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Best Outdoor Workout Spots in Chicago

Published on July 22nd, 2014

Ditch the gym. Did you ever think we would say that? Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting that you stop exercising, we’re just suggesting you try out some of Chicago’s best outdoor workout spots. With winters as cold as ours, Chicagoans know how to embrace the summer months. Get out there and explore these great spots.

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Northerly Island

Northerly Island is one of the best spots to run and bike in the city. It feels more removed from the city, has wider, paved paths, and isn’t nearly as crowded as other areas of the Lakefront Path. Just make sure you aren’t going on concert nights.

Mandrake Park

This four-lane track is made of rubber material, so it’s great for your knees and absorbs some of that shock. There is also a large grassy area (great for your warm-up and cool down stretch) and is lit at night.

Waterfall Glen

This DuPage Country Forest Preserve path, made of crushed limestone, is great for running and biking (even if it recently rained). The 8-foot-wide trail makes a 9.5 mile loop and offers a pretty, rolling terrain.

Yoga by the Lake, Southernmost point of Belmont Harbor

Every Tuesday from 7-8 and Sunday from 11-12, join Fitness Formula Club for a free yoga class (even if you’re not a member) on the concrete steps leading down to the lake. You’ll find peace and serenity while enjoying the gorgeous downtown view. But make sure you come early to get a spot–these classes are popular.

The Great Lawn of Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park

Through September 6th, Millenium Park offers free workout classes on Saturday mornings. They include tai chi, yoga, pilates, and zumba. The best part? They’re free! Each class is 45 minutes long and the sessions are held from 7-11am. New this summer, they also host mid-week yoga every Wednesday from 7:30-8:15am.

The Palos Trails

Although they’re a bit of a trek from the city, these Cook County Forest Preserve trails offer a great escape into nature. Bicyclists, runners, and walkers alike can enjoy a clean foot wide path with 14 mile long trails and gorgeous foliage. They close at sunset, however, so make sure you’re out by then to avoid getting a ticket.

Ohio Street Beach

Training for a triathlon or just want to enjoy a swim? This is the place to be. Open-water lap swimming is allowed from 11-7pm and lifeguards are on duty. The swim from shore to Oak Street Beach is about 2 miles. Make sure you’re ready for the water though! It can be quite cold and a wet suit is recommended.

Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

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