New York City may be better known for its pizza, plays and plentiful bars than its fitness regiments, but stroll by any park, bridge or esplanade and you’re sure to notice a steady stream of runners gliding by. Although the city’s quintessential outdoor space, Central Park, is located Uptown, there are plenty of places to get a scenic workout in without trekking the 70 or so blocks northward. Here are the best places to go for a run in Downtown Manhattan.
Hudson River Park
Extending 5 miles along the Hudson River on the West Side (from 59th Street in Midtown to Battery Park at the southwestern tip of the island) this double-wide path has room to accommodate everyone from walkers to sprinters. Located around the corner from Duane Street, you’ll pass Tribeca’s lofts, the tree-lined streets of the West Village and the contemporary architecture of the Meatpacking District on one of the city’s most popular and scenic runs.
A short walk from Tribeca, the Brooklyn Bridge is both convenient and magnificent. Views of Manhattan and Brooklyn from all vantage points and a clearly marked running and biking path give the athletically ambitious a streamlined, sight-filled trip across the East River. The bridge is just over a mile long, so you’ll work up a sweat and an appetite when you get to the other side. Take the opportunity to stop for a pizza break at one of DUMBO’s famous joints, preferably Grimaldi’s if the line isn’t too long.
If New York Harbor’s undisturbed views of the Statue of Liberty don’t take your breath away, the up close and personal encounter with One World Trade Center and the financial district’s age-old landmarks surely will. Jog past the Raging Bull and Castle Clinton before stopping by the 9/11 Memorial. While you’re there, take a look at NYC’s newest transit hub, World Trade Center Station, and decide if you too think it was designed with a futuristic seagull in mind.
East River Greenway
It’s 11 miles all the way from Battery Park to Harlem 125th Street, meaning a round-trip run would be close to a marathon. You’ll probably stick to the stretch of greenway between Battery Park and the East Village, where you’ll find a less-crowded route than its West Side alternative. It also boasts a plethora of great views, from the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, to the artsy enclaves of the Lower East Side and East Village, and finally the more prodigious buildings of East Midtown and the Upper East Side.
The High Line
If gazing at the High Line from Hudson River Park as you jog by just doesn’t cut it for you, why not run at the park itself? At nearly 1.5 miles long, it’s no slouch, but you’ll want to stick to morning hours before the crowds begin to gather—between 7am and 8am. It’s an early wake up call, but having one of NYC’s hottest attractions all to yourself is more than worth the lost sleep.