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The 14 best gyms in Chicago

The best gyms in Chicago will have you sweating in style with group classes and high-end equipment

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors
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Under Illinois' Tier 3 mitigations, gyms are able to operate at 25 percent capacity (with advance reservations) and guests are required to wear masks when indoors. Gyms are currently unable to offer large group classes on-site, but some have moved their classes online. With shifting regulations, offerings, classes, amenities and hours may vary—call ahead for the most up-to-date information.

Chicago is filled with options for working out, no matter what type of equipment and amenities you're looking for. The city is home to gyms that run the gamut from boutique to big-box, with a range of membership fees to match. The best gyms in Chicago offer everything you'd expect, including in-house personal trainers, state-of-the-art equipment, yoga studios and more than enough kettlebells. Some even double as the best spas in Chicago, offering massage therapy, facials and body treatments to help you relax after a tough workout. Ready to develop a fitness routine and stick to it? The best gyms in Chicago will provide you with a place to break a sweat.

The best gyms in Chicago

  • Sports and fitness
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • River North
  • price 4 of 4

Inside this mammoth 450,000-square-foot space (spread over two city blocks), you’ll find a running track, four pools, an indoor driving range and seven tennis courts—not to mention the largest cardio fitness room in the city, which boasts a whopping 400 pieces of equipment. Beyond the impeccable exercise facilities, members also have access to a spa, car wash, restaurants and more.

Equinox
Photograph: Courtesy Equinox

2. Equinox

Upscale fitness buffs flock to Equinox for its high-end feel, pristine locker rooms and amenities galore. Members enjoy unlimited access to classes like Master of One (a HIIT weight training class) and Anthem (a spinning class with a soundtrack), while also having the option to add on personal training sessions with top-rated professionals. The national club has locations in Lincoln Park, Lincoln Commons, Gold Coast and the Loop, and members can access all four outposts for less than $200 per month.

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Chicago Athletic Clubs
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3. Chicago Athletic Clubs

With seven locations scattered throughout the North Side of Chicago (Bucktown, Evanston, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, West Loop and Wicker Park), it's not hard to find Chicago Athletic Club. While the offerings differ slightly from location to location, varied classes taught by experienced instructors, lots of well-equipped machines and comfortable locker rooms are universal. There’s also a handy app that allows you to check schedules and book classes.

  • Sports and fitness
  • Bucktown
  • price 2 of 4

Midtown offers its members an updated country club experience in the heart of the city, with a 575,000-square-foot wellness playground that includes 16 tennis courts, top-notch fitness equipment, a mind-body studio, a full-service restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, a beautiful spa and luxurious locker rooms. Heck, there's even a 55-room hotel that features a suite designed by tennis superstar Venus Williams. Of course, amenities like these cost a pretty penny, but Midtown Athletic Club is a fantastic option for families looking for the full package.

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Fitness Formula Clubs
Photograph: Jorge Gera

5. Fitness Formula Clubs

Not sure if you can get in shape? FFC offers a "results guaranteed promise," allowing members to try the gym for a month and get a full refund if they don’t see results. You can also train for a triathlon (it’s one of the only certified training centers in the Midwest), rock climb or take a pilates reformer class. But one of FFC's biggest perks is its footprint; find locations in Elmhurst, Boystown, East Lakeview, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Oak Park, Old Town, Park Ridge, South Loop, Union Station and West Loop.

  • Sports and fitness
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

If group fitness is your jam, this trendy River North spot could be your fitness oasis. Spread across two floors, Enrgi offers fun, themed classes like Bags N Bells, which utilizes barbells, kettlebells and Bulgarian bags in a low-impact 30-minute workout. You can even round out your routine by tossing in a yoga or dance class. The studio also features a recovery area that offers compression therapy, foam rolling and deep stretching.

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  • Sports and fitness
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Bridgeport
  • price 2 of 4

Hidden inside the Bridgeport Arts Center, Lance's Gym is a no-frills space that's popular with power lifters. Even if you're not lifting extremely heavy weights, you'll find stationary bikes, free weights, conventional lifting equipment in the gym, with monthly memberships and day passes available for those who are ready to sweat. Lance's Gym also offers personal trainers, who'll work with you one-on-one to help achieve your fitness goals. 

  • Sports and fitness
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Modeling the 6,000-square-foot, industrial-style space after their first neighborhood gym in New York, the owners of Wicker Park Fitness offer a range of classes—from bootcamp and power yoga to self-defense and BootyBurn. You can also get personal one-on-one training from an experienced instructor or—if you're a first-timer—you can stop by for a free workout and see what Wicker Park Fitness has to offer.

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  • Sports and fitness
  • Hyde Park

If big-box gyms aren't your speed, entrust your membership dollars with The Space in Hyde Park, a small but action-packed gym that offers one-on-one training, group classes and general gym access. Members can hit the treadmill or elliptical or take their fitness goals to the next level with a personalized training session with a roster of talented professionals.

Cheetah Gym
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Cheetah Gym

Located in Andersonville, this neighborhood gym hosts more than 50 group classes every week, allowing its members to drop in for vinyasa-style yoga, pilates, kickboxing and bootcamp courses. But perhaps one of Cheetah's best perks is its supervised kids' room, where little ones can read and do activities while you get your workout in.

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  • Sports and fitness
  • West Loop

You'll find CrossTown Fitness gyms in the West Loop, Roscoe Village and Wrigleyville, all with state-of-the-art equipment, personal trainers, and 50- to 60-minute classes that focus on cardio and strength training. A new on-demand membership gives you access to 20 livestreaming classes that you can complete at home every week.

  • Sports and fitness
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • West Loop
  • price 3 of 4

Outfitted with industrial accents and ornate mirrors, Mode Gym is a luxury fitness center that prides itself on the integration of fitness and technology. Before you hop on a treadmill or start lifting weights, you can get a 3D body scan (free for members) to determine your body composition, tracking stats like your BMI and BMR. Membership also includes access to an app that assists with daily nutrition and the ability to attend a variety of small workout classes.

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  • Sports and fitness
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

With a zen, spa-like feel, this boutique River North gym takes an à la carte approach to its services, including personal training, open gym memberships, a variety of classes, and massage and acupuncture. Lateral even offers a "Lunchtime Membership" for busy bodies, which includes full access to cardio, strength equipment and showers from 11am to 2pm Monday through Friday.

Lakeshore Sport and Fitness
Photograph: Michael j. Kardas

14. Lakeshore Sport and Fitness

Between the Lincoln Park and Illinois Center locations of Lakeshore Fitness, you’ll find everything from a climbing wall (the highest indoor wall in the country) to a golf simulator to multiple pools for aquatic group classes. There are also facilities for racquetball, paddleball and basketball. Post-workout, visit the rooftop restaurant for dinner and a view.

More ways to take care of yourself

  • Things to do

The "new year, new you" trope feels unwelcome this year. After all, who has time to worry about reinventing themselves when there's still so much uncertainty looming? Instead, we're challenging you to treat yourself with kindness and compassion this year. In a city like ours, there are plenty of ways to max out this resolution—from finding a quiet place to meditate and checking out books from the library to hitting the hiking trails near Chicago.

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