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.