As the comedian Steven Wright used to say, "Everywhere's walking distance if you have the time." Unfortunately, most of us find our time in limited supply. So, it helps to know exactly how far a walk one location is from another.
That's why I was excited to read a recent entry from National Geographic Traveler's great "intelligent travel" blog about a site called Walk Score. As the entry mentions, Walk Score was primarily designed to help real estate buyers determine how "walkable" a prospective home's location was in terms of what was within walking distance. But, the site has obvious travel applications, too. Deciding between two hotels? I'm sure both hotels' websites will tell you how "conveniently located" they are. Why not let walkscore.com break the tie by providing objective measurements (another plus-- like Steven Wright, people's subjective definition of "walking distance" can vary greatly) down to hundredths of a mile?
As a test, I input our hotel address for an upcoming trip and was quickly greeted with a walking distance list of, among other things, nearby grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, movie theaters, and, ready for this families traveling with young kids?, . . . PARKS! If you click on any of the destinations provided down the left-hand side of the results page, a little bubble pops up in its corresponding location on the center-page map, providing the destination's exact address and a link to any yelp reviews of the destinations.
Rather than rely on my convoluted explanation, check the site out for yourself. Using it is a walk in the (hopefully nearby) park.