Asia Pacific

Chengdu, China

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Run in Chengdu

Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan province, is China’s fifth largest city with a population of nearly 15 million. Located along the banks of the Jinjiang River, Chengdu is an important important economic, research, and cultural center in western China. The city is also known for its giant panda sanctuaries, spicy food, and teahouses. The roads of Chengdu are organized in a series of concentric circles, with Tianfu Square at the center. Between its density, poor air quality and persistent overvsast, there isn’t an especially vibrant scene for running in Chengdu. But determined runners can find some good spots along several multi-use trails, some nice parks, and paths along the Jinjiang River.

To get oriented, we’ve mapped a 16 km ‘runseeing’ tour around the center of Chengdu. One of the best places to run in Chengdu is the 25 km “greenbelt” between Jincheng Park and Qinglong Lake, where you can add in those areas as well as the Bailuwan Wetland. For a unique run, there’s a 30 km multi-use path underneath the elevated “Second Ring Road.” There’s some decent waterfront running using the 10+ km of paths along the Jinjiang River. For parks, there’s good running in Jincheng Park, Huanhuaxi Park, Qinglong Lake in Shiling Forest Park, and Phoenix Mountain Park.

The Metro is one of the best ways to get around Chengdu, especially for long distance north-south travel. The same rechargeable cards can be used for the extensive local bus network. Runners should note that Chengdu’s air quality can be poor and that the city is known for its near constant overcast between October and February.

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Chengdu’s climate and air won’t win any awards from a running perspective. Summers are hot and humid, while in winter there’s near constant overcast. In fact, Chengdu has among the lowest percent of possible sunshine of any major city. Runners should note that Chengdu’s air quality can be poor. So it’s a bit of a gloomy scene. On the positive front, winters are comparatively mild, and the clouds don’t always mean rain.

Visitors can find hotels scattered throughout Chengdu. They are not concentrated in any specific area. Runners looking to step out their door and go for a run will want to stay in near the Jinjiang River paths, near the Greenbelt, or in proximity to one of the larger parks such as Huanhuaxi Park.

Most running stores in Chengdu are chains like Nike, Adidas, Asics, and 361 Degrees.

We don’t know of any running groups or clubs, but keep us posted if you hear of any!

The ever-popular Chengdu Marathon usually takes place around October of each year.