8 Boston Suburbs with Walkable Downtowns

Sep 16, 2021

Don’t ditch one of your favorite city perks — these suburban downtowns are super walkable.

One of our favorite city perks? Walkability. But don’t worry — just because you’re considering a suburban move doesn’t mean you have to give up walking from place to place. Whether you plan to be a one-car family or just enjoy the walk, check out these Boston suburbs with super-walkable downtowns.

#1. Needham
Downtown Needham has a great walk score with good cause. Here, you’ll find a post office, pharmacy, dentist’s office, and plenty of shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of downtown. Plus, Needham Center is in the heart of downtown, so you can also get to the city without a car.

Needham locals also have access to plenty of walkable nightlife options. There’s Needham Bowlaway for family fun and the beloved Great Hall Concert Series, which takes place in Town Hall. Plus, there are some great restaurants like Cook Needham and Sweet Basil.

#2. Wellesley
Wellesley Square is one of the most walkable areas in the Boston suburbs. With more than 100 shops and eateries nearby, plus a supermarket and library, there’s a lot going on downtown — and it’s easy to navigate on foot.

Downtown Wellesley is also the place in town for events. Wellesley Square puts on concerts, parents’ days out, holiday strolls, and more throughout the year. And, rain or shine, you can always stroll over to J.P. Licks for a scoop or two.

#3. Concord/West Concord
This historic town is home to lots of amazing shops and restaurants, all surrounding a very central, very walkable downtown. The area around the West Concord train station (which takes commuters to Boston in just 45 minutes) is especially pedestrian-friendly. Locals can follow the sidewalks to eateries, boutiques, gourmet grocery stores, fitness studios, or Rideout Playground.

#4. Lexington
Like Concord, Lexington is well-known for its American history — the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired here. If you move to Lexington, you’ll quickly get used to passing the historic site, complete with a memorial and Minuteman statue, when you’re walking downtown.

Since the town has plenty of sidewalks, you can take care of almost any errand on foot. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, a dentist’s office, and a post office are just a few of the spots you can walk to. Plus, downtown’s brick sidewalks are lined with some excellent global restaurants, like Love at First Bite and Mario’s Italian Restaurant.

#5. Arlington
Arlington is big on arts and culture. And with a walk score close to 90 in the Cultural District, you don’t need a car to get in on the fun.

Wander along the sidewalks to reach the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, Arlington Center for the Arts and Regent Theatre, an art deco theater that dates back to 1916. Plus, there are tons of community events in the walkable Cultural District throughout the year, from PorchFest to Shakespeare in the Park.

#6. Melrose
Getting around Melrose car-free is very easy. Trains from the town’s multiple stations travel to Boston in less than 20 minutes and the sidewalk-lined Main Street has just about everything you need.

For entertainment and errands, head to the area surrounding the Wyoming Hill station. Here, the Victorian-style buildings are filled with family-owned stores, fitness studios, banks, and cafes. And, with a packed events calendar, there’s always something the whole family can do downtown from Summer Stroll to Trick or Treating.

#7. Marblehead
Marblehead is a coastal town just 20 miles north of Boston. You won’t have any trouble getting between the historic district and the waterfront (or its multiple yacht clubs) on foot. From here, you’ll also be close to plenty of great harborside restaurants like Maddie’s Sail Loft and The Landing. Need something to keep the kids busy? Stroll over to Warwick Cinema or Terry’s Old Fashion Ice Cream.

#8. Hingham

Hingham’s charming historic district is home to a variety of local shops and restaurants including Brewed Awakenings and The Square Cafe. Wander this popular area to grab a coffee, a quick bite, or a last-minute gift — and be sure to keep an eye on the town event calendar. Downtown Hingham is home to outdoor festivals throughout the year, including the Taste of Hingham, an arts walk, holiday celebrations, and more.

Ready to find the perfect walkable ‘burb for your family? We’re here to help! Schedule your FREE Suburbs Strategy session today.

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