Los Angeles isn’t necessarily a city known for walkability—though it’s actually the 13th-most walkable city in America by at least one metric.
Obviously, though, some neighborhoods are more pedestrian-accessible than others. With restaurants, shops, and museums clustered together, often on the same block, Downtown LA is great for walkers. The winding, often sidewalk-less streets of Bel Air? Not so much.
To get a sense of which neighborhoods in LA offer the best pedestrian experience, we rounded up the ones with the highest ratings on Walk Score, a site that evaluates neighborhoods based on the accessibility of neighborhood amenities to those on foot.
To keep things simple, we’ve restricted the ranking to neighborhoods within Los Angeles city limits. That’s why you won’t see pedestrian-friendly areas like Downtown Long Beach or Downtown Santa Monica here (which score 93 and 91 out of 100, respectively). Nor will you find the entire city of West Hollywood, which managed an impressive score of 91.
Let’s take a look at the top finishers.
1. Downtown LA (Score: 95)
Not surprisingly, Downtown is the highest-rated neighborhood on this list, with very few daily errands requiring the use of a car. Helping to improve the experience of those who prefer not to drive, Downtown is also very transit-accessible, with multiple train stations and bus stops on nearly every block. There’s even a bike share program now.
2. MacArthur Park/Westlake (Score: 94, 91)
Okay, we’re cheating a little here. Westlake is actually fourth in Walk Score’s rankings, but since many would consider MacArthur Park to be part of Westlake, we’re grouping them together—that way we get another neighborhood on the list.
Westlake residents have easy access to a wide variety of neighborhood restaurants, shops, and other amenities—plus, there’s a big park in the middle (where it’s easy to snap up a few bootleg DVDs or a freshly cooked hot dog). The transit-friendly area is served by the Red and Purple lines, as well as a legion of buses.
3. Central Hollywood (Score: 93)
With sidewalks teeming with tourists and lined with souvenir stores, central Hollywood might not always be the most enjoyable place to walk, but it’s certainly an easy place to get around on foot. Served by a pair of Red Line stations and plenty of buses, the neighborhood is also easy to get to and from. And, of course, there are plenty of fun spots for locals as well as visitors. Just stay off the Walk of Fame.
4. Koreatown (Score: 91)
Koreatown is a place where you can do a little grocery shopping, visit the spa, survey some of the city’s finest architecture, and pig out on bulgogi—all without getting into a car. And that’s good, because parking is impossible to find. Another transit-friendly area, Koreatown has a trio of subway stops and bike share may be on the way.
Walk Score lumps these two neighborhoods into one district called Mid-City West, which is why we’re grouping them together here. Filled with plenty of restaurants and museums—not to mention LA’s favorite outdoor shopping mall—the area is fairly easy to get around on foot. It will also be a bit more transit-accessible once the Purple Line extension to Westwood is up and running. It’s not hard to navigate the area by bus either.
6. Pico-Union (Score: 89)
This historic neighborhood west of Downtown has plenty of local businesses to frequent along Pico Boulevard—not to mention some great examples of early 20th century residential architecture. No trains pass through the area, but it’s an easy place to get around by bus.
7. East Hollywood (Score: 89)
A hotbed of development lately, East Hollywood is already full of neighborhood amenities and home to the low key, but very scenic Barnsdall Art Park. It also has multiple subway stations and the Los Angeles City College campus (for pedestrians seeking new educational opportunities).
8. Hollywood Studio District (Score: 87)
Turns out, most neighborhoods with Hollywood in the name are pretty walkable. Walk Score classifies this area as the part of Hollywood north of Melrose and east of Vine. It includes the Paramount Studios lot and Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The latter is a great place to walk around and doubles as a fun moviegoing venue on many weekends.
9. Sawtelle (Score: 87)
Walk Score calls this area West Los Angeles, but it’s really the heart of Sawtelle, the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhood west of the 405. A Westside haven of Japanese culture and cuisine, Sawtelle also has plenty of shops, grocery stores, and even one of LA’s last great video stores. Thanks to the recent Expo Line extension, it’s also a bit more transit-friendly.
10. Palms (Score: 87)
We have to admit, it’s a bit surprising to see Palms on this list, considering that many of the neighborhood’s residential streets don’t even have sidewalks. Still, there are plenty of restaurants, cultural institutions, and even big box stores within easy walking distance of one another. Plus, there’s now an Expo Line stop and a deal between Culver City, Metro, and the city of Los Angeles could bring bike share to the area as soon as next year.
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