The Best Urban Bike Paths
Taking a bike ride is a great way to enjoy the city sights, all while getting in a great workout and some fresh air. Not to mention, it’s a fabulous way to explore many different sights of interest without dealing with traffic, pollution, and parking! Most cities today offer some type of recreational path. From beautiful Lake Michigan in Chicago, to gorgeous Tampa Bay, there is a bike ride for you no matter where your city adventures might take you. Take a look at the fabulous urban bike paths featured below, all offering fantastic views of the cityscape and/or convenient access to city amenities.
The Chicago Lakefront Path
- Location: downtown Chicago
- Distance: 18 miles out-and-back
- Attractions: The Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Museum Campus, Oak Street beach, Navy Pier
One of the country’s best bike paths is found along Lake Michigan in The Windy City. This picturesque, uninterrupted path follows a beautiful course along Lake Michigan. Not only will you take in fabulous views of the lake, but you will also get to take in mesmerizing vistas of Chicago’s impressive skyline for much of the length of the trail. Chicago is easily home to the most scenic skyline in the country, the best city attractions, and the most beautiful lakefront. This fabulous bike path allows you to conveniently take in the best of Chicago all in one convenient ride.
East Bay Bike Path
- Location: Providence
- Distance: 14 miles out-and-back
- Attractions: India Point Park, Colt State park, Federal Hill Italian restaurants
While most tourists head to Rhode Island’s capital city to check out the historical attractions or authentic Italian restaurants in the historic Federal Hill neighborhood, there are many national wonders to be enjoyed in the region. The beautiful East Bay Bike Path runs a 14 mile course from Bristol to Providence. With limited road crossings, this is an amazing path for unobstructed cycling. It’s flat (minus one big hill), fast, and also incredibly scenic. As you get in a fabulous workout, you will take in tranquil views of marshes, coves, and state parks. Easy access to 8 different parks along the route, plus great views of the Providence skyline and Pomham lighthouse are highlights along this picturesque course.
- Location: Tampa
- Distance: 4.5 miles out-and-back
- Attractions: Gasparilla pirate ship, Tampa Riverwalk, Florida Aquarium, Curtis Hixon park
Tampa’s crown jewel for exercise is beautiful Bayshore Blvd, the country’s longest continuous sidewalk. Along this 4.5 mile course, you will take in scenic vistas of Tampa Bay on one side and lovely historic mansions on the other. Beautiful views of the small, yet attractive Tampa skyline adds an urban touch. With palm trees, occasional manatee and dolphin sightings, and fitness stations lining the route, this is fun-in-the-sun at its’ best. The tropical vibe definitely makes this a great activity to incorporate into any Tampa vacation, especially when you tire of the beach scene. Connect this trail to the Tampa Riverwalk, a 2.5 mile path linking the city’s best tourist attractions.
Schuylkill River trail
- Location: Philadelphia Center City
- Distance: 75+ miles out-and-back
- Attractions: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rocky statue, The Rodin Museum
This lengthy trail in Philadelphia is currently 75 miles long and will eventually expand to include 120 miles through Philadelphia’s urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods. USA Today readers voted this trail the best urban bike trail. A favorite amongst both locals and tourists is the 9 mile long Kelly Drive Loop. This enjoyable section features pretty views of the river and skyline, as well as convenient access to many attractions. As joggers, walkers, and bikers all share the path it can get pretty crowded on weekends. As a bonus, from April to October, the 4 mile long Martin Luther King Jr. Drive closes to vehicles.
Three Rivers Heritage Trail
- Location: downtown Pittsburgh
- Distance: 33 miles
- Attractions: Mr. Roger’s tribute, Acrisure Stadium, PNC Park, Andy Warhol museum
The Three Rivers Heritage trail is a 33 mile urban path which runs alongside all three rivers in downtown Pittsburgh. The North Shore section is about 7 miles long which is perfect for a long weekend ride or run. This is the best place to enjoy a lengthy workout in company of great skyline and river views. You will also take in nice views of many of the bridges which have led to Pittsburgh’s nickname of “The City of Bridges.” The trail is mostly flat for a smooth easy ride. Attractions along the route include Bicycle Heaven, the world’s largest bicycle museum, the Carnegie Science Center, the National Aviary, and the Andy Warhol museum, the country’s largest museum dedicated to a single artist.
Ladybird Hike & Bike trail
- Location: Austin
- Distance: 10 mile loop
- Attractions: Barton springs, Zilker park, Austin American-Statesman’s Bat Observation Center, downtown
This popular jogging and biking destination offers wonderful views of beautiful Ladybird lake and the Austin skyline. It’s definitely the best place for exercise of any sort within the Austin city limits. The loop is 10 miles long so you can get in a nice long weekend ride or run. Be prepared for heavy traffic most weekends. The path is lush and green with many trees lining the course and parks along the way. A beautiful place to exercise anytime of the year. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee on the lakeside patio at Mozart’s Roasters, conveniently located along the route.
Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway
- Location: Cleveland
- Distance: 17 miles
- Attractions: Edgewater Beach, Downtown, Rock n’roll Hall of Fame
This picturesque bike trail follows the course of Lake Erie for 17 miles. It’s definitely the best place in Cleveland to enjoy the outdoors. The best portion of this bikeway travels through gorgeous Edgewater State park on the shores of Lake Erie. Here you will take in fabulous views of the Cleveland skyline and have access to many amenities including beaches and gorgeous leafy parks. One of the famous Cleveland script signs is also located here. One of the benefits of beginning your ride at Edgewater Park is the huge no-hassle free parking lot.
- Location: Greater Boston metro
- Distance: 11 miles
- Attractions: Lexington Center (“birthplace of American Liberty”), Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge, Arlington historic district, Charles River
This wonderful commuter trail connects the historic towns of: Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge. While many use this trail as a convenient means of transport, it also makes for one scenic ride. During the fall season, almost the entirety of the trail is lined with vivid orange, yellow, and red foliage. Both weather and scenery wise, fall is the way to go. The path is mostly flat and paved leading to easy riding conditions for casual bike rides, jogs, and walks. There are numerous historic sights of interest along the route including the area where the American Revolution began in April 1775.
Swamp Rabbit bike trail
- Location: Greenville, South Carolina
- Distance: 11 miles
- Attractions: Downtown Greenville, Falls Park, historic Traveler’s Rest, Cleveland Park
This beautiful bike trail travels 11 miles through Greenville, the hub of Upstate South Carolina. The paved trail is bustling each weekend with joggers, cyclists, dog walkers, and families, all enjoying the mostly mild year-round climate of this charming city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. The best place to start your ride is near the Swamp Rabbit Cafe, a local co-op and coffeehouse which serves excellent homemade pastries. From here, continue on a mostly flat and fast course to downtown Greenville, today one of the hottest cities in the South. Take a break explore the foodie city and relax at beautiful Falls park – the shining centerpiece of Main Street.
- Location: Boise
- Distance: 25 miles out-and-back
- Attractions: Zoo Boise, Julia Davis Park, Anne Frank memorial
This beautiful trail has been a favorite of both locals and visitors for the past 50 years. The path follows the course of the Boise River for a picturesque 25 mile course. Meandering through beautiful forests for much of the journey, wildlife and bird sighting are frequent. A portion of the path also ventures into the heart of the city. Here you can enjoy many of the city’s best attractions including Zoo Boise. Featuring gorgeous mountain vistas, tranquil views of the river, easy access to parks and city amenities, and vivid fall foliage, it’s the gem of Boise.
Marvin Braude “The Strand”
- Location: South Bay beach towns
- Distance: 22 miles
- Attractions: Santa Monica Beach & pier, End of Rt 66 museum, Venice beach, Muscle Beach
SoCal’s most lively, beautiful, and active bike path travels past the various L.A. beach towns. This 22 mile path is flat, fast, scenic, and fun. Along the Marvin Braude trail, aka “The Strand,” you will have numerous opportunities to check out some of L.A.’s most iconic attractions including: Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, and the historic Manhattan Beach Pier. It’s a great way to get in some fresh air and vitamin D, a healthy workout, and most of all sightsee and have a great time in beautiful Southern California! The ride starts in Torrance and ends in Pacific Palisades at Will Rogers Bach (where Baywatch filmed).