Philadelphia
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51 Free Walking Tours From Across the U.S.

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Philadelphia
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Foot Traffic

Pop on those comfy shoes. Locals and tourists alike can learn much about a place by pounding the pavement. Free walking tours offer an up-close — and thrifty — way to experience a new city and sometimes even create a new perspective on a town you’ve long called home. We’ve taken a cross-country trek of sorts, spotlighting a variety of free tours across America that touch on history, architecture, music, sports, recreation and more. Bring a camera and remember, although no payment is required, tips are always appreciated.

Boston
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Boston

Walk back in time on the Freedom Trail in the heart of Boston. Follow the red-lined, 2.5-mile route past 16 historically significant sites — some 250 years of history — including burial grounds, museums, churches, and meeting houses key to the American Revolution. Paid tours are offered but the adventurous walk it on their own.

Related: The One Thing You Must Do in Every State

St. Augustine, Florida
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St. Augustine, Florida

Explore “the cultural, historical and architectural treasures” of the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the United States, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers. Download the app created by the Florida Humanities Council — and a walking tour of St. Augustine is yours.

Kansas City, Missouri
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Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City Public Library, with roots going back to the 1870s, has created a free, self-guided walking tour of its historic-district neighborhood. This walk through Missouri history begins at the library’s architecturally unique parking facility and continues through the surrounding streets and includes stops at bank buildings, law schools, and hotels.

Salem, Oregon
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Salem, Oregon

The Global Greeter Network is also active in Salem, Oregon. Visitors there can arrange in advance to spend a few hours with a local greeter who will share their knowledge of local architecture, parks, fashion, design, and culinary treasures.

Charleston, South Carolina
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Charleston, South Carolina

The City Sidewalks, a blog featuring travel tips, suggests itineraries for five self-guided walking tours of this charming — and walkable — city. The route options range from The French Quarter and Rainbow Row to another that takes you The Waterfront and Broad Street areas, this one of particular interest for those who love prime real estate.

Related: 19 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Charleston

Fargo, North Dakota
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Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, the most populous city in North Dakota, is more than just the setting for a classic yet-offbeat-film and TV series. Tour Fargo’s historic buildings with the Fargo Underground Downtown Audio Walking Tour, a free Smartphone- and tablet-friendly option.

New York City
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New York City

Delve into a violent side of the Big Apple with the New York Mafia Tour exploring the 20th century’s “five mafia crime families of New York City.” The Free Tours by Foot itinerary takes you from social clubs to scenes of hits (we’re not talking Billboard charts here), tracing organized crime’s history from Little Italy to the East Village and into Midtown.

New Orleans
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New Orleans

Free Tours by Foot’s New Orleans Voodoo Tour puts a spotlight on the Big Easy’s spirited subculture. Mystery, secrecy and more surround Louisiana’s voodoo connections, from its roots in West Africa all the way to the modern-day French Quarter. Superstitions, rituals and cemeteries are explored on this guided mile-long, 90-minute excursion.

Related: 26 Best Cheap Or Free Things To Do In New Orleans

Portland, Maine
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Portland, Maine

Visitors to Portland can get in plenty of nature-themed walking tours and hikes over some 70-plus miles of trails and green spaces. The nonprofit land trust Portland Trails offers maps of dozens of options, noting suitability and attractions of each.

Los Angeles
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Los Angeles

Free Tours by Foot offers several options for exploring the City of Angels. The free (pay-what-you-wish) Downtown Los Angeles tour includes stops at the Walt Disney Music Hall, Pershing Square and if you feel flush, Angel’s Flight (for $1). (And if you're heading to L.A., be sure to order a copy of "100 Things to Do in Los Angeles Before You Die," written by Danny Jensen, Cheapism's Managing Editor, which features plenty of fun, free and cheap activities and walks to explore in and around the city.)

Related: The Best of California on a Budget

Washington, D.C.
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Washington, D.C.

Walk of the Town's free tours of Washington are varied, from the popular "Monumental sTOURies" trek, which takes in many historical sites (including the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Monument) to the seasonal Waterfront Walk along the Tidal Basin. Expect to spend about four hours learning about the nation's capital.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Santa Fe, New Mexico

See Santa Fe from various perspectives thanks to the array of free self-guided tours highlighted by SantaFe.org. The thematic selections touch on everything from green chile cheeseburgers to Margaritas to chocolate to literary landmarks. The New Deal Art Legacy Tour explores how President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal left its mark on the city.

Chicago
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Chicago

Free Chicago Walking Tours offers several options for touring the Windy City, from a Loop interior tour to a Riverwalk tour to a Loop and Public Art Tour, and, of course, a Crime and Gangster Tour. Each is designed to last about two hours, covering just over a mile, with an emphasis on “meeting people, learning, and having fun.”

Memphis, Tennessee
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Memphis, Tennessee

Frommers.com lays out a suggested itinerary for a walking tour through the city, touching on everything from Beale Street to the National Civil Rights Museum. The 2-hour journey (which can extend to all day depending on your pace) starts off at The Peabody Hotel, an attraction in itself with its famed Peabody ducks.

Dallas
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Dallas

Locals usually do know best, as evidenced by Hello Little Home’s comprehensive Downtown Dallas Walking Tour. Offering a broad introduction rather than specialized itinerary, this self-guided route points out “beautiful skyline views to historic sights, shopping spots, museums, and so much more.” Open the map on your phone and head on out as you tour Dallas City Hall, John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, Dallas Museum of Art and the, um, the Giant Eyeball, quite the tourist attraction.

Salem, Massachusetts
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Salem, Massachusetts

Say “Salem, Massachusetts,” and witches come to mind. The website Wytchery: A Gothic Curiosity Cabinet offers an itinerary for “A Salem Walking Tour in Three Miles.” Essex Street is the main thoroughfare for this spooky stroll.

 San Francisco
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San Francisco

San Francisco City Guides, a nonprofit and primarily volunteer operation, has some 300 active guides who lead free walks that last 90 minutes to two hours. Combining landmarks and off-the-beaten-path sites, the popular lineup of some 80 different walks include “Golden Gate Bridge,” “Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco,” “Bawdy & Naughty” and “1850s San Francisco: Paris of the Pacific.”

Miami
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Houston
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Houston

The Global Greeter Network features locals sharing inside knowledge of their home cities across the world. If you're headed to Texas, you can tap into the Houston Greeters organization, which offers tours (advance registration required) on topics ranging from arts and culture to local foods, parks, and the outdoors. It's a custom experience without a custom price tag.

Vermont
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Vermont

VermontVacation.com offers a handful of walking tour ideas, inviting visitors to connect to walking tours through Burlington, the state’s largest city located on the harbor of Lake Champlain, to Middlebury, a self-guided trek plotted out by a Middlebury College architectural historian.

Newport, Rhode Island
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Newport, Rhode Island

The Newport Cliff Walk is known far outside Rhode Island as one of the nation's most scenic free, self-guided walking tours, where natural beauty vies with glimpses of man-made Gilded Age glories. This National Recreation Trail within a National Historic District is a 3.5-mile walk that requires caution, as a portion does cross a rough shoreline.

Seattle
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Seattle

Pike Place Market has been called the “colorful ever-changing soul of Seattle.” It’s not only rich in history but also filled with all kinds of culinary delights (and quite a few characters). Seattle Free Walking Tours — a pay-what-you-feel operation — offers a tour that touches on everything from the market’s hidden secrets to its noted fish throwers.

Mount Rushmore
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Mount Rushmore

Many visitors to Mount Rushmore National Memorial ogle those oversized presidential faces and hop back in the car. Spend a bit more time at the South Dakota site and experience the 0.6-mile Presidential Trail (note: there are more than 400 stairs) to get an up-close experience — and maybe even see some local wildlife.

New York City
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New York

Central Park Conservancy offers a number of tours of New York City’s landmark oasis — and the Heart of the Park is a free, east-to-west tour visit led by Central Park Conservancy guides. This child- and senior-friendly route (a few inclines and some stairs) covers some of the park’s most noted elements, from Bethesda Terrace to Bow Bridge and Strawberry Fields, in 90 minutes.

Honolulu
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Honolulu

Hawaii Free Tours, an organization dedicated to sharing “the rich history, the culture, the people, the food, and the way of this beautiful place that we call home,” offers an hourlong free walking tour of historic downtown Honolulu, including the state’s iconic historical sites.

Cleveland
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Cleveland

Mark those calendars. Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation’s popular — and seasonal — Take a Hike program, a series of free guided walks through distinct neighborhoods of downtown Cleveland, will be again be offered in summer (June 1 through Sept. 30) and fall (Oct. 3 through Nov. 21) sessions. Each tour lasts about 90 minutes and features actors portraying historical figures from the city’s past. For those who like things easy, we’re told “taking a hike” is actually more like taking a leisurely stroll.

San Antonio
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San Antonio

VisitSanAntonio.com offers a wealth of ideas for exploring this Texas destination, including the Amigo Free Walking Tours that combine the city’s “best sights and stories for an unforgettable tour.” With a schedule released monthly, tours of various themes concentrate on the Downtown and King Williams District. A recent TripAdvisor review noted, “I was enthralled for 2 hours of seeing San Antonio through fresh eyes of someone passionate about passing on the beauty, history, and culture of this place.”

Cannon, Hackensack, New Jersey
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Bergen County, New Jersey

Sure, there’s no Atlantic City glitz or Jersey Shore frenzy, but Bergen County in the northern part of the Garden State invites visitors to savor “A County of Vision. A Region of History.” The site offers links to organizations that offer walking tours, as well as an itinerary for a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Main Street, Hackensack.

California
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Milwaukee
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Milwaukee

Get an up-close introduction to Milwaukee’s Third Ward, a historic neighborhood filled with turn-of-the-century ambiance and plenty of interesting architecture to boot. A free, downloadable PDF points out the highlights of this trek filled with restaurants, theaters, galleries and shops.

Lincoln, Nebraska
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Lincoln, Nebraska

Step back into 19th-century Nebraska with a self-guided walking tour of Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket. Explore the history online, then take the walking tour, which identifies nearly 50 sites and explains their significance to the city’s story.

Denver
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Denver

Explore Denver through daily tours (weekends only November-April 30) with guides from Denver Free Walking Tours. The easy 2- to 2½ treks (1.7 miles) are stroller- and wheelchair-accessible with frequent stops including the State Capitol, Denver Art Museum, U.S. Mint, Denver Performing Arts Complex, and more.

Baltimore
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Baltimore

Baltimore's Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail explores a historic African-American neighborhood. Visitors can learn about the city’s civil rights legacy, notable residential and religious architecture, and entertainment districts. A free map is also available at the Baltimore Visitors Center at the Inner Harbor.

Related: The Best Things To Do In Baltimore

San Diego
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San Diego

San Diego’s famed Balboa Park features 1,200 acres to explore. Overwhelming? Yes, but the National Historic Landmark is easier to maneuver thanks to the weekly hourlong (and free) guided tours that offer an overview of the park’s history and attractions.

Ocean City, Maryland
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Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City invites visitors to “Come walk all over us!” as a clever way to promote its downtown association’s two walking tours. Factoids and vintage images enliven the materials, available online as a free download and at the organization’s Information Cottage (how beachy!) on the boardwalk.

Little Rock, Arkansas
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Little Rock, Arkansas

The capital of Arkansas is filled with historic sites, shopping options, restaurants, and more. Visitors can see a lot by taking the Downtown Little Rock One-Day Walking Tour, as spotlighted on the state’s official tourism site. The tour includes the Old State House Museum, the River Market District, the Clinton Presidential Center, and more.

Roswell, Georgia
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Roswell, Georgia

Roswell may not be a big city like Atlanta, but it’s got plenty to keep visitors busy. Billed as a place with a modern spirit and Southern soul, Roswell offers a free Walking Tour Map (plus app and guide) that spotlights more than 40 sites of interest including churches, a fire museum and the picturesque Old Mill Ruins.

Detroit
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Detroit

The Detroit Experience Factory grew out of a grassroots nonprofit and is said to connect “locals and visitors to Detroit’s people, places and projects through contextual storytelling, interactive experiences and innovative resources.” Free tours include the popular “Best of Downtown,” which features the Theater District, Campus Martius Park, the Guardian Building and Capitol Park.

Key West, Florida
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Key West, Florida

“Key West” suggests a slower place, so take as long as you like (an hour, maybe two) to walk the Old Island Restoration Foundation’s Pelican Path Self-Guided Tour. Explore more than 50 of the Florida destination’s notable buildings including President Harry S. Truman’s Little White House.

Lewes, Delaware
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Las Vegas
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Lexington, Kentucky
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Lexington, Kentucky

The Legacy Trail is a shared-use greenway trail connecting downtown Lexington with local neighborhoods, parks and historic sites — a diverse introduction to the region over a 12-mile interpretative path, dotted with artwork, that concludes at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Plymouth, Connecticut
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Plymouth, Connecticut

It’s not Plymouth Rock, but Plymouth, Connecticut, is also very historical and eminently walkable. The Plymouth Land Trust offers a free map for a self-guided walking tour of the Plymouth Center village, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that includes the Town Green and winds past Revolutionary War gravestones, an Underground Railroad stop and, yes, a place where George Washington slept.

Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Plymouth, Massachusetts

Of course, there’s also Plymouth, Massachusetts, “America's Hometown,” since 1620. Download a free, self-guided tour and audio accompaniment through the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce and follow signs for the Pilgrim Path Walking Tour.

Pittsburgh
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Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation encourages both visitors and locals to step back and appreciate the Pennsylvania city’s rich heritage by offering six free self-guided walking tours. Download the free PDFs and start exploring downtown Pittsburgh through, for example, its Gateway Center, Market Square Area or its Bridges and River Shores.

Philadelphia
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Philadelphia

Free and Friendly Tours offers guided tours of Philadelphia with local guides focusing on “the whole Philadelphia, its historical monuments and its present-day city life — or the whole of what’s in walking distance at least.” The Colonial Cheesesteak Tour, booking now, certainly has captured our imagination.

Raleigh, North Carolina
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Raleigh, North Carolina

The half-day walking tour suggested by Visit Raleigh puts free attractions in the spotlight for visitors to the North Carolina capital. Ask about the statue of George Washington in a toga at the North Carolina State Capitol, a featured stop.

Utah
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Utah

The state of Utah is apparently very tech-savvy. Preservation Utah offers several self-guided history and architecture walking tours of sites throughout the state – accessible via its free app, Utah Heritage Walks. Explore, for example, the Historic Buildings of Pleasant Grove or Modernism at the University of Utah.

Anchorage, Alaska
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Anchorage, Alaska

Visitors headed to Alaska can take advantage of a free, guided walking tour in Anchorage offered by Alaska.org and the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau. The tour features more than 10 sites, including historic homes and a onetime ladies-only bar and café that ensured 1940s and '50s women (often excluded from men's clubs) could have their own place to tie one on.

Tucson, Arizona
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Tucson, Arizona

The Presidio Trail is a historical walking tour of Tucson that takes hikers on a 2.5-mile loop through the city's downtown, from the Temple of Music & Art to the Historic Railroad Depot. Additional sites of interest a bit further afield are mentioned too.

Jackson, Mississippi
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Jackson, Mississippi

Choice Hotels offers a few options for free, self-guided walking tours of Jackson. These themed offerings for the capital city range from Downtown Delights to Museums and Monuments to All About the Arts. Take a few, and you just might become a local expert.