Fitness and travel aren’t always a match made in heaven, but what better way to get vitalized than by breezing through the sights and sounds of Manhattan’s dynamic city streets? There are a plethora of excellent running routes in Manhattan from The Knick. Water views, unique neighborhoods and inspiring architecture will keep your feet blissfully in motion. Whether you like a light jog or are training for your next marathon, the following routes offer challenges for any athletic level and the opportunity to explore the city along the way. Pack your water, GPS and don’t forget your Metro card in case the scenery draws you further than a manageable return trip.
Running Routes in Manhattan
The UN Route: 2.33 Miles
At just over 2 miles, take this run to acclimate to the city streets. The route heads east along 42nd Street all the way to 1st Avenue, where you turn left at the United Nations. With its sleek glass façade and rows of global flags, the hub of diplomacy is a sight to behold on the city’s East River. Passing the UN on your right, turn left on 46th Street and continue until Vanderbilt Avenue, a short thoroughfare that takes you back to 42nd Street.
Broadway to Union Square: 3.24 Miles
Broadway is a terrific avenue to travel by foot since it bisects the city and crosses through many different neighborhoods. Avoid its crowds above 42nd Street and head downtown on the historic street, which goes through Herald Square and past the iconic Flatiron Building. This route continues south to Union Square Park, where you have officially made your way “downtown.” Make your turn at the lower end of the park, past the city’s first Whole Foods, and back up along manicured Park Avenue before heading through all the wondrous possibilities of Koreatown on your way back to The Knick.
West Side Highway: 5.55 Miles
With our proximity to the Hudson River and its magnitude of greenery and development for athletic pursuits, you’ll want to head straight to the West Side Highway for this intermediate, one-way route. Pass through the new Hudson Yards and get a glimpse of the entrance to the High Line, as you enter this path that will take you past Chelsea Piers and the boating slips of Lower Manhattan. This route along the water is so beautiful that you will be energized all the way to the tip of Manhattan. Take a moment to enjoy views of the Statue of Liberty from the green landscape of Battery Park and then hop on a train back to Midtown.
Central Park East: 7.11 Miles
Experienced runners will undoubtedly head to Central Park, the iconic location of the New York City Marathon finale. Endless trails wind through this idyllic natural space with a variety of terrain and difficulty levels, making Central Park one of the most desirable places to run in the city. This loop heads up 6th Avenue and then along the park’s Eastern Drive, circling around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir. There, runners have a soft surface with water and skyline views. On the way back, you will breeze past the front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before heading down through running trails on the east side of the park, through the Central Park Zoo.
Central Park Full Loop: 8.98 Miles
This run clocks in at just under 9 miles, and shows runners the full extent of Central Park. Head up Eighth Avenue to enter the park at Columbus Circle. Going up the west side of the park, mostly on the foot-friendly bridal path. Up by 101st Street, veer from the bridal path for the foot paths by The Pool, taking the uphill route to Great Hill, with epic city views behind you. Down from the hill, circle on the south side of the Harlem Meer before heading south to the beautiful (and usually crowd-free) Conservatory Garden. Continue on foot paths leading to the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, with its sweeping views of the skyline. Allow gravity to take you down the East and Center drives before retracing your steps from Columbus Circle back to Midtown.
Over the Bridges: 11.23 Miles
This route will challenge even experienced runners, but the views from two lower Manhattan bridges are worth the effort.
Take Broadway until it intersects with 5th Avenue, taking the leafy and elegant street down until Washington Square, passing through its marble arch. Turn right on Bleecker and then right again on Bowery. From there, it’s a direct route to the entrance of the Manhattan Bridge on the edge of Chinatown. Enter on the right side of the bridge, which is designated for foot traffic, and leave the city behind as you head to the next borough. The high rises of the Financial District will be on your right, as will the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge and Liberty Island.
Ahead, Brooklyn’s riverfront parks welcome you to the most populated borough of the city. Exit the bridge’s pedestrian path and continue south on Jay Street before making a quick turnaround on Tillary to head back across the East River, this time on the Brooklyn Bridge. Take in views of Dumbo to the right and the Financial District on the left, and the Manhattan Bridge on the right. Enter Manhattan by City Hall Park, passing through the park and continuing straight on Warren Street until the West Side Highway. From there, take the riverside running path all the way to 42nd Street.