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Photograph: Samantha Gades via Unsplash

The 12 best gyms in Chicago

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

By Morgan Olsen and Sara Freund

Chicago fitness junkies have no shortage of options when it comes to working out. 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 include all the bells and whistles—from in-house personal trainers and state-of-the-art equipment to yoga studios and all the kettlebells your heart  desires. Some even double as the best spas in Chicago, offering massage therapy, facials and body treatments to help you relax after a tough workout. If you're ready to kick your fitness routine into gear, check out the best gyms in Chicago and get to work.

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The best gyms in Chicago

Photograph: Victor Freitas via Unsplash

1. East Bank Club

Sports and fitness Gyms and fitness centers River North

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.

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 The Muse (dance-inspired cardio) and Firestarter (a 30-minute cardio burn), while also having the option to add on personal training sessions with top-rated professionals. The national club has locations in Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, the Loop and Highland Park, and members can access all four outposts fo less than $200 per month.

Photograph: Samantha Gades via Unsplash

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.

Photograph: Charles Cherney

4. Midtown Athletic Club

Sports and fitness Bucktown

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.

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.

Photograph: Courtesy of Enrgi

6. Enrgi

Sports and fitness Gyms and fitness centers River North

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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Photograph: Danielle Cerullo via Unsplash

7. Wicker Park Fitness

Sports and fitness Gyms and fitness centers East Village

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. Beyond building a fitness community in Chicago, this gym and its counterpart in Lakeview host yoga retreats throughout the Midwest to help members plan mindful getaways.

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Photograph: Jonathan Borba via Unsplash

8. The Space

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. 

Photograph: Jonathan Borba via Unsplash

9. 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.

Photograph: Meghan Holmes via Unsplash

10. CrossTown Fitness

Sports and fitness West Loop

This 3,000-square-foot gym in the West Loop features state-of-the-art equipment, personal trainers, and 50- to 60-minute classes that focus on cardio and strength training. Come summertime, members can take their workout outside at North Avenue Beach for special beach classes.

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Lateral Gym
Photograph: Courtesy of Lateral Gym

11. Lateral Fitness

Sports and fitness Gyms and fitness centers River North

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.

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Lakeshore Fitness
Photograph: Michael J. Kardas

12. 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.


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