I belong to a gym, have a collection of fitness DVDs, bands, and weights at home, and have miles of sidewalks & trails at my disposal… but I like to mix it up even more by participating in a number of free activities around the city.  These are all great ways to shake up your routine, explore the city, and meet like-minded individuals.

SCROLL DOWN BELOW for details on each of the following activities:

Have you tried any free workouts before?  Know of any great work-out opportunities in Chicago or in your town? Please share via the comments below!


Community Yoga at Moksha Yoga studio


A free 90 minute level 1 & 2 yoga class is offered once a week, year-round at each of Moksha’s 3 locations.

  • River West: Sundays 3:30 – 5pm
  • Lakeview: Saturdays 4:30 – 6pm
  • Logan Square/Bucktown: Thursdays 4 – 5:30pm

I’ve attended the community yoga at the Lakeview location about half a dozen times and always find the class to be both challenging and relaxing.  The instructors rotate each week, so it is a great way to try out new teachers, each with their own style.

As a beginning student, I’ve learned a lot from attending these classes including different types of breathing, how to use the various props they provide (blankets, blocks, & straps), and how to clear my mind and focus on the present.


Tip: Arrive 20-30 minutes prior to class time to get a good spot as the classes are typically quite full.

What to bring: Mats & equipment are provided, you may wish to bring a towel if you plan to use a borrowed mat.


Fleet Feet Chicago: History Fun Runs


In addition to a full calendar of group runs, seminars, and yoga, Fleet Feet Chicago has an especially unique offering in its monthly History Fun Runs.

Chuck, a runner and historian, leads these runs, each in a different neighborhood, sharing his deep historical knowledge as well as his insights from growing up in Chicago.  We’ve run down Chicago’s great Boulevards, through Alleys, across Foot-bridges and under train tracks to uncover clues about Chicago’s past.  I’ve discovered beautiful running paths in Peterson Park, Humboldt Park, and Washington Park.  And I’ve learned how to spot history when I’m out on my own – seeing buildings and property markers in a new way.

Re-purposed Streetcar Bumpers

The runs typically average ~4 miles with about 10 stops per run.  The frequent stops make it suitable for any level of runner, and a ‘sweeper’ ensures that nobody gets left behind.

While the runs are all free, some of the runs to further neighborhoods involve a trolley ride for which they ask a $5 donation.

There are no runs during June & July due to the heat, but the runs resume this fall.  I am especially looking forward to the World’s Fair run in September!:

Footbridge in Peterson Park

Upcoming Runs: Mark your Calendar!

September: Jackson Park & The World’s Fair (from Piper’s Alley)

October: Indian Boundary Line Trail Run (from Lincoln Square)

November: Run to Rosehill Cemetery (from Lincoln Square)

December: Goose Island (from Piper’s Alley)



What to bring: A water-bottle for sure!  There are usually very few water fountains along the route.


Yoga by the Lake


Sun Salutations...under the sun!

One of my favorite things about yoga is that it gives you time to clear your head, forget about your day-to-day stresses, and just BE in the moment.  Where better to be in the moment than surrounded by rustling trees, blue skies, and Lake Michigan?



Meet at the southernmost tip of the harbor


FFC gym is offering FREE yoga classes in Belmont Harbor from June 1 – Aug 31st twice a week!

Enter from Addison and walk to the Southern most point of Belmont Harbor (see the yellow star on the map to the right)

Tuesdays: 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Sundays: 11am – 12:30pm

What to bring: a Mat, Towel, and Water.


The beautiful view from your yoga mat

Tip: The best way to get here is by Bike.  If you drive, there are plenty of parking spaces available but there is an $11 fee to park in the lot.  Walkers will find the walk through the park from Addison to be quite long, especially if rushing to get there after work on a Tuesday!  Additionally, the Addison underpass has been flooded for several weeks, which might add a long detour to your walk!

Tip: Get there early if you can to get a spot close to the center of the pack.  The wind and hum of Lake Shore Drive traffic may make it hard to hear the instructor’s cues otherwise.


Millennium Park Workouts


Unfortunately due to the weather this Saturday morning, I wasn’t able to go attend the Millennium Park Workouts as I had planned (hence the borrowed photo), but based on my experiences here in prior years I am very much looking forward to working out in Millennium Park again soon!

Every Saturday morning in June, July, and August, they offer 3 FREE classes on the great lawn in Pritzker Pavillion.  The lush green grass, beautiful skylines, and energy of the crowd make these workouts worth waking up early for!

The classes are taught by a rotating cast of Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba instructors.  Each class is 45 minutes, and there is live music during Yoga and Pilates!

8:00am – 8:45am: Yoga

9:00am – 9:45am: Pilates

10:00am – 10:45am: Zumba

What to bring: A water-bottle and for yoga/pilates bring a mat or towel.