As walkability becomes a more pronounced concern for residents of cities across the country, WalkScore.com has been at the forefront of helping people figure out just how feasible two-legged transportation is from any address. In 2015, Walk Score released its list of the most walkable cities throughout the United States. The methodology includes determining walking routes, depth of choice, pedestrian friendliness, population, and other neighborhood data. They applied this algorithm to over 2,500 U.S. cities that included over ten million locations and over two billion walking routes.
So, naturally, we decided to take a look at active adult communities near these cities. Tie your shoes, stretch your legs, and go for a stroll through 55+ neighborhoods located near the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the country.
New York City
New York City comes in again at number one with a Walk Score of 88, handily beating all other major cities in the United States. This should come as no surprise: New York after all has an incredibly extensive and complex public transportation system. Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg are extremely dense neighborhoods where everything from shops to museums to restaurants are just a few minutes walk from each other.
New York City has also undergone a massive construction effort in recent years to make it more bike and pedestrian-friendly, including the famous High Line that provides an elevated and scenic trail that connects the Lower West Side to West Side Yard. Citi Bike, New York’s bike-sharing program, is a massively popular option to explore the city’s 250 miles of bike lanes.
The area surrounding New York City has several active adult communities to choose from, including The Hollows at Blue Hill, a 126-condominium community that’s just minutes outside of Harlem. On Long Island, Dutchgate, just outside of Queens, has over 300 low-maintenance homes in a friendly neighborhood.
Long Island and the area north of the city has a wide range of active adult neighborhoods, ranging from intimate attached home communities to sprawling golf course communities. Northern New Jersey is another popular area for retirement communities due to its proximity to The Big Apple.
San Francisco comes in with an impressive 84 points, making it the most walkable city on the West Coast. It’s not just the consistent weather that makes San Francisco a pedestrian paradise, but the density of amenities and attractions accessible within a five to thirty-minute walk. The city’s Mount Everest-like hills? Consider it your weekly cardio.
The Bay Area, like most of California, is a popular retirement destination. Closer to San Jose is The Villages Golf & Country Club, whose homes come in single-family, condominium, and attached styles. Venturing north of San Francisco is Oakmont Village, while active adults seeking a more intimate community can find plenty in nearby Sonoma.
Boston’s walkability is so well-known it’s actually been dubbed “The Walking City,” coming in with a score of 80. The city’s public transportation system, MBTA, was actually the world’s first subway system and the city is rich with early American history and culture in areas like Beacon Hill, Bay Village, and Chinatown.
The density of the Northeast gives the active adult homebuyer plenty of options. The most popular options for residents looking to stay in Massachussetts are Oak Point and Del Webb’s Great Island, both offering hundreds of homes and plentiful amenities to keep homeowners busy. What’s better?
Both communities are within close proximity to public transportation options that will take you directly to downtown Boston. If none of the dozen or so communities in the Boston area are to your liking, active adults can find several more in neighboring Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Connecticut.
Philadelphia comes in fourth with a score of 77. One of the oldest cities in the country (and the first capital), Philadelphia was designed before cars became the primary mode of transportation, making pedestrian-friendliness a part of its DNA. Philadelphia’s reputation as being a highly walkable city is boosted by the presence of Fairmont Park and neighborhoods like University City and Passyunk.
Philadelphia has an assortment of riches when it comes to 55+ communities in the area, boasting over 75 active adult neighborhoods. Some of the most popular communities include the golf-friendly Hershey’s Mill and Regency at Northampton, both just a short drive from the city’s center. Across the Delaware River are several more communities in Southern New Jersey just a short drive from Philadelphia.
Southern cities aren’t especially known for walkability, making Miami’s inclusion in this list perhaps the most surprising one. But this South Florida city racked up an impressive 76 points. Miami mainstays like South Beach and Miami Beach are being boosted by recently developed infrastructure to create a vibrant neighborhood culture. In fact, every month the city closes its major streets so that residents can walk and bike throughout Miami unimpeded.
Less surprising is that the area around Miami has several active adult communities. Most of them are large condominium communities including the massive Century Village at Deerfield Beach, Wynmoor Village, and Century Village at Pembroke Pines. The area around Miami has also attracted the likes of renowned active adult homebuilders like K. Hovnanian, who is currently developing Four Seasons at Parkland, one of the few single-family home communities in Broward County.
Chicago’s bustling downtown area and concentrated neighborhoods gives it a score of 75. A city whose motto is “City in a Garden” should have the green space to justify that designation. With 570 parks, walking around the Windy City is scenic as well as easy.
The Chicago area boasts dozens of active adult communities. Del Webb has brought their legendary active adult communities to within driving distance to Chicago, including Shorewood Glen, Edgewater, and Sun City Huntley. Chicago area 55+ communities also come in a multitude of sizes, ranging from the intimate to the more impressively equipped.
The nation’s capital clocks in with 76 points. An excellent public transportation system, bike trails, and parks gives Washington D.C. a foot-friendly vibe with DuPont Circle, U-Street, and the Downtown area being especially attractive to walkers. There is also an extensive bike share and public transportation system to provide ease of access to surrounding areas.
There are several 55+ communities in the surrounding states. Heritage Hunt in Virginia is an amenity-heavy community, while Maryland has the wildly popular Leisure World of Maryland and The Villages at Two Rivers. Between Maryland and Virginia, there are dozens of communities from which to choose.
The home of some of the largest companies in the world is also one of the best for health nuts, coming in with a Walk Score of 71. Between downtown, Pioneer Square, Belltown, and First Hill, residents have plenty of neighborhoods as well as miles of hiking and biking trails just outside of the city to explore.
The Seattle area has a handful of active adult neighborhoods that incorporate the surrounding natural spaces, including Shea Homes’ impressive Trilogy at Redmond Ridge , Jubilee at Hawks Prairie, and Trilogy at Tehaleh. There’s AutumnWood at Brooktree that provides a quieter community atmosphere than the larger Providence Point that has four community clubhouses.
Nestled along Lake Merritt and the edge of Silicon Valley, Oakland has seen tremendous growth over the last several years. With highly walkable neighborhoods like Chinatown, Fruitvale, and Grand Lake, each providing a unique (and compact) arrangement of attractions and everyday necessities. You can also ditch the car in Oakland thanks to protected bike lanes being developed and the BART system that mainly services neighboring San Francisco.
Just outside of San Francisco is Rossmoor, a well-established and amenity-rich 55+ community in Walnut Creek. Trilogy at the Vineyards and Somerset Orchards are farther to the east in Brentwood, while The Village at Ironwood is perfect for active adults who want a calmer neighborhood.
With a Walk Score of 66, Baltimore is a city on the rise with condensed neighborhoods like Little Italy, Mount Vernon, and Downtown. Charm City also has an extensive public transportation system as well as bike share program on the horizon. Baltimore allows daily conveniences at your doorstep.
In the area directly surrounding Baltimore, active adults will find plenty to choose from, including the beautiful Snowden Overlook and the modest The Courtyards at Waverly Woods, while low-maintenance condo living can be found in Odenton. Which walkable city would you like to visit or live near? Let us know in the comments below!