Note: The story was last published in 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.
If there’s one thing Philly’s known for (besides cheesesteaks and Gritty) it’s walkability.
Year after year, study after study, Philly has ranked as one of the top most walkable cities in the country. Take its #5 Walkscore ranking, for instance; or its place as third most walkable on TravelPulse.
Even Philly’s new construction is the most walkable in the country. A 2016 report found that 91 percent of new Philly homes built in 2016 had a Walk Score higher than the actual city score, which was 78 at the time.
But Philly is a big city, and not every single neighborhood is as walk-, transit-, or bike-friendly as another. Here, we present the top five most walkable neighborhoods in Philadelphia, according to Walk Score, and where to venture when you get there.
Something worth noting, however, is that almost every neighborhood on this list (save for Center City East) has dropped by several points on its bike score since we last updated the story in 2017.
1. Center City West
With a Walk Score of 99, Center City West is the most walkable neighborhood in Philly. It’s bound by JFK Boulevard to the north, Walnut Street to the south, 15th Street to the east and the Schuylkill River to the west. Also within this rectangular area runs the Market-Frankford Line, the trolley system, and a major bus route, which explains why its transit score is even higher at 100.
Where to walk: Rittenhouse Square is just below Walnut Street, Schuylkill River Trail runs along the edge of the neighborhood, and Philadelphia’s City Hall is right next door. Venture around the shops, take in some food, and make sure to stop by the river.
2. Avenue of the Arts (South)
This stretch of South Broad Street is lined with Philly’s major arts institutions, from the Kimmel Center to the Academy of Music. And given its location along Broad Street, the city’s main boulevard, it’s no reason the area has both a high Walk Score of 99 and a Transit Score of 100. Daily errands don’t require a car, and the Broad Street Line is literally at this neighborhood’s doorstep. While the walk and transit scores have remained consistent over the past two years, the bike store has dropped eight points since 2017.
Where to walk: Its name as Avenue of the Arts says it all: Philly’s most popular theater venues literally line the street. This is also a great jaunt for architecture lovers. Take a look up as you walk down and see how many different styles of building you can find.
3. Rittenhouse Square
No surprise here: Rittenhouse Square is the third most walkable neighborhood in Philly, and happens to be located right by Center City West. Rittenhouse is bound by Walnut to the north, 15th to the east, South Street to the—well—south, and 20th to the west. Known for its beautiful brownstones and stately rowhomes, the pulse of the neighborhood is its public park Rittenhouse Square, and there is no shortage of restaurants and retail nearby. Unfortunately, like its Avenue of the Arts neighbor, Rittenhouse has dropped four points in terms of its bike score in the past two years.
Where to walk: Rittenhouse Square is within the neighborhood limits, while Schuylkill River Trail is a short jaunt away (we highly recommend meandering through Rittenhouse and Fitler Square’s idyllic side streets to get there).
4. Washington Square West
This leafy neighborhood is bound by Broad Street to the east, 7th Street to the west, Chestnut Street to the north, and South Street to the south. That places it a stone’s throw away from the always active retail and restaurant corridor of Midtown Village, Independence National Historical Park, and all of the retail and grocers along South Street. With a 99 Walk Score, it’s the fourth most walkable neighborhood in Philly, although, like the above neighborhoods, it’s dropped from a 94 to an 89 bike score since 2017.
Where to walk: Where not to walk? If you want food, there’s the stretch of restaurants like Barbuzzo and Double Knot along the 1300 block of Sansom and Walnut. For tourist attractions, Independence Hall is right on the edge of the neighborhood at 7th and Chestnut, and Jeweler’s Row is on 8th Street. If you need some peace and quiet, escape to the neighborhood’s hidden gem, Quince Street, one of the most beautiful strolls in Philly. Finally—and this is a must—check out the neighborhood’s namesake: the quiet, cozy, Washington Square.
5. Center City East
First things first: Center City East actually includes a number of neighborhoods, including Market East, Old City, Society Hill, and Washington Square. But the entire area has a walk score of 98, making it Philly’s fifth most walkable neighborhood.
Several interesting parts of the neighborhood include the East Market development; the historic Old City neighborhood; and Society Hill and its quiet streets. Plus, the Delaware River Waterfront is right nearby, with tons of great views and lots of events.
Once again, the bike score in this neighborhood has dropped about seven points in the past two years.
Where to walk: For a good lay of the land, start your walk in Old City and wander past the art galleries; bars and restaurants; and Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited residential block in the country (and typically car-free). Then, walk down to the Delaware River Waterfront with a stop at Race Street Pier. You can continue walking down the waterfront or head back into Society Hill, which is filled with Federal- and Georgian-style buildings, as well as a few modern homes, as well.