Chicago Local Life

7 Chicago Neighborhoods With Fun Places to Exercise Indoors

During the frigid winter months in Chicago, spending even a few moments outdoors can seem like an eternity. Luckily, there are plenty of places throughout the Chicagoland area to not only keep warm but also have fun. Whether it’s bouncing on a massive trampoline or putting on a mermaid tail, these Chicago neighborhoods are home to some unique ways to stay fit this winter.


Photo courtesy of First Ascent Uptown

Uptown is home to one of the three First Ascent Climbing facilities. Founded by a group of Chicago-based climbers, First Ascent provides state-of-the-art terrain for beginners and experienced climbers. First Ascent Uptown offers climbing classes as well as one-on-one instruction to hone in on goals to traverse the vertical landscape. To boot, all three facilities also offer fitness and yoga classes. 


Photo courtesy of Forteza Martial Arts studio

Ravenswood is home to the Forteza Martial Arts studio, which isn’t just your run-of-the-mill martial arts space. Located off Montrose on Ravenswood Avenues, Forteza offers medieval and renaissance swordsmanship classes to channel the inner warrior.

Forteza takes on a new approach to boot camp, using the medieval longsword instead of the standard weights and kettlebells. While practitioners may look like they are training for medieval ttimes, they also gain confidence, stamina, and work up a sweat.

Lincoln Park

Photo courtesy of Hang 5 Fitness

While summers in Chicago are prime for stand-up paddle boarding, Hang 5 Fitness keeps the surfing vibes up year-round. Located in Lincoln Park on Halsted Street near the Lincoln Avenue and Fullerton Avenue intersection, Hang 5 Fitness sits within the Studios FUSE space.

Hang 5 Fitness offers no-water, stand-up paddle board yoga, surf boot camp, barre, and float pilates using surf training boards. The boards mimic the ebb and flow of water to help improve balance and stability.


Get ready to spend your whole day indoors at WhirlyBall Chicago. With bowling, laser tag, a full food and drink menu, and (of course) Whirlyball, there will be no reason to have to go outside to brave the cold. 

For those who haven't heard of the sport, WhirlyBall has elements of lacrosse, hockey, basketball, and bumper cars. Basically, players ride in bumper cars with scoops similar to a lacrosse net and try to score a ball in the opponent's goal. It's a team sport, so bring some friends because there is sure to be laughs shared. 


Photo courtesy of Sky High Sports

Both kids and adults alike can take flight at Sky High Sports off Route 59 and Ferry Road in Naperville. The wall-to-wall trampolines make gravity feel completely overrated, and it’s about a lot more than just bouncing. Sky High Sports is known for its “Airobics” fitness program and freestyle court, but the space also has kids-only dodgeball and basketball courts.

Sky High is also home to a new “American Ninja Warrior”-style course inspired by the popular television show. The obstacle course challenges participants to climb rope walls, dangle between monkey bars, and more without falling into the foam pit. And if falling into foam pits sounds like a good time, Sky High has a super-sized foam pit at the end of a trampoline lane.

Little Italy

Photo courtesy of AquaMermaid

Many kids growing up in the ‘90s had a dream or two of becoming a mermaid. That dream can now become a reality at AquaMermaid, located in the UIC Sports and Fitness Center on Wolcott Avenue in Little Italy.

Group classes start with each person picking their mermaid tail and getting acquainted with having a fin in the water. Mermaiding classes go over swimming techniques, ways to synchronize with other mermaids, and acrobatic movements to impress the land humans. Classes are available to both kids and adults, offering instruction and time to swim freely like Ariel. 


When you think of darts you probably think of dive bars or someone's basement. But at Flight Club they bring an elevated experience to this classic bar favorite. Coined as "Social Darts," the car features a new take to the game by including multiplayer games, digital scoring and, and various features to help players of all skill levels.

Rent an "oche," the space to play darts, for up to 20 people. Flight Club has an award-winning bar and full lunch and dinner menu that can be delivered to your group while you play. Make sure to call ahead because the club can get especially busy during weekends. 

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