Prioritizing fitness during a trip is no easy feat. Of course, it is important to keep active while on vacation, but your travel partners may not want to make room for sweat sessions, day passes at gyms can cost a fortune, and let’s face it, hotel room yoga is simply not the same. Lucky for all who are visiting the boroughs this summer, New York City has a plethora of options when it comes to commitment- and cost-free fitness.
Thanks to the city’s abundant offerings, exercise doesn’t have to be something you squeeze in; it can be part of the trip. After all, nothing’s going to give you a local experience like doing cardio with a room full of New Yorkers. So, go ahead and pack your tennis shoes for these free fitness programs around the city. And no excuses about timing, because there’s one for every day of the week.
1. Monday: Pilates in Bryant Park
Kick-off the week with some scenic stretching in Bryant Park. This patch of grass in the middle of Manhattan is wedged between Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building, so you can squeeze it in before sightseeing. The class is presented by Pilates Initiative and Return to Life Center and is capped at 30 attendees. It runs from 7:30 to 8:30 AM every Monday until August 26.
2. Tuesday: Adidas Women’s Run
You don’t have to be a marathoner to participate in this running club. Women, in particular, can perhaps feel more comfortable about keeping up with this totally non-pretentious, beginner-friendly (and women-only) guided run. It’s a 2.5-mile trip starting in SoHo and it happens at the crack of dawn every Tuesday morning. Men are free to join in on other Adidas runs throughout the week. Be sure to sign up in advance to secure your spot.
3. Wednesday: Yoga on the Hudson
Let’s say you’re looking for something mellow that you don’t have to wake up early for (it is a vacation, after all). Bring a mat — or an extra towel from the hotel because who travels with a yoga mat? — to the waterfront for an evening “Salute to the Sun” on the Hudson, part of the Summer on the Hudson programming series. Golden hour is the backdrop for this hatha yoga class, held every Wednesday evening through September at Riverside Park South starting at 6:30 PM.
4. Thursday: Meditation at Athleta
There are a number of retailers around the city such as Adidas, Athleta, and Lululemon that offer free fitness programming throughout the summer. This activewear brand’s Rooftop Series offers three classes per week at the trendy SIXTY SoHo Hotel, so you could even reward your workout with a cocktail downstairs. Thursday’s 7:00 AM BodyART class is described as “meditation in motion.” Reserve your spot on Athleta’s website and see what it’s about.
5. Friday: Destination Deck with the November Project
November Project, named after a book about free grassroots fitness published in 2016, is a national movement that aims to bring unrestricted group fitness to cities around America. The demographic of this crowd skews young and trendy, and Friday mornings are reserved for Destination Deck at Hudson Yards. In this fun workout, a deck of cards is used to determine the exercises, so it changes every time.
6. Saturday: Cardio at Lululemon’s Hub Seventeen
Just 50 minutes of mid-morning cardio before Saturday brunch is enough to keep you on the fitness wagon during vacation. You’ll come back refreshed — perhaps even sore — after taking Lululemon’s Barefoot Cardio + Strength class at Hub Seventeen. This 10:15 AM congregation combines yoga, Pilates, and barre to give participants a challenge that’s within their reach, whatever their fitness levels may be.
7. Sunday: Yoga in The Battery
Finish off your week in the bustling city with a wind-down in The Battery. This is perhaps your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to practice your bridge pose with a view of Lady Liberty (and what a sweet memento to take home with you, too). This class is open level, so beginners are welcome, and takes place every Sunday at 11:30 AM on the Woodland Lawn in The Battery through September.