Explore Your New City on Foot: The Best Running Routes in New York City


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New York City is a vibrant metropolis with a wealth of running opportunities for transplants and long-time locals alike. From scenic waterfront paths to challenging hill routes, the city boasts a diverse range of running routes to suit all levels of experience. Whether you just moved into an apartment in New York or are looking to purchase your first home in the area, there are many routes to help you stay active all while exploring your new city. We’ll take a look at the 11 best running routes in New York City, covering everything from iconic parks to hidden gems off the beaten track. So lace up your sneakers and get ready to explore your new city on foot.

Runners in Dumbo

1. Central Park 

Central Park is one of the most popular running routes in New York City. The park comprises over 800 acres and offers a number of trails and paths which feature rolling hills, dense forests, and serene lakes. The most popular route for runners is the 6-mile loop around the park’s perimeter, which offers a variety of elevations. 

The loop begins and ends at the southeast corner of the park, near the intersection of 59th Street and 5th Avenue, and follows the park’s outer path. Along the way, runners can enjoy stunning views of the Great Lawn, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and the Central Park Zoo. The route includes several challenging hills, including Harlem Hill and Cat Hill.

For those looking for a shorter run, there are shorter trails including the Bridle Path, a 1.66-mile trail that winds through the park’s woodlands, and the 1.7-mile Reservoir Loop, which offers scenic water and skyline views.

Central Park is also the location of the finish line for many notable races such as the TCS New York City Marathon and the United Airlines NYC Half

Central Park

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2. Flushing-Meadows Corona Park

Located in Queens, Flushing-Meadows Corona Park covers around 900 acres and offers running trails that wind through open fields, lush forests, and several lakes.

The most popular route for runners is the 2.2-mile loop around Meadow Lake. The loop begins and ends at the Unisphere, a large globe sculpture that is one of the park’s most recognizable landmarks.  Along the way, runners can enjoy views of Meadow Lake, the Queens Museum, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and the New York State Pavilion. 

For those looking for a longer, more challenging run, Flushing Meadows Corona Park offers the Flushing Bay Promenade, a scenic waterfront trail that has stunning views of the city skyline, and the Willow Lake Trail, a 1.25-mile dirt path that winds through the park’s woodlands. 

Flushing Meadows Globe

3. West Side Highway

The West Side Highway running route is a popular running route in New York City. Located along the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan, the route covers around 13 miles and offers a diverse setting.

The route begins at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and follows the Hudson River Greenway north to the George Washington Bridge in the Bronx.  Along the way, runners can enjoy a number of stops including parks like Hudson River Park, Little Island, Pier 57, and Riverside Park, and landmarks like the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

One of the highlights of the West Side Highway running route is the views it offers of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River. Runners can enjoy stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and the Empire State Building.

Little Island

4. Prospect Park

The Prospect Park running route is a popular and scenic destination for runners in New York City. Located in Brooklyn, Prospect Park has over 500 acres.

The most popular route for runners is the 3.35-mile loop around the park’s perimeter, which offers a challenging and varied workout. The loop begins and ends at Grand Army Plaza, a historic entrance to the park that features a large arch and a statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman. Along the way, runners can enjoy stunning views of the park’s many landmarks, including the Long Meadow, the Boathouse, and the Prospect Park Zoo. 

For those looking for a more leisurely run, Prospect Park offers a variety of other running routes and trails. These include the Nethermead, a 1.5-mile trail that winds through the park’s woodlands, and the 1.7-mile Lake Trail, which offers scenic views of the lake and the park’s many waterfowl.

Prospect Park

5. East River Greenway

The East River Greenway is a scenic route that stretches along the eastern edge of Manhattan. The route is approximately 9 miles and begins at Battery Park. From there, you’ll run north along the East River, passing through neighborhoods like the Financial District, Two Bridges, and the Lower East Side and several landmarks, such as the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, Fulton Ferry Landing, and the South Street Seaport Museum.

As you continue north, the route takes you through several waterfront parks, including East River Park, Stuyvesant Cove Park, and Carl Schurz Park. These parks offer plenty of green space making them great spots for a mid-run break.

The final stretch of the East River Greenway takes you to Midtown Manhattan, where you’ll pass the Gracie Mansion and the United Nations headquarters. The route ends at Harlem River Drive, where you can either turn back and retrace your steps or continue on to explore more of the city.

East River Greenway

6. Queens Waterfront 

The Queens Waterfront route is located in Long Island City, Queens, and follows the East River waterfront for approximately 3.5 miles.

The route begins at Hunters Point South Park and follows a paved path that winds north along the waterfront, passing through several parks, including Gantry Plaza State Park and Rainey Park.

Along the way, runners can enjoy beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline and the East River, as well as several historic landmarks and cultural attractions, such as the Pepsi-Cola sign and the Old Queensboro Bridge.

The Queens Waterfront route is relatively flat, making it a great option for runners of all levels.


7. Rockaway Beach 

Located in the Rockaways, a peninsula in Queens that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, the Rockaway Beach route follows a boardwalk for around 5.5 miles.

The route begins at Beach 9th Street and heads east towards Beach 149th Street, offering stunning views of the ocean and the Rockaway Beach coastline along the way. The boardwalk is wide and flat, making for a steady run.

If you run during the summer, you’ll be sure to see surfers, beachgoers, and residents who are drawn to the area’s laid-back vibe and natural beauty.

Rockaway Beach

8. Williamsburg to Dumbo

The Williamsburg to Dumbo running route is a stunning route that takes you through some of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The route covers a distance of nearly 5 miles.

Starting in Williamsburg, the route begins at McCarren Park and takes you through the heart of the neighborhood, known for its trendy cafes, boutique shops, and street art. You’ll run down Bedford Avenue before turning to run towards Domino Park.

As you leave Williamsburg, the route takes you past the Williamsburg Bridge, as you run down Kent Street before merging onto Flushing Ave and up Navy St.

From there, you’ll enter Dumbo, a bustling waterfront neighborhood known for its cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and stunning views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

The final stretch of the route takes you along Brooklyn Bridge Park, a beautiful waterfront park with plenty of green space and recreational activities. 

Manhattan Bridge from Dumbo

9. Coney Island Boardwalk

The Coney Island Boardwalk running route is a unique route that is approximately 4 miles round-trip. The route takes you along the iconic boardwalk of Coney Island, a famous beach and amusement park. It’s also the finish line of the RBC Brooklyn Half Marathon.

The route begins at the West 8th Street-New York Aquarium subway station and takes you directly onto the boardwalk, where you can enjoy ocean views of the Atlantic Ocean and the beach. As you run along the boardwalk, you’ll pass by the Cyclone roller coaster, the Wonder Wheel, and the historic Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand.

If you run during the summer, you’ll also see plenty of street performers, food vendors, and souvenir shops, adding to the vibrant and festive atmosphere of the boardwalk. 

As you near the end of the route, you’ll reach Brighton Beach, a neighborhood known for its diverse community and delicious Russian and Eastern European cuisine. 

Coney Island

10. Van Cortlandt Park

Van Cortlandt Park is a large park located in the Bronx. The park offers a variety of running routes, including a challenging cross-country course as well as a 5K trail loop.

The most popular running route in Van Cortlandt Park is the “Big Loop,” a 1.5-mile loop that circles the park’s central meadow. This loop includes paved and dirt paths and offers scenic views of the park’s fields and woods. 

For those looking for a longer run, Van Cortlandt Park offers a 5-mile route that takes runners through the park’s woods and over a scenic bridge. 

Van Courtlandt Park

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Ryan Castillo

Content Marketing Manager

Ryan is part of the Content Marketing team and enjoys writing about market trends and local insights. His dream home would be a large cape cod-style house by the beach.

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