara Avenue seven days a week.
    Photo courtesy of Loozrboy / Flickr

  • Boston


    Not only is Boston's public transportation systems one of the largest in the nation by ridership, it's also among the best. Besides being extremely walk-able, Boston offers subway, trolley and boat service to just about anywhere you'd want to go. The Hubway bike sharing program maintains more than 1,000 bikes at 100 stations throughout the city, perfect for pedaling from one attraction to the next.
    Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

  • Portland


    Getting around Portland like a local means ditching the car and hopping on a bike – an easy option thanks to the city's Biketown sharing program. Other options for getting around include the MAX Light Rail connecting the metro area to downtown,  the modern Portland Streetcar and an extensive network of buses throughout the city and its suburbs.
    Photo courtesy of Stuart Seeger / Flickr

Did your favorite city make the list?

The top 10 winners in the category Best City to Go Car-Free are as follows:

  1. Cleveland
  2. Denver
  3. New York
  4. Chicago
  5. Washington
  6. Minneapolis
  7. San Francisco
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Boston
  10. Portland

Other nominated cities include Atlanta, Baltimore, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Congratulations to all our Readers' Choice-winning cities!

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