6 Scenic Walks in Major Cities From L.A. to New York

Tessa McLean
by Tessa McLean
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Travel and exercise don’t have to be mortal enemies. When you remember that just an hour of walking a day has numerous health benefits, you might even push yourself to explore yet another part of the place you’re visiting.

Whether you plan on taking a trip or you live in one of these great cities, we’ve selected six city walks you won’t want to miss.

Distance: 1.5 miles

Highlight: Ocean views and one of the best vistas to gaze at the Golden Gate Bridge

If you’re visiting San Francisco, you definitely want to get that perfect shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. At Lands End, you’ll not only get that, but you’ll also get sweeping coastline views and a fantastic walk. You can start at either Sutro Baths (a sight in itself) or from the Sea Cliff neighborhood and walk the 1.5-mile trail. Be sure to take in some history along the way from the interpretive signposts and definitely stop and complete the “hidden labyrinth” along the Coastal Trail at Eagle’s Point for another fun photo opp.

Distance: 1.45 miles

Highlight: Art installations and Hudson River views

The High Line reimagined what city walks could be when it transformed a former New York Central Railroad section on the west side of Manhattan into a park above the city. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street and features fantastic views of the Hudson River. Make sure to stop and enjoy the sculptures and other art installations as well as the unique perspective of the country’s busiest city.

Distance: 2.7 miles

Highlight: City views and public art installations

Another rail-turned-trail, the 606 sprang from a dormant industrial rail line on the Northwest side of Chicago. The elevated path traverses through four popular neighborhoods — Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square — and features public art and smaller parks along the way. You can enjoy city views and plenty of places to stop and gaze at the neighborhoods around you.

Distance: Ferndell to the West Observatory Loop Trail is 2.5 miles

Highlight: Griffith Park Observatory and a glimpse of the Hollywood sign

There’s no shortage of hiking in Los Angeles, but Griffith Park is slightly less traversed than the popular Runyon Canyon and has many different trails to choose from. We suggest taking the Ferndell to the West Observatory Loop Trail for a nice 2.5 mile walk where you’ll be able to visit the Observatory and glimpse downtown Los Angeles. If you’re feeling really ambitious and want more of a hike than a walk, the 11-mile hike from the Observatory to the Hollywood sign and back is moderate but rewarding.


Distance: Discovery Park Loop Trail is 2.8 miles

Highlight: The West Point Lighthouse and views of Mt. Rainier

Head north of downtown to Seattle’s largest park for several beautiful walking trails. The park was built on the historic grounds of Fort Lawton and features a lighthouse on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll go through patches of forest, beach, prairie and bluffs so there’s truly something for everyone.

Distance: 2.5 miles between the Hawthorne and Steel Bridge loop

Highlight: Sweeping downtown views and the floating walkway

Head to the Eastbank Esplanade along the east shore of the Willamette River for a different perspective on the city. The river walk was rebuilt after the Willamette Valley Flood of 1996 and includes a 1,200-foot floating walkway that’s the longest of its kind in the U.S. The path runs through the Kerns, Buckman and Hosford-Abernethy neighborhoods and is dotted with sculptures along the way. If you’re there in the summer, you’ll likely run into a festival or market as it’s a popular gathering space in warm weather.

About the Author

Tessa McLean
Tessa McLean

Tessa is a San Francisco-based writer and editor covering all things lifestyle. She loves exploring new places and ideas and translating unique experiences onto the page (or, you know, webpage). Learn more about her writing and adventures on Instagram and Twitter.


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