For people who like to run, one of the best things about traveling is that it offers new places to explore and create routes. At the same time, running is often an easy and time-efficient way to learn a new city.
In many parts of the world, adventurous running may require topographical maps, satellite radios, prepaid phone plans, and an eye for safety. In major American cities, though, the best places to run are usually safe and easy to find, meaning that all you need before stepping outside is an idea of where to start.
Based on paths, climate, and running community, here are six of the best American cities to run in, listed in no particular order:
Home to the University of Colorado, Boulder is hard to beat both for its running community and its geographic location. Boulder is often described as America’s running capital, and its running community reflects that title. In Boulder, you can find world-famous runners training among thousands of others who treat running as a serious pastime. Boulder is perfectly situated right at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When visiting, run west from the city and try any of the dirt paths heading upwards. The views, terrain, and company will be sure not to disappoint.
What Chicago lacks in climate it makes up for in running atmosphere – especially for a visitor to the city. Regardless of whether you’re staying on the North Side, downtown, or on the South Side, you probably aren’t too far from the lake. Heading east will therefore bring you to the lakefront path, which stretches over 25 miles and provides great views of the city skyline. Crowded year-round, it may also provide you with some impromptu running partners.
The Boston Marathon is the American pinnacle of distance running, and any visitor to the city – at any time of year – can run the last few miles down Commonwealth Avenue to the finish at Copley Square. But the city offers runners more than just the marathon. Try the paths along the Charles River, for example, which manage to be serene and peaceful while also providing great views of the city in the process.
Our second Colorado city on the list, Colorado Springs excels as a running destination for one key reason: altitude. A visitor to the city has numerous mountain trails to choose from. If you don’t mind risking a twisted ankle – and if you’re properly acclimated – you can find paths that leave the city and go on for miles and miles. The high altitude location is also popular with professional runners and dotted with running stores, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get advice regarding the best trails.
The nation’s capital is home to more park space per acre than almost any other city in the country. This gives visitors a wealth of running options, with Rock Creek Park foremost among them. But a traveler to D.C. may be best served by running along the National Mall area and along the Potomac. There are limitless sights to see and views to take in, and few runs in the country can compare when it comes to history.
As a running destination, San Diego has two very strong things going for it: the weather and the beach. Sunny and comfortable year round, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to get outside while visiting San Diego. Fortunately, there are several beach-side parks and paths to choose from – in addition to running on the sand itself. An evening run during sunset will convince even the most hardened enthusiasts that running is best enjoyed in perfect weather.
There are certainly many more American cities with great running options, and even more where running can still afford a great travel experience. But if you’re traveling to any of the above six cities, be sure to make an extra effort, get outside, and go for a run.