Strolling to a cafe for breakfast, walking around the corner to yoga—isn’t that the life? Before you buy or rent, here’s how to suss out whether a neighborhood you’re interested in will let you get out from behind the wheel.
See what locals have to say.
- It’s walkable to restaurants
- It’s walkable to grocery stores
- There are sidewalks
- People would walk alone at night
- Streets are well-lit
- Car is needed
So, for example, in Boston’s very walkable Beacon Hill neighborhood, 93% of residents say there are sidewalks, 92% say it’s walkable to restaurants, and only 18% say a car is needed.
Scope out the commute.
A truly walkable neighborhood is one where you can get in and out of the neighborhood without a car. Studies show that the closer you live to transit networks (bus, train, bike share), the more likely you are to walk. Map the route to your workplace in public transit mode. How long is the walk to the bus or train? How long is the ride?
You can also get useful commute intel from locals on Trulia’s Neighborhood pages. We asked millions of locals what their commute is like, so you’ll find quotes like this one from a resident of New York City’s Financial District: “Close to every train you could want to get anywhere in the city. My commute is super easy—10 minutes to SoHo by train [or a] 20-minute walk.”1
Check out local dining spots.
To find out whether you can easily step out for a bite to eat, take a peek at the Yelp Maps on each Trulia home listing. That’ll give you a sense of how many restaurants are within walking distance. And keep in mind, the more restaurants there are nearby, the more your neighbors will likely be out and about, too.
Take a virtual walk.
Before you hoof it over to a potential new neighborhood, use Google Street View to explore it virtually. You can do this right on Trulia. On any home’s page, you’ll find a gallery of maps right below the house photos. One of these links to the Google Street View at the home’s front door. Take a spin through the neighborhood. This will give you a good idea of what getting around could look like and what’s nearby. Just remember there’s no telling what time of day (or year) the images were captured. A sleepy-looking street could be exactly that: a street at 6 a.m. on a wintry Saturday.