If you're an NYC native, you probably already know all the best running spots. If you're new to the area, we can help you out.
Hudson River Park
Located, like its name suggests, by the Hudson River near Chelsea Piers, the Hudson River Park is home to a veritable cornucopia of un-Manhattan-like activities. Here, you can golf, play baseball or basketball, swim, skate, rock climb, or even, if you’re brave, try your hand at the trapeze.
Running with the refreshing river breeze at your back or, hopefully not but so goes life, choking you and slowing you down from the front, will transport you away from the noise of the city. Periodic seasonal water fountains will greet you along the way to provide necessary hydration starting from Pier 40 all the way to Clinton Cove at W 55th St.
Also, if you over-indulge in the water (or perhaps your runs leave you feeling a little loose in the caboose) restrooms are open all year long from all the way from Houston to W 55th St. Not enough distance for you? For all you over-achievers, you’ll find Riverside Park South north of 59th St. If you’re really feeling yourself, you can run all the way north to 181st St!
A hop, skip and a jump away from the heart of Manhattan on the Q train, Prospect Park is home to a 3.35 mile running lane along Park Drive, perfect for both serious and recreational runners. Home to the famous Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring, the park’s stunning views will allow your mind to de-clutter from all the city noise.
Need some extra motivation to pull out your running shorts? Running in a group your thing? Just moved to the big apple and looking to meet some new people? Why not try out the Prospect Park Track Club? That way at least you know you won’t get lost in the park’s 585 acres (you’d never know you were in NYC!) while smelling all those blossoming trees.
A classic in the heart of Manhattan, the 1.37 square miles that make up Central Park will engulf you, giving you the feeling that you could not possibly be in New York City, but then you couldn’t be anywhere else. You’ll get to live in your own personal movie, running past iconic locales where every rom-com you’ve ever seen has been shot.
Prepare for hills and heavily-trafficked pedestrian areas, especially on the weekends when the weather is nice. About three laps around the park is equivalent to a half marathon, if you’re willing to go the extra miles. Central Park is equipped with bathrooms and fountains and lots of classic New York nostalgia.
Van Cortlandt Park
A bit farther uptown in the Bronx, Van Cortlandt spans over a thousand acres and clocks in as New York’s third largest park. If you really need an escape and you’re into hills and trail running, this is the place to be. If you’ve explored every corner of Central park to the point it’s started to feel mundane, take the train up to the Bronx and get lost in the beautiful Oak forests you didn’t know existed in New York.
Allow yourself to be brought back down-to-earth with gnarly off-road trails that will really get your heart rate up. If you’re less into hills and more into training sprints and intervals, Van Cortdlandt offers a track you can use for your interval training needs.
Inwood Hill Park
You’re a history buff? You’ll love running through this piece of old, old New York. Inwood Hill Park feels in a state of gorgeous ruin and you’ll get to be transported to its prehistoric roots as evidenced by its dramatic caves, valleys, and ridges carved out by shifting glaciers years and years ago.
The park offers both hiking and bike trails and is rumored to be one of the best spots to spot a Bald Eagle in the city as it was the site of the Urban Park Rangers’ bald eagle release project in 2002. Looking for a bit of community to run with you? Sign up for an open run in the historic Inwood Hill Park.
If you're looking to get some exercise and you're in the NYC area, these are by far the best places to go.
[Image credit: pexel.com ]