The Five Best Cities for Free Public WiFi

17 Aug 2011

written by Elissa Vallano


Downtown Raleigh WiFi Map

The pursuit of free public WiFi has been an uphill battle for all who have attempted it in recent years, and many cities have scrapped their public WiFi endeavors entirely. But despite the challenges, there are several cities that have developed effective WiFi systems regularly used by businesses, residents and visitors alike. MyCityWay has determined the five best cities for free public WiFi in the country.

Denver: In addition to over 180 free private WiFi hotspots, Denver offers free internet access throughout its downtown area – the mile long 16th Street Mall and in Skyline Park. Denver International Airport also provides travelers with free WiFi, and users can log in free of charge in the sprawling Colorado Convention Center as well.

Houston: Like everyone and everything else in Texas, Houston likes to go big – and that includes its WiFi. HoustonWiFi has 150 hotspots in ten neighborhoods and business districts, and the city plans to reach 500 locations by the end of 2011. And to ensure no student gets left behind, each of Houston’s 17 private and public colleges and universities provide their students with free public WiFi.

Minneapolis: In 2006, Minneapolis signed a 10-year contract with USI Wireless of Minnetonka to provide its residents with free public internet access. Since that time, 117 free WiFi hotspots have popped up around the city in restaurants, cafes, businesses and parks. Check out this map for a detailed guide to the best places to connect to USIW Free WiFi.

Raleigh: While San Francisco is recognized as the technology giant of the United States, Raleigh’s power should not be underestimated. In 2010, Forbes ranked it as the most wired city in the US for its 120 free WiFi spots that include 24 McDonald’s restaurants, three Barnes & Noble bookstores and 18 Starbucks. Downtown Raleigh also has its own free WiFi program that can be used throughout City Plaza, Fayetteville Street, Moore Square, the Raleigh Convention Center, and beyond.

Seattle: As the home to Microsoft and, Seattle makes sure it keeps its tech-savvy residents connected. Its 100+ free WiFi hotspots can be found in the Columbia City and University District business areas, as well as the City Hall lobby, Seattle Center, public libraries and downtown parks. Other King County cities and towns are working to expand their free public WiFi systems as well.

Does your city have free public WiFi? Is there a city you think is a leader in the WiFi field? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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About the author

Elissa Vallano is a contributing writer to MyCityWay.

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3 Comments on The Five Best Cities for Free Public WiFi

  1. Siva

    OMG, NYC is not in the list!!!
    In Minneapolis, their government itself signed a 10-year contract with USI Wireless of Minnetonka to provide its residents with free public internet access? Great then.

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