Best Places to Run in the Twin Cities
With spring finally arriving in Minnesota, we were concerned you might have forgotten about the best places to run in the Twin Cities. The drudgery of tolerating the treadmill this winter/spring may have left you with temporary memory loss, but don’t worry, we’ve got a great list to remind you where to run.
While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it represents some pretty fine running routes. Not only will you find a variety of options, but also some amazing views of lakes, rivers, trees, and even wildlife, all within city limits. Below are the best places to run in the Twin Cities.
Where to Run in Minneapolis
Between the river, parks, and lakes, it’s no wonder the Twin Cities marathon is the most beautiful urban marathon in the country. The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, is a 50+ mile network of trails encompassing the best of Minneapolis. Although there are unlimited variations, here are some suggestions:
The Mississippi River
My favorite place to start any river run, is on St. Anthony Main, where Minneapolis was born. Running east will eventually take you into St. Paul, where as running West will take you to Seattle (but I’d suggest stopping in North Minneapolis). What’s great about running along the river, is that there are 13 bridges to criss-cross and create any distance desired. There are plenty of hills, flats, and good placement of porta potties and drinking fountains.
The Midtown Greenway & Cedar Lake Trail
The Greenway is 5.5 miles of former railroad bed just North of Lake Street in Minneapolis. It connects with the Cedar Lake trail to add another 4.5 miles. With dedicated bike and walk/run lanes, there’s plenty of space (and is almost entirely car free). It’s mostly straight, flat, and has great landmarks. Start at the river and run all the way into Chaska via Midtown, Uptown, St. Louis Park, etc.
Loops of Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake will not only provide views of beautiful homes and scenery, but also an almost endless stream of other runners to secretly race without their knowledge. Circuits of these lakes can provide you whatever distance you need; there are about 13.3 miles of trail in total. Minnehaha Creek Parkway is another great addition for extra miles and variety.
Where to Run in St. Paul
Yes, there are great places to run in St. Paul, too! Arguably not as connected as the Minneapolis trails, there are still some majestic locations to pound out a few miles.
On nice days, Summit Avenue is a bustling thoroughfare of runners of all types. Starting at the river, you can run all the way to the capitol – about 6 miles away. Cutting over to Grand Avenue can also add some contrasting flavor.
St. Paul Lakes & River
Running around a lake is the classic Twin Cities training run. Lake Phalen and Como Lake are the most popular in St. Paul. Como is better suited for longer runs because trails connect to the nearby Como Park.
Unless you flunked geography, you know that the Mississippi River also runs through St. Paul. There are trails along the majority of the river on the East side, however crossing can be a bit of a challenge as there are fewer bridges, so map accordingly!
Make Your Own Route
Since the Twin Cities trail system is almost entirely connected, you could run for years and not cover every mile. Be creative and create your own unique route that will meet your needs. Share them here to encourage other runners to explore the trails of our great cities!