Some people are so focused during their workout that they hardly notice where they are, let alone which famous faces may be passing by them. And we applaud those people who dedicate the utmost concentration to their fitness regimen. But some of us may have a wandering eye while working on our fitness (hey, it doesn’t hurt to see the toned bods of fellow exercisers) and others may need a little motivation to hit the streets and get moving. So we’ve come up with a list of the best workout spots for celebrity sightings – and we’ll also tell you which hotels to stay in to be close to the star-gazing hotspots. From New York to Los Angeles, celebs have been getting their sweat on and we know just where to find them!
1. Runyon Canyon Park
It seems like celebrity magazines feature photos of celebs running, hiking, or walking their dogs in Runyon Canyon Park every week. At 160 acres, this park offers tons of hiking trails of various difficulties so it’s no surprise that stars of every age and fitness level are spotted here (and the loose dog policy means it’s also a popular spot for bringing pooches on a stroll). The three main trails are Runyon Canyon Road, Star Trail, and Hero Trail. Named for the numerous sightings, Star Trail is a moderate hike while Hero Trail is the most challenging, with steep inclines. Fergie and hubby Josh Duhamel are often spotted taking walks and runs together, and Khloe Kardashian Odom was recently sighted alongside her hubby, Lamar Odom, and her brother, Rob Kardashian. When Scarlett Johansson was getting hot and heavy with Sean Penn, she and her then-boyfriend got hot and sweaty on a jog with pal Owen Wilson.
Where to Stay: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, L.A., Calif.
The 300-room Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, literally an L.A. landmark, is a luxurious, hip hotel just a 10-minute walk from an entrance to Runyon Canyon Park in West Hollywood. The hotel combines the shimmer of silver-screen history with a cutting-edge party scene, centered around a massive pool (perfect for a post-workout dip) and a bar, and there is a terrific, casual restaurant open 24 hours. Service is surprisingly good (lacking the snobbery of some upscale L.A. hotels) but the rooms, though well designed, are smaller than average.
2. Central Park
Although New York City does not have the sprawling open spaces that some areas of L.A. offer, Central Park is the bustling metropolis' crown jewel – and at 843 acres, it gives Runyon Canyon Park a run for its money. A National Landmark for decades, Central Park is a popular spot for working out (and there are tons of ways to break a sweat); though the running track around the Reservoir – just over a 1.5-mile loop – may be the most frequented workout spot, visitors to the park can also bike, kayak, ice-skate (during the winter), and even rock climb on Rat Rock and Cat Rock. Central Park is also a popular spot for movie sets so celeb-sightings are frequent, and Chris Noth, Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mark Ruffalo have all been spotted in fitness gear this past year in the park.
Where to Stay: Mandarin Oriental, New York
It's not an icon like the Plaza or the Pierre — but so what? The Mandarin Oriental, located across Columbus Circle from Central Park, offers a dizzying array of modern luxuries – a 75-foot pool, one of the city's best spas, sweeping views from nearly every common area (and some rooms have Central Park views), and superb on-site fine-dining options, to name a few – all while it upholds traditional values and outstanding service. For those traveling on a budget, the Excelsior Hotel on the Upper West Side is just a block from Central Park as well.
3. Malibu Beach
Malibu is already a celeb hotspot and the beaches there are practically crawling with them. While some star-gazers may set up a towel and relax in the sun, you’ll probably have more luck getting up close and personal with celebs if you hit the water and get active. David Beckham and Gerard Butler enjoy riding the waves and Matthew McConaughey has been seen paddle-boarding in calmer waters. McConaughey has also been a participant in the celeb-heavy Nautica Malibu Trialthon. Will Ferrell has also participated in years past and in September, Tiffani Thiessen (of Saved by the Bell fame), The Hangover’s Ed Helms, John Cryer, and the Bachelor host Chris Harrison all showed up for the race’s 25th year raising money for cancer research.
Where to Stay: Hotel Oceana Santa Monica, Calif.
A 30-minute drive from Malibu, this Santa Monica hotel more than compensates for its lack of on-site features —no spa, a long walk to the beach— with great design in its large rooms, a welcoming atmosphere cultivated by personal service, and a relaxed, low-key vibe unmatched by its luxury rivals Fairmont Miramar, Shutters on the Beach, and Casa Del Mar.
4. Soul Cycle
The trend du jour, Soul Cycle is an upbeat spin class that combines top-notch, top-40 remixes with hardcore instructors who won’t let you get by with anything less than working your butt off! Classes are pricey (we’re talking really pricey) but they come with an above-average chance of spotting someone famous! Kelly Ripa is a huge fan (she even convinced pal Anderson Cooper to join her and now he’s hooked) and Brooke Shields, Katie Holmes, and Jake Gyllenhaal (who was spotted at the Soul Cycle in Union Square just a couple of weeks ago) are also avid spinners.
Where to Stay: W New York- Union Square
Just a few blocks from a Soul Cycle studio, the W Hotel's 270-room Union Square property greatly resembles other Ws in New York: comfortable beds, modern rooms, an excellent gym, and plenty of business travelers in the butterfly-decorated, techno-soundtracked lobby. The difference: This one's downtown, near the bar-filled East Village and media-mecca Flatiron. But street noise penetrates the walls, even on the 11th floor. If you’re looking to save a few bucks on accommodations (because all of your moolah will be going towards spinning), the Union Square Inn is a budget option – but you get what you pay for.
5. High Line Park
Built on a former elevated railroad track, the High Line Park was instantly popular after its opening in 2009 – and now that this summer marked the opening of the second section, this 1-mile long park is a nice spot for jogging (and when you need a rest, relax on one of the lounge chairs that slide along the tracks). As you walk, jog, or run along, you can enjoy views of the river and you may even spot a celeb; this summer, Beyonce showed off her baby bump at the park and a couple of months ago, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr brought son Flynn on a walk there. It's no surprise that the High Line is a celeb hotspot, as many celebs – including Kevin Bacon, Edward Norton, Amanda Peet, Glenn Close, Hilary Clinton, and Martha Stewart – made significant donations towards the renewal project.
Where to Stay: The Standard New York, New York
Hovering above the High Line on concrete pillars, this one-of-a-kind Meatpacking District hotel offers 337 light-flooded, ultra-mod rooms with panoramic views of the city; one restaurant, several popular bars; and excellent service. It might just be the hippest hotel in New York City. Plenty of celebs have been spotted here as well; Chelsea Handler, Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, and Kanye West have all partied it up at the hotel.