One of the best ways to experience a new city is to go for a run.

This weekend, I was in Chicago (to see Hamilton, so everyone, be jealous) and I went for a run along the Lakefront Trail. It was quite cold, as you would expect for Chicago in December, but there’s nothing else quite like experiencing a city by running.

I ran past the locals, also out on their morning runs. Couples were on their way to breakfast. People were out walking their dogs (and so many cute dogs!).  I ran past places I’ve visited on previous visits to Chicago: The Art Institute, The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Millennium and Grant Park. I saw Navy Pier in the distance, was able to spot both Willis Tower and the Hancock Building.

And most interestingly, because the Lakefront Trail goes right past Solider Field, I was able to experience the joy of a Chicago Bears tailgate.

Families were unpacking their coolers, the smell of charcoal was in the air – families were tossing around the football, music was playing from vehicles, and laughter echoed all around.

If I were running on the treadmill inside my hotel, or still in bed, or eating breakfast – I wouldn’t have had nearly the same experience. While running, something so routine and ordinary, you really feel like a local.And you feel so much more connected to the place.

And as a bonus, the hotel concierge looks at you like you’re a crazy person as you exit the hotel in your running gear (especially on a 30 degree morning).

Do you go for a run when you’re traveling? Where is your favorite city (not your own) to go for a run?