The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

6 Best Places to Workout Outside in NYC

Posted by on Friday, August 3rd, 2018


From November 2016 through September 2017, more than 1 billion fitness activities in New York City were logged by users through the Strava fitness tracking device. Now you can check out a heat map of the best places to workout outside in NYC for walking, running, and cycling. At The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we’re interested in this data because walking and cycling are two low-impact activities we routinely recommend for keeping our patients fit and active.

best places to workout outside in NYC
Prospect Park in Brooklyn is one of the best places to walk, run, and cycle in NYC. [Image Source:]

The Best Places to Workout Outside in NYC

1) Central Park (Manhattan)

The longest loop in Central Mark measures 6.1 miles. It’s beloved among runners, walkers, and cyclists alike. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir is well-traveled for runners as well. On a bike, you can expect to complete this trip in about 45 to 60 minutes. The Full Loop offers beautiful views of water, fields, statues, and green space. Citi Bike recommends this route:

  • Start at the Grand Army Plaza and Central Park S station (at 59th St and 5th Ave).
  • From the Grand Army Plaza entrance, ride onto East Park Drive, which connects to Park Drive.
  • Take Park Drive north to the east side of the park, counterclockwise, to the tip of the park at 110th Street.
  • Round the northern tip of the park and prepare for a hill.
  • Continue counterclockwise down the west side of the park and around the southern border.
  • Conclude at the Grand Army Plaza and Central Park S station.

2) West Side Highway (Manhattan)

West Side Highway offers shared pedestrian and cycling paths running along the Hudson River. However, one traveler said it’s a “rush hour of cyclist, skaters, walkers, skateboarders, scooters, and pedestrians.” Though you’ll see views of geese, water, and the Jersey skyline, it’s not exactly a tranquil journey. If you don’t like a bustling urban atmosphere, you probably won’t like this route. “Mostly, the ride for me is about being totally immersed in a bustling urban ride. Expect obstacles… but also amusing and bemusing sights. Go with the flow. Be the flow,” says one cyclist. New concrete barriers have been added to protect citizens after a 2017 vehicular terrorist attack killed eight and injured 11 on the path.

3) Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge offers an easy, three-mile route for all seasons. You can run or cycle on the bridge itself or along the water in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Sunrise is one of the most beautiful times to experience the trail—not only for the views, but for the fact the traffic is much lighter. Mid-day runs aren’t too busy either. The Brooklyn Greenway offers flat trail running that isn’t too congested, no matter what time of day you visit. Pier 2 offers workout equipment for CrossFit buffs. Free Pilates classes are also offered in the park over the summer.

4) John V. Lindsay East River Park

East River Park offers a scenic 1.5-mile run alongside the FDR, looking out over the East River and Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Start at Montgomery Street south to 12th Street or stretch out along the pedestrian paths going in either direction along the river. The paths are broad, making it a relatively relaxing place for a jog.

5) Prospect Park

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is the more popular spot for cycling, outside Manhattan. Offering 3.35 miles of a mostly car-free park, there’s plenty of sightseeing opportunities with a zoo, carousel, and athletic facilities on-site. Serious fitness buffs and cyclists tend to gravitate to the main perimeter loop, which some call a “scaled-down Central Park with better food trucks.” It’s easier to navigate and less claustrophobic, Roots Rated experts add. For runners, the less-traveled gravel and dirt paths offer tired feet a break from pavement pounding—enough to add a few miles onto your trip if you desire. With gentle inclines, a lake, and fabulous people-watching, this is a trek you’ll want to make more than once.

6) Soundview Park Greenway (Bronx)

Enjoy “the Gateway to the Bronx River” at the point where the Bronx River meets the East River. The tidal marshland includes three streams with fishing opportunities, sports fields and courts, and perfect views across Hunts Point to Manhattan. Runners can traverse a synthetic 1.5-mile track, while walkers and bikers access their own dedicated paths through the lawn. It’s no surprise NYRR events are often held here.

Keep Your Feet in Tip-Top Shape

While walking and cycling tend to be low-impact activities for the feet, things happen. At The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we offer advanced treatments that prompt the fastest and most effective possible healing. If you want to get back to your favorite workouts sooner rather than later, contact us for personalized, expert care.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.