Cities to Live Without a Car
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18 Cities Where You Can Live Car-Free

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Cities to Live Without a Car
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Take These Cities for a Spin

There are a lot of benefits to owning a car, not the least of which is being able to travel whenever and wherever you want. But that freedom ain't free, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It estimates the average cost of owning a car at about $9,576 a year. One way to minimize that cost is to ditch the car and take public transit or a rideshare service, bike, or walk instead. These cities make it easier for their residents to drive less and save more.

Related:20 Bike-Friendly Cities for a Vacation

New York
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Washington, D.C.
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Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital may be relatively compact compared with some of the sprawling cities on this list, but it rivals them with its sizable rapid-transit system, the Metro, which stretches into Virginia and Maryland. (It's the second busiest in the nation, behind only New York City in terms of ridership.) Washington is ranked No. 7 on Walk Score's list of most-walkable cities, and it scores highly for public transit access as well. Walkable neighborhoods including U Street and Dupont Circle.

Related: 23 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Washington, D.C.

Boston
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Boston

Boston's tangle of streets make driving rather difficult, but its public transit system, which includes subway, bus and commuter rail, links a metropolitan area that extends from New Hampshire to Rhode Island. The city is also highly walkable and bike-friendly, ranked No. 3 in the U.S. according to Walk Score. Among Boston's most walkable areas are Chinatown, Bay Village, and Beacon Hill.

Related: Best Things to Do in Boston

Chicago
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Chicago

Chicago's mass-transit system is the third-busiest in the nation, and the Chicago Transit Authority's network of elevated rapid-transit lines (it's beloved "L"), commuter rail, and bus system can take you throughout the city and as far as the state lines. The city is both bikeable and walkable, as well, with Walk Score identifying the West Loop, Near North Side, and East Ukrainian Village as the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

Philadelphia
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Philadelphia

Like other East Coast cities, Philadelphia has a relatively low rate of vehicle ownership and an established, extensive public transit network. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, provides public transit ranging from commuter rails to and trolleys to buses and subways within the city, but Philadelphia is also one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the country. The most walkable neighborhoods include Avenue of the Arts South, Center City West, and Rittenhouse Square.

Denver
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Denver

Visitors and residents can get around the Mile High City easily and inexpensively by using the Regional Transportation District's (RTA) light rail and bus lines, including a line from downtown to Denver International Airport. Denver also has some of the best infrastructure for bicyclists in the country between its flat terrain and dedicated bike lanes. The most walkable neighborhoods here are Capitol Hill, Five Points, and, of course, downtown.

Minneapolis
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Minneapolis

Minneapolis has public transportation options including bus, light rail, and commuter rail, but the city really shines when it comes to walkability and bikeability scores, according to Walk Score. A University of Minnesota study found that more than 400,000 residents in the metropolitan area bike or walk to work each day. Their routines are aided by the relatively flat terrain, which makes both walking and biking a breeze. If you plan on walking, try living in Lowry Hill East, Lyn-Lake, or Downtown West.

Baltimore
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Baltimore

Baltimore's public transit options are more limited than nearby Washington, D.C., but it still ranks among the top 10 U.S. cities for mobility. You can get around town via the Charm City Circulator, a bus that runs every 10 minutes for most of the day, seven days a week, and transports 4 million people a year. The best part: It's completely free. Baltimore is considered only moderately walkable by Walk Score. About 8% of commuters travel by bike or on foot, with the most pedestrian-friendly areas being downtown and Mount Vernon.

Related: The Best Things To Do In Baltimore

Boulder, Colorado
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Boulder, Colorado

This scenic and eminently livable university town boasts a walkable core and solid bus service for a city of its size, but where Boulder really shines is in bikeability. It ranked as America's 12th best bicycling city and earns an 86 bike score from Walk Score, with more than 10% of commuters going by bike. Boulder's best areas to live without a car include Whittier, Gloss-Grove, and University Hill.

Miami
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Fort Collins, Colorado
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Fort Collins, Colorado

This city doesn't rank highly for walkability, but it's exceptional among non-coastal cities for its bike-friendliness. It ranked as the third-best bicycle city in the nation, with multi-use paths and over and underpasses across major intersections. Roughly 5% of commuters to bicycle to work, and slightly less than 5% of households make do without a car. The most walkable neighborhoods here are Old Town, University Park, and downtown.

Pittsburgh
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Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh doesn't enjoy quite as high a walkability score as that other Pennsylvania metropolis, Philadelphia. It's public transit system of bus lines and light rail is somewhat more limited as well. But the city has some very compact residential areas, such as the Central Oakland and Friendship neighborhoods, and average commute time for public transit riders is nearly on par with driving, according to one study

San Francisco
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San Francisco

San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system, bus lines, and commuter rail add up to some of the best public transit in the country. Despite the hilly terrain, San Francisco is easily navigable by foot. Among the most walkable neighborhoods are Union Square, Lower Nob Hill, and Chinatown, according to Walk Score, which ranks San Francisco as the nation's second most-walkable large city.

Related: 20 Free and Cheap Things to Do in San Francisco

Oakland
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Oakland

Like its sister city San Francisco, Oakland shares the same Bay Area Rapid Transit system, allowing residents to travel throughout the Bay Area and connect to commuter rail that extends to Sacramento and Southern California. It's also highly walkable, according to Walk Score, though its overall public transit rank isn't quite as high.

Portland, Oregon
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Portland, Oregon

Portland's TriMet serves the metropolitan area with bus, light rail, and commuter rail, but what really sets Portland apart is how bikeable it is, with the fifth-highest percentage of residents commuting by foot or bike of any U.S. city. Almost 23,000 people commute to work on two wheels, the highest rate of any major city in the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The most walkable areas are downtown, the Pearl District, and Old Town Chinatown.

Seattle
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Seattle

The Pacific Northwest's largest city has a rapid transit line called Link Light Rail connecting the airport to the University of Washington campus, while the rest of the metropolitan area is covered by three separate bus lines and two commuter rails. The hilly terrain doesn't deter the city's many bike commuters, and one of their most unique transit amenities is the ferry system, which connects the downtown to communities on the other side of Puget Sound.

Long Beach, California
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Long Beach, California

Southern California in general and the Los Angeles metropolitan area in particular aren't renowned for their walkability and public transit, but Long Beach bucks the trend. It's the 10th most walkable big city in the U.S., according to Walk Score. Ten percent of households manage without a car, and Long Beach Transit connects to neighboring transit networks throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The most walkable areas include downtown, Saint Mary, and Franklin School.

Honolulu
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Honolulu

One can get pretty much anywhere you'd need to go without a private vehicle in Hawaii's biggest city, which may be part of the reason why 17% of households don't own one. Oahu's limited geography combined with more than 100 TheBus routes make it easy to reach different neighborhoods and most major towns across the island. The most walkable neighborhoods are downtown, Waikiki, Ala Moana, and Kaka'ako.