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Live Like Locals in These Five Healthy Global Cities

This blog post was updated on August 29, 2023.

It’s no secret that some cities foster healthy living more than others. While spending a week in one of the world’s healthiest cities may not completely change your lifestyle, there’s no reason why you can’t pick up a few good habits from locals along the way. Here’s our roundup of five active cities and how to take full advantage of them while you’re there.

Melbourne, Australia

With clean air, water, and access to fresh produce and seafood, Australia’s coastal city Melbourne consistently ranks as one of the healthiest cities in the world. Thanks to the city’s temperate weather and excellent lane and pathway system, it’s also a haven for bikers. Do as the locals do and eat your fill of freshly caught fish (omega-3s, anyone?) and then bike or use public transport to your heart’s content.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver isn’t just breathtakingly beautiful, it’s also a great place to take a deep breath. That’s right, Vancouver even has a city-wide action plan titled “Greenest City 2020” that is dedicated to protecting the city’s impeccable air quality. Thanks to Vancouver’s accessible public transportation system, it’s easy to navigate this safe and delightful city. The downtown area is incredibly walkable, which means you can get your exercise as you pop in and out of organic cafés and yoga studios. You can also find great hiking opportunities with incredible views, just outside the city,


Since the 1970s, the city-state of Singapore has strategically reduced the amount of car traffic (and improve the city’s air quality) by increasing mass transit options. Today, the city’s mass transit system (SMRT) transports over two million passengers every day. The city also has a robust biking, jogging, and walking path system called the Park Connector Network, which is made up of over 200km of paths that snake through parkways. Due to this emphasis on access to and maintenance of public green spaces and trail systems, it’s no surprise that Singapore has earned the name Garden City.

Tokyo, Japan

There are several reasons, other than universal health insurance and lower levels of air pollution than most other Asian cities, why the average life expectancy of Tokyo residents is one of the highest in the world. Cultural norms of walking and biking (mixed with efficient public transit) and intentional physical fitness routines make for a very fit population. Another great way to reap the health benefits of being in Tokyo is to eat a typical Japanese diet of rice, fresh fish, and vegetables. Some traditional fish-based Japanese dishes to try include sukiyaki and sushi or kaiseki ryori (a dish made from vegetables, cooked fish, seaweed, and mushrooms). If beef is more your style, dig into some shabu-shabu (thin slices of beef and vegetables held with chopsticks and swished around in a pot of boiling water).

Washington, D.C.

That’s right, our nation’s capital also regularly ranks as the healthiest city in the country. The secret to DC’s success is the fact that 96% percent of the city’s population is within a 10-minute walk to a park, which encourages physical activity (tourists can take advantage of this too!). If walking around a park isn’t your thing, you can still get your steps in while visiting all of the monuments and museums DC has to offer.


Q: Are these cities suitable for solo travelers?  

A: Absolutely! These cities are known for their welcoming and inclusive atmospheres, making them ideal for solo travelers seeking enriching experiences and connections.

Q: What wellness activities can I find in Melbourne?  

A: Melbourne offers a wide range of wellness activities, including outdoor yoga classes, meditation sessions in parks, and healthy cooking workshops.

Q: How can I explore Singapore like a local?  

A: To explore Singapore like a local, rent a bike and navigate the city’s bike lanes, visit neighborhood markets, and enjoy picnics in its scenic parks.

Q: Can I experience traditional Japanese wellness practices in Tokyo?  

A: Absolutely, Tokyo offers opportunities to experience traditional practices such as meditation, tea ceremonies, and visits to onsens (hot springs) for relaxation.

Have you visited any of these cities? What are your tips for things to do and see? Let us know in the comments section


Featured Image: Stanley Park, Vancouver by Scarlet Sappho licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co. (

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