IMAGE VIA BRYANT PARK
As great—and sometimes necessary—as it is to workout inside, nothing beats fresh air and sunshine while you sweat. Luckily, there are a ton of places in NYC where you can run, bike, and even fly in the great outdoors. Lace up your sneakers and let’s take this outside… your workout, that is. These are the best outdoor workouts in NYC.
Okay, so everyone knows Central Park is THE place to hang out outside in NYC. But you might be surprised to realize just how many different ways you can sweat in the park. For starters, there are the running trails — although be warned, the Harlem Hills are BEASTS. Beyond running, you can also play baseball, tennis, basketball, and handball at the various courts and fields in the park. But for a more chill afternoon, rent a boat and take it out on the lake. And once you’ve worked up a sweat, you can cool off in the pool. Yes, there’s really a public pool in Central Park.
Hudson River Park runs parallel to the West Side Highway in Manhattan and spans from Battery Park up to 181st Street. Sick of dodging tourists and taxis on your run? Go west and take advantage of Hudson River Park. There are water fountains and restrooms along the path, making it perfect for long or short runs.
So, maybe it’s not as well-known or well-loved as Hudson River Park, but running on the East Side ain’t too shabby. The East River Park runs along the East Side from Battery Park to 83rd Street and connects to Hudson River Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. Along the path, you’ll find interesting nooks and crannies like an amphitheater that’s perfect for stair workouts, a track, various playgrounds, and an area with fun exercise equipment.
Governors Island is a hidden gem of relaxation and awesomeness just 800 yards away from Manhattan. Take the ferry and plan to stay for the day. Governors Island boasts seven miles of car-free biking for a dreamy, stress-free ride. Feel free to bring your own bike, or otherwise rent one from Blazing Saddles or grab a Citi Bike. There are also free kayaks available for rent at the Downtown Boathouse.
It’s a New York City rite of passage to walk the Brooklyn Bridge at least once during your tenure here. In peak hours, running here can be a bit of a pain, but it’s still a worthwhile bridge to hit up for a jog or stroll. Don’t forget to stop at the famous Grimaldi’s on the Brooklyn side of the bridge for some really dope pizza.
The Brooklyn Bridge might get all the hype (architecturally it is pretty sweet), but the Williamsburg Bridge is where it’s at for runners. It’s never crowded and still features some sick views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skyline. Fair warning: the incline is pretty steep — which is great, though, if you’re training for a hilly race.
The High Line is an elevated 1.45-mile-long park situated above 12th Avenue on an old train track. Throughout the summer, The High Line hosts free, fun events and classes like Tai Chi, meditation, and Latin dance parties. It’s also the perfect spot for a leisurely—and oddly enough, zen—stroll.
On any given day in Washington Square Park, you’ll spot people banging out tricep dips on one of the benches, a crew practicing acro-yoga on the lawn, and even free yoga classes with Yoga Vida. Really, if you’re looking for a place to take your solo workout outside, look no further than Washington Square Park. Find an empty spot on the lawn or use the benches for your workout — everyone’s doing it!
Every summer, Wellness Official holds morning yoga and meditation sessions on the rooftop of The James hotel in SoHo, complete with stunning views of lower Manhattan. It’s both a mindful and beautiful way to start your day.
Zen and Times Square don’t exactly go together. But on the first day of summer every year, Times Square becomes an urban zen oasis to more than 12,000 yogis for a day of free classes. It’s easily one of the coolest New York experiences — because how often is Times Square remotely calm?
There’s no shortage of free outdoor yoga in NYC during the warm months. And Tuesday and Thursday morning yoga in Bryant Park has become a summer staple in Midtown. Arrive early and claim one of the Manduka mats or feel free to bring your own. Though, it is recommended that you sign-up beforehand — these classes can get crowded!
McCarren Park lies at the intersection of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. There, this favorite park features a track, space to play tons of sports—kickball, baseball, bocce, and handball—plus the McCarren Park Pool. And with 35 acres of room for activities, it’s one bustling park.
Locals will argue that Prospect Park is the Central Park of Brooklyn, and that it rivals Manhattan’s green treasure. We’ll leave that up to you to decide. Bring your own bike or rent one to cruise around the 3.35-mile loop. Though, if you prefer to explore by foot, there’s also a running lane and numerous run clubs that meet here to host races. The best part of all? You can head to Smorgasburg on Sundays for some good eats after you’ve worked up an appetite.
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