One of my very good friends (in Vancouver, BC) is training for a Marathon (in Victoria, BC) with her partner (who happens to live in London, UK). This friend also happens to travel a lot for work and struggles to find pockets of time to fit fitness into her busy schedule. This got me thinking – what are the best cities for runners? Our personal favorites, such as New York and Chicago made the Empress Avenue list, but there are a few more North American cities with some hidden gems waiting to be explored.
- Vancouver, BC – Stanley Park was ranked as the top park in the entire world for 2014, and the Stanley Park Seawall has 22-kilometer (14 miles) of breathtaking ocean views for runners. Once you step off the Seawall, you can run through the natural forest trails and enjoy everything from totem poles to penguins at the Aquarium.
- Seattle, WA – Get your sightseeing in for the day with a morning jog along the waterfront and through Myrtle Edwards Park. It’s located on the shore of Elliott Bay with mountain and ocean views. There is also a small exercise station halfway through the park for a bonus workout. Extend your run into Olympic Sculpture Park.
- Portland, OR – With mega-brands such as Nike and Adidas headquartered in this city, we had trouble picking just one spot for runners. We always prefer running along the water (check out the Willamette River), but there is no need to venture too far outside of downtown as Portland has gorgeous tree-lined streets for you to explore.
- San Francisco, CA – With so many hills in this city, you will be running on incline-mode with beautiful outdoor scenery! For some incredible views, you can run across the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Chicago, IL – You will find a paved 18-mile (29-kilometer) running path with views of Lake Michigan and water fountain to keep you hydrated when you visit this windy city.
- New York, NY – There is no question, the scenic 6-mile (10 kilometer ) loop through Central Park is an ideal spot for runners. Most runners are more than familiar enough with Central Park, and its loops; Preppy Runner has a fantastic running route mapped out here.
Bonus: Check out Self Magazine’s “Workout in the Park” event if you are visiting San Francisco, New York, and Chicago in May, which encourages participants to get off of the treadmill and into the great outdoors! Attended by thousands of fitness enthusiasts each year, Workout in the Park offers a fun-filled day of invigorating exercise, beauty consultations, healthy treats, fabulous freebies and more. Enjoy an unmatched lineup of all the best classes in one convenient place + a body-blasting workout with celebrity host Bob Harper, trainer on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” For tickets and more information, please visit www.SELFWorkoutinthePark.com and Tweet #WorkoutInThePark.