The Best Cities to Live Car-Free in the US

Posted on 11/21/2014
A protected bike lane in San Francisco

Your enthusiasm for the car-free lifestyle can only be fostered if there are real transportation alternatives available to you, though. Living car-free shouldn’t have to mean living a life within walking distance to your home. Certainly cycling is the very best alternative to a car, and San Francisco and New York City are both great examples where living car-free is not only possible, but preferable to so many residents.

San Francisco is a no brainer for living car-free, so let’s get back to that one in a couple of minutes.


New York City has really improved its cycling infrastructure recently. 2014 started out with Governor Cuomo announcing $50 million in Federal Transportation Alternatives Grants for projects including the construction of bicycle facilities and infrastructure. There are bright green bike lanes now where there used to be none. The greenway that wraps around the island of Manhattan is not only a beautiful ride, but also mostly car-free, so it’s safe and easy to ride. With both the ferries and the busses being bike-friendly, cycling is fast becoming one of the best ways to get around the island. Plus, it’s a great excuse to buy some brightly colored, foul weather gear for riding during the winter.


Now let’s get back to San Francisco! There is a reason why we are always in the top five of any “Best City for Cycling” list that is ever published. Everyone knows that the climate is ideal for year round cycling in the city. Also, recent improvements to the cycling infrastructure have opened up bicycling as an activity – recreation, transportation or just plain fun – that everyone can participate in. From our sharrows, to the bright green bike lanes, to the bike boxes and special illuminated cyclist crossing signs at stop lights, San Francisco really is one of the safest and most welcoming cities to ride around.

What are you waiting for New Yorkers and San Franciscians? Get on out and ride your city!

[photo credit: Frank Chan/Flickr]

We’ve all seen the lists: Best City to Live In, Best Town to Retire In, Top 10 Safest Cities, but this is a good one! Best City to Live Without a Car. Who doesn’t dream about becoming less dependent on their car, or better, who is thrilled with the idea of living without the burden of a car?