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Steve Jan 5th, 2002 04:01 PM

American cities you can do w/o a car
What cities can you fully appreciate for a weekend or even a week without a car? New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Boston? Any others?

Sam Jan 5th, 2002 04:30 PM

New Orleans immediately comes to mind. Also San Antonio.

Steve Jan 5th, 2002 04:33 PM

DC and Montreal come to mind. <BR><BR>Maybe New Orleans and/or Vancouver? Never been to either but they seem compact enough for at least one weekend without a car. <BR><BR>

Daniel Williams Jan 5th, 2002 04:37 PM

This thread has come up before. I would put Boston on that list for sure. You can also get just about anywhere you want to go in Philadelphia. You can easily occupy yourself in Baltimore and Washington DC for a weekend without a car as well. For the latter two, there are a few places in the metro areas that might be more challenging to get to, but so many enjoyable places are accessible by public transit.<BR><BR>It tends to be the older cities, built before the automobile, where this is do-able.

xx Jan 5th, 2002 04:49 PM

Key West, Florida

xxx Jan 5th, 2002 05:23 PM

We spent several days in Seattle sans car last year, it was great!

lcuy Jan 5th, 2002 05:56 PM

DC, Boston, Portland Oregon, Seattle, NYC, Vancouver BC, are all great Car-optional cities. We've spent a week in each of these and were actually glad that we did NOT have a car!

Jeff Jan 5th, 2002 06:07 PM


KenCT Jan 5th, 2002 08:24 PM

Since I love to travel and hate to drive, this is a thread which I'll be following closely. Here's a list of my personal favorites:<BR><BR>New York, of course, the $4/day "Fun Pass" will take you just about anywhere you want to go. And unlike any other subway system that I know of, it runs all night. <BR><BR>Chicago and Boston both have excellent public transit systems, with the added benefit of easy access to and from the airports.<BR><BR>It's very easy to get around the three big Canadian cities: Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.<BR><BR>The Washington DC metro is excellent, especially if you're coming in by train or flying into Regan National, but the Metro does not get close to Georgetown, it's a l-o-n-g walk to some big attractions, and is closed late at night.<BR><BR>New Orleans has a "Streetcar," actually a trolley, which loops around major tourist attractions every fifteen minutes. There are also two real streetcar lines which take you across the city. But getting to and from the airport can be a nightmare.<BR><BR>Philadelphia has a purple painted "Philly Phlash," but there are long waits for it to do its loop.<BR><BR>San Francisco is OK unless you need go somewhere where BART or the streetcars don't.<BR><BR>Although many Californians find this hard to believe, I find San Diego very easy to maneuver without a car. There's a transit information center near Horton Plaza where you can get maps and personal assistance. The trolleys take you to most of the major destinations, even to the point where you can walk across the border into Mexico. Bus routes are frequent and easy to understand.<BR><BR>I would like to learn how the people who mentioned San Antonio and Honolulu got around. Both great cities, but I can't imagine doing either of them without a car.

Daniel Williams Jan 5th, 2002 08:43 PM

RE: Philadelphia. Ken, I've never used the Philly Phlash buses, instead taking either the SEPTA commuter trains (free into Center City if arriving on Amtrak from 30th St. Station) or the subway. I've never visited Philly by automobile and have enjoyed many visits there, including going to outlying Manayunk.

Lee Jan 5th, 2002 10:06 PM

Key West is 4x2, miles that is.<BR>You can park your car and walk or rent a bike or scooter.<BR>Quite excellent.

garcia Jan 6th, 2002 03:45 AM


Sam Jan 6th, 2002 06:50 AM

Um, I don't understand how getting to and from the New Orleans airport is a "nightmare." Call a cab, he picks you up, you're there in 20 minutes (barring traffic, of course.) $25. Hardly a nightmare. Maybe you mean that there are no public transit options to the airport? That's true.

Paul Rabe Jan 6th, 2002 04:50 PM

I've been to both San Antonio and Honolulu; and conclude both could be done quite well without a car. <BR><BR>Most of SA's attractions are downtown, and can be walked to and from quite easily. Take a city bus to the King William District and spend a couple hours walking around (do NOT visit it on a tourist bus -- the residents HATE that). SeaWorld or the missions would probably require a car, but there just two of many attractions.<BR><BR>The bus service around Honolulu is excellent. You can ride from downtown, to Wakiki, to Pearl Harbor, even to Hanamua Bay with no problem (or at least we did). Again, there's a lot to see outside of Honolulu, but the city itself is quite do-able without a car.

KenCT Jan 6th, 2002 06:01 PM

Regarding Sam's questioning my characterization of New Orleans traffic as a "nightmare." I have NEVER made it from the airport to the FQ in 20 minutes. And apparently there's only one major road, so if there's an accident or complication, which there usually seems to be, it can take over an hour.

Louise Jan 6th, 2002 07:27 PM

I left the New Orleans Marriott on January 2 at 10:40am and arrived at the New Orleans Airport (now called Louis Armstrong) at 11:05am. I used a taxi cab. Perhaps I was lucky but it seemed pretty easy. The concierge said light rail is to be built eventually between the city center and airport but "not to hold my breath."

Louise Jan 6th, 2002 07:28 PM

I forgot to mention that I agree you do not want a car in the French QUarter. It's so easily walkable.

John Jan 6th, 2002 07:46 PM

Wow, quite a bit of discussion about New Orleans lately. It's true that it is a very easy city to explore by foot and/or streetcar. In fact, parking and driving can both be irritating to the uninitiated! <BR><BR>It usually takes me about 20-30 minutes to travel from my house (Esplanade Avenue) to the airport. It really can vary widely as Interstate 10 is often clogged, as Ken mentioned. If this happens, however, Airline Drive is a good quick alternative to get to MSY.<BR><BR>My favorite "no car" towns: NYC, Washington, San Francisco and Boston.

Boots Jan 6th, 2002 09:02 PM

Washington D.C. is great for the carless. We drive there, park our car and take the subway everywhere. Love it!

Queen Jan 7th, 2002 02:35 AM

It's true that Portland is great if you don't have a car - so long as you stay right in town. But if you're road tripping it, I'd say bring a car so you can see some of the wonderful surrounding areas - like Mt. Hood, the Gorge (with Multnomah Falls), the coast: all within two hours' drive.<BR><BR>But if you're going to be downtown, no car is needed. Very compact and Portland's blocks are very short! Also, free bus and light rail transportation in the "fareless square."<BR><BR>

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