The 10 Best American Cities for a Car-Free Vacation

Renting a car can significantly reduce your vacation budget. On top of that, you add the stress of driving in a new city to what is meant to be a vacation. Luckily, there are fabulous US cities like Denver, San Antonio, Nashville and others that make it easy to get around without a vehicle. This means you can take some of the money you had planned for a rental car and use it for meals and experiences instead. Read on to discover the best US cities to visit without a rental car.

ten San Antonio

The heart and soul of San Antonio is the River Walk. The majority of the city’s best restaurants, museums and attractions are located on or near the waterway. Set up shop at the Thompson San Antonio-Riverwalk to be within walking distance of the Alamo, the Hopscotch immersive art experience, and the San Antonio Museum of Art (don’t miss the chance to eat at Tre Trattoria, the excellent on-site restaurant overlooking the river promenade).

The San Antonio Riverwalk is 15 miles long and ends at the San Antonio Missions, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Be sure to join one of the free ranger-led tours during your stay.

Related: 10 Things to Do in San Antonio, Texas

9 Vegas

Part of the appeal of Las Vegas is the energy emanating from the throngs of visitors walking the Strip. The scenery and people watching here is like nowhere else in the world. You can easily spend an entire vacation gawking at the city’s decadent casino hotels as they light up the sky at night. Las Vegas is also home to some of the best restaurants in the world, including the recently opened Asian-inspired cuisine at Fuhu inside the new Resorts World.

Don’t miss Area 15, Las Vegas’ exciting new attraction featuring unique experiences like Meow Wolf Omega Mart, Lost Spirit Distillery, Liftoff, and more.

Related: 10 Reasons to Visit Area 15: Las Vegas’ Most Trippy New Attraction

8 New York City

New York City is famous for being easy to get around without a car. The city is so pedestrian-friendly that many New Yorkers don’t even own a vehicle, relying instead on the subway and public transit system to get around town. The Big Apple offers a dizzying array of attractions, including Broadway shows, the Statue of Liberty and some of the best museums in the world. New York is also a great city for foodies offering everything from Michelin star restaurants to sidewalk hot dog stands.

When planning your trip, don’t overlook the free things to do in New York City, including spending the afternoon in Central Park and taking the Staten Island Ferry.

seven Savannah

Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, thanks to majestic oak trees draped in Spanish moss, historic architecture, and a vibrant riverside neighborhood. To make the most of your time in town, stay at the luxurious Perry Lane Hotel, located almost exactly between the waterfront and Forsyth Park (drinking is legal in historic Savannah, so be sure to ask them to put a glass of their complimentary sparkling wine in a to-go mug for you to enjoy while strolling around town). Don’t miss the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters or Husk, one of the best restaurants in the country.

6 Nashville

Most of Nashville’s top attractions are within walking distance from the Honky Tonk Highway on Lower Broadway. Along with phenomenal music venues, this area is also home to the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the National Museum of African American Music. Stay at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. The hotel is located in a quiet area within walking distance of the Honky Tonk Highway, with amenities like a rooftop pool, spa, and The Continental, one of the best restaurants in town. Also not to be missed is the Grand Ole Opry (you’ll have to call an Uber or Lyft to get there, but it’s worth it).

5 Seattle

You can see most of Seattle’s top attractions without a rental car. Stay at the Inn at the Market and you’ll be steps from Pike Place Market and steps from the Seattle Aquarium, the Seattle Art Museum and a monorail that takes you to downtown Seattle and at the Space Needle. Seattle is surrounded by water and mountains and is a great place for kayaking and hiking. Seattle is also a great place for a foodie vacation centered around great restaurants like Shiro’s Sushi and Canlis.

4 New Orleans

A city with historic architecture like New Orleans is best explored on foot, so you can wander the bars of Bourbon Street and the antique shops of Royal Street. If you want to venture away from the city’s legendary French Quarter, hop on one of the streetcars to explore the spooky cemeteries and decadent mansions of the Garden District. New Orleans is famous for its incredible cuisine, so be sure to sample donuts, okra, PO-Boys, and crawfish stews during your stay. Stay at the luxurious Windsor Court and you’ll be in a peaceful part of town just steps from the bustling French Quarter.

3 San Francisco

Driving in San Francisco can be stressful for visitors as traffic is often heavy and the city is known for its steep hills. Fortunately, much of San Francisco is easy to get around on foot or by bus, streetcar, or light rail. Check into the San Francisco Marriott Fisher’s Wharf in the Russian Hill neighborhood, and you’ll be near Fisherman’s Wharf and the waterfront, as well as famous landmarks like Ghiradelli Square and Lombard Street. While you’re in town, be sure to visit Presidio, a state park with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay.

2 washington d.c.

You don’t need to rent a car in Washington, DC, since most of the city’s museums and landmarks are located in the same general area. Motto by Hilton is just half a mile from the Smithsonian Institution, which should be on everyone’s bucket list when visiting the nation’s capital. Washington DC is a great destination for families since most of the city’s top attractions are free, including the White House, Smithsonian Museums, Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Memorial.

1 denver

Your car-free journey to Denver begins at the airport, where a train awaits to take you downtown. Once there, there are plenty of hotels within walking distance of the station, including the gorgeous Thompson Denver with its chic rooftop lounge and Reynard Social (the views are amazing). Downtown Denver is extremely walkable, and free MallRide buses offer transportation to downtown. Mountain views and a bustling river provide a constant connection to nature as you explore the city’s bustling shops, museums and restaurants.

While you’re in Denver, don’t miss Meow Wolf Convergence Station, a 4-story psychedelic immersive art experience that immerses you in an alternate universe.