Best Cities for Runners

Best Cities for Runners

Whether you simply enjoy the occasional jog or are a diligent marathon runner, being able to run in your city easily is ideal. In the best cities for runners, you can hit the pavement with ease. Well-developed paths, a runner-friendly culture, and a magnificent landscape can all make running more enjoyable. Plus, when a city makes an effort to encourage its citizens to be active, it may even be safer for runners, too.

There are plenty of cities dotted around the world that are exceptional options for anyone who loves to run. Here are some of the best cities for runners.

cities for runners

Arlington, Virginia

If you want to find a city that hosts a ton of races and is great for everything from hardcore training to a casual jog, it’s hard to beat Arlington. Nearly everyone who lives in the city is within a short 10-minute walk from a park, making it great for anyone who enjoys running outdoors. Plus, if you’d rather run inside, there are a plethora of gyms dotted around the city.

Vancouver, British Columbia

When it comes to running scenery, it’s hard to beat Vancouver. You can stop by the ocean and visit the mountains all during the same day, and you never have to leave the city limits to do it. The 17-mile sea wall offers an incredibly popular path that joggers adore. Plus, there are forested trails that vary in difficulty, making it possible to train hard if you want.

San Francisco, California

Every San Francisco resident is within a 10-minute walk of a city park, which is very impressive. If you want to run outdoors without leaving town or having to rely on sidewalks, that makes San Francisco practically unbeatable as one of the best cities for runners in the United States.

Along with excellent access to parks, San Francisco is incredibly walkable (or runnable, in this case), offering plenty of sidewalks and pathways. Plus, thanks to the hilly nature of the city, it also provides challenging terrain without having to leave the pavement, which can be great for training.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re looking for a great place to run internationally, Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of the best. Within the city, you can jog across canals and bridges, marvel in the historic architecture, and take in some exceptional scenery. There are also plenty of parks nearby, each featuring clean trails, manicured green spaces, quaint ponds, and more.

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison has a lot to offer runners. Along with a substantial amount of parkland, the city is also home to a ton of gyms, making it possible to train even when the weather isn’t being agreeable. Plus, plenty of races are hosted in the area, and the city is incredibly walkable by design. It’s also very safe, with some of the fewest numbers of pedestrian deaths in the entire U.S.

Cape Town, South Africa

This coastal city offers natural landmarks, breathtaking views, and amazing nearby park trails that are all begging to be explored on foot. The loop at Lion’s Head peak’s base is a popular option, as well as the Pipe Track trail. Plus, there are some very safe options in the city, like the car-free Sea Point Promenade, allowing you to run without having to worry about traffic.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Along with the vast majority of residents being within a 10-minute walk of a park, Minneapolis is also incredibly walkable. The city is well-developed, offering great sidewalks and pathways. Plus, it also ranks very low when it comes to pedestrian deaths, making it much safer than the average city. But, if you’d rather run indoors, you aren’t without options. Fitness centers and gyms are plentiful, so you’ll be able to find a great one with relative ease.

Sydney, Australia

Situated on a natural harbor, Sydney is known for great weather and amazing sightseeing options, many of which you can explore during a run. You can stay along the water and enjoy views of the Harbor Bridge and Opera House. If you’d rather spend time in nature, consider a trip to the botanical gardens when you want to job. Centennial Park, which is just a bit inland, has a 3.5k loop that is a popular option among local runners, and Olympic Park offers plenty of tracks along with over 20 miles of trails.

Seattle, Washington

An incredibly walkable city with a ton of parkland, Seattle has a lot to offer runners. It also has a low pedestrian death score, and the culture is very outdoorsy, despite the at-times rainy weather. Seattle also hosts plenty of races, making it one of the best cities for runners who enjoy taking part in competitions.

Tokyo, Japan

While it may seem like a city with such a high population wouldn’t be ideal for runners, that isn’t the case with Tokyo. There are so many parks around that it’s easy to find a trail for a job. Plus, the public transit system makes it a breeze to get there, so you won’t have to stress while traveling to the trails.

Ten Urban Oases in the Vancouver Area

Ten Urban Oases in the Vancouver Area

Vancouver is an upbeat, fast-paced, and vibrant city. Many locals and visitors enjoy the hustle and bustle of the area, particularly since it is coupled with a friendly and welcoming culture. But, at times, finding ways to take things down a notch is a must.

If you are searching for sanctuary and retreat in the midst of the hectic hassles of the city, the Vancouver area offers a number of tranquil retreats for the weary soul. Discover rest and relaxation in some of Vancouver and nearby Victoria’s finest urban oases.

VANCOUVER

Bloedel Conservatory

Relax at the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver, where more than 50 species of colourful birds freely fly within the spacious, climate-controlled dome. View beautiful koi fish in the tranquil indoor garden, or stroll through a world of peaceful waterfalls while you enjoy displays of tropical flowers, exotic plants, and captivating palms. This tropical paradise flourishes under an amazing dome while outside the beautiful Quarry Gardens you can rest under the spectacular backdrop of Vancouver’s breathtaking mountains and clear blue sky.

bloedel conservatory vancouver

Sun Yat Sen Gardens

Sun Yat Sen Gardens in Vancouver is the ideal place to spend a leisurely day strolling through the beautiful landscape. Often referred to as the Garden of Ease, these amazing gardens have sheltered walkways to allow visitors to enjoy the extraordinary vistas in any type of weather.

You can take a pleasant walk along Silk Road to Chinatown or enjoy a packed lunch at Dr. Sun Yar-Sen Public Park next door. You can even take a guided tour of the gardens for a more informative trip. Then, top the experience off with a delightful cup of Chinese tea and a visit to the exquisite gift shop.

Stanley Park

As Vancouver’s very first park, Stanley Park boasts being one of the city’s primary tourist destinations. This destination is even one of the most recognized parks in the world, making it worthy of any traveler or local’s list.

The evergreen oasis exhibits a splendid display of hemlock, fir, and cedar trees that are home to an abundance of wildlife. Relax, enjoy, and reflect in the natural beauty of Stanley Park’s delightful atmosphere. This West Coast park is comprised of 1,000 acres of land, all of which is brimming with natural beauty, making it an exquisite tranquil retreat.

vancouver

Queen Elizabeth Park

Visit the jewel in Vancouver’s crown and experience royal natural beauty at its best at Queen Elizabeth Park. The splendid public gardens are magnificent during all times of the year. Explore the outdoor arboretum or relax with a delightful stroll through the indoor conservatory.

The beautiful Quarry Gardens offer an abundance of loveliness to visitors with an array of exotic plants and flora. If you prefer to spend the day with fun sporting activity, the park offers tennis, golf, lawn bowling, and much more!

VanDusen Botanical Garden

This 55-acre garden flourishes with bountiful blooms, an array of exotic foliage, and an abundance of regional wildlife. Relax while observing great blue herons, kingfishers, ducks, turtles, and bullfrogs in the area. Keep your eye out for a glimpse of beautiful bald eagles or wandering coyote.

The Children’s Garden offers a fun-filled day of relaxing entertainment as children search for Ogopogo, the famous serpent of Okanagan Lake, in the mulberry bushes. VanDusen Botanical Garden offers a quiet and peaceful solitude to the weary soul with more than 11,000 varieties of exotic plants and spectacular scenery.

vandusen gardens vancouver

VICTORIA

Beacon Hill Park

Enjoy scenic views of the Olympic Mountains of Washington while you stroll through this spectacular park. Observe river otter, raccoons, and squirrels at play in the multitude of native flora.

Beacon Hill Park boasts an abundance of Douglas-fir, Garry oak, western red cedar, snowberry, Oregon grape, and more. The ponds are frequently filled with blue herons, swans, ducks, and Canada geese, as a variety of birds fly overhead.

Enjoy a carriage ride through the park or visit the fourth-tallest totem pole in the world. The pebbled bridges, sparkling fountains, lakes, trees, sea, and fresh air make Beacon Hill Park a relaxing, tranquil retreat.

Dallas Road Walkway

Enjoy a summer stroll or winter wonderland adventure along the Dallas Road Walkway. This paved waterfront walkway is ideal for winter storm watching or marine sightseeing. Follow the walkway all the way to Beacon Hill Park and sparkling sandy beaches.

The walkway is commonly used for jogging, walking, cycling, and rollerblading. Enjoy a picnic on a sunny patch of grass along the route and spend a relaxing day watching the waves crash lazily upon the shores.

Saxe Point Park

Saxe Point Park is 14.5 acres of peninsula seafront offering amazing views of the Olympic Mountains and the Juan de Fuca Strait. A searchlight was installed at Saxe Point during World War II as a part of the shoreline defence, making this destination ideal for those who enjoy natural splendor with a side of history.

Enjoy a day exploring the beaches or walking the trails while you observe American aircraft carriers as they come in. Discover the rich history of this area as you enjoy a relaxing day among forested trails and beachfront views.

Elk Lake

Relax with large fresh-water lakes that are ideal for a fun-filled day of canoeing, fishing, or swimming at Elk Lake. Beaver Lake and Elk Lake join up to form the Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park, where you will enjoy beautiful hiking trails and open sunny fields.

Ride horseback through the spectacular park trails or simply stroll along the sunny beaches. Enjoy a day of sailing, windsurfing, or water skiing on the beautiful sparkling waters. Elk Lake boasts picnic areas, a nature centre, playground, cafes, water sport rentals, and a handicap accessible fishing float so that a great time may be had by all!

Swan Lake

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary provides 11 acres of spectacular parkland ideal for year-round bird watching or wildlife observation. The marsh surrounding Swan Lake offers an inviting habitat for a multitude of birds, river otter, muskrat, and mink, who make their homes in the marsh grasses and rock walls surrounding the lake.

This spectacular park offers jogging and walking trails, 2 wharves, and a floating boardwalk. Gerry oaks and wildflowers are abundant in the area and provide a lush and enchanting retreat from everyday life.

Five Best Botanical Gardens for Tourists and Residents in the Boroughs of New York City

Five Best Botanical Gardens for Tourists and Residents in the Boroughs of New York City

Botanical gardens offer people a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City. A botanical garden is a world of horticultural wonder, a captivating yet serene environment teeming with blossoming vegetation where one experiences and appreciates the delights and benefits of nature. Here is a guide to the best five botanical gardens for tourists and residents in the boroughs of New York City.

1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Located at 990 Washington Avenue in the borough of Brooklyn, BBG (as this arboretum is known) has numerous gardens and plant collections. BBG’s most celebrated attraction is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Opened to the public in 1915, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden was the first Japanese-inspired garden created in an American public space. The designer, Takeo Shiota, was recommended by the Japanese Consul General. This particular garden is an attractive combination of the ancient hill and pond style and the more modern stroll-garden style. BBG also has an impressive indoor plant collection in the Steinhardt Conservatory complex, which consists of several connected pavilions. Particularly impressive is a tropical pavilion. Occupying 6,000 square feet under glass, this structure simulates a tropical rainforest, complete with plants and trees native to the African rainforest, the Amazon jungle, and tropical eastern Asia. The BBG has many more horticultural life forms from deep-blue Spanish bluebells to cherry trees.

Bridge to Eden.jpg
By BettycrockerOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

2. The New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden, or NYBG at 2900 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx is the largest botanical garden in the United States. And what attractions NYBG has! There’s the Native Plant Garden, home to nearly 100,000 plants native to northeastern North America. Visitors can study the animals that are attracted to the plants- chipmunks, frogs, and assorted birds. At the center of this garden is a beautiful and tranquil pool. The Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden is a gorgeous composition of florae and foliage. It contains four themed rooms, each one containing a gathering of plants chosen for their color or seasonality. The exhibits in each of these rooms are constantly rotating. Visitors can also savor the Marjorie G. Rosen Seasonal Walk, a stroll through a garden of floral delights as they develop throughout the four seasons.

3. Queens Botanical Garden
This arcadia is located at 43-50 Main Street in Flushing, Queens. Visitors to this 39 acre attraction will be enchanted by a variety of gardens. The Bee Garden is inhabited by Italian Honeybees drawn to its plants and trees. The Herb Garden houses a variety of specimens grouped by function: aromatic, culinary, medicinal, and plants used in manufacturing dye. The Wetland and Woodland Garden showcases marshes, swamps, woodlands, and bogs which sustain birds and other wildlife. The youngsters can enjoy the Children’s Garden, where they can learn how to create their own gardens. The Queens Botanical Garden also has an art gallery of crafts depicting plant life.

4. The Staten Island Botanical Gardens
This attraction is at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center at 1000 Richmond Terrace in Staten Island. Not only can visitors delight in studying diverse gardens, they can marvel at other interesting features. Particularly fascinating is the Connie Gretz Secret Garden, modeled after Frances Hodgson Bennett’s classic children’s book The Secret Garden.  The plaque on this garden’s inside wall reads: “The hedge maze, which conceals this secret garden, is meant to teach children and remind grownups that although life’s path is never straight, we should look for the magic and joy in each step of the journey. For it is only through life’s journey that we each find the peace and beauty of our own secret garden.” Another intriguing exhibit is the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. It consists of a compilation of various Chinese gardens and was modeled by Chinese craftsmen on the Ming Dynasty Gardens (1368-1644). The Chinese Scholar’s Garden has impressive rockery that resembles the Chinese mountains that inspired the poetry and art of native scholars. Among its other features, there is a bamboo forest path and a Koi-filled pond.

Chinese Scholar's Garden

Chinese Scholar’s Garden by Igor koyfman, Public Domain

5. Wave Hill
This botanical wonder is a 28-acre estate at 675 West 252nd Street in the Bronx. When Wave Hill House was built in 1843, it functioned as a private estate. It remained so for over a century until 1960 when its last owners, the Perkins family, donated the property to New York City. Wave Hill was established as a not-for-profit entity in 1965, and remains so today. Nevertheless, the grounds still have the pleasing atmosphere of a private estate, particularly with its grand nineteenth-century house and its vast lawn. Its 28 acres of spectacular gardens, including a conservatory greenhouse, astonish with their beauty. A stylish pergola covered with two varieties of kiwi vines provides a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. Wave Hill offers a welcome respite from the hectic city life.

New York City’s botanical gardens are a treat to the eyes and a stimulant to the mind. They are a glorious example of the power of the environment to uplift the soul. They give visitors a deepened respect for the bounties of the earth and a resolve to preserve its gifts for the generations to come.

5 Haunted Lighthouses to Visit

5 Haunted Lighthouses to Visit

If you want to go ghost hunting this Halloween or any other time of the year, visiting a haunted lighthouse can be a good place to start. Lighthouses seem to have a mysteriousness about them whether they are haunted or not. However, those that have a paranormal history are even more interesting. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most haunted lighthouses in the United States.

Point Lookout Lighthouse


Located in Scotland, Maryland, Point Lookout Lighthouse is considered the most haunted lighthouse in America. The lighthouse began operation in 1830. James Davis was the first keeper of the lighthouse until his death only a few months later. Ann Davis took over as keeper of the lighthouse after the death of her father. Ann passed away in 1847 and William Wood took over her lighthouse duties. Later, Richard Edwards became keeper but died the same year. Afterward, his daughters subsequently became keepers of the lighthouse. It is uncertain what spirits may be haunting Point Lookout Light, but people have reported hearing voices and footsteps. Lights turn on and off and doors open and shut. Apparitions have also been seen. If you’re interested in visiting, you can reserve a spot for their paranormal night tours.

Big Bay Point Lighthouse

Big Bay Point Lighthouse is located in Big Bay, Michigan. It was constructed in 1896. William Prior was the first lighthouse keeper and it is his ghost that supposedly haunts it. Mr. Prior disappeared into the woods with a gun, presumably to commit suicide because he was distraught over the death of his son. However, his remains were found a year later hanging from a tree. People have reported seeing apparitions of Mr. Prior. Big Bay Point Lighthouse is now a bed and breakfast, so if you’d like to go for a visit you might get a peek of William Prior’s ghost as well as a view of Lake Superior.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse is located in St. Augustine, Florida. It was built in 1874 and has a winding staircase comprised of 219 steps. The property that the lighthouse sits on was originally owned by a man named Dr. Alan Ballard. Dr. Ballard was forced to sell it to the government; however, he claimed he would never leave the land. Some people claim his spirit never did. The lighthouse was built by Hezekiah Pettee. Tragedy struck when two of Hezekiah’s children died in an accident. People have reported the apparition of a young girl at the lighthouse, which may be the spirit of one of Hezekiah Pettee’s daughters. The paranormal activity surrounding the place includes laughter, cold spots, and items moving from one place to another. St. Augustine Lighthouse is now a museum that offers paranormal tours. It has even been investigated by the team from the Ghost Hunters television show.

Battery Point Lighthouse

Battery Point Lighthouse

Battery Point Lighthouse is located in Crescent City, California. It is situated on Battery Point island but only sits on the island during high tide. It was built in 1856. The lighthouse has had its share of keepers throughout its history as well as paranormal activity. Battery Point lighthouse is even reported to have a playful resident ghost. Visitors to the lighthouse have reported sensing a presence and even being touched. Battery Point Lighthouse is still operational as a private navigational aid, although it has been decommissioned. It is also a museum that is open for tours.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head lighthouse is located in Yachats, Oregon. It has a 56-foot tall tower that sits 205 feet above sea level. Although there are many claims that the lighthouse is haunted by a woman, there is some confusion her identity. The lighthouse duplex housed two assistant keepers besides the actual lighthouse keeper, and the story goes that she was the wife of one of the assistants. One story says that her daughter drowned and the woman then took her own life. The other story described a domineering and tidy woman with no mention of a child. Caretakers and workers at the lighthouse have reported hearing screams, footsteps and feeling both cold and hot spots. They claim to have seen apparitions of the woman as well. Heceta Head Lighthouse is now a bed and breakfast, so if you’re ever in the neighborhood, there’s a good chance this ghostly woman will make an appearance.

If you happen to live near one of these mysterious lighthouses, stop by and see if the claims of ghosts are true. If you’re not in the area but find places such as these intriguing, add a visit to one or two of them to your bucket list. Even if you don’t see any ghosts, at least you had a vacation or a weekend away. Take the whole family or a few friends and enjoy the adventure.