Get Out and Play

by Leesa Raab

If you’re like me, you try to get in a few workout sessions a week, and well, the gym can get a bit monotonous. The good news is there are still a few weeks left of summer–and the warm weather–which means there is plenty of time to find new activities outside! In my search for outdoor workouts, I was pleased to find that there are many free classes and events to attend that will get you outdoors and active!

New York City

New York offers a variety of classes and events throughout the five boroughs. If you’re in to yoga, Laughing Lotus hosts free yoga classes in the park (10th ave and 14th st.) every Wednesday from 7-8pm. Bring your own mats and unwind from the day. There are other free yoga classes throughout the city, so no doubt you can find one close to you.

One of my favorite places in the city, Brooklyn Bridge Park, offers a variety of classes throughout the summer. Sunset Pilates (sounds so lovely, doesn’t it) and Hip Hop Dance Aerobics are just a couple of the options.

Since the weather is warm, it’s also a great time to go swimming! The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation have several pool locations throughout the city that are free. I just went to the Hamilton Fish Sanctuary and Pool the other day for their Adult Swim, which is open lap swim from 7pm – 8:30pm. Just don’t forget a lock for your locker!


If you’re in Chicago, you’ll be happy to know that Millennium Park offers free workout classes every Saturday morning through September 10th. You have the option to take yoga, pilates or zumba classes each week.

Once again there are other yoga classes throughout the city at different times during the week, so you can find one to best fit your schedule and location.

San Francisco

I lived in the Bay Area for a while and have to say the weather and scenery make it the best city for staying active. My personal favorite activity was simply going for a run or walk along the Marina. But no doubt the city has a variety of options to keep you fit and let you meet other locals.

Each week Lululemon Athletica hosts free group runs on Thursday evenings–meet at their Union Square location and join in a fun run led by one of their athletic experts, which can be tailored to your ability.

Interested in trying rock climbing? The Outdoor Adventure Club hosts free introduction to rock climbing classes—providing harness and all, they make sure you make it to the top of the wall.

While we can’t list every event in every city, hopefully you get the point that there are a lot of options to help you get out and get active. And just think of all the electric energy you’ll be saving by not spending that hour on the treadmill!

Not in one of the above cities? Do a search online or contact your local chamber of commerce to find out what your city has to offer. You might also want to try the Google bike route feature, which will give you a recommended local route. Please, comment and tell us what free outdoor events and classes you’ve found locally.

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