When you know you’re bound to spend most of your workday in a cubicle parked in front of a computer or on the phone, it can be key to spice up other areas of your life to keep things interesting.
That includes the daily commute to and from work. There is evidence that the daily commute can be harmful to your health, so why not move to a city where it’s possible to walk or bike to work most days of the week?
Walking or biking to work can add a touch of adventure to the beginning and end of your workday, and there’s evidence that doing so makes the workforce more energetic and productive.
Here are 10 of the most walkable/bikeable cities in the U.S. for commuters:
- New York
Yes, there are plenty of people in New York who take subways or taxis to work, but there’s also a good many who walk. In fact, more than 10 percent of those working in New York walk to work daily, and the city ranks as the most walkable in the U.S.
In addition to being a very walkable city, New York also has a growing reputation as a city where you can safely bike to work. It helped when the city council passed a law that forced landlords to allow bikes into office buildings.
- San Francisco
The San Francisco Bay area is extremely friendly to pedestrians and bikers alike, helped by accommodations from its public transit system.
For example, bikes are allowed on BART trains, there are bike racks and lockers at stations, and there are also bike cars on the Caltrain. San Francisco is also the No. 2 most walkable city in the U.S.
More than 15 percent of workers in Boston walk to work, the highest percentage of any city in the U.S. The city also ranks as the third-most walkable city overall, behind only New York and San Francisco.
Boston’s relatively small footprint can make it easy to get around, either on foot or on bike. In addition, more than one-third of households in Boston, 36.9 percent, don’t own a car.
Portland has the highest percentage of bike commuters among the 70 largest U.S. cities, with nearly 6 percent biking to work daily. In recent years the city has become known as one of the world’s friendliest when it comes to bicycling, with initiatives including wider lanes on bridges for bike lanes and intersections that are easier for bikers to navigate.
The Oregon city is also consistently ranked as one of the best in the U.S. to live if you don’t have a car.
- Minneapolis-St. Paul
Nicknamed the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul are kind of like one larger city with two separate downtown areas.
While walking or biking to work in the winter months may be daunting, the cities are well equipped with plenty of bike lanes on the roads. There is also a skyway system that connects downtown buildings and allows people to move between them on foot without going outside.
Also, Minneapolis ranks as not only one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S., but in the world.
Seattle ranks highly when it comes to walking, biking and public transportation.
With 9.1 percent of the population walking to work daily, it ranks No. 6 in the U.S., and it also ranks as the No. 10 most walkable city in the country. It’s also one of a growing number of markets that has a successful bike-sharing program.
The city of Chicago is home to more than 200 miles of on-street bike lanes, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel aims to have bicycle accommodations within a half-mile of every resident by 2020.
Philly may not be the first city you think of when it comes to biking or walking to work, but perhaps it should be.
Last year the city launched a bike-share program that’s one of the first in the country not to require a credit or debit card for membership. Philadelphia also has the fourth-highest Walk Score among U.S. cities, right behind Boston.
- Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital makes the list out of respect – it was the first in North America to launch a bike-share program, and it has the second-largest percentage of bike commuters among the largest 70 U.S. cities.
Anyone who has been in D.C. during the spring for cherry blossom season knows it’s a fine city for walking as well.
Denver is known as the Mile High City, but its location in the mountains shouldn’t be a turnoff for bikers – the city welcomes more than 300 days of sunshine annually.
There are also plenty of bike paths for cyclists, including along the South Platte River, through the city’s Botanical Gardens and around its downtown area.
This is a guest post by Sarah Landrum. “After spending the best three and half years of my life at Penn State, I moved to Harrisburg to pursue my career. Fast forward a few months of punching the clock and loathing cubicle life, and I chose a new path in Marketing and a side gig as a freelance writer. Passionate about career development, I started Punched Clocks to share my advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in life and at work.”