Back to Stories

Best Major Convention Cities for Running

by Mark Lowenstein. September, 2023

Schlepping to a city for a convention is a rite of business travel. But from a running perspective, this can be an unpredictable proposition. In some cities, the major convention center is centrally located, near lots of hotels, restaurants, and good running routes. In other cities, the location can be a business center/highway/chain hotel wasteland. But don’t fear, Great Runs is here to help!

For the top 50 most visited convention cities in the world, we’ve looked at the location of their major convention center from the standpoint of proximity to running routes and other infrastructure. We assume that travelers stay in a hotel near the convention center. Here are our tips and resources:

  • Route Overview Map. On the city’s home page, we’ve marked the convention center location on the Route Overview map.
  • Convention Center Category. On the GR Home Page, mouse over ‘Category’ and click on ‘Near Convention Center’ to see all our tagged running routes near a major convention center (Top 50 destinations only).  In alphabetical order, by region.
  • Best Major Convention Cities For Running. Our list of the best ones. What qualifies? A central/attractive location of the city’s major convention center, with scenic running routes nearby.
    • What are the Top 10? These are the cities that hit the trifecta of attractive convention center location, good infrastructure (hotels, transport, restaurants), and attractive running routes all in proximity (alphabetical, not ranked): Chicago, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Miami, Melbourne, New York City, San Diego, Vancouver, Vienna, Washington, D.C.

Convention Cities Running Guide
This table indicates the major CC in each city, best runs nearby, and our rating (A is best, C is worst). Click on city column to sort alphabetically.

CityRatingConvention Ctr. (CC) Best Runs NearbyComments
OrlandoCOrange County Convention CenterConv. Ctr./Universal Studios RouteCan run there, not attractive
Washington, DCAThe Walter E. Washington Convention CenterNational Mall & MemorialsConv Ctr. near iconic D.C. routes
Las VegasCLas Vegas Convention Ctr. The StripOne of the worst for running among convention cities
MiamiA-Miami Beach Convention Ctr. Miami Beach Boardwalk; Venetian CausewayCC is near the best run in Miami
ChicagoA-McCormick PlaceLakefront PathArea around McCormick not so great but near great run!
San DiegoASan Diego Convention Ctr. Convention Center/EmbarcaderoNear airport, Gaslight District, & scenic running!
PhoenixC+Phoenix Convention Ctr. Downtown Phoenix LoopDowntown Phoenix isn't great and neither is the running
AtlantaC+Georgia World Congress CenterDowntown Atlanta TourSame comments as Phoenix
DallasC+Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention CenterKaty Trail; Trinity Levee TrailCC is fairly far from decent running options
New OrleansBErnest N. Morial Convention CenterCentral City & Garden District LoopReasonable proximity to action & running
New York CityA-Javits CenterHudson River GreenwayJavits Ctr. is no great shakes but it's on a great run route!
San AntonioBHenry B. González Convention Ctr. San Antonio RiverwalkCentrally located CC, and San Antonio's best run
HoustonBGeorge R. Brown Convention CenterBuffalo Bayou ParkBuffalo Bayou Park is much improved!
PhiladelphiaA-Pennsylvania Convention CenterPhiladelphia Highlights TourRight downtown, accessible to eats, arts, running
San FranciscoBMoscone CenterEmbarcaderoTry to stay further down Market St. to access waterfront run
DenverBColorado Convention CenterCherry Creek TrailColorado CC is downtown & near Cherry Creek Trail
AnaheimCAnaheim Convention CenterSanta Ana River Trail (not that near)CC is in a crummy area and far from a decent run
Los AngelesCLos Angeles Convention CenterDowntown L.A. RouteDowntown is our least favorite area for running in L.A.
BostonB+Larger Boston CC; smaller
Hynes CC
Boston & South Boston Waterfront; Charles River Paths Boston CC is in Seaport, Hynes is Back Bay
NashvilleBMusic City CenterNashville 'Runseeing' Tour; Cumberland GreenwayCentral location in the heart of Nashville action
TorontoB+Metro Toronto Convention CentreToronto Downtowner; Martin Goodman TrailToronto CC is in the heart of Toronto's vibrant downtown
Vancouver, BCAVancouver Convention CentreThe SeawallScenic harbourfront location, & on Seawall route!
LondonBExCeL LondonDocklands & Canary Wharf RouteIn business-centric Docklands, but some decent waterfront running there
BerlinBBerlin Messe/CityCubeGrunewald Forst, Charlottenburg PalaceIn western part of Berlin
BarcelonaA/CConvention Ctr.;
Fira Barcelona
Waterfront Run;
CC is on waterfront, Fira is more on outskirts
Paris - CentralA/CParis Convention Ctr.; Palais de Congres; VillepintePalais is near Bois de Boulongne; Palais des Congrès good; Paris CC bad
Paris - SuburbsBParc des Expositions de Ville (near CDG)Parc de SaussetVillepinte is the largest CC in France
MadridBIFEMA MadridParque Juan Carlos 1A bit out of the way, but near a decent run
LisbonA-Lisboa Congress CentreTejo River RunNot as many amenities, but near Lisbon's best running!
AmsterdamBRAI AmsterdamOlympic Stadium/ BeatrixparkA bit out of the way, but near a nice park for running
RomeB-Centro Congresso La NuvolaThree Park TourIn facist-era EUR business district & far from the center
BrusselsB+Square Brussels Convention Ctr. Brussels 'Runseeing' Tour; Parc de BruxellesCentrally located in one of Europe's major convention cities
MilanBMiCo Milano Convention CentreMonte Stella; Parco SempioneOutside the center, but some decent runs nearny
FrankfurtB+Congress Center Messe FrankfurtGrüneburgpark and PalmengartenIn western part of the city, & near a good run
HannoverB-Hannover MessePaths in the pastoral Parc AgricoleMesse is south of the city in a mainly pastoral area.
ViennaAThe Austria Center ViennaDanube River/Donaupark & Danube Island; Good access to some of Vienna's best running routes
SingaporeBSingapore ExpoJurassic Mile to East Coast Park Convenient for business but not Singapore's most scenic area
BeijingBBeijing International Convention CenterOlympic Forest ParkBeijing CC is near southern section of the Forest Park
TokyoA-Tokyo Big SightOdaiba Seaside Park; Koto City SeasideModern location and near nice waterfront running
BangkokB+Queen Sirikit National Convention CenterBenjakitti ParkCC is in a great location and near two of Bangkok's best runs
Hong KongAHong Kong Convention and Exhibition CentreCentral Waterfront PromenadeHong Kong CC overlooks Victoria Harbour
Hong KongBAsia World-Expo (Launtau)Waterfront Running & also trail running nearbyAsia World-Expo is on Lantau and near airport
ShanghaiB-National Convention & Exhibition CenterShanghai ZooShanghai CC is outside the center
Kuala LumpurBKuala Lumpur Convention CentreKLCC ParkKL CC is outside the center but near KLCC park
SeoulC+Coex Convention & Exhibition CenterYangjaecheon Stream Trail (not that close)Coex is far from the action and not that close to a decent run
MelbourneAMelbourne Convention and Exhibition CentreYarra Area Run & MoreMCEC is centrally located and near great waterfront running!
SydneyAICC SydneyDarling Harbor RouteIn the heart of town, & great running options nearby

Have a story to share?

Submit Your Story

What Did You Think of This Story?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments