Best Run - 2013
The Downtown YMCA track
Okay, okay, we know — nothing in town can compare to running around Lake of the Isles, Calhoun, or Harriet, and there are plenty of other beautiful outside options as well, including along the Mississippi River. But we're thinking outside the box here (or inside the box, depending on how you look at it). And for our money, the best (indoor) run in town can be found at the YMCA in downtown Minneapolis. The track runs along the largely glass-encased perimeter of the Y's gym about a half-dozen floors above street level, meaning runners are treated to a panoramic bird's-eye view of the skyline. And the track is also relatively long, with 10 laps equaling a mile. Furthermore, climate control means you can enjoy a comfortable run in the middle of January. One drawback is that the track's oval shape gives it something in common with NASCAR — all left turns — but still, during winter, this is as close to the real thing as you'll get. At the least, it's certainly superior to a treadmill.