N.Y.C.'s 6 Best Running Routes That Offer Space and Scenery
New York City can seem a bit crowded at times. Between the masses of people and the packed city blocks, it can be difficult to even walk down the sidewalks let alone break out into a casual jog. But the bustling metropolis actually houses some seriously spacious and scenic running routes if you know where to go. So whether you're just getting back into your running groove after a winter off or you're a marathon maven, we've rounded up six of N.Y.C.'s finest running routes to get your sprint (or jog or walk) on while in town.
West Side Highway
Best For: The Tourist
Length: 6.5 miles
Why It's Great: The Hudson River Greenway, which runs along the West Side Highway, is arguably one of the most scenic routes in the city. Beloved by runners, walkers, and bikers alike, the route provides stunning views of the water and neighboring New Jersey. The straightforward route (just follow along the water) is perfect for city newbies or visitors. Tip: Go for an evening run to catch an epic sunset over the Hudson.
Central Park Outer Loop
Best For: The Nature Buff
Length: 6.3 miles
Why It's Great: If skyscrapers and crowded concrete don't make up your ideal running scene, hit the classic Outer Loop of Central Park. The route, which runs around the entire park from 59th Street to 110th Street and back down again, is perfect for those seeking a bit of scenic solace. The terrain varies from hilly to flat to keep things interesting and the access to bathrooms and water fountains keeps things convenient.
Best For: The City Slicker
Length: 9.3 miles
Why It's Great: This route, which circles lower Manhattan, includes some seriously iconic N.Y.C. scenery and buildings. You'll be so distracted by major landmarks like the Freedom Tower and Flatiron Building, as well as incredible views of New Jersey, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty, you won't even realize you're exercising.
Best For: The Crowd Hater
Length: 3.6 miles
Why It's Great: When Central Park and crowded running routes become too much, Brooklyn's Prospect Park serves as an welcome respite. Break away from the Manhattan hustle and bustle and hit the sometimes sloping path, and take a quick Instagram break at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch (known as New York's Arc de Triomphe).
Best For: The Insta-Lover
Length: 3.75 miles
Why It's Great: This route provides picture-perfect postcard views from start to finish. You would be remiss to leave your phone at home and miss the photo-ops present at literally every step of your time crossing the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridges. If you can stand running along heavy traffic and heavy crowds, this is for you. Consider heading out early in the morning or later at night to avoid midday's high tourist times.
Central Park Reservoir
Best For: The Easy-Goer
Length: 1.5 miles
Why It's Great: If the outer loop of Central Park seems too daunting, head to the reservoir in the middle of the park instead. The less-than-two-mile loop is a super-scenic, easy going route for a light morning jog or a casual walk-run-mostly-walk jaunt.