If Manhattan makes you think of busy streets and busy people with no time (or inclination) for the great outdoors, you may be in for a surprise. The city itself boasts plenty of hidden treasures, from free kayaking in the summer to cross-country skiing in the winter. Within an hour of city limits, you can lose yourself completely in many different parks and preserves. And when it comes to finding running or cycling partners, Manhattanites are ready to work out—there’s a reason cycling is becoming known as the “new golf” for business types, and NYC is the perfect place to find your new run buddy.
Trails: New York City may be a busy grid, but that doesn’t mean winding, twisty singletrack is far off. The city itself boasts some fantastic parks, with anything from perfect, smooth asphalt running surfaces, like the loops running around Central Park to the immensely technical, wicked singletrack at Inwood Hills a bit further uptown. The parks in the city are all nestled between busy streets and if you don’t know where to look, you may miss them. But if you’re really looking for wide-open adventure, there are dozens of huge state parks just outside of the city, with great mountain biking and cross-country skiing options as well.
Water: Manhattan is an island; finding water sports, from surfing to SUP-ing to kayaking, is never a challenge (except in the dead of winter, and even then, the surf at Rockaway is having some of the best swells of the season). The beach is nearby, just over the bridge in Brooklyn, and for summer fun—from food to running to swimming to amusement park rides—you can’t beat Coney Island. But Manhattan isn’t just about the beach: the Hudson River offers tons of outdoor activities, including free kayaking in the summer, and the Hudson River Greenway offers fitness buffs and romantic couples a great place to stroll and enjoy the water, the boats, and some seriously funny people-watching.
Rock: Admittedly, you may have some trouble finding epic cliffs in NYC. But that doesn’t stop avid climbers from hopping from boulder to boulder at Central Park or some of the other city parks (just don’t expect rocks over 15 feet), or hitting the indoor gym over in Brooklyn Boulders—another great propel-watching destination.