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Wednesday
May242006

Favorite Pedestrian Places

I'm traveling in Washington, D.C., this week, and inspired to begin a list of my favorite pedestrian-friendly places.  Here's my list of cool places to walk around on a sunny day.  At present, they are presented in no particular order.

1) Alexandria, Virginia

From the riverfront and old town area, to the slick new development at the foot of the stunning Geo. Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria represents a beautiful combination of old & new.

Ancient (by US standards) buildings are inhabited by cool shops and restaurants. Old growth street trees shade the sidewalks.  And the King Street metro arrives in the heart of new development, yet in the shadow of the stunning Memorial Tower.  The tower is one of the finest "terminated vistas" I've ever seen, short of major monuments like the US Capitol and the Eiffel Tower.

 

2) Dupont Circle & vicinity, Washington, D.C.

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Walk from the National Zoo southeast on Connecticut Ave. Along the way, you'll pass cafes, and elegant residential towers.  Then, walk across the bridge overlooking the Rock Creek Park & Parkway.  On the other side, you'll pass the Chinese and Ethiopian embassies, and more stunning apartment homes.  Approaching Dupont Circle, there's a terrific pedestrian shopping district lining the overpass.  On Sundays, the area is home to a nice farmer's market at the top of the metro station.  And, the Circle itself is a beautiful park, where old men play chess even late at night.  The ice cream shop was open until midnight, last time I checked.

 

3) Chicago Lakefront & Lincoln Park

4) Santa Monica, CA - boardwalk, and Third Street Promenade

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5) Laguna Beach, CA

Approaching from the interstates, you wind through a valley, and then emerge in the tree-lined village of Laguna Beach's downtown.  The road terminates at a public basketball court overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The downtown district is a quaint walk with a terrific sidewalk cafe & coffee shop - Cafe' Zinc.  North of the public park, on the hill, a rose garden leads to another park area, great for picnics overlooking the beaches and cliffs of the Laguna area.  

Newport Beach, Santa Barbara, and San Clemente are other favorite urban beachfront towns, where cozy towns and urban districts front the beach. 

6) New York City

7) Boulder, CO

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8) Spandau, Berlin, Germany

9) South Beach, Miami, Florida

Once again, where the city meets the beach--the best of all worlds, in my book.  Ocean Drive features art deco hotels with sidewalk cafes, with a view of the park and ocean beyond.  Collins Avenue is (now) a nice walk, filled with high end retailers and one of the prettiest vine-covered parking garages.  Lincoln Avenue is a successful pedestrian mall, with shopping and fine dining.  Dinner is served late into the night, and at midnight, plenty of folks are still out enjoying the evening...and not just the dance-club crowd.

10) Portland, Maine

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