Photo: Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

The 5 Most Popular Cities for Runners in the US, According to Instagram

Houston Chicago Austin Boston Outdoor
by Suzie Dundas Jun 9, 2022

According to a 2020 report from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, more than 15 percent of Americans consider themselves runners (as in, people who regularly run or jog for fun or health). So it’s not surprising that there are more than 600 hashtags on Instagram that celebrate the best cities for runners in the United States, like #SFRunning or #ChicagoRunners.

Recently,, which sells running footwear and gear, took a look at quantitative data on Instagram to tally running-related hashtags. The final numbers showed the five most popular cities for running in the US, as measured by the number of times runners used location-specific hashtags in Instagram posts.’s analysts looked at data for cities worldwide, using a hashtag with a specific formula for each: #run{city}.

Of the top 10 best cities for runners, five of the top spots went to US cities. The other best cities for runners around the world were London, UK; Melbourne, Australia; Paris, France; and Calgary and Ottawa in Canada. In the US, the best cities for runners are pretty cities that are mostly flat, making it easy for runners and joggers of various ability levels to find suitable routes.

These are the best trails within the best cities for runners across the US:

  • Chicago, IL (56,963 tags for #runChicago)
  • Boston, MA (54,609 tags for #runBoston)
  • Houston, TX (50,182 tags for #runHouston)
  • Baltimore, MD (31,538 tags for #runBaltimore)
  • Austin, TX (29,098 tags for #runAustin)

Need some new running gear?

Check out our editors’ picks for their favorite pieces:

Chicago, Illinois

The Lakefront Trail is the obvious choice of where to run in Chicago, covering 18 miles of paved running bath along Lake Michigan. However, it gets busy in the summer (thanks to the many nearby beaches) and can be chilly in the winter. So if you’d like to avoid either of those, consider instead a run in Grant Park. The park has about five miles of paved trails so runners can build their own routes within the sprawling green space.

Boston, Massachusetts


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by UFGatorATL (@ufgatoratl)

While Boston’s most well-known trail is the Freedom Trail, it’s a popular walking tour for visitors, so it’s not the best for runners. Instead, runners should head across the river to Cambridge and run around the Charles River Loop (25 miles) or do a quick jog through the Harvard University campus, totaling about two miles.

Houston, Texas


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Karim (@runningreminder)

In Houston, runners can hit the Buffalo Bayou Park, a 160-acre public park with a five-foot-wide running path weaving throughout the grounds. A non-profit partnership is currently working on expanding the trail and connecting it with additional trails in the city, which will likely cement Houston’s rep as one of the best cities for runners for years to come. Most runners currently hit the Sandy Reed Memorial Trail, which runs for about five miles through the park and can connect with the nearby exercise trail in Memorial Park to create closer to an 11-mile run.

Baltimore, Maryland


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jarrett Weisberg (@jarrettweisberg)

Baltimore‘s Inner Harbor is the touristy hot spot in town, especially for visitors headed to the fabulous Baltimore Aquarium or baseball games at Camden Yards. But it’s also a fantastic place for runners as the Waterfront Promenade can connect to other city pretty neighborhoods like Canton and Federal Hill. History buffs may want to run the roughly one-mile path around Fort McHenry, though the 5.7-mile Herring Run Greenway is an excellent pick if you like being surrounded by nature while you pack on the miles.

Austin, Texas


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Michael Brichford (@aranciobruciato)

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a beautiful 7.8-mile trail that passes several waterfalls as it runs through lush Texas greenery. It gains about 360 feet of elevation and is on a mix of surfaces, so it’s not quite as easy as running on an easy paved trail.

If that’s too challenging, hit the Lady Bird Lake Trail (technically called the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail). It’s 10 miles long but is paved and flat, so runners can do it as an out-and-back, turning around wherever they’d like. Runners can also do whatever distance they’d like on the Shoal Creek Greenbelt; the area through Pease Park passes by some beautiful installation art.

For more data and details on the best cities for runners around the world, view the full Instagram analysis at

Discover Matador