SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Whether you’re training for a marathon or just getting your miles in, San Francisco is the ideal place to put on the running shoes and get moving. San Francisco was the best U.S. city for runners in 2023, according to a study by tech company ARRIS.

The study cited San Francisco’s “good air quality, access to parks and low pedestrian fatality” to be ranked number one.

The City earned an overall score of 83 (out of 100), ahead of second-place Boston (75). The study took into account four main factors: pedestrian fatality rate per 100K, average air quality index, percent of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park and annual average rainfall in inches.

Three California cities cracked the top 10, including another Bay Area city. ARRIS compiled its ranking after surveying over 1,000 runners across the country.

Top 10 Best Running Cities in U.S.

  1. San Francisco
  2. Boston
  3. Mesa, AZ
  4. San Diego
  5. Denver
  6. Seattle
  7. Albuquerque
  8. Washington D.C.
  9. San Jose, CA
  10. Columbus, OH

San Francisco and Boston were the only cities in the study with 100% of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park. SF had a rate of 1.38 for pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 residents and an average annual rainfall of 16.67 inches (for comparison, Boston had 44.52 and Seattle had 41.25).

Memphis was named the worst city in America for runners, citing a high pedestrian fatality rate and a low percentage of residents living close to a park. Lousiville, KY., Jacksonville, FL., Indianapolis, IN., Houston, TX. and Detroit, MI. (tied with Charlotte, NC.) round out the top 5 for worst running cities.

Other Findings

The majority of Americans (32%) like to run at parks, 27% say neighborhoods, 17% say treadmill and 12% say paths, according to the study. However, 48% say they worry about safety running outside. The study also found that 1 in 3 Americans will run outside even if it’s raining and 1 in 5 if it’s snowing.

On an average week, 38% of runners in America run 0-3 miles, 29% run 4-6 miles, 7% clock 7-9 miles, and 26% run more than 10 miles. Nearly 3 in 4 (71%) of runners track the length and time of their workouts. While some people find strength in numbers, 82% of Americans prefer to run alone.


Running Habits for 2023


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ARRIS surveyed 1,002 Americans across the country in January — the average age being 40 years old. Forty-nine percent identified as male, 48% as female and 3% as non-binary or transgender.

Only U.S. cities with a population of more than 500,000 were included in the study. Kansas City, MO was not included due to a “lack of data.”

Data from the US. Census Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Trust for Public Land and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was used, ARRIS said.

The full study by ARRIS can be viewed HERE.