An iconic urban run and certainly an oasis in Manhattan. Numerous options: 7 mile perimeter path, reservoir route with great skyscraper views, woodsy sections, grand allées.
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.
One of our favorite runs in New Jersey and a quick ferry from Manhattan. Miles of waterside paths and promenades line this green space, with great views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.
Few cities in the world rival L.A. for fantastic beach running options. This 22-mile path starts at Rogers Beach in the north, to Venice, Manhattan, and Redondo beaches, ending at Torrance Beach in the south.
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.
An iconic run in L.A. that takes you by some famous places: Electric Fountain on Wilshire Blvd., famous shops, Beverly Wilshire, Rodeo Drive, South Robertson Drive, Beverly Hills homes.
A very scenic run in the Seal Beach and and Naples areas, consisting of numerous paths along Alamitos Bay and around the Marina. If you like boats, this is an especially nice run! Full loop is nearly 10 miles, but good options to shorten/lengthen.
One of the most spectacular runs in southern California. A series of headlands and cliffs overlooking Dana Point and Strands Beach, with great views. One can put together a terrific run, with parks, trails, and paths along the harbor and marina.
This 18-mile trail is one of the most spectacular urban runs in the country. Gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, urban beaches, marinas, and beautiful parks, passing by some of the city’s famous cultural institutions.
This run features the wonderful for running streets of Chicago’s North Shore neighborhoods, including a tour of Highland Park following the North Shore Classic Half Marathon course. Glencoe and Winnetka are also great for running.
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.
Some of the most scenic and enjoyable running in Dallas. Numerous options include lake perimeter trail of 9.6 miles, the White Rock Creek Greenbelt, and the pleasant Lakewood neighborhood just west.
We've curated several routes on the Trinity Trails system in central Fort Worth, near downtown: west along the river to Rockwood Park; south along the river from Trinity Park to the Forth Worth Zoo; and more miles along the river south to Highway 183.
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.
A worth-it spot for a destination run, an hour drive from Houston. There are six lakes and 37 miles of multi-use trails. Boardwalks, wetlands, woods, four different lake loops. And alligators!
The signature run in Washington and one of the most memorable runs in the world. Run on a packed dirt surface between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. Also good at night.
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!
One of the great urban beaches and one of the more fun, scenic, and festive runs out there. Run on the 7-mile Miami Beach Boardwalk, or along the beach itself!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The best bet for a longer-distance, green, off-road run in Scottsdale. Multi-use path passes through an oasis of parks, lakes, paths and golf courses from Paradise Valley to Tempe Town Lake. There's a 4.5-mile north section, a gap, then an 8-mile south section. Southern part lit at night!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The entire run from AT&T Park, just 0.8 miles south of the Bay Bridge, all the way to Fort Point and then joining up with the trails that lead to the Golden Gate Bridge, and then over the Bridge to Vista Point is a total of 9.6 miles.
One of the most spectacular areas for running close to a city. Fantastic views of the GG Bridge, Bay, city. Run the 5 miles to Rodeo Beach or do loop options involving Bunker Rd. in the valley. Great trail running options.
Golden Gate Park is the left coast version of New York’s Central Park. The Park runs from Highway 1 at the ocean to the west, to the Haight-Ashbury area to the east.
If you get stuck near SFO, don’t despair — there’s great running along the Bay. This spectacular running path follows the East Bay, from Brisbane north of SFO, south to San Mateo and beyond.
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.
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.
There is a wonderful series of parks, preserves, and running trail options in the hills close to Rt. 280: Rancho San Antonio, Sawyer Camp Recreational Trail, Huddart Park, Wunderlich Park, and more.
It's NOT possible to run all the way from San Francisco to Oakland, but this newly opened path from Emeryville to Yerba Buena Island is 4 miles of running glory. Great views of the Bay, bridges, and skylines. Separate bike and pedestrian lanes.
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.
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.
Wonderful running along the lakeshore in this affluent suburb 8 miles east of downtown. Also options for some lovely residential areas.
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.
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.
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.
This route features three beautiful lakes within a fairly small area. The loop around each lake is 3–3.5 miles and a great option for a longer run is to combine all three for an 11-mile loop.
Arguably the best choice for a lake run in St. Paul. The loop around the lake is 1.7 miles and for the longer run, connect to the trails in Como Park at south.
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.
One of the great urban parks of America, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and important sights such as the Zoo and several museums. Many options for running, good variety of terrain and challenge.
The 5 miles from La Jolla Shores to Torrey Pines is one of the ultimate beach runs. Big wide beach, towering cliffs overhead, crashing waves, seamless firm sand, sunsets….it doesn’t get better than this.
Claimed to be the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, stretching 4.5 miles along the waterfront. Spectacular views of the Bay and the downtown skyline. Fountains, fitness stations, mile markers. The neighborhoods inside the path are also gorgeous for running.
A beautiful park with Florida vegetation and marshes located on the islands lying at the mouth of Tampa Bay, 7 miles south of downtown St. Pete. Popular place for running, with paved roads and recreational trails.
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.
This is a great option for a long run or even a half marathon! We’ve put together a 13.5 mile run incorporating City Park, Cheesman Park, and Washington Park.
The signature St. Louis run. Memorial Plaza, Gateway Arch, Jefferson Expansion Park, and other downtown landmarks in this 4.4 mile run. Can add Eads Bridge or the Riverfront Trail.
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.
The signature Baltimore waterfront run. The Baltimore Waterfront Promenade runs along the water for 5.4 miles between the Museum of Industry on the western side to Canton Waterfront Park on the southeastern side.
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
Another good option near downtown. The run incorporates 6 lakes, the Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art, and the Botanical Garden.
Named by Forbes as one one of the “most beautiful towns in America”. A worth-it place destination run, 15-minute drive from Disney. Our map has several options.
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.
Part of the southern extension of the River Walk, this trail runs by the 18th century missions, including Mission San Juan and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
The signature run along the Willamette River in Portland. Includes the longest floating pedestrian bridge in the world! Numerous landmarks, bridges for loops, and great water views. Cherry blossoms in spring!
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.
One of the signature runs in Vancouver. This ~5 mile trail has great views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood. It's also fun to combine with a loop around Fort Vancouver, or with the Oregon-Washington Bridge.
The paved Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail follows the American River and passes the beautiful Sacramento State University campus.
The signature running option in Pittsburgh. 24 miles of trail, along both sides of all three rivers in Pittsburgh.There are three main ‘sections’ of the Heritage Trail, with bridges connecting the downtown core to the north and south sides.
Three miles from downtown, there is great running near The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University. A highlight is Schenley Park, with 456 acres of trails, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
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.
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'!
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.
Some favorite residential neighborhoods for running in Cincinnati include Clifton, Hyde Park, and Mariemont. For more suburban running, explore the winding country roads of the affluent Indian Hill neighborhood.
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.
There is wonderful residential neighborhood running in the Plaza/Country Club area. Create your own route in the adjacent Ward Estates, Country Club District, and Mission Hills neighborhoods, featuring windy, tree-lined streets and gracious older homes.
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.
Third largest university campus in the country. Miles of wonderful paths for running, with classic red brick buildings. Central and Southern Oval are large grassy areas. Olentangy River Trail runs through the campus. Leafy, pleasant, adjacent streets.
This paved trail makes a winding path through the city from the northeast corner of the county to the southwest, passing many of Indy's cultural and educational attractions.
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.
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!
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.
One of the best runs in San Juan. Follow the Passeo del Morro, beautiful seaside promenade, out to the Fort and a National Historic Site. Do a little tour there, and then enjoy some of the narrow streets of Old San Juan.
A beautiful, paved trail with impressive views of the Cumberland River. Keep your eye out for Spot Opryland’s General Jackson Riverboat. A good option on a hot day.
A tour of Centennial Park, home to Nashville’s Parthenon — a replica of the Athenian Parthenon and featuring American art galleries, and the campus of Vanderbilt University.
One of the best beach & boardwalk runs in the mid-Atlantic U.S. The beach is 5+ miles of wide, firm, packed sand. The boardwalk is 2.7 miles long and features an amusement park and famed Neptune Statue.
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.
A great waterfront run, between the Milwaukee Art Museum to the south and Lake Park to the north, and heading through Veterans Park. Enjoy any part of this 5-mile trail, or connections to many other trails.
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.
For some typical Florida running, consider an 11-mile strip of some of Florida's most gorgeous and relatively uncrowded beaches.
The waterfront trails of Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser are the most popular running areas in Oklahoma City. Run around either lake, or connect the lakes on the Hefner-Overholser trail for distances up to 18 miles.
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.
One of the prettiest campuses in the USA and wonderful for running. Enjoy the Georgian-style east campus or the Gothic west campus. Run up to the Duke Chapel, do the 3.7 mile Al Buehler Trail loop trail, and don't miss Sarah Duke Gardens in spring!
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.
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.
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.
One of the most popular routes for running in New Orleans. Upwards of 3,000 people run under a leafy canopy of live oaks and alongside a little lagoon, each day.
Known to be “as magical and unique as the city of New Orleans,” this outdoor oasis has enchanted New Orleans since 1854.
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.
Two adjoining OImsted-designed parks, with designated 'scenic trails' through their centers. Among the best spots in Louisville for running. Rolling hills, open meadows, woodlands.
A tour of both Liberty Park and Sugar House Park, using some pretty neighborhood streets connecting them, which are ~2 miles apart. Total is 7.5 miles, fairly flat.
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.
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.
Wonderful running path with great views of the Niagara River, Lake Erie, and the Peace Bridge. Accessible from Broderick Park. Bird Island Pier path is 2.2 miles. Unity Island Park adds 1.8 miles, so total RT can be 7.5 miles.
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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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.
Wonderful! I’d love to hear about the routes you do in France and please send any notes on anything we should add or correct. Happy running!
Colorado Springs and Boulder have some great spots Surprised Flagstaff Arizona didn’t make the cut
Absolutely. This particular list is for the top 50 metros by population, otherwise absolutely there are routes that would have been in there. Colo Springs, Flagstaff, & Boulder are among our favorite ‘smaller, recreation-centric’ cities that are great for running, along with Boise, Burlington (VT), Bend, and some others.