5595 Grand Drive
St. Louis, MO 63112
If you want to exercise like a real St. Louisan, you’ve got to head to Forest Park. It’s the heart of the Lou, and the locals love it with a passion. The park is huge, so even though its paved trails are well used by joggers, rollerbladers, bikers and fitness walkers alike, they are rarely crowded. Other Forest Park fitness options include golf, tennis, racquetball and handball. In winter, ice skating at Steinberg Skating Rink is a beloved tradition. In warmer months, head to the Boathouse and rent a rowboat for your upper-body and core workout.
Upper Limits Climbing Gym
326 S. 21st St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
St. Louis is proud to offer this spectacular indoor climbing gym, next to Union Station. The rehabbed historic railroad factory space yields 10,000 square feet of indoor climbing surface, with 35-foot-tall ceilings. Bouldering is everywhere, including a cave to explore. Don’t have a partner to climb with? There are seven auto belays to assist you. Never done any rock climbing before? Join a group lesson or schedule an individual one. A daily pass is just $12, and you can rent all of the gear you’ll need onsite.
Katy Trail (St. Charles Trailhead)
Main St. at Boones Lick Road
St. Charles, MO
The Katy Trail is another local favorite, popular with bikers and hikers alike. You can stroll for an hour if you like, or set aside a week and bike across the state. The Katy Trail is the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the country, and offers well-marked trails that pass along river bluffs, through shady woodlands and over open fields. The trail welcomes hikers and runners, but was designed specifically for bicyclists. Mile markers along the trail are a helpful guide but aren’t always accurate, as they’re based on the old railroad path rather than the new trail.
Bumbershoot Aerial Arts
2200 Gravois Ave.
St Louis, MO 63104
For a challenging and very fun fitness experience, check out Bumbershoot Aerial Arts. Classes in trapeze, aerial silks, hoops and ropes will challenge your body and let your inner child play. The work is physically difficult enough to give anyone a great workout, and the instructors are nurturing, helpful and supportive. Locals sign up for a full session of classes, but visitors have options as well. Visit the website to see which classes allow drop-ins, or schedule a private class if you prefer. On Saturdays at 4 p.m., there’s a free “Try-It-Out” trapeze class. Those who’ve tried it say it’s somehow both more difficult and more possible than they imagined.
Creve Coeur Lake
2143 Creve Coeur Mill Road
St. Louis, MO 63146
Creve Coeur Lake and the surrounding park area is another favorite of locals. Smooth paved trails are perfect for running, rollerblading and biking, and attract a lot of visitors when the weather is nice. Your best bet is to avoid Creve Coeur on weekends and visit early in the morning on weekdays instead. Circling the lake gives you a four-mile loop, and the scenery is breathtaking.
Related: Top Budget Fitness Classes In St. Louis
Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com