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The 12 Best U.S. Cities For Runners

#3 San Francisco

Population: 852K

San Francisco

Sitting at the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific and the bay, San Francisco feels much larger than its 7-by-7-mile dimensions.


Must Run
No San Fran visit is complete without a run or walk across the 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge. It’s always busy, so be prepped to encounter a crowd. If you prefer to stay inside city limits, travel along the Embarcadero and absorb the scents of busy Fisherman’s Wharf, see street performers wowing crowds and take a quick water stop at the old Ferry Building, now a local marketplace. Runners can also seek some solace with a picnic and run through Golden Gate Park—then head to next-door Haight-Ashbury for funky shopping options!

Get Away From It All
Drive across the Golden Gate to explore the nearby Marin Headlands—the trails to the top are outstanding, and the views of the city are more than Instagram-worthy.

Destination Racing
April’s Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon offers runners a unique opportunity to stride through the Presidio and over the bridge while it’s partially closed to traffic. The Bay to Breakers 12K is less like a race than a moving party that takes athletes (many wearing costumes and some sporting nothing at all) from the tip of the bay down at the coastline to the breakers. —CP


“S.F. is a great place to run because it offers a little bit of everything—a runner can find any terrain or scenery that he or she desires!” —Christine Gould, avid runner and triathlete living in nearby San Mateo

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