The best outdoor fitness classes in NYC
From Sunset Swing in Hudson River Park to jump rope sessions in Brooklyn Bridge Park, here are the best ways to sweat it out around the city.
Now that it’s warm, it's time to get outside and move your body. Gym memberships are cool and all, but why not find a way to break a sweat out in the (urban) elements, and make the most of the season’s longer, sunnier days in the several parks and green spaces of the city? You can always go for a jog or a long bike ride, but if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven quirky and fun fitness classes to try in New York City to get your spring/summer groove on.
Fit Tours NYC
These hour-long Central Park workouts combine sightseeing and exercise, with fitness experts leading participants through exercise “tours” on routes mapped out by NYC sightseeing guides. Choose between five options: Central Park 5K fun run, a Central Park Core Tour, a Sunday Run Day, a Sunrise Yoga Walk and a Power Hour. Sweat as you move past iconic park landmarks, from the Belvedere Castle to the Bethesda Fountain. Prices start at $39.
The folks behind Long Island climbing gym the Cliffs have opened NYC’s first ever outdoor climbing wall in DUMBO. For $9, including rental shoes, you can climb all day in Brooklyn’s most movie-magical neighborhood — with a backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge, Jane’s Carousel and the East River. $9.
New York Surf School, Rockaway Beach
You know you’ve always wanted to learn to surf. Now, you’re just one subway ride away from realizing your dreams! Train it out to Rockaway Beach 69, where the New York Surf School provides private and group lessons, and an actual surf camp (don’t let that “Girls” episode deter you). Every Saturday from 10 am-2 pm, they hold a Singles Surf Retreat, where you can mingle in the waves/crash your board into a hottie on purpose. There are even combo yoga and surfing lessons, which take place on the sand and in the water. Prices vary.
Open Ropes, Double Dutch Empire
Perhaps you haven’t jumped rope since your schoolyard days. But it’s great cardio, and as you may recall, lots of fun. Beginning June 7 through the end of August, Double Dutch Empire hosts free jump rope sessions on Wednesday nights from 7-9 pm at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. They provide the ropes and the instruction; you bring your working, hopping legs and that zest from your youth. Free.
Rooftop Yoga at Brooklyn Grange
Find your om among the greens and flowers that grow atop one of the world’s largest rooftop farms. Beginning June 5 through the end of September, every Monday night from 6:30-7:30 pm, Sarah Schuman of Shambhala Yoga and Dance Center leads an hour of asana at Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard location. BYO mat, water and photo ID. It’s a good idea to reserve ahead, as classes are limited to 30 people and tend to fill up fast. $17/class or $85/six pack class.
The Rise NYC
If you’re the type who likes to get their workout out of the way first thing in the morning, but could use a group to keep you accountable, The Rise is for you. Monday through Friday at 6:30 am, the fitness group hosts free outdoor workouts at multiple locations. From Brooklyn Body Circuit at Prospect Park’s Grand Army Plaza, to Flatiron: Form and Flow held outside the Flatiron building, you’ll be able to find a sweat session that’s both appealing and convenient location-wise. Free.
Calling all quick-footed, movers and shakers (and those who aspire to be!): Find your rhythm — and endorphins — at these free sunset swing dancing sessions. At Pier 45 at Hudson River Park, on select Mondays and Tuesdays beginning June 7, Dance Manhattan will teach a swing dance lesson from 6:30-7:15 pm. Then you try out your moves from 7:15 on, while Baby Soda Jazz Band performs. Free.