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  • Writer's pictureSun Country

10 (big and small) cities to visit with great transportation options

Two people biking with troll behind them in San Francisco

Exploring a city with great transportation options can be cost-effective and convenient, but most importantly, it provides visitors with a view you can’t get from the driver’s seat. The cities on this list offer a variety of opportunities for more up close and personal exploration, including robust public transit systems, bike-friendly commutes, and pedestrian-focused options.  


Please note: while we wish that all the cities on this list were universally accessible, please know that this piece includes transportation options that may not accommodate the needs of every traveler.  

 

BIG CITY 

 

bright red trolly in New Orleans

Home to the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the United States, New Orleans offers visitors a unique and charming way to navigate the city. Be sure to take a ride on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, which began passenger service in 1835. Download Le Pass, the official app of the New Orleans RTA, to see live transit updates and purchase passes. 


Train system in Chicago overlooking the skyscrapers

Travelers visiting the Windy City should utilize the "L,” Chicago's robust transit system that offers a fast and cost-friendly way to get around the city. Take a trip around “The Loop,” which serves stops for Willis Tower, State Street, Millenium Park, and more. CTA visitor passes offer the best value with unlimited day pass options. 

 

People getting off of Seattle's monorail

Downtown Seattle is extremely walkable. Many major attractions are located within a 1-mile radius of downtown, including Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum and the aquarium. Visitors can also access the Seattle Center Monorail at Westlake Center, which takes riders on a two-minute journey to the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle Children’s Museum, and more. Grab tickets at the vending machines at either station. 

 

street in New York City

Exploring New York City without a car will be preferable in most situations as traffic and congestion are common in the “city that never sleeps.” Visitors can access attractions in all five boroughs by using the New York Transit System - one of the most extensive and efficient public transportation operations in existence. Easily tap to pay your fare with your contactless credit/debit card, smartphone, or OMNY card. 

Bonus – take the FREE Staten Island Ferry for next-level views of the Statue of Liberty and NYC Skyline.  

 

People walking next to trolly in San Francisco

There’s no need to worry about paying for expensive parking or navigating the winding streets of San Fransisco when you can hop on its iconic cable cars instead. For nearly 150 years, manually operated cable cars have been providing visitors with a quintessential San Fran experience and an excellent way to travel to some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, and more. Download the MuniMobile app to quickly pay for your fare.  

 

SMALLER CITY 

 

Walkable street in Burlington

Looking for a  smaller city? Try Burlington, Vermont, located on the shore of picturesque Lake Champlain. The city’s walkable downtown is filled with public parks, cozy cafes, historic buildings, and a variety of galleries. Be sure to add Church Street Marketplace to your itinerary, a pedestrian-only shopping and dining area spanning four blocks.  

 

Horse and carriage in Savannah

This historic city is compact and easy to navigate, making it a great option for a carefree visit. Grab a ride on Savannah’s FREE DOT Downton Trolley, which is one of the best ways to navigate the historic district. The trolley runs every 10 minutes and makes stops at 20 different locations.  

 

Interested in finding a city you can see by bike? Look no further than Portland, Maine, named one of the most bike-able cities in the US. Portland has an avid bike culture and extensive trail system, with plenty of bike rental options. For a scenic ride, take the shorefront Cape Elizabeth Loop to Portland’s charming lighthouses and beaches.  


Asheville downtown

Experience the best of Asheville’s history by exploring the Urban Trail, a 1.7-mile self-guided walking tour hitting 30 significant locations around the city. The trail begins at Pack Square Park downtown and will take visitors about two leisurely hours to hit each stop. Pop into one of Asheville’s various taverns, stores, and restaurants along the way.  

 

Spend a weekend exploring Charleston’s downtown historic district on foot. The city is more than 400 years old, meaning it was designed with pedestrians in mind. Charleston has a walkability score of 99 out of 100, which means it's a walker’s paradise. Follow King Street that runs down the middle of the city as your guide. 

Bonus – take the Charleston Water Taxi for a relaxing and scenic journey to Patriots Point, the home of the Naval & Maritime Museum. 

 

Walking, biking, or taking public transportation are all great ways to create a more intricate relationship with a city and discover those little things you might miss otherwise. 

 

Skip the traffic and parallel parking during your next trip and book your next adventure. 


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