Updated October 2023
I’ve always thought it would be a fun ‘side quest’ in life to try to walk as much of the planet as possible. Walking several hours every day is an amazing routine, and visiting every street is really the only way to experience a city to its fullest. So over the past decade I’ve GPS-tracked over 35,000 miles of walking in dozens of countries and cities.
At first I considered literally going the ‘every street’ route, in which I cross off every street of a given city. I haven’t fully abandoned this goal, but the thought of endless residential neighborhoods, freeways and frequent dead ends makes the idea unappealing. The goal of this project is to enjoy the experience, and doubling-back on a cul-de-sac is not fun. So at the moment, this project’s goal is to walk ‘every interesting street’ of my favorite cities, with ‘every street’ TBD.
I’m still deciding what approach I want to take to sharing this data. The drawback here is privacy, so I’ve abandoned plans to make an interactive map. For now I’ll just manually update this page with a few of my favorite maps, like some sort of art project.
To log the data, I have my iPhone passively track me in the background 24/7, which is easier than manually tracking my walking and also serves as evidence that I walked all these streets.
People frequently message me asking how to do this. It takes a surprising amount of work to have your phone passively track you, so for most people I’d recommend just using a fitness tracker like Strava each time you go out. However, if you’re committed, here are the steps.
- Install Arc (and maybe Arc Mini for backup) on your iPhone. The app will track you passively and use an AI model to clean up and classify the data.
- On a ~weekly basis, manually clean up the remaining data the model couldn’t sort out.
- When you’re ready, export the weekly or monthly JSON files to your computer and run this code to strip out everything but the walking.
- You now have a JSON file with just your walking data. You can visualize it on this site.
New York City
NYC is one of the best cities in the world for walking. The city has so much going on that no matter where you walk there’s always something happening to keep it interesting. So far, I’ve walked about 8,000 miles in NYC, of which maybe 1,000 miles are unique streets – about 15% complete.
SF is somehow both one of the best and one of the worst cities for walking. Depending on the day and neighborhood, it could be one of the most beautiful walks you’ve ever been on or one of the worst… Over the past decade I’ve walked around 7,000 miles in SF, of which maybe 700 miles are unique streets, putting me at around 70% completion. If I were to walk full time, I could finish every street in this city in about a month. Realistically, I likely won’t finish it for a few more years.
CDMX is one of the most enjoyable cities in the world to live in. Different neighborhoods visually look different and have completely different vibes, which is something very few other cities can say. I frequently compare this city to NYC.
I don’t want to say I’ll never be able to walk every street in CDMX, but considering how much larger it is than NYC I’m keeping my expectations realistic. The 2,000 miles I’ve walked here is just a single digit percent. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if I hold the walking record for this city.
I’ve never lived in LA, but dozens of weekend trips have resulted in me walking more of the city than most people who live here. It’s really not a walkable city.
Though I don’t see myself walking every street of LA, I would like to walk every street of all the interesting neighborhoods and then connect them together!
Austin is a terrible city for walking, like the rest of Texas, but everyone knows that. Sidewalks will just give up before leading anywhere. The only exception is the running trail loop alongside the Colorado river, which makes it easy to forget you’re in Texas.
Though I’ve only been to Oaxaca once, and only for six weeks, the resulting map ended up looking great due to me walking the two main neighborhoods to near completion. The city itself is a lot bigger, but is entirely residential outside of the central area so it’s hard to find reasons to explore. Because of the thin, cobbled streets, walking is the best way to get around and is often faster than a taxi.
Thanks for checking this out! I plan to expand on this walking thing eventually, already have 10,000 words worth of walking thoughts jotted down in my notes over the years I’d like to condense and add… Let me know if you liked this page/project and if there’s enough interest I’ll prioritize it!