If you're looking to break out of your workout rut, Chicago has you covered this summer. Trade your boring, old workout for one that features inspiring Chicago views, including at a zoo, on a rooftop, or even in a butterfly-filled sanctuary! Here are six unexpected venues offering extra-ordinary opportunities to burn those calories and flex those muscles this summer in Chicago.
At the Zoo . . .
If you're looking for a workout with your little ones, Yoga at the Zoo offers families the chance to strike an animal-inspired post at the Nature Boardwalk, where native flora and fauna and an iconic skyline provide a soaring backdrop. Prices and dates vary (the schedule runs June–September) with multi-class passes available. REGISTER
Shake away the dog days of summer with Zoomba at the Zoo, hosted at the Lincoln Park Zoo on September 17. You'll burn away the pounds to the beat of salsa, merengue, mambo and hip-hop, all in one 90-minute class, with white-cheeked gibbons on one side and Chilean flamingos on the other. Tickets for this ages 16+ event are $20. REGISTER
At the Conservatory . . .
The historic Garfield Park Conservatory brims with hundreds of tropical plants, azaleas, tulips, snap dragons, camellias and more. On the second and fourth Saturdays throughout the year, from 9 to 10 a.m., visitors are invited to drop in and take part in a relaxing yoga session surrounded by luscious blooms. If it's nice, the session will be held outside on the Bluestone Terrace; inclement weather will take the poses inside Horticulture Hall. Beginners to advanced yogis are welcome to attend. Remember to bring your own mat. Yoga is always free at the conservatory, but a $5 donation is suggested. LEARN MORE
Goat yoga is a thing, and yes you can do it at Garfield Park Conservatory too! Held outdoors in the goat pasture, you will get one-on-one time with the goats, and get in a good stretch as well. June 18, 24 and 28 are three upcoming dates. LEARN MORE
At the Park . . .
Millennium Park will once again offer FREE workouts this summer, so there's no excuse to not get your daily workout in, even if you're on vacay. All you need to do is show up on the Great Lawn on Saturday mornings! These fab free workout sessions are 45 minutes long, with classes in Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba. As an added bonus, yoga will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays through August 31. LEARN MORE
In a Butterfly Haven . . .
The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is perhaps one of the most inspiring spots in the city to strike a yoga pose. Every Saturday, this drop-in class is welcomes aspiring yoginis to stretch and bend while butterflies flutter overhead. If you're feeling particularly balanced during tree pose, a beautiful butterfly just might land on your head! Each class is $15; 4-week series available for $48. Participants must be 18 years of age or older. LEARN MORE
Along the Lakefront or on a Rooftop . . .
The Chicago Athletic Association hotel (12 S. Michigan Avenue) and On Your Mark Coaching + Training (OYM) are joining forces to make summer fitness an easy-peasy priority for both hotel guests and local Chicagoans alike with recurring fitness programs throughout the season. On select Saturdays, (July 1, August 12, September 23) at 6 a.m. kick off a healthy morning a Lakefront 5K Run. Lakefront 5K Runs are complimentary to hotel guests and public visitors of all levels of ability and experience; just arrive in the hotel’s first floor lobby at 5:45 a.m. REGISTER
Greet the summer sun with Sunrise Rooftop Yoga at Cindy’s, hosted on select Saturdays throughout the summer (June 17, July 29, September 9) at 6 a.m.: You'll deepen your yoga practice on Cindy’s elegant Terrace just as the summer sun rises over Lake Michigan. Stunning views of Millennium Park included. REGISTER
Meanwhile, in the Gold Coast, Hotel Palomar is partnering with Exhale Spa to offer a once weekly, al fresco barre+cardio class on the hotel’s 17th-floor outdoor terrace. Offered every Thursday from 7 to 8 a.m. (weather pending), these challenging yet fun classes are complimentary to hotel guests; visitors can sign up for the class as well at the drop-in rate. LEARN MORE
Don't forget to check out Navy Pier's FREE summer workout offerings. And if you prefer to work out solo, consider a run or Divvy bike ride along Chicago's beautiful Lakefront trail—locals know, it's always cooler by the lake!