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A few places? I can only think of one (NYC) where you can be efficient w/o a car and it's socially acceptable not to own one.

If you can think of more cities, let us know.

I live in Denver and while my wife and I have a car (one) we use it solely as a means to tour the mountains.

Denver is blessed with amazing central neighborhoods. I live in a house with a yard and the whole bit. Yet I'm 11 minutes by bus to Downtown. I generally ride my bike to work (we have an amazing intra-city bike path system) or take the bus. Because Denver is so incredibly compact getting around without a car is easy.

Our neighborhood has lots and lots of restaurants, coffee shops, dry cleaners, etc... so we almost always walk when we go out.

Point being: Denver certainly fits the bill.

It's also rather affordable. I'm a huge fan:)

Boston, Philadelphia, and DC all have substantial car-free populations.

They are small in proportion to the overall populations of the respective cities' urban areas, but that's almost entirely because public transportation has lagged the construction of suburbs and sprawl. Boston's T, or Philly's SEPTA were mostly constructed in the early 20th century so it's only those older areas that are feasible for car-free living. (The DC Metro is an interesting exception in that it's a much newer system, but it too fell out of step with development.)

In fact, I'd say that there's a sort of "car free radius" that's basically the edge of residential areas just before World War II. The suburbs that got built after that are hugely car-centric, ones built before typically aren't.

I lived without a car in Chicago for three years with absolutely no problems.

Also, there is a spectrum from being totally car-dependent to not owning a car. My parents live in the D.C. suburbs and they have more cars in their garage than people who live there. Because you can't even go to the drug store without driving several miles (and this isn't a far-flung exurb, they're only 17 miles from downtown) my brother and I each got a car as soon as we could drive. Meanwhile, I now live in Westchester (a suburb of NYC), and while I own a car I only drive it a couple of times a month (Costco trips mostly). The same is true for Chicago. Unlike in Manhattan, most people do own cars, but a large number of people don't use them that heavily because the suburbs are easily accessible by train.

San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Seattle to name a few.


From my experience I would say only the top 7 on the above list are fit for life without a car. Can't imagine not having a car living in Miami or Minneapolis.

Portland, OR. One of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, also highly walkable, and with a great light rail and bus system. And on the occasions when you need a car, or a truck, Zipcar has vehicles all over Portland.

I agree, but the caveat for any city/town where you can get by without a car is "affordable".

full disclosure: I've lived in NYC without a car for 10 years, but grew up in Ohio completely car-dependent.

Edit: There are in fact many places that do meet the requirements of affordable and walkable, but a new concern in an age of urbanization is keeping them affordable. The desire for such neighborhoods is growing, but the supply is too low as of 2013.

Try Philadelphia. Our current mayor has built more bike lanes than ever and Philly's compact size makes reaching distant neighborhoods by bike a breeze. Anectdotedly myself and several friends do not own cars, some don't even have licenses.

I lived in Santa Monica for a year without a car (intentionally). It's totally doable, but it takes planning.

Ya I'm living in Hollywood right now w/o a car by choice. It's totally functional for me since I live next to a subway stop and my work is also off a major stop. And the neighborhood is incredibly walkable--everything I need or want. Taxis readliy available should I need one.

Although being a single guy here, I think women see it as a red flag (at least from what I see on okcupid). Interested in moving to NYC unless I find somewhere cheaper and still interesting.

Aside from the red flag aspect (which I can understand) does it make certain social activities inconvenient, such that you require a friend to pick you up?

Zip car is in Hollywood.

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