Safest Cities in North America: 7 Destinations for Safe Travel

safest cities in North America

From its fascinating history, charming museums, and delicious cuisine to its gorgeous landscapes, vibrant cities, and multicultural population, the United States is the land of opportunity. This is especially true if you’re a tourist, and we can safely say that boredom is an impossibility if you’re exploring the vast land that is North America.

Seeing as it’s the third-largest continent on Earth after Asia and Africa, there’s really no shortage of hidden gems to explore and unforgettable things to experience. Still, there’s always the question of safety, but despite alarming reports of rising crime and gun violence, North America is home to plenty of beautifully safe travel destinations.

Whether you’re a backpacker, honeymooner, digital nomad, or an adventurous family,  there’s guaranteed to be a secure city that’s perfect for your getaway needs. Even so, it can be challenging to settle on a place with all the incredible options available, so we’ve compiled a list of the safest cities in North America to streamline the process. Let’s get into it.

San Francisco, California

golden gate bridge
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Kickstarting our list, we have the infinitely charming San Francisco located in sunny California. Overall, it’s a very safe travel destination, and crime that does occur usually only applies to the dangerous suburbs of the city, rarely frequented by tourists. There’s also the threat of the occasional earthquake, but they aren’t that common, and the last big tremor was in 1994.

As mentioned above, crime in San Francisco is restricted to certain neighborhoods, so it would be a good idea to research your accommodation before booking. The Tenderloin District, SoMa, Mission District, and Bayview are by no means off-limits, but crime rates are higher here and poverty persists.

In general, the city demonstrates much lower violent crime rates than other US cities. Although there’s a risk of pickpocketing and purse snatching along Fisherman’s Wharf and the F-Market Streetcar line. You should also keep your wits about you on public transport. Other places it would be wise to keep an eye on your belongings are crowded places, and downtown districts like Mid Market, 6th Street, and the Western Addition. Naturally, you should avoid dark alleyways and walk around at night.

San Francisco is also very safe for female travelers overall, and following basic precautions measures, as they would in any other city, should minimize the chances of anything going awry/ All in all, if safety is your top priority, San Francisco has got you covered, and it has more than enough gorgeous beaches, and vibrant attractions to satisfy every taste.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Sunset virginia beach
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With its gorgeous coastline, charming fishing spots, cultural attractions, and many breweries, it comes as no surprise that Virginia Beach is a tourist hotspot. It’s also earned the best crime score among large cities in the US based on recent FBI data for violent and property crimes, so you can rest assured that it’s very safe to visit. 

This city offers an attraction to satisfy every occasion while ranking with a low violent crime rate of 11.8 per 1,000 residents, a property crime score of 17.6, and a low total crime score of 36.8. Be that as it may, you shouldn’t throw all caution to the wind, and Virginia is no stranger to hurricanes, with peak season falling from mid-August to mid-October. 

In addition to its safety, it’s also acquired a bit of a reputation for being an excellent romantic getaway spot due to its wealth of beautiful beautiful beaches and lush resorts. You can experience a combination of history and nature at First Landing State Park, or even book a Dolphin kayak tour on Sandbridge’s breathtaking waters. 

Other activities include sampling the indigenous Oysters or visiting Mount Trashmore, the highest man-made point in the city. Of course, you could also explore its vibrant nightlife and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center which is home to 800,000 gallons of fresh and saltwater displays, or one of its many art galleries.

Wasilla, Alaska

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Wasilla is a quaint, endearing city that serves as a gateway to the incredible Hatchers Pass, and houses a wide variety of shops, accommodation, and restaurants, along with two breweries. It’s also Alaska’s sixth largest, and safest city, with a violent crime rate of only 5.80.

That being said, it suffers from occasional property crimes like burglaries or motor vehicle theft, so keep an eye on your surroundings to be extra safe. Alaska has also experienced natural disasters in the past, and it’s home to a vast array of wildlife. It’s a good idea to avoid approaching or feeding animals you see outdoors. 

Nevertheless, Wasilla is a very relaxed city, and visitors can expect to find a variety of family-friendly attractions including museums and state recreational areas. For starters, you could visit the Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry. Here you’ll explore historic train cars, commercial fishing boats, automobiles, and exhibits highlighting the state’s gold mining as well as aviation history. There are also vintage train and toy displays to keep the young ones entertained. There’s no shortage of fishing spots either, and the Mat-Su Valley houses lakes and rivers with a rich king salmon, rainbow trout, lake grayling, and Arctic char population.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu Hawaii
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As the center of government, transportation, and commerce for the state, Honolulu is the most coveted city in Hawaii. Its tropical climate and crystal blue waters make it the perfect place to unwind, and it’s very safe too. 

The Waikiki area has been known to get very crowded at night, but you can rest assured that there is a strong police presence to prevent petty and violent crime. Your main concern here will be pickpockets while you watch street performers, but you shouldn’t underestimate the sea currents at the beaches either. 

Chinatown and its surrounding areas should also be avoided at night, since muggings are common, although it is very safe all over the city during the day. You should also bear in mind that Honolulu suffers from occasional property crime and we don’t encourage storing anything valuable in your car. Still, Honolulu is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in North America with the appeal of its luxury resorts and laid-back atmosphere.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada
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From its magnificent mountains to its picturesque oceans, art galleries, and lively nightlife, Vancouver truly is unlike any other city in Canada. In fact, it is one of the top five cities in the world for quality of life, but as with any metropolis, there are problems with crime. 

Isolated areas like Stanley Park, can become dangerous due to the presence of drugs and prostitution at night, and while violent crime is rare, it’s still best to take general precautions. Still, if you don’t actively seek it, this city is considered virtually crime-free to tourists, especially since crimes tend to happen in areas away from tourist attractions, like in the Downtown, which is still safe throughout the day. 

It’s also a very safe place for solo female travelers, and the locals are known to be supremely helpful and welcoming. Don’t walk around alone in the dark but otherwise, your trip to Vancouver should be a problem-free one full of the culture and natural allure of Canada.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto skyline
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​​Boasting an entrancingly diverse population, along with a thriving culinary scene, architectural wonders, and majestic indoor gardens, Toronto truly has something for everyone. It’s also considered the least dangerous city in North America and ranks among the safest cities in the world, despite being such a populous destination.

One of the best things about Toronto is that it’s a safe place to walk both during the day and at night. However, one of the longest streets in the city, Yonge Street, can be potentially dangerous at night, along with The Entertainment District, which is lined with nightclubs and restaurants overflowing with intoxicated revelers. 

There are also occasional reports of pickpocketing in restaurants and cafés, so tourists should keep an eye on their surroundings and belongings. Canada has a great tourism infrastructure and reliable police force though, so tourists shouldn’t stress too much.

Considering it’s one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, Canada is privy to natural disasters as well. Potential threats include tornadoes, snowstorms, and floods, although the risk level is dependent on the region, and in Toronto’s case it’s decidedly low.

Montreal, Canada

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It might be one of Canada’s biggest, and most loved cities, but, surprisingly, Montreal also has one of the country’s lowest crime rates. It’s a bit of a cultural melting pot too, and there’s no shortage of museums, galleries, microbreweries, and dynamic festivals to explore. 

As a rule of thumb, to ensure your safety in Montreal, you should take general travel safety precautions. This means keeping an eye on your surroundings, staying on top of local as well as national news, and knowing who to contact in emergency situations. 

Pickpocketing is the most common tourist crime here, but it rarely happens, and you can avoid it by wearing cross-body bags, and keeping your cash concealed. Montreal’s police are also very responsive and speak both English and French, so assistance is guaranteed, although you probably won’t need it. It would be a good idea to stay away from streets like Notre Dame Quest, Wellington-St, Montreal Nord, and areas like The Red Light district at night as well. 

Montreal is also a great destination for solo as well as female travelers, and as long as you take basic precautions, like not accepting drinks from strangers, and avoiding bad areas at nighttime, you should be perfectly fine. You could even get safety advice, and travel updates from a Montreal travel expert for further peace of mind since Montreal frequently experiences heavy snowfall and overnight freezes that can complicate travel. 

What is the safest city in North America?

The safest city in North America isn’t actually situated in the United States itself, but unsurprisingly, in Canada, with Toronto coming out on top for general peace and personal security. The Safe City Index ranked 60 cities on the North American continent and Toronto was considered the safest in regards to health security, infrastructure, and crime. 

Is New York safe?

It might have a reputation for gun crime and robberies, but the central metropolitan area of New York is one of the safest in the world. Visitors and residents remain under the protection of the friendly and vigilant police force and although tourists should be wary of petty crime and pickpockets, there is no reason to feel unsafe in New York City. Most of New York’s crime is isolated to the suburbs of Hunts Point, Brownsville, East Harlem, and Mott Haven where gang and property crime is high. Still, this shouldn’t affect tourists as long as you research your accommodation well before visiting. 

What is the safest state in North America?

It might be peppered with safe cities, but this doesn’t mean North America’s safest capitals are reflective of their states at large. The safest states in the US are actually Rhode Island and Vermont with their small and friendly populations. Massachusetts is also a very safe state with some of the lowest rates of violent and property crime. Low poverty and good job opportunities are partly to thank. 


For more than 11 years, Joe has worked as a freelance travel writer. His writing and explorations have brought him to various locations, including the colonial towns of Mexico, the bustling chowks of Mumbai, and the majestic Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not crafting his next epic blog post on the top Greek islands or French ski resorts, he can often be found engaging in his top two hobbies of surfing and hiking.

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