7 Smaller U.S. Cities Worth Visiting for Their Downtown River Walks

When it comes to exploring the charm and beauty of American cities, river walks often provide a scenic and leisurely way to experience the heart of a city.

While major cities like San Antonio and Chicago are renowned for their river walks, several smaller U.S. cities offer equally captivating experiences along their downtown rivers.

Here are seven smaller cities worth visiting for their delightful downtown river walks.

1. Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville’s downtown river walk, known as the Swamp Rabbit Trail, follows the Reedy River and offers a picturesque setting perfect for walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors.

The trail connects several parks and landmarks, including Falls Park on the Reedy, where you can admire the stunning Reedy River Falls and the unique Liberty Bridge.

With charming shops, eateries, and public art along the way, Greenville’s river walk provides a perfect blend of nature and urban life.

2. Spokane, Washington

The Spokane River Centennial Trail stretches through the heart of Spokane, providing a serene escape amidst the city’s vibrant downtown.

This 37-mile trail runs along the Spokane River and through Riverside State Park, offering breathtaking views of the river and surrounding landscapes.

Highlights include the Spokane Falls, Riverfront Park, and the historic Monroe Street Bridge. The trail is ideal for walking, cycling, and spotting local wildlife.

3. Naperville, Illinois

Located just outside of Chicago, Naperville boasts the scenic Riverwalk Park, a picturesque promenade along the DuPage River. The park features beautiful brick pathways, decorative fountains, covered bridges, and peaceful gardens.

Attractions like the Millennium Carillon, Centennial Beach, and the Paddleboat Quarry make it a delightful spot for families and couples alike. Naperville’s Riverwalk is a testament to community effort and offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby urban life.

4. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids’ downtown river walk follows the Grand River and offers a blend of natural beauty and urban amenities.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, and Fish Ladder Park are just a few of the attractions along the way.

With its vibrant arts scene, craft breweries, and scenic views of the river, Grand Rapids provides a rich cultural experience coupled with the tranquility of its river walk.

5. Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington’s downtown river walk along the Cape Fear River is a historic and scenic gem. The Riverwalk features charming brick pathways, historic buildings, and stunning views of the river.

Visitors can explore attractions like the Battleship North Carolina, the Cotton Exchange, and numerous art galleries and shops.

The river walk is also lined with excellent dining options, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll followed by a delicious meal.

6. Fredericksburg, Virginia

The Rappahannock River Heritage Trail in Fredericksburg offers a tranquil and picturesque route along the Rappahannock River.

This scenic path connects several parks and historical sites, including Old Mill Park and the Chatham Manor. Fredericksburg’s rich history, dating back to colonial times, is evident along the trail, with interpretive signs and preserved historical landmarks providing insight into the area’s past.

7. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga’s Riverwalk, known as the Tennessee Riverpark, extends for miles along the Tennessee River, offering stunning river views and access to a variety of attractions.

Key highlights include the Tennessee Aquarium, Hunter Museum of American Art, and Ross’s Landing. The river walk is perfect for biking, jogging, or a leisurely walk, and it features beautifully landscaped gardens, public art installations, and several picnic spots.


These seven smaller U.S. cities each offer unique and inviting downtown river walks that combine natural beauty, cultural attractions, and a sense of community. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat, a historical exploration, or a vibrant cultural experience, these river walks provide a wonderful way to discover the charm and character of these delightful destinations. So, lace up your walking shoes, grab your camera, and set out to explore the scenic river walks of these hidden gems.

Leave a Comment