Oklahoma City enjoys plenty of neighborhoods that make walking and biking ideal for all aspects of life, from working to playing to living.
You might’ve seen people posting online about dreaming of a walkable city and wryly lamenting the lack of “smart, walkable, mixed-use urbanism” in American metropolises, but what is walkability, and what does it look like in Oklahoma City?
Walkability is commonly defined as how safe, practical, convenient and enjoyable residents of a city can traverse their neighborhoods without driving — instead, walking, biking or using public transit. The website Walk Score quantifies this measure from zero to 100 by determining how many daily errands can be done on foot, with the high 90s indicating a “walker’s paradise” and any score below 50 marking a city as “car-dependent.”
Overall, Oklahoma City has a Walk Score of 34 — car-dependent — but that doesn’t mean all areas of the city aren’t fantastic by foot. There are several neighborhoods that meet that mixed-use model of being able to walk and bike from home to work, school, grocery stores and other places we enjoy in life. Here are the top walkable neighborhoods in OKC, according to Walk Score.
5. Helm Farm
This neighborhood, defined as the area between Classen Boulevard and Western Avenue and NW 36th Street and Interstate 44, is mostly residential. However, the stores and restaurants that populate the mentioned avenues lend Helm Farm enough mixed-use development to warrant a Walk Score of 78, which is deemed “very walkable.” With plenty of sidewalks that lead to laundry services, retail shops and a florist, residents can meet their most of their needs with a quick stroll. Helm Farm is relatively bikeable with a Bike Score of 56, but bike are likely best ridden near home rather than the busy avenues.
College campuses are by nature walkable, and they’re where many of us are introduced to the concept. But with a Walk Score of 79, the neighborhood surrounding OCU is walkable in its own right. Restaurants line the western side of the Asian District and along Pennsylvania Avenue and a gym within close distance. The nearest grocery store is a 14-minute walk on close-to-the-street sidewalks, but as students make up a good portion of the neighborhood’s residents, the trek is mitigated by dining halls. Epworth’s Bike Score is 58, which is described as having “some bike infrastructure.”
3. Mesta Park
Although pricier, walkability-seekers might feel at home in this historic neighborhood nearby Heritage Hills. With close access to the shops, restaurants and venues at Uptown 23rd, a nearby grocery store near Classen and two schools, Mesta Park’s Walk Score of 82 makes sense. Its Bike Score of 68 indicates the neighborhood’s bikeable, and it’s hard to not feel entranced by the trees and well-designed architecture.
This section of the Asian District north of NW 23rd Street holds a little bit of everything. From multiple parks (Military Park and Memorial Park) to staple restaurants (Pho Cuong, VII Asian Bistro) and grocery stores (Super Cao Nguyen and Chinatown Supermarket) to a school and church, you won’t find yourself wandering far to get what you need. Walk Score gives the affordable Corridor South a 83, citing that people can walk to an average 7 restaurants in 5 minutes.
If you’ve spent a day strolling down the Paseo Arts District’s arts galleries, boutiques and quality restaurants, its ranking might not come as a surprise. With a Walk Score of 86, the neighborhood has affordable apartments a stone’s throw away from a farmers market, bodegas and the previously mentioned destinations that give the district its character. Speaking of, the Spanish-style architecture also making walking in Paseo pleasurable on top of being useful. The district also holds a Bike Score of 70, which is described as “convenient for most trips.”