The 20 Best Places to Live in the US Without a Car

NYC

There are some places in the United States where you don’t need to own a car to get by. Some metropolitan areas offer exceptional public transit. The better cities provide buses, subway shuttles, and other public transit options. Most of them run on regular hourly schedules. This helps ensure that you can depend on them to get to work going shopping or making it to scheduled appointments. While some more rural areas require a car if you ever want to leave home, here are the 20 best places in the USA to live if you don’t have a car.

Honolulu

20. Honolulu, Hawaii

Cheapism looks at the best places to live if you don’t have a car. These are cities that offer bus routes and other public transit systems that get you anywhere you need to go. Honolulu is in the top 20 because 17 percent of the families living there don’t even own a car. The geography is limited. The population is dense. Public transportation is covered by bus routes. There are over 100 of them. They will take you to most of the major towns across the island as well as the various neighborhoods. If you don’t like to ride the bus, most of the neighborhoods are walkable and they’re in the downtown area so you can walk wherever you need to go.

Long Beach

19. Long Beach, California

Long Beach is one of the most walkable larger cities in the country. It has a high concentration of carless families. Ten percent of the households in Long Beach do not own a car. It’s one of the most highly walkable cities in the United States. If you prefer to ride, the Long Beach Transit system has a series of networks that can take you to any neighborhoods in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. The downtown area is where the Franklin School and Saint Mary neighborhoods are situation and they are rated as some of the most walkable if you need to get to shopping, dining, or other resources.

Seattle

18. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is the largest city in Washington State. It also has one of the largest rapid transit lines in the Pacific Northwest. The Link Light Rail has routes that connect the airport to the campus of the University of Washington and surrounding areas. Three other separate bus lines offer hundreds of regular routes throughout the city, plus two additional commuter rails. Bicycles are a popular mode of transportation in Seattle. There is also a ferry system that connects people in the downtown area with the other side of Puget Sound. You can get by in Seattle if you don’t have a car.

Portland

17. Portland, Oregon

Portland is an excellent choice if you don’t own a car. This major Pacific Northwest city is the home of the TriMet public transit system. It serves the metropolitan area with three types of transportation. These include a computer rail, light rail, and bus routes. The city, similar to Seattle, is also home to many bicyclists. It’s one of the preferred modes of travel in the Portland area. Many residents walk to work and back. The most walkable areas in Portland are Old Town Chinatown and the Pearl District neighborhoods.

Oakland

16. Oakland, California

Oakland is a California City that has a lot to offer households without automobiles. The city offers its residents the Bay Area Rapid Transit System that connects all of the neighborhoods in the bay area. There is also a commuter rail that runs to Sacramento and other areas in Southern California. Oakland is also rated as one of the most walkable cities in the nation.

San Francisco

15. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is connected by the same Bay Area Rapid Transit system as its sister city Oakland. The city is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the state. Most neighborhoods are easy to navigate on foot. Chinatown, Lower Nob Hill, and Union Square are among the most walkable neighborhoods. You can manage quite well in San Francisco if you don’t own a car.

Pittsburgh

14. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

You don’t need to own a car if you live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Although it’s not the most walkable city in the nation, it does have a reliable public transit system. You will have your choice of light rail or bus lines to get around the city and surrounding areas. Some of the residential areas are so compact that it’s not difficult to navigate them on foot or bicycle. The commuter system is ranked as being as fast as driving yourself to various locations so you won’t be late for important appointments.

Miami

13. Miami, Florida

Habitat.org supports the benefits of living without a car because it’s helping to lessen the carbon footprint we leave behind. They rate Miami as one of the best places in the US to live if you don’t have a car. Miami is a city that is easy to navigate on foot. The best neighborhoods with high walkability scores are Wynwood-Edgewater, Little Havana, and Downtown. There are multiple art walks sponsored in the city. Bicycling is also a popular mode of transportation in Miami with the Venetian Causeway and Rickenbacker Causeway to make cycling safer. Miami offers residents a choice between the trollies, metro buses, Metrorail, and metro mover for public transit. You also see a lot of electric scooters on the roads.

Minneapolis

12. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is known for offering the largest skyway system on the planet. It goes on for 8 miles and offers pedestrians a climate-controlled walkway that helps them get around better in the winter months. Several of the neighborhoods in Minneapolis are highly walkable. Biking is big in the city as there are programs dedicated to supporting cleaner and more affordable commuting options. There are biking education courses offered as well as bike lockers and repair shops throughout the town. Minneapolis also offers an expansive public transit system with commuter rail services, light rail, and bus routes.

Philadelphia

11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is rated as one of the best cities to live in the United States if you don’t own a car because the majority of its neighborhoods are highly walkable. Many of the resident’s tool around town on bicycles. The city has built an infrastructure that supports cyclists with bike paths and more. The SEPTA system is Philly’s public transportation network that is massive and can take people in the city anywhere they want to go, offering regularly scheduled routes throughout the city and surrounding areas.

Jersey City

10. Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City is a metropolitan area that offers some of the best resources for households without a car. Most neighborhoods in Jersey City are highly walkable including McGinley Square, Jornal Square, and the Historic Downtown neighborhoods. The city is riddled with walking paths near the Hudson River. There are limited biking paths, but most choose to travel on foot or use the public transit system in the city. When it comes to public transportation there are quite a few in Jersey City. The PATH subway line connects riders with most neighborhoods including routes to Manhattan, and other areas. The Hudson Bergen Light Rail and the New Jersey Transit Buses also have regular routes you can depend on.

Washington D.C.

9. Washington, D.C.

Washington DC is full of walkable neighborhoods. These include Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown, U-Street, and Dupont Circle. The city has been laid out with an abundance of biking paths, making cycling one of the more popular modes of transportation. The public transit system includes the Metro service, and WMATA which offer rail and bus options with regular routes.

Chicago

8. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is a large metropolitan city that has a high walkability score, particularly in East Ukrainian Village, West Loop, and Near North Side neighborhoods. Bicycles are also a popular choice for getting around in the city. It’s laid out in a bike-friendly manner. The Chicago Transit Authority provides residents and visitors with a massive network of buses, trains, and water taxis making it one of the best places in the nation to live if you don’t have a car.

Arlington

7. Arlington, Virginia

Money Crashers picks Arlington as one of the best places to live without a car for several reasons. The city has the highest percentage of educated people in the nation. Over 70 percent of adults over 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree and over a third have advanced degrees. The public transit system is one of the most highly rated in the US. The Washington Metro offers 11 stations with more than 60,000 riders on weekdays. The Virginia Railway Express is another option with a bus rapid transit system and four other public transit systems available to keep you connected to the places you need to be. The city of Arlington also has a high walkability score if you prefer to travel on foot.

Denver

6. Denver, Colorado

Denver is one of the best places for carless households because it has a strong infrastructure to support bicyclists with dedicated bike lanes. In the colder months, residents have a choice of light rail or bus routes. It’s easy to get around the neighborhoods or to work for the residents. It also has a good outlook for employment, affordable housing, and tons of amenities for entertainment.

Madison

5. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is a city that is highly desirable for households without ars. The city has massive networks of walking and biking paths, and when the weather is too cold to commute these ways, the massive metro bus system covers all parts of the city with 228 buses and 75 routes that run on the half-hour. The buses make more than 2,000 stops per day. On top of that, this is an affordable place to live with a low unemployment rate and ample job opportunities. Housing is affordable and there are plenty of amenities for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Austin

4. Austin, Texas

The capital city of Texas is also one of the best places to live if you don’t have a car. This liberal city is diverse and welcoming. It’s ranked as one of the best cities to live in if you don’t have a car because of its massive public transportation system. You have a broad range of choices to get around town. There are buses, light rail, and pedicab options. There are also 80 miles of dedicated bike trails for those who prefer cycling. Even the metro transit system offers bike racks for residents who get tired of peddling and want to ride for a while. It’s the 11th most popular city for bicycling to work and back.

Baltimore

3. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is a highly desired place to live for people who don’t own cars. The public transit system gives you a choice of local, express, and commuter buses. There’s also a light rail and a subway system, all offering regular routes. Most residents feel safe when they walk alone in the city at right. It’s known for walking, biking, and carpooling because the residents are all trying to do their part to promote a greener city that is more environmentally friendly. It’s one of the most affordable places to live with a low unemployment rate, plenty of jobs with excellent pay, and ample opportunities to get an education.

St. Louis

2. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is a good place to live without a car because of its massive Metrobus system. This public transit service keeps residents in the area connected to all parts of the city with regular and express services offered throughout the local communities. The MetroLink is the light rail system with 37 stations and 62 miles of track for traveling long distances in a shorter period. There are also lots of bicyclists in St. Louis. Some neighborhoods are more walkable than others, but overall, you should be able to get around very well without a car in St. Louis.

NYC

1. New York City, New York

Moving.com explains that New York City is a good option if you don’t have a car. It’s one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world. The grid system is easy to navigate. There are plenty of transportation options to get you where you need to go in a reasonable amount of time. It’s famous for its MTA subway and bus systems. There are also loads of bike-sharing programs as well as the yellow taxi cab services. There are also pedicabs, ferry rides, ride-sharing programs, and Zipcars available.

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