Looking to explore this great borough by foot or squeeze in some scenic miles? Then throw on your kicks and check out the best places to run in Brooklyn.
Welcome to another great Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up where Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and I bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us each week by reading along, linking up and grab the button to proudly display on your blog/in your posts!
I am back in New York City this week for work and for my bridal shower! WOOT! I can’t wait to hit up some of my favorite spots and hope I can figure out a way to make it over to Brooklyn for a run. Since I’ll be reminiscing all week long, I thought I’d share a post from my NY days. ENJOY!
As a runner, you get to know your neighborhood pretty well. You know exactly how far it is to that graffiti-ed stop sign (exactly 1.23 miles, thank you very much) and the diameter of pretty much every park nearby.
Brooklyn is no different. After living here for four years and training through 3 (currently on my 4th) marathons, six half marathons and countless other races, I’ve gotten to know these streets pretty well. I know which streets have the most shade, which routes have the fewest streetlights and which areas get jammed with tourists past a certain hour.
So, for all my NYC dwellers or those of you planning on visiting in the near future (note: I have a really comfy couch if you do!), I put together a list of all my favorite places to run in Brooklyn, complete with distances and tips and tricks for best running times.
Lace up and let’s get going!
This park, situated between the neighborhoods of Park Slope; Prospect Lefferts Gardens; Ditmas Park and Windsor Terrace, is a great little escape from the city streets. When you’re inside, you’re surrounded by trees and ponds and almost forget you’re in a major metropolis. Because of all the wonderful greenery, there are a lot of shaded spots, making this a great place to run on hotter days. The outer loop of the park, which is about 3.5 miles, is divided into 3 lanes: one for runners and walkers, one for bicyclists and one for cars. The car lane, however, is only open on weekdays between 7 and 9am, so it’s pretty closed off to traffic at all times. There are also water fountains stationed along the outer loop, so if you aren’t a fan of carrying a water bottle, make this park you’re go-to running local. Lastly, if you run on Sunday, you can make a mid or post-run stop at Smorgasburg, an outdoor foodie market offering food and refreshments from dozens of vendors (I’m a big fan of the Alchemy Creamy stand for vegan ice cream).
Landmarks: Be sure to make a pit stop at Grand Army Plaza, on the North Side of the park, to see The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch and the Bailey Fountain.
Best Times To Run: The park is the least crowded early in the mornings on weekdays and weekends. Run on Sunday afternoon to make a pit stop at Smorgasburg!
Times To Avoid: Avoid Grand Army Plaza on Saturdays between 8am and 4pm as a farmer’s market takes over and causes crowding.
The Brooklyn Bridge is a landmark in itself and is something every NYC runner should run at least once. The bridge itself is gorgeous, and the views of downtown NYC can’t be beat. The bridge is about a mile long, so it’s a great place to meet up for short runs or as part of a long run that will take you into Manhattan. There are pedestrian and cycling paths that run over all of the automobile traffic, so you won’t have to worry about that. However, the bridge can get VERY crowded during peak hours, so choose your running time wisely.
Landmarks: The bridge itself, views of One World Trade/downtown Manhattan, views of the Manhattan Bridge
Best Times To Run: Early morning before 8am
Times to Avoid: Weekends anytime after 9am. The crowding is for real.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
If you enjoy running by the water and want amazing views of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a can’t miss running spot. There’s greenery, piers, and paths far away from traffic. It’s one of my favorite spots. If you run around the little park and around each pier, the run will be about 2 miles, but you can easily extend it by making it an out-and-back, running to and over the bridge, running up into nearby neighborhoods or running down the Brooklyn Greenway into Red Hook.
Landmarks: Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Downtown Manhattan Skyline, Jane’s Carousel, The OY/YO sculpture
Best Times to Run: Basically anytime on weekdays or early morning on weekends
Times to Avoid: Nice weekend afternoons
Brooklyn Greenway into Red Hook
The Brooklyn Greenway will eventually be a 14-mile, landscaped route connecting Brooklyn’s waterfront. Right now, only sections of it are complete, one of which is a section that runs from Brooklyn Bridge Park into Red Hook. This is a great, flat path with very little exposure to traffic or streetlights. At the end, you can run out onto a pier and get great views of the Statue of Liberty. Because the Greenway isn’t quite complete, there are some rocky spots, but that also means it’s never really gets crowded.
Landmarks: The Statue of Liberty
Best Times To Run: Anytime!
Times to Avoid: None really – run your heart out!
Brooklyn Greenway in Williamsburg
This is another part of the greenway that is currently open. The Kent Avenue path (about 2.5 miles) brings you past Steiner Studios (where I guarantee some of your favorite films and TV shows were filmed), by the Brooklyn Navy yard and down by the water for great views of midtown Manhattan and the Williamsburg Bridge, which you can run under (or over if you’re so inclined). There is a lot of construction currently going on in the area, but the water views provide a nice escape. You’ll also run by some pretty cool graffiti, which makes for awesome running shots. If run on a Saturday and plan correctly, you can end your run at the Williamsburg Smorgasburg!
Landmarks: Steiner Studios, Manhattan Skyline, Williamsburg Bridge
Best Times: There is not a lot of shade along this route, so I suggest running in the early morning or evening to minimize sun and heat exposure.
Times to Avoid: The path can get crowded on weekend afternoons, especially with Smorgasburg, which opens at 11am on Saturday. It’s awesome to end your run at Smorgasburg, but otherwise, it’s best to get your run in before it opens.
Brooklyn is a big borough, so there are quite a few routes I have yet to explore. If you know of some good ones, leave your suggestions below. In the meantime, come join in on the Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up!
Have you ever run in Brooklyn?
Do you prefer running in cities or suburbs?