2023’s Best Cities for Running

Where can your run make or break your stride?

To mark Global Running Day on June 7, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best Cities for Running.

We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on seven categories. We considered access to high-quality trails, pedestrian fatality rates, and climate, among 28 total metrics.

See the 10 best (and 10 worst) cities for running below, followed by key stats from our report.
Best Cities for Running
Rank City
1 San Francisco, CA
2 New York, NY
3 San Diego, CA
4 Portland, OR
5 Oakland, CA
6 Los Angeles, CA
7 Seattle, WA
8 Boston, MA
9 Salt Lake City, UT
10 San Jose, CA
Worst Cities for Running
Rank City
1 Macon, GA
2 Jackson, MS
3 Killeen, TX
4 Surprise, AZ
5 Pasadena, TX
6 Kansas City, KS
7 Montgomery, AL
8 Ontario, CA
9 West Valley City, UT
10 Amarillo, TX

Key insights:

  • Run for the hills: Speedy San Francisco leads the way at first place overall and in Running Quality. San Francisco boasts the best Walk Scoreand the seventh-highest consumer rating for running trails. SF also ties with Boston (No. 8) for the highest share of residents within a 10-minute walk of a park.

  • Golden trails: Several other Golden State cities offer top-tier options for runners. Anaheim, California (No. 27) has the highest average consumer rating for running trails. For those looking to push the limits, Pomona (No. 97) ties with Fontana (No. 147) and Laredo, Texas (No. 148), for the highest share of challenging trails.

  • NYCommunity: Sprinting into second place overall is New York, with 2,329 parks — the most in our ranking. NYC also has the largest running Community, with the highest number of both adult running clubs and Meetups and the second-highest number of running events and races.

  • Rosy routes: At No. 1 in Running Access, Portland, Oregon (No. 4), offers the most trail space with 156 trails and over 730 total miles of trails to race through. The City of Roses also has the fifth-highest number of running Meetups.

  • Safe sprints: Some of the safest cities to run — including Naperville, Illinois (No. 30), and Texas cities McKinney (No. 58) and Frisco (No. 108) — lack a comfortable year-round climate and running community. While it might be riskier to jog in cities like San Francisco (No. 1), Portland, Oregon (No. 4), and Los Angeles (No. 6), it’s easier to find safety in numbers by joining one of their many running communities for a group trek.

  • Racing river cities: Rush through Richmond, Virginia (No. 15), which offers the highest number of running routes, followed by Cincinnati (No. 29) and San Antonio (No. 31). Take the scenic route along the James River Park Trails in Richmond, Ohio River Trail in Cincinnati, or the San Antonio River Walk.

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