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The 17 best gyms in Chicago

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

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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Under current city guidelines, all gyms require guests to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a photo ID.

If you're searching for a place to work out in Chicago, you have no shortage of options when it comes to class, equipment and amenities. The best gyms in Chicago include highend fitness clubs outfitted with spas and restaurants as well as neighborhood gyms that are open 24 hours a day. Heck, you can even rent a personal gym pod in Fulton Market if you want to sweat inside a repurposed shipping container. With in-house personal trainers, streaming class options and yoga studios, Chicago gyms boast just about everything you're looking for. 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? Head to the best gyms in Chicago and don't be afraid to break a sweat.

The best gyms in Chicago

  • Sports and fitness
  • Bucktown
  • price 2 of 4

One of the glitziest athletic clubs in the city, Midtown offers its members a 575,000-square-foot wellness playground that includes 16 indoor tennis courts, top-notch fitness equipment, several studios, 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.

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, ranging from kickboxing to cycling—and you also have 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 just over $200 per month.

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Chicago Athletic Clubs
Photograph: Shutterstock

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
  • 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 a sun deck that's a popular summer spot. It's not cheap, but if you're looking for bountiful ammenities, you get what you pay for.

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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 program," allowing members to try the gym for a month and get a full refund if they don’t see results after a series of baseline tests. You can also take classes, do heart-rate training, go rock climbing 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
  • 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.

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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 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 provide an alternative to more expensive luxury gyms that's open 24 hours a day. 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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Life Time River North
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Life Time River North

The first Chicago outpost of the national Life Time chain bills itself as a "luxury athletic resort," set inside of the One Chicago residential building in River North. Members get access to a sprawling 126,000-square-foot space outfitted with cardio and weight machines; studios for yoga, pilates and cycling; an indoor lap pool and a regluation basketball court. There's also an in-house spa and restaurant, in case you need to fill up (or relax) after a workout. Members can also access a rooftop deck and an outdoor pool for an additional fee, which seems worth the splurge to us.

10. S3 Studios

Focusing on spin, strength and stretch classes, this Hyde Park gym offers in-person and livestreaming sessions that allow you to track your progress in realtime. Using She Fit Studios Smart Technology, participants in studio classes can track stats like the number of calories burned, heart rate and effort level as the pedal, lift or lunge.

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Cheetah Gym
Photograph: Shutterstock

11. Cheetah Gym

Located in Andersonville, this neighborhood gym hosts more than 50 group classes every week (including some virtual options), 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.

BOLD
Photograph: Courtesy Bold

12. BOLD

Want to work out in a private space that isn't your living room or basement? BOLD offers three different private "pods" (repurposed shipping containers) outfitted with rowing machines, Peloton bikes, treadmills and weights that you can rent by the hour. Up to three people can you you in the 320-square-foot space, or you can sweat solo. Prices start at $35 per hour and there are trainers that you can hire if you need some guidance. 

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Strong Hands Gym
Photograph: Shutterstock

13. Strong Hands Gym

Billing itself as "Chicago's first LGBTQ friendly training facility," Strong Hands is located just north of Northalsted and offers 24-hour access to its facilities. Members can sign up to use treadmills, weights and other equipment or opt for an unlimited package that include boxing, kickboxing, MMA and other fitness classes.

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.

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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. If you're the competitive type, you'll love the CTF Games, an annual summer competition (open to members and non-members) that allow you to show off your fitness prowess.

  • 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. It's easy to choose the package that's right for you, whether you want to pay as your go or buy an unlimited class package.

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