12 Best Cities to Live In Without a Car

Driving is a convenience our planet has long afforded us, unfortunately at its expense. Did you know that if every human being were to switch from cars to alternative transportation, there’s evidence suggesting it could save the world – it’s true! Cars and vehicles of all types, advanced as they may be in this day and age, still produce a lot of pollution.

Thankfully, more people are coming to realize this, and there has been an uptick of interest in bicycles and other transportation methods. After all, a bicycle is all you really need to get around in a city.

If you don’t own a vehicle, here are the 12 best cities to live in without a car across Canada, United States, and worldwide:

1. Oslo, Norway

Oslo tops our list of the best cities to live in without a car. Oslo is banning cars in its city centre, as of this year. Investments continue to be made in transportation routes and more than 35 miles of road in Oslo have been or are in process of replacement with new bike lanes.

Traffic in Oslo, Norway on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Oslo, Norway on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Minneapolis is a very bicycle-friendly city with numerous walking paths and bicycle lanes, accommodating residents who aren’t using a car. Like several other American cities, it’s easy as all heck to get around without a car in tow.

Traffic in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

3. Long Beach, California, USA

When we think of California, we oftentimes think of mile after mile of clogged highways and nightmares of traffic. Nevertheless, Long Beach is a promising walk-friendly city with plenty of bicycle paths and some absolutely beautiful scenery to look at along the water. This location is perfect for those seeking the best cities to live in without a car.

Traffic in Long Beach, California on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Long Beach, California on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

4. Berlin, Germany

Berlin continues to build a series of ‘bike super-highways’, approximately 12 feet wide and completely blocked off from where cars drive. It’s also been a full decade since Berlin first implemented a ban on all gas and diesel vehicles which don’t meet pre-defined emission standards to drive in its city centre.

Traffic in Berlin, Germany on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Berlin, Germany on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

5. London, UK

London is slowly working its way towards being one of the best cities to live in without a car. By 2020, London will have a complete ban on all diesel cars. There are also a handful of initiatives being overseen to make London a more walkable city with new pathways for pedestrians and bicycles.

Traffic in London, UK on Monday 9AM
Traffic in London, UK on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

6. Cyclocroft, Colorado, USA

Cyclocroft isn’t a real city – at least, not yet. Situated just outside Longmont and Boulder, it’s in development as of this writing. That said, the area is being proposed as the first car-free, bicycle-friendly city in the world.

If everything is approved and Cyclocroft does see its plans through to completion, the region will become home to more than 50,000 people living the most environmentally-friendly existence in the country. This will make Cyclocroft one of the best places to live in without a car.

Traffic in Colorado on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Colorado on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

7. Chengdu, China

Chengdu is a small Chinese city focused on maximizing pedestrian life by creating a design that incentivizes walking rather than driving. In less than 15 minutes of walking, citizens are able to procure everything they need to survive. Although cars are not completely banned in Chengdu, more than 50 percent of the city’s roads are entirely car-free.

8. Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Baltimore is a great city to live in without a car, with walkable neighborhoods all-around and a developed downtown. Although small in comparison to cities like New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, this has only benefited Baltimore as it’s allowed the city to learn from others’ development mistakes.

Traffic in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

9. Pontevedra, Spain

Pontevedra is a Spanish city that has gained significant publicity for being ‘the city that banned cars’. Everything in Pontevedra has been ‘pedestrianized’, car-free zones have been extended, and bicycle journeys are regular. In response to these efforts which began in the early 2000s, criminal activity has fallen, CO2 emissions are down 70%, and there’s no traffic in sight.

Traffic in Pontevedra, Spain on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Pontevedra, Spain on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

10. Miami, Florida, USA

Miami is making a lot of positive developments towards being America’s best city to live in sans vehicle. The city’s Wynwood neighborhood has become a car-free zone, adding pedestrian-friendly cafes, art galleries, restaurants, and pathways for cyclists. This isn’t the only walker’s paradise you’ll find in Miami, either, as the city continues to re-build.

Traffic in Miami, Florida on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Miami, Florida on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

11. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is the world’s inspiration for what a car-free city looks like. Over 50 percent of Copenhagen’s population uses bikes to get to and from work daily.

Since the 1960s, the city’s been devoted to building pedestrian-only zones. Copenhagen continues to work on superhighways for bicycles connecting them from the city centre to the various surrounding suburbs.

Today, they maintain more than 200 miles of bike lanes. All of these efforts have given Copenhagen the lowest percentage of car ownership per capita in all of Europe.

Traffic in Copenhagen, Denmark on Monday 9AM
Traffic in Copenhagen, Denmark on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps

12. New York City, New York, USA

New York City is an area with an affinity for cars and luxury real estate. Although it’s unlikely any type of car ban will be seen in New York, the city’s made a lot of effort into accommodating pedestrians with new bike lanes city-wide, new bus options, and an advanced subway system.

Throughout the summer, New York routinely converts some of its streets into pedestrian-only walkways and there exists many popular destinations which are car-free, including Times Square.

Traffic in New York City, New York on Monday 9AM
Traffic in New York City, New York on Monday 9AM, according to Google Maps
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