Walking paths are a part of the heart and soul of any city, and these four famous pedestrian streets are worth the journey themselves. Rich with history and unique in their own ways, each of these four streets shows that sometimes a walk is worth a thousand words.
Car-free streets are better for the environment, since they lower emissions and encourage ride-sharing options. Pedestrian-only streets offer plenty of opportunities for a variety of activities from shopping to dining, watching street performers, or just engaging in a relaxing walk. New studies show that pedestrian-only streets also help people feel more engaged with their communities.
That is great news for these four streets since they all draw significant tourist activity. Pedestrian streets enliven and enrich local environments and offer a great way for tourists to get a feel for a city. So next time you’re in one of these locations, head out and stretch your legs. You are sure to find something entertaining.
Cat Street – Tokyo, Japan
Cat Street is characterized by quirky shops and innovative restaurants that stretch between the main streets in the fashion districts of Harajuku and Shibuya in Tokyo. This alleyway pedestrian-only zone boasts a ton of foot traffic. It is one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Tokyo, and for a good reason. It is great for people watching and window shopping. Head on over to Cat Street and check out some cutting-edge cuisine options or enjoy a coffee and watch the world shuffle on by. You are going to want to take some pictures of the uniqueness of this street, so make sure you have your camera handy.
Strøget – Copenhagen, Denmark
This might be the longest pedestrian shopping street in the world, as it stretches 1.1 kilometers (about 0.7 miles) through Copenhagen’s historic district. Strøget has been vehicle-free since 1962 and has expanded in the years since. The success of this long pedestrian street mixes high-end brands and budget-friendly stores. Drawing tourists and locals alike, Strøget influences a number of other pedestrian-friendly streets around the world. It is one of the most iconic Danish landmarks. A little known fact is that Strøget actually comprises a few different streets, not just one.
Qianmen Street – Beijing, China
With traditional Chinese architecture and history that dates back to the Ming dynasty, Qianmen Street is one of the oldest pedestrian streets in the world. A delightful juxtaposition between the old and the new, this walker-friendly street showcases the history of the Chinese culture and embraces the current era. The contemporary vibe you find at Qianmen dates back to 1965 and got an upgrade in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Big-name shopping, historic landmarks, and a vibrant array of classic and modern cuisine — Qianmen Street is a must-see for anyone traveling in China.
Buchanan Street – Glasgow, Scotland
Vehicle-free since 1978, Buchanan Street in Glasgow, Scotland, is now the premier epicenter of the city’s shopping district. In addition to the amazing collection of boutiques and budget fashion, make sure you check out the historic Victorian architecture. Some say it’s the best-preserved area in Scotland for 19th-century architecture. Street performers enliven the street with juggling, magic, and musical acts. Speaking of music, Buchanan Street is home to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. You can easily spend an entire day in this pedestrian-only district. With easy access via the subway, this street highlights some of the best that Glasgow has to offer.
These Streets Were Made for Walking
Many large cities around the world are converting their traffic-clogged streets into pedestrian-only havens. A pedestrian-only zone can encourage people to be more active and become the premier destination for both locals and tourists. These thriving car-free areas are often located at the center of the city, and tourists stop and slow down to enjoy a leisurely stroll. Pedestrian-friendly streets are amazing draws for these tourists but also help the local population become less stressed, happier, and make the neighborhood more vibrant.