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Top 100 Runs in U.S. Major Cities

This is Great Runs’ admittedly selective selection of the Top 100 Runs in United States Cities, focused on the 50 largest metropolitan areas by population. These are the runs to add to your bucket list!  The list is presented in the approximate order of city size, with some grouping (Bay Area, Southern California and Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA). If you’d like to see our list of best runs for ALL U.S. locations covered by Great Runs, click on our “iconic” keyword, which generally shows our 2-3 “must do” routes in each destination. You can return to the list by clicking the ‘back’ button on your browser.

Hudson River Greenway

New York City – Manhattan

One of the great runs anywhere, with paths, piers, & parks along the Hudson River on Manhattan's west side stretching for 12 miles from Lower Manhattan to the George Washington Bridge. Iconic views of the river, the New Jersey skyline, & Freedom Tower.
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Griffith Park

Los Angeles, CA

The largest municipal park with urban wilderness in the U.S., with 53 miles of trails and fire roads, many good for running. Attractions include the L.A. Zoo, Griffith Observatory, Autry National Center, and the Greek Theatre.
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Forest Preserves

Chicago: Suburbs

The Forest Preserves in the Chicago suburbs are a unique feature of the Chicago running scene. Here are our favorites of these beautiful green spaces, with route recommendations and trail maps.
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Memorial Park 

Houston, TX - Central

One of the largest urban parks in the United States and the heart of Houston’s running community. 7-8 miles of mainly wooded paths, including the 3-mile Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail, an Arboretum, a running track, and trail running options.
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The Memorials

Washington, DC: Central

A truly inspiring run, incorporating scenery, history, and beauty. The core “Memorial Run” incorporates the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson, FDR Memorial, and MLK Memorials. Catch during Cherry Blossoms!
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Miami Beach

Miami, FL

One of the great urban beaches. The wide sand beach stretches for nearly ten miles from south to north with a running path along most of the way. South Beach is where the action is .
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Coconut Grove & Coral Gables

Miami, FL

One of the nicest neighborhoods in Miami. Very lush and green. A pleasant run in Coconut Grove incorporates some of the residential streets, with beautiful vegetation, grand old homes, and some waterfront sections.
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Philadelphia Highlights Tour

Philadelphia, PA

A 10k 'runseeing' tour of Philadelphia's scenic, cultural, and historic highlights in the heart of downtown, west of Broad St: Avenue of the Arts, Schuylkill River, Fairmount Park, and more, starting from City Hall. Good add-on options.
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Fairmount Park

Philadelphia, PA

Many opportunities for running in one of the largest urban green spaces in the country. See the map for various loop and bridge options, along the water or interior trails.
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run in piedmont park

Piedmont Park

Atlanta, GA

Piedmont Park is the Crown Jewel of the central Atlanta running scene. The 189 acre park was designed by Olmsted’s sons and features 4–5 miles of fairly hilly paved and gravel running trails, ranging from open meadows to wooded sections.
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Stone Mountain Park

Atlanta, GA

One of Atlanta’s major recreational destinations, 15 mi. from downtown. Numerous running options, from a gentler 5-mile loop around the park perimeter to some more advanced trail running. Also great hiking and trail running options.
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Chandler: Desert Trails & Parks

Phoenix - Suburbs

There's excellent running in this city southeast of Phoenix. Veterans Oasis Park has a Sonoran desert feel. San Tan Mountain Regional Park has miles of desert trails. There are also three longer, paved multi-use trails that are great for running.
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The Charles River Paths

Boston, MA

One of the most famous runs in the country. Run all the way from downtown to Newton! Sections on the Boston side and Cambridge side, with numerous bridges along the way, allowing for great loops.
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The Emerald Necklace

Boston, MA

A greenway originally conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted, running 10 miles from the State House to Franklin Park. Highlights include the Comm. Ave Mall, Fens, Jamaica Pond, Arboretum, and Franklin Park.
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South Boston Waterfront

Boston, MA

The 6-mile segment from Pleasure Bay to UMASS in South Boston is our favorite section of the Boston waterfront for running. Includes Castle Island, Carson Beach, JFK Library, UMASS Boston campus.
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The Stanford Dish

Silicon Valley, CA

One of the most popular and iconic runs in Silicon Valley. Accessible from the center of Palo Alto and the Stanford Campus, this is a great ~5 mile loop, featuring open pastureland, a small lake, and great views of the Stanford Campus.
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The Baylands Trails

Silicon Valley, CA

On the eastern shore between Palo Alto and San Jose, this remarkable series of trails and parks incorporates a series of undisturbed tidal marshland (Sloughs) called the Baylands. See our detailed description of the three major sections.
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Tilden Regional Park

Oakland/Berkeley (East Bay), CA

A great running option just a couple of miles east of Berkeley. There's Lake Anza, a botanical garden, wonderful wildflowers, and extensive trails. We recommend the paved 4 mile Nimitz Way Trail, with great views of San Pablo reservoir, SF bay and Mt. Diablo.
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Belle Isle

Detroit, MI

Olmsted-designed park on an island in the middle of the Detroit River, with views of the Detroit skyline & the Windsor shore. Great paths for running, including 6-mile perimeter road.
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Burke-Gilman Trail

Seattle, WA

A flat 27-mile long urban pedestrian and bicycling trail that connects many parts of Northern Seattle.The views are spectacular, as most of it hugs the shoreline as it courses through many neighborhoods.
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Green Lake

Seattle, WA

One of the most popular destinations for running in the Seattle area. The outer loop is a perfect 5k! Great views of the lake, and on a clear day, Mt. Rainier.
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Tacoma Running Highlights

Seattle, WA

A selection of some terrific running routes in Tacoma, a city of 200,000 located about 30 miles southwest of Seattle along the Puget Sound. Several waterfront routes and some nice parks. See the overview map for locations.
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Mission Bay

San Diego, CA

A 46,000 acre aquatic playground. We’ve mapped a well-known 12-mile loop, almost all of it on well-marked off-road paths, with water views, lovely parks, beaches, bridges, and an island.
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Balboa Park

San Diego, CA

A gorgeous park, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and important San Diego sights such as the Zoo, and several museums. Many options for running, from trails by the sites to more wooded routes.
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Cherry Creek Trail

Denver, CO: Central

This paved path is the centerpiece of running in downtown Denver. Up to 42 miles, but the best downtown area section starts at Confluence Park, heading 4 miles southeast toward the Cherry Creek Mall.
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Forest Park Interior

St. Louis, MO

This route takes you by all the landmarks inside of the park, including the Emerson Grand Basin, the St. Louis Art Museum. Jefferson Lake, the Zoological Society, St. Louis Zoo, or cross the foot bridges over to Wildlife and Picnic Islands.
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Booty Loop

Charlotte, NC

The most well-known running loop in Charlotte, featuring the idyllic Myers Park neighborhood with its tall oaks, and lovely homes, and hilly roads. Nice Add-On: Freedom Park trails
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San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio, TX

San Antonio’s signature running trail and a top tourist attraction. There are ~15 continuous miles. We provide a map of the entire River Walk, plus a 6 mile round trip route, passing by many of the city’s top attractions.
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Forest Park

Portland, OR

The largest urban forest in the United States. 80+ miles of soft-surface trails, fire lanes and forest roads, stretching for 7 miles along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains. Tons of options here. We've mapped the first 3 miles of Lief Erickson Rd.
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Red Rock Canyon

Las Vegas, NV

A great way to experience running in the Mojave Desert, only 17 miles from the Strip. 30 miles of trails, dirt roads, (many of them run-able), and a 13-mile Scenic Drive loop.
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Lady Bird Lake (Butler) Trail

Austin, TX

The signature trail in Austin, with 10 miles of trail on each side of the Colorado River. Combination of paved and gravel. Some sections more shaded and park-like. Highlights are the boardwalk section on the south side, and the 'bat bridge'!
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Bridge Loops

Cincinnati, OH

The bridges connecting Cincinnati to Newport are a quintessential part of the city and offer great views of the skyline. We’ve put together a Two Bridge and a Four Bridge loop.
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Plaza: Brush Creek Trail

Kansas City, MO

This route in the Plaza area follows Brush Creek along a paved trail through several parks. It's possible to run as far as Blue Banks Park for up to 10 miles out and back. Can connect to other routes in the Plaza area.
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Lower Scioto Greenway Trail

Columbus, OH

A very popular route among runners in Columbus. The trail runs east-west along the Scioto River, serving as the spine of the famous Scioto Mile, a string of prominent parks, civic landmarks, and promenades.
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Eagle Creek Park

Indianapolis, IN

This is by far the city’s most popular running spot and one of the largest metropolitan greenspaces in the nation. It includes 5K, 8K, and 10K certified road courses as well as 10 miles of trails.
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Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway

Cleveland, OH

Gorgeous path spans 17-miles of Lake Erie shoreline. Highlights include Cleveland’s best architecture in Collinwood, Bratenahl, and scenic Edgewater State Park. We've mapped the route and point out the best sections. Video excerpts!
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Shaker Heights Neighborhood

Cleveland, OH

The most attractive residential neighborhood for running in Cleveland, graced by tree-lined streets and stately older homes. Use Shaker Blvd. as an anchor, and many miles of gorgeous roads. Add-on with University Circle route.
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East Bay Bike Path

Providence, RI

The signature run in Providence, popular with pedestrians and cyclists alike. Starting at India Point Park in Providence, the paved trail follows the Providence River for 14.5 miles to Bristol. Great water views much of the way.
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Olmsted Parks Tour

Milwaukee, WI

Frederick Law Olmsted - famed designer of New York's Central Park - designed both Lake Park and Riverside Park (originally "River Park"), with Newberry Boulevard being the deliberate connector between the two.
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Umstead Park

Raleigh-Durham, NC

Large park between Raleigh and Durham, with 20+ miles of trails. The 13 miles of 'bridle path' trails offer gentler, shaded running. Also some great trail running opportunities. Two separate entrances, leading to different trails.
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Duke University Campus

Raleigh-Durham, NC

One of the prettiest campuses in the United States and wonderful for running. Enjoy the Georgian-style east campus or the Gothic west campus. Run up to the Duke Chapel. The 3.7 mile Al Buehler Trail loop trail circles the golf course.
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Shelby Farms Park

Memphis, TN

One of the largest urban parks of the country. Just west of downtown. 10-mile Greenline trail runs through the southern end of the park, 2.3 mile paved trail around the lake, wooded Chickasaw Trail, and South Trail parallel to Walnut Grove Road.
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Overton Park

Memphis, TN

One of the gems of running in Memphis, with 342 acres of grassy public lands complete with trails and endless sights. It even has a designated running loop. It's 4 miles west of downown.
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James River Park Trails & Belle Isle

Richmond, VA

The most popular running spot in Richmond, with waterside trails and multiple pedestrian bridges. Well-groomed 2-10 mile options along the Buttermilk and North Bank trails, Forest Hill Park, and Pony Pasture. Trails are mainly wooded, gravel surface.
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Ohio River Louisville

Louisville, KY

There's 10+ miles of running along the Ohio River! Mostly on pleasant dedicated paths through parks, with great views. Paths on the Kentucky Side are ~7 miles, and 1.7 miles on the Indiana. The 2-mile Big Four Bridge is a spectacular run in and of itself.
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Hartford Riverwalk

Hartford, CT

The city of Hartford has embraced it’s frontage on the Connecticut River with over 5 miles of paths and bridges through riverside parks located right downtown. Paths on both sides of the river from the Charter Oak Bridge to Riverside Park.
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Delaware Park

Buffalo, NY

Wonderful running in Olmsted designed park. Nearby parkways also pleasant for running. We've mapped a 10k perimeter route. Also the 1.75 mile "meadow loop" trail is a great way to see the park.
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Diamond Head

Honolulu, HI

A great loop around Honolulu’s most iconic landmark. Hilly, with sweeping views of Honolulu’s east side: High-end homes, parks, surfers on the beaches below, and migrating humpback whales.
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Mark
7 months ago

A very good list! I’ve done ~15 of these (some long before I discovered Great Runs) and enjoyed every one. I’m looking forward to trying out your France routes soon! I’ve marked our itinerary with links to the great runs I’m considering for each city we will visit.

Mark, Charlotte

Dreamy
7 months ago

Colorado Springs and Boulder have some great spots Surprised Flagstaff Arizona didn’t make the cut