15 Destinations to Inspire Your Next Runner’s High
Your choices in Sydney are limited only by your imagination. A waterfront route from Bondi to Coogee passes by some of Sydney’s most iconic beaches and is popular with runners. The Royal Botanic Gardens' pathways overlooking the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge represent another not-to-be-missed route. Then there is the Bay Run—a trail in Sydney's western suburbs that loops around Iron Cove.
A haven for outdoor types, Hong Kong is home to a plethora of options for runners: both urban and off-the-beaten-path trails offer scenic views with a memorable juxtaposition of the urban and the wild. The only trouble is choosing between Ma On Shan’s beautiful waterfront promenade, Clear Water Bay’s stunning vistas, or Discovery Bay’s mix of trails and pathways.
Vancouver routinely ranks among the most livable cities in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Its pristine setting along the Pacific, with forested trails, waterfront routes, and mountains, is a top draw for health and fitness enthusiasts. Few places in the world are better for running than the Stanley Park seawall (5.5 miles), whose stunning concrete path takes you around the Stanley Park point, along Burrard Inlet, under the Lions Gate Bridge down to False Creek.
Rio de Janeiro
Home of the “Girl from Ipanema,” the stretch of Leblon-Ipanema-Arpoador is an alluring strip of sand and sun. Cruising along one of the world’s most spectacular urban beaches, with the Atlantic as a backdrop and beautiful, friendly locals all around, is a treat for any runner. This five-mile loop features splendid sunsets to boot.
New York’s iconic Central Park needs little introduction. Home to the finish line of perhaps the world’s most famous marathon, the park is also a huge draw for its scenic six-mile loop. Looking for a change of scenery? Run along the West Side Highway or the East River for breathtaking views.
Portland rightly ranks among America’s best cities for runners—and not just because Nike and Adidas have headquarters here. If the path by the Willamette River doesn’t impress you, head for the seemingly infinite forest trails right outside the city center—scores of miles of greenery and fresh air await. Options abound for trail running as well, including the Wildwood Trail in Washington Park.
With its 18-mile paved running path winding along Lake Michigan, the Windy City is among America’s most runner-friendly. Park scenery along with majestic views of the skyline will keep you going—and coming back for more.
A morning run around the National Mall the history and beauty of the nation's capital all at once, and can make for a surreal experience. Variety abounds for runners in this city: the Mall’s path is historic, Rock Creek Park offers a serene, hilly setting, and Capital Crescent Trail, which winds from Georgetown all the way to Silver Spring in Maryland, is frequented by runners, bikers, and rollerbladers.
Home to one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, Boston boasts plentiful options for runners amid a backdrop of historic landmarks. The path along the idyllic Charles River offers superb views of the city, while the downtown Freedom Trail ensures you hit several historic landmarks on the way.
As if you needed another reason to visit Barcelona, the Mediterranean setting makes running enjoyable pretty much all year round. For a morning jaunt, head from Las Ramblas all the way to Plaza Catalunya. Or cruise along Barceloneta beach, and enjoy a post-run drink at a beachfront chiringuito.
South Africa’s oldest metropolis is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the world, and the majestic presence of Table Mountain—with its excellent trails—makes it a captivating place to run. The Greenpoint route is another popular choice, offering marvelous beachfront views.
If you can’t find a good running route in London, it’s certainly not for lack of green spaces. Hyde Park is an iconic destination for runners, but for those willing to tackle more, the Thames Path is a longer run along the river from Woolwich to Richmond Park. Itching to get out of an urban setting? Nothing beats Wimbledon Common with its leafy, forested paths and nature reserve.
One of Tokyo's largest green spaces, Yoyogi Park is a hugely popular destination for runners. Frequently open 24 and ideally situated in the heart of the city, the park showcases a lush sprawl of trees and greenery on its north side. Paths inside the park are covered with distance markers for runners to gauge their progress.
Paris is for lovers, but runners will find the city memorable as well. While at first sight it may seem doubtful that a city with big cobblestones and narrow sidewalks can accommodate, the French capital is, in fact, a stunning place to run. Head to the Tuileries next to the Louvre, or the Jardins du Luxembourg on the Left Bank, or try the course from Hotel de Ville in the heart of Paris to the Bois de Vincennes. Farther afield, Île de la Jatte, a small island whose beauty inspired 19th-century painters like Monet and Georges Seurat, features a running track.
San Diego’s perfect year-round weather is a runner's dream come true. The cherry on the cake is the diverse range of options: beaches, trails, paved paths, and sidewalks. Pick your scenery: Balboa Park, with its 65 miles of trails only minutes from downtown, or La Jolla for running on the beach or through tourist areas.