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When it comes to walkable cities, Texas tends to get a failing grade. It’s well-deserved: compared with cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia, we don’t offer walkers much. It’s not strictly a coastal thing either—Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis fare much better than we do too. And WalkScore.com, a project of real estate website RedFin, puts a number value on how walkable a city is or isn’t.

Their top ten list is only mildly interesting if you’re a Texan—none of our cities are on it—and, indeed, you have to go all the way to #42 on the national list to find your first Texas city. But if you zoom in on the list to include only Texas, you’ll find Houston in the top spot, followed closely by Laredo and Dallas, with Irving not far behind. No Texas city has a “walkability index” score higher than 45 (New York scores highest, at 87.6), but there are a few interesting things to learn from the list.

The methodology for the list is complicated, which tends to result in more accurate rankings than simple, clickbaity lists. The factors that go into determining the score include walking routes, or how long it takes to get from one desirable location to another on foot; depth of choice, or how much stuff there is that you’d want to walk to within a given area; pedestrian-friendliness, which is fairly self-explanatory (sidewalks help—sorry, Austin); mixed-use vs. single-use, or are neighborhoods full of nothing but houses?; and block-by-block ranking.

 

Here’s the full list for Texas:

Houston Texas

Photo via Go Healthy Houston

Photo via Go Healthy Houston

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Walk Score : 44
Transit Score : 35
Bike Score : 49
Residents : 2,099,451

Houston has sparkling new high-rises, historic architecture with wrought iron balconies, parks and museums, and plenty of shopping. It’s the fourth largest city in the US. The Johnson Space Center is in Houston, and the Rothko Chapel, a serene facility housing the work of one the masters of American Art.

In Houston, you’re inside the Loop (Interstate 610) or inside the Beltway, or out in the suburbs. There are five main business districts, two Chinatowns, and day trippers think nothing of heading to Galveston on the Gulf Coast. Houston is a commuter’s town, you may find a walkable neighbourhood but most likely still have to drive to work.

 

LAREDO, TEXAS
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Laredo Apartment for Rent

 

 

Laredo has an average Walk Score of 44 with 236,091 residents.

The most walkable Laredo neighbourhoods are Central Business District, El Cuatro and Los Amores.

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DALLAS, TEXAS
Photo via Car Free Dallas

Photo via Car Free Dallas

Dallas Map For Apartment For Rent

Dallas Map For Apartment For Rent

 

Walk Score : 44
Transit Score : 39
Bike Score : 44
Residents : 1,197,816

Dallas, Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex — it’s the biggest landlocked region in the US. Things are big here, as you’d expect from Texas. There’s blues and BBQ here, but there’s also art at the Dallas Museum of Art, history at the African American Museum, and all kinds of culture — dance, theatre, and live music.

Dallas is improving its transit with a light rail line that serves downtown and Oak Lawn, two of the more walkable districts. The Trinity Railway Express connects Fort Worth with Dallas’ DART light rail system at Union Station, with a stop near DFW, the international airport.

 

IRVING, TEXAS
Irving Apartments For Rent

Irving Apartments For Rent

 

 

Irving has an average Walk Score of 42 with 216,290 residents.

The most walkable Irving neighbourhoods are Espanita, Plymouth Park and Hillcrest Oaks.

 

 

 

 

EL PASO, TEXAS
El Paso Apartments For Rent

Photo via Healthy Kids Healthy Communities

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El Paso Map of Apartment For Rent

Walk Score : 39

El Paso is the 30th most walkable large city in the US with 649,121 residents.

The most walkable El Paso neighbourhoods are Chihuahuita, Union Plaza and South Central.

 

 

 

 

 

GARLAND, TEXAS
Garland Map of Apartment For Rent

Garland Map of Apartment For Rent

 

 

Garland has an average Walk Score of 36 with 226,876 residents.

Garland does not have many bike lanes.

The most walkable Garland neighbourhoods are Broadway, Centerview and Walnut.

 

 

 

PLANO, TEXAS
Plano Map of Apartment For Rent

Plano Map of Apartment For Rent

 

Plano has an average Walk Score of 36 with 259,841 residents.

Plano is somewhat bikeable.

The most walkable Plano neighbourhoods are Downtown, Old Towne and Caddo Park.

 

 

 

 

Corpus CHRISTI, TEXAS
Corpus Christi Map For Apartment For Rent

Corpus Christi Map For Apartment For Rent

 

Corpus Christi has an average Walk Score of 36 with 305,215 residents.

Corpus Christi has some public transportation.

The most walkable Corpus Christi neighbourhoods are Central City, Bay Area and South Side.

 

 

 

 

AUSTIN, TEXAS
Photo via Austin Texas Gov

Photo via Austin Texas Gov

Austin Map for Apartment For Rent

Austin Map for Apartment For Rent

 

Walk Score : 35
Transit Score : 33
Bike Score : 52
Residents : 790,390

Austin is the 34th most walkable large city in the US with 790,390 residents.

Austin has some public transportation and is somewhat bikeable.

The most walkable Austin neighbourhoods are Downtown, West University and University of Texas-Austin.

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LUBBOCK TEXAS
Lubbock Map for Apartment For Rent

Lubbock Map for Apartment For Rent

 

Walk Score : 35
Bike Score : 47

Lubbock has an average Walk Score of 35 with 229,573 residents.

Lubbock does not have many bike lanes.

The most walkable Lubbock neighborhoods are South Overton, North Overton and Downtown.

 

 

ARLINGTON, TEXAS
Arlington Map for Apartment For Rent

Arlington Map for Apartment For Rent

 

Walk Score : 35
Transit Score : 33

Arlington is the 35th most walkable large city in the US with 365,438 residents.

Arlington does not have many bike lanes.

The most walkable Arlington neighbourhoods are Heart of Arlington, Town North and South Davis.

 

 

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio River Walk (Photo Credit : Threadvt)

San Antonio River Walk (Photo Credit : Threadvt)

San Antonio Map for Apartment for Rent

San Antonio Map for Apartment for Rent

 

Walk Score : 34
Transit Score : 35
Bike Score : 42
Residents : 1,327,407

The River Walk, the Alamo, and a number of historic missions bring tourists to San Antonio, Texas, but it’s also an attractive place to live with an interesting downtown. There’s great Tex Mex food here, of course, and a thriving arts scene. There’s San Antonio B-Cycle, a bike share program with over two dozen stations to take advantage of the city’s fine weather and mostly flat topography.

VIA runs convenient bus service into downtown from the airport, you’re rarely more a ten minute walk from a bus stop. The military is a big employer in San Antonio, but it’s also home to the corporate headquarters for H-E-B Supermarkets and USAA, the banking and insurance provider. The city has the diverse population and character you’d expect from a city that’s just over 100 miles to the Mexican border.

San Antonio has some public transportation and does not have many bike lanes.

Find apartments in San Antonio’s most walkable neighbourhoods: Downtown, Five Points and Tobin Hill.

 

Fort Worth Texas
Fort Worth Map For Apartment For Rent

Fort Worth Map For Apartment For Rent

Walk Score : 32
Transit Score : 19
Bike Score : 40
Residents : 741,206

Fort Worth is the 42nd most walkable large city in the US with 741,206 residents.

Fort Worth has minimal public transportation and does not have many bike lanes.

The most walkable Fort Worth neighbourhoods are Linwood, Bluebonnet Place and Downtown.

 

From a big-picture perspective, there are certainly things here to argue with. Dallas is walkable if you’re in certain parts of town, but if you need to get to another part of the Metroplex, you’re out of luck. Similarly, Houston’s walkability is undeniable in a neighborhood like Montrose, but you could fit a whole lot of other walkable cities inside Houston’s loop. Austin, meanwhile, is geographically small compared to some other Texas cities and has walkable neighbourhoods near downtown—but otherwise-walkable neighbourhoods often lack adequate sidewalks.

Ultimately, of course, every Texas city ranked here—from Houston all the way down to Fort Worth—gets a failing grade compared with cities that were built with pedestrians in mind. But even in a state built for cars, there are places it’s easier to walk around than others.

 

This feature originally appeared in Texas Monthly.

 

 

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