In New York, fitness is a way of life. The historic homeland of pizza, bagels, and hot dogs has taken a page out of LA’s health-conscious book and is now peppered with raw juice shops, vegan cafes, and fast-casual salad joints. Soul Cycle is a religion, yoga pants are a legitimate style choice from Bushwick to the UES, and luxury fitness studios take up real estate in what seems like every other sun-saluting skyscraper. And in the City that Never Sleeps, a low-key regime doesn’t cut it. When just walking down the sidewalk is a contact sport, New Yorkers’ exercise routines really push the intensity to the next level. If you’re in town for a visit and don’t want your workout game to slip, there’s no shortage of indoor options for getting your sweat on. But when the sun shines, bumping your heart rate up outside is a perfect way to check a workout off your list and sightsee at the same time. Read on for our 5 favorite places to “sweat-see” (sorry) in NYC.
Central Park: Naturally. The most-visited park in the US boasts plenty to do, with ice-skating rinks, a zoo, a conservatory garden, a wildlife sanctuary, and theaters—plus 6 miles (9.7 km) of drives and trails that let you run loops as long as you’d like. And with landmarks like the Guggenheim and Bethesda Terrace to scope out along the way, the miles are sure to fly by.
City Running Tours: Ditch the hotel treadmill and head out to explore New York’s iconic neighborhoods with a guide who can describe the sights and coach you through a run. With City Running Tours, you get to jog along an expertly mapped route, covering about 4 miles (6.4 km) of city streets. Run through Times Square and Midtown before the crowds swarm the sidewalks, grab coffee in the Village after running through the past on the Lower East Side, cool down with a stroll along the elevated High Line Park in the West Village, or cross over the Brooklyn Bridge for a workout with a view of the whole Manhattan skyline.
West Side Highway: For a waterfront running trail, it’s hard to beat the Hudson River Greenway, a path that runs the length of the west side of Manhattan from the Bronx to Battery Park. It’s a flat, 12-mile (19-km) path and an out-and-back run, so you can make it as long as you want. During stretch breaks, keep your phone handy to snap Instagram-worthy of photo-worthy sights like the Statue of Liberty, the Chelsea Piers, the George Washington Bridge, and plenty of colorful street art.
Prospect Park: Designed by the same brilliant landscaping minds behind Central Park, Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s largest green space. If you’re there in the spring, don’t miss the delicate pink and white blooms of the blossoming trees along the Cherry Esplanade and Cherry Walk. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden keeps their website updated so you can check how many trees are in peak bloom.
Fit Tours NYC: For a guided workout with a professional fitness instructor plus a chance to get a breather outdoors, sign up for a session with Fit Tours NYC. Their classes take place in Central Park, so the backdrop’s pretty and you’ll fit some sightseeing in between sprints and yoga poses. Plus, they offer a variety of classes. Workout warriors will love the heart-pumping high-intensity interval bursts of Power Hour, yogis can greet the day with a gentle flow in some of the park’s more serene spots, and runners can bag an easy 5k with a guided fun run along the park’s most scenic trails.
If you’ve already logged enough miles on foot (we get it, trekking between things to do in the city is a workout in and of itself), consider exploring on 2 wheels, instead. Grab a helmet, a map, and some pro tips from the experts at Blazing Saddles and rent a bike to cover as much ground as you’d like over the course of a full day. You can pedal from Midtown to Williamsburg faster than the subway would get you there, and staying above ground means you get to take in all the urban beauty and bustle of the Big Apple along the way. And get your camera ready if you’re riding with a friend: they also rent tandem bikes.
How do you like to exercise when you travel?