Living in Manhattan, Daniel Rootenberg looks forward to that special time of day or night when he can leave the office and de-stress with a good sweat. He has no use for that stuffy square box they call the neighborhood gym and could care less about the latest state-of-the-art elliptical machine. All he needs are his two legs and a good route to jog—which, in his home city, means the pathways skirting the East and Hudson rivers, or through the urban oasis of Central Park.
Little surprise, then, that when this vice president of finance at Shutterstock travels, he packs his running shoes. Rootenberg typically asks his hotel concierge for a route and a map, noting his preference for varied terrain and safety (as much as he enjoys exploring the streets of a new city, he doesn’t want to jog through crime-ridden or congested areas). Often, he says, he’s able to take in some of a city’s noteworthy sights while on his run.
“On my last trip to Chapel Hill, the concierge mixed historic buildings with less populated sidewalks,” he says. “It was perfect.”
More and more business travelers, it seems, can be found taking to the streets in the cities where they take their meetings. Not only is it liberating for these travelers to run after hours stuck in airport terminals and conference rooms; sometimes, jogging is the only chance they have to see some of the city they’re visiting. Taking a run also gives them an opportunity to share a common activity with local residents—and experience a camaraderie they’d never find on a lonely treadmill inside a hotel fitness center.
While running is perhaps the most accessible of workouts—all that’s needed are shoes and a route—the gentrification of many cities in the past two decades has made urban jogging even easier. New developments have created running trails that offer a slice of tranquility in otherwise highly energized hubs. In San Antonio, for example, the popular waterfront River Walk has extended both north and south of the city in recent years, giving joggers an additional 15 miles to explore. Similarly, both the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland, Ore., and the Hudson River Park in New York City have unveiled paved trails that offer both riverside and city-skyline views.
So, whether your next business trip brings you to the Financial District in Boston or the massive San Diego Convention Center on the harbor, make sure to throw your running shoes into your suitcase. And check out our list of great urban running trails for more inspiration.