After a long, cold winter there is nothing like taking your workout outdoors. In fact, studies have shown that participating in outdoor fitness activities has a greater impact on your mental health and sense of well-being than being inside a gym. But finding outdoor fitness equipment that meets your needs is not a walk in the park. Fortunately, when it comes to an outdoor fitness park or outdoor gym Chicago has you covered with these sweet workout spots.
1. Lake Michigan (Outdoor Fitness Equipment Optional)
Aside from its beauty, fresh water and peaceful waters, Lake Michigan is the perfect place to get a great workout. Whether you go for a run along the shore or an open water swim, there are plenty of calisthenics Chicago and its largest lake can offer. However, the best workouts require a little outdoor fitness equipment available for rent anywhere along the shoreline. Try stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking or a class that combines both SUP and yoga for a peaceful muscle burn plus Vitamin D.
Lake Michigan, – choosechicago.com
2. Maggie Daley Park (Outdoor Fitness Equipment Optional)
Once a massive surface parking lot turned accessible fitness wonderland, Maggie Daley Park is the crown jewel of the Chicago Park District. Between the miles of trails with scooters and rollerblades for rent and the climbing wall that is open during spring and summer months, this is the ultimate in outdoor fitness park. There is even a mini golf course and tennis courts rounding out its offerings. Best of all, most outdoor fitness equipment you will need to enjoy the park can be rented on site.
Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL – maggiedaleypark.com
3. Millennium Park (No Outdoor Fitness Equipment Necessary)
Millennium Park is not your ordinary park with exercise equipment. Instead, it’s known for its wide open spaces and amphitheater where the city sponsors classes, concerts, movies, and other outdoor events. While the park’s traditional outdoor fitness equipment offerings are spartan, this is still the perfect place to get a great workout with certified personal trainer. Rather than simply going for a run, let a personal trainer walk you through body weight exercises, resistance workouts and interval training in the wide open, beautifully lush green space.
Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph St. Chicago, IL – choosechicago.com
4. North Avenue Beach (Outdoor Fitness Equipment Optional)
North Avenue Beach is the hub for recreation around Lake Michigan. With beach volleyball, outdoor yoga classes, dodge ball tournaments, and roller hockey, there is something for everyone. While you may want to bring your own skates, equipment rental places abound making this an easy place to get a non-traditional workout.
North Avenue Beach, 1601 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL – chicagoparkdistrict.com
5. Mandrake Park (No Outdoor Fitness Equipment Necessary)
Equipped with a four-lane, rubberized track, grassy areas, and park benches, Mandrake Park is a personal training dreamland for no-equipment workouts. However, adding a few basic pieces of outdoor fitness equipment like resistance bands and free weights can only ramp up your sweat session. Meet up with a personal trainer for personalized workouts tailored to your needs, your fitness levels, and your goals.
Mandrake Park, 3858 S. Cottage Grove Chicago, IL – chicagoparkdistrict.com
6. The 606 (No Outdoor Fitness Equipment Required)
Recently, the elevated rail system that ran through the city for decades was turned into a walking and biking path through the city called The 606. With more than 3 miles of trail and 13 access points throughout the city, The 606 is wide enough for two lanes of foot traffic, but narrow enough to prohibit motorized vehicles. It is the ideal place to get an outdoor workout with a friend or personal trainer without losing access to the surrounding city. Best of all, the rubberized surface makes running, jumping, walking, and doing all manner of exercises a breeze.
The 606 – the606.org
7. North Shore Channel Trail (No Outdoor Fitness Equipment Necessary)
Inline skating, cycling, running, or walking are all possibilities on this 6.7 mile (ca. 11 km) asphalt, dirt, and gravel trail that travels along the north shore of Lake Michigan. With a variety of landscapes and surfaces, it is possible to get a great workout while taking in the scenery. For added measure, meet up with a personal trainer for a customized outdoor workout without any equipment.
North Shore Channel Trail – traillink.com/trail/north-shore-channel-trail
8. The Palos Trails (Bring Your Own Outdoor Fitness Equipment)
Mountain biking enthusiasts need look no further than The Palos Trails for a challenge. The entire trail system is set up like a spider web. If you traveled them all, your total mileage could top 14 miles (ca. 23 km). Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders can share the trail that is large enough to accommodate two-way traffic and hilly enough to give mountain bikers a few decent climbs. Just be sure to wear a helmet and be off the trails by sunset to avoid a fine.
The Palos Trails – rootsrated.com/chicago-il/trail-running/palos-trail-system-running
9. The Chicago River (Outdoor Fitness Equipment Available for Rent)
If open water is not your thing, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking down the Chicago River may be more your speed. In fact, these activities have surged in popularity so much that companies are offering architectural tours on kayaks and night-time city lights paddle board excursions. Prefer to stay dry? The Chicago River walk also offers trails along the entire body of water for running, walking, or inline skating. Meander along the winding bends in the river while experiencing the cool breezes coming off of the water.
The Chicago River – chicagoriver.org
10. Chicago Lakefront Trail (Outdoor Fitness Equipment Optional)
Looking for a little distance without the dreaded out and back or loop after loop? The Chicago Lakefront Trail is your best bet. Best of all, the only outdoor fitness equipment you’ll need are the things you wear on your own two feet (or ride in on). Boasting 18 flat, Midwestern miles along Lake Michigan, the views of the city and the lake are unparalleled. What better way to train for a long-stance race or grab a few quick miles before settling in at one of the area’s local restaurants for a healthy bite?
Chicago Lakefront Trail – choosechicago.com/things-to-do/parks-and-outdoors/the-lakefront-trail
No matter where you go in Chicago, you are sure to find an outdoor fitness park or outdoor gym. With a wide variety of outdoor fitness equipment rentals and no-equipment workouts available, Chicago is quickly making a name for itself as one of the best areas for outdoor exercise in the country. If you want to start an fitness routine and not confine yourself to the four walls of a gym, there are hundreds of personal trainers in Chicago that will show you the ropes, keep you safe, and put together a fitness plan for you outdoors!