Free Exercise Classes, Group Runs, and More in Chicago
Updated July 8, 2018
Whether you exercise because you love the way you feel after a good workout or because you know it is a vital part of living a healthy lifestyle, you probably have found that fitness club memberships and individual classes can be expensive.
If you would like to save some money, you are in luck! During the summer, you will find several free exercise classes offered in Chicago. Most are in the downtown Chicago area, making them easily accessible to both visitors and residents. There are also classes in various neighborhoods. These classes are outside (unless it is raining). You get a free workout and you get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors!
In addition to free classes during the summer, there are also many year-round classes that are free.
Athleta stores offer free classes. Check each store's calendar to find upcoming classes for that location. Note: Some classes may require reservations, so be sure to check the calendar and plan accordingly.
Chicago Department of Public Health Exercise Classes
These classes feature low-impact aerobics and are suitable for all fitness levels.
Monday and Wednesday Classes
- Piotrowski Park, 4247 West 31st Street, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- Humboldt Park, 1400 North Sacramento Avenue, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Pottawattomie Park, 7340 North Rogers Avenue, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Albany Park Multicultural Academy, 4929 North Sawyer Avenue, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Harrison Park, 1824 South Wood Street, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- Gage Park, 2411 West 55th Street, from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
- Davis Square Park, 4430 South Marshfield Avenue, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Presence Saint Mary Campus Nazareth Family Center, 1127 North Oakley Boulevard, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
- Mount Sinai Hospital, 1500 South California Avenue, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Tuesday only)
- Presence Saint Elizabeth Campus, 1431 North Western Avenue, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Thursday only)
- Villa Guadalupe, 3201 East 91st Street, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Chicago Public Library Fitness Classes
Various branches of the Chicago Public Library host free fitness classes. I have located classes using the following methods:
- Using the filters available on the left-hand side of the Events page, under "Event Types," I chose "Health and Science." This filter brings up all the fitness classes, but it also brings up other events, creating the need to look through a larger number of events to find classes.
- Using the search feature at the top of the Events page, I chose "Events" from the drop-down options and then entered "exercise classes," "fitness classes," "tai chi," and "yoga" in the search field, completing four different searches. Try a fitness-related search and see what you find!
Community Yoga With YogaCare
Free yoga classes are offered Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. throughout the year at Arts Incubator, 301 East Garfield Boulevard.
Designed for the yoga beginner, these one-hour classes focus on basic yoga poses and healthy alignment. You will practice both standing and seated poses. Yogic breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques are incorporated into the sessions.
Fleet Feet has four locations in Chicago that offer a variety of free events and classes.
Lakeview, 3359 North Southport Avenue, Chicago
Lincoln Square, 4762 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
Old Town, 1706 North Wells Street, Chicago
South Loop, 150 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago
Chicks' Night Fun Run & Walk events begin at 6:30 p.m. and are offered by all four Chicago locations: Lakeview (Thursdays), Lincoln Square (Wednesdays), Old Town (Tuesdays), and South Loop (Thursdays).
CorePower Fun Run is offered by the Lakeview location on the second Monday of each month. The fun run begins at 6:30 p.m. After the run, interested participants can walk over to CorePower Yoga's Roscoe Village yoga studio, located at 3232 North Lincoln Avenue, for a free one-hour Hot Power Fusion class.
CorePower Yoga Pop-Up Class is offered by the Old Town location on the first Sunday of each month at 9:30 a.m.
Fun Runs are offered by all four Chicago locations. Days and times of fun runs vary by location.
Historic Run Series events explore Chicago's unique neighborhoods. Each guided running tour is approximately four miles in length. Check the schedule to find each run's date, time, and location and to RSVP.
Free Yoga at Garfield Park Conservatory
Beginning to advanced students are welcome to attend these yoga classes at Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 North Central Park Avenue. Classes are held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. (usually) on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Bring your own mat. The classes are free, but a $5 donation is suggested.
Note: Be sure to check the schedule; occasionally, a class may be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Kusanya Cafe Saturday Yoga
Saturday Yoga meets at Kusanya Cafe, 825 West 69th Street, at 11:30 a.m. Classes are suitable for all experience levels. Supervised kids are welcome to attend. Mats are provided.
Live Grit, located at 1010 West Monroe Street in Chicago, organizes Run Club and Group Rides, which are free. Run Club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m., unless temperatures fall below zero or there is a thunderstorm. Group Rides meet on Sundays at 8 a.m., weather permitting.
lululemon athletica stores offer free classes. Check each store's calendar to find upcoming classes for that location.
Bucktown, 1627 North Damen Avenue, Chicago
Fulton Market Local, 167 North Sangamon Street, Chicago
Halsted Street, 2104 North Halsted Street, Chicago
900 North Michigan Avenue, 900 North Michigan Shops, 900 North Michigan Avenue, Level 3, Chicago
Rush Street, 930 North Rush Street, Chicago
Southport Avenue, 3556 North Southport Avenue, Chicago
Located at 600 East Grand Avenue, Navy Pier offers a variety of free fitness classes throughout the year. Check Navy Pier's Fitness page to see current offerings.
Nike offers free training sessions through the Nike+ Run Club (NRC) and Nike+ Training Club (NTC). Many events meet at Nike Chicago, 669 North Michigan Avenue or Nike Running Bucktown, 1640 North Damen Avenue. However, some sessions may meet at another location, so be sure to check the event information. Visit the Sessions page to find upcoming NRC and NTC events.
November Project Chicago offers free workouts on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Wednesday: Workout locations vary, but the group meets at 6:28 a.m. Visit the November Project Chicago Facebook page for each week's location.
Friday: Meet at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park at 6 a.m.
Road Runner Sports
The Chicago Road Runner Sports, located at 1435 North Kingsbury Street, offers a weekly run group. To view upcoming events, visit the Chicago location's Events page on Facebook.
Universal Sole offers the following free fun run programs:
- Burgers & Beer Fun Run Series
- Chicago Tap Room Fun Run Series
- Monday Night Fun Runs
- Wednesday's Women Fun Run Series
If you are aware of a free exercise class in Chicago that has not been included on this page, please send the information via DM using Twitter (@InspiredChicago).
Chicago Park District
Follow the above link to find free yoga classes. Some classes may be canceled if there is inclement weather, so please check the schedule before leaving for class.
Doggie Yoga in the Park
Bring your dog and your yoga mat to Washington Square Park, 901 North Clark Street, for a free 60-minute yoga class on June 14, July 19, and August 16. Classes begin at 6 p.m. Dogs must be leashed and able to participate calmly.
Some of the farmers markets in Chicago offer free yoga classes. Below are a few farmers markets that I found have free or donation-based yoga classes. Check with your local farmers market to see if free yoga classes are offered.
Horner Park Farmers Market
Join McFetridge Yoga & Fitness Studio for a free yoga class at the Horner Park Farmers Market each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. All ages and experience levels are welcome. Please bring your own mat. If it is raining or too cold, the class will be canceled. Cancellations will be announced on the McFetridge Yoga & Fitness Studio Facebook page by 9:30 a.m.
Pop-Up Yoga at Ward 47 Chicago Fresh Market | Artisan Fare
Ward 47 Chicago Fresh Market | Artisan Fare is teaming up with CorePower Yoga to offer an outdoor yoga class each Saturday at the market. Visit Chicago Fresh Market | Artisan Fare on Instagram for class times and instructors. Bring your own mat. The classes are free, but a $5 donation is suggested.
Gallagher Way, located at 3637 North Clark Street, offers the following free fitness programs:
- HIIT: Cardio (Mondays)
- HIIT: Strength (Wednesdays)
- Multi-Level Yoga (Tuesdays)
- Pilates (first Thursdays)
- Run Club (Saturdays)
- Vinyasa Flow Yoga (select Thursdays)
kids jamm Summer Yoga Class
This free yoga class for caregivers and children is held on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 12 noon at Arts Incubator, 301 East Garfield Boulevard. Mats are provided. Feel free to bring your favorite instrument and a bottle of water.
Millennium Park Summer Workouts
Grab your workout gear and head to Millennium Park this summer for free classes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.
On Saturdays, from June 2 through September 1, Pilates (7 a.m.), Yoga (8 a.m.), Strength Training (9 a.m.), and Zumba (10 a.m.) are on the schedule. Get in an early yoga workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. from Tuesday, June 5, through Thursday, August 30. All classes are 45 minutes and take place on the Great Lawn.
In celebration of the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, workouts on Saturday, June 2, will feature gospel music.
On Saturday, June 30, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a Wounded Warrior Project Root to Rise Yoga Class led by Dan Nevins, who will also share his inspirational story.
Yoga in the Park
Enjoy a free yoga class every Tuesday evening, June 5–August 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Wicker Park. Classes meet near the softball field near West Schiller Street. If it rains, the class moves to the gym inside Wicker Fieldhouse.
If you have questions regarding the interactive map, please read the Tips for Using This Map section.
Tips for Using This Map
Use the Zoom In (+) and Zoom Out (–) features, located at the bottom of the map, to show more or less map detail.
Click on a map icon to open a panel showing detailed information about the exercise class. Choose the View in Google Maps link to get directions, see area street views, and access other features. To close the panel, click on the left-pointing arrow next to the name of the exercise class.
Use these features to open and close a panel showing a description of the map and a list of all the exercise classes on the map. To reveal more information in each section, click the section's ∨. To see less information in each section, click the ∧. Select a class name from the list to open a panel showing detailed information about the exercise class. Choose the View in Google Maps link to get directions, see area street views, and access other features. To close the panel and return to the list of all the exercise classes, click on the left-pointing arrow next to the name of the exercise class.
When in Google Maps, drag and drop the Google Person onto the map to see the area in street view. You can then move up and down the streets to see what is in the neighborhood.
Select this feature to open a new tab in your web browser and view a larger map. The map opens with the list of exercise classes panel open. You will now have access to a search feature and more menu options. Click on the menus and try the different features to find those that work best for you.
Share the map via Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or email. You can also embed the map on your own website.