Five Reasons I Love Running In Central Park

This year I’ve had an unusual number of business trips to New York City. I used to run along the East River, but have gotten spooked over some crime reports that made it into my Facebook feed. Instead, I’ve been running in Central Park.

I heart NYC
For today’s Friday Five link up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run and Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?! I’m sharing five reasons I love running in Central Park.

1. It’s centrally located. Yes, it’s called central park for a reason–it’s pretty much in the center of Manhattan. The south end is almost exactly one mile from the hotel I usually stay at, and I like to run up 5th Avenue so I can do some window shopping on the way.

2. It’s packed with runners. According to Google, the population of Manhattan is almost three times that of Washington, D.C. Even keeping that in mind, I am always amazed at how many runners there are in Central Park at dark o’clock on a weekday morning. There are individuals, friends, and groups–and that’s not including the cyclists whizzing by in the bike lanes.

Central Park

There was a stream of runners on the road on the right. 

3. It’s closed to cars. One reason so many runners and cyclists can use Central Park so easily is because the roads are closed to cars until 7:00 am. The cyclist in me is jealous of having such a great place to ride without worrying about traffic or pedestrians, since there are separate wide bike lanes.

Central Park

4. It’s beautiful. Running in Central Park is the best of running in a city and the country combined. Near the north and south ends, the view is occupied with the city skyline. In the middle, you could easily forget that you are in the heart of the Big Apple. My favorite views capture both.

Central Park

5. There are options for 1.5 to 6 mile loops. If you run the entire loop made by East Drive and West Drive, it’s about 6 miles around the park. When I stay at my usual hotel I usually start at the south end and run to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir–or around it if I have time. On my last trip my hotel was closer to the park, and I was able to run all the way to the north end. The Central Park website has a running map with several 1.5, 4, and 5 mile loops, and there are many more options using the paths instead of just the roads. 

Bonus reason. It’s in New York City. Running in Central Park you see a slice of New York City. Among the runners, there are running groups, people fitting in runs in before work, and students. Along the paths, there are people walking their dogs, tourists getting a head start on the day, and homeless people. On my last trip, I swear I saw two butlers (?) stopping the bike traffic so the dogs in their care could get out of the park. It was like Make Way For Ducklings, but with dogs crossing the road!

Do you have a favorite place to run?

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12 Responses to Five Reasons I Love Running In Central Park

  1. Pam says:

    Ahh, I only ran in Central Park during race weekend last fall, but absolutely loved it. What a perfect place to run when you are on a business trip to the city. I can’t remember if you have run the NYC Marathon, but you would love the finish as you wind your way through Central Park. It was a fantastic finish!
    Pam recently posted…Springtime FavoritesMy Profile

  2. I’ve never run in Central Park. Actually, I’ve only been to NYC once, and I regret not putting on my shoes for a run while I was there!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Friday FunMy Profile

  3. My favorite place to run is by the ocean.

    Which is sad, as I don’t live near an ocean and don’t get to be near one very often.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…5 Favorite Foods from Race WeekMy Profile

  4. Running in central park is on my bucket list. Taking a horse and carriage ride through there was on my list too but I guess I’ll never get to do that now…lol

  5. It seems like you have been traveling a lot! I ran in Central Park once and got so lost LOL
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Run Safer At Night with RunLites + GiveawayMy Profile

  6. Chaitali says:

    I haven’t been to NYC since before I started running. I’m planning on being up there in January and I definitely look forward to being able to run in Central Park 🙂
    Chaitali recently posted…Friday 5 – things I’m looking forward to in IcelandMy Profile

  7. Central Park sounds like a dream!
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…My First 2016 Ride – 5 Favorite ThingsMy Profile

  8. I got to NYC on work and have always been scared to run. But you have just reassured me with this post ! I have signed up for a 5 mile race in Central Park in June and and very excited. A race will give me a lay of the land before I go back and run on my own.
    Karen – Fit in France recently posted…In between training cyclesMy Profile

  9. Marcia says:

    CP is one of my very favorite running spots! So beautiful and the perfect loop in a wonderful city. Finishing the marathon in it after years of watching it on TV was beyond amazing.
    Marcia recently posted…Cultivating Resilience: How Bad Do You Want It?My Profile

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