If you lead a healthy lifestyle (or want to start), moving to a new city can be nerve-wracking. Is there a local gym or fitness club that suits your style? What about hiking trails, biking paths, and all the other local features that make it easy to stay active and fit? The ideal city for you may depend on the types of activities you enjoy. Outdoors enthusiasts, for instance, may be happier in a city such as Denver, Colorado, where skiing and other outdoor adventures are readily available all year long. Those who like to hit the gym, on the other hand, can function just as well in a bustling urban area provided there’s a great gym nearby.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best cities for apartment dwellers who lead an active lifestyle, from cities with an abundance of hiking trails and parks to those with ample options and easy access to yoga studios, gyms, and other amenities well-suited to the fitness enthusiast.
1. Boston, MA
Home to the famous Boston Marathon, which draws participants and spectators spanning every age group from around the world, the city of Boston earns praise as the most fitness-friendly among major cities. As of 2016, there were more than 5,300 fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in the city of Boston, and recreation and fitness centers are abundant, as well, with more than 800 options for residents and visitors to get their fitness on.
2. Madison, WI
Madison, Wisconsin earns the top spot on WalletHub’s list of the best cities for an active lifestyle. The downtown area is situated between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, providing ample opportunities for water sports such as kayaking and waterskiing in the warmer months. But you’re not limited to summer time activities in Madison; winter fun and fitness includes skiing, ice hockey, and more. Those who prefer indoor fitness can choose from more than 100 fitness and recreation centers.
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
The Travel Channel has ranked Minneapolis-St. Paul as the healthiest city in the U.S. for three years running, thanks to its ample park spaces. Minneapolis was also one of the first cities in the U.S. to create bike trails (five percent of the population commutes by bike, in fact), and it has the most basketball hoops per capita. A search on the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation site produces 520 results for fitness and recreation activities in the area, ranging from fitness classes to badminton, basketball, martial arts, and more.
4. Denver, CO
One of the best cities for those who love outdoor adventures, Denver, Colorado offers easy access to the Front Range Trail, located just 30 minutes outside the city. The trail stretches for 876 miles from Wyoming to New Mexico, drawing adventurous hikers from all over the country. Get yourself a wearable fitness tracker with GPS capability and explore everything Denver has to offer, from mountain biking to hiking, rock climbing, running, and more. The Mile High City offers 300 days of sunshine each year, so there’s no excuse not to get outside and soak up the sun.
5. Boise, ID
Boise, Idaho is home to the Ridge to Rivers Trail System, a 190-mile stretch of trails providing a variety of fitness opportunities and outdoor experiences. There are trails for ATVs, accessible trails, dog-friendly trails, bike loops, and so much more. Boise promises an exhilarating experience all year round, with breathtaking, colorful scenery in the fall and abundant wildflowers in the spring.
6. Missoula, MT
Montana may not be the first place you think of when considering a city that’s amenable to your active lifestyle, but it has a lot to offer. First, it’s in close proximity to a variety of national parks and forests, meaning trail running, rock climbing, mountain climbing, and even kayaking await the outdoor adventurer. For those who aren’t as outdoors-inclined but still like to stay fit, there are more than 60 fitness and recreation centers in the area.
7. Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ ranks 3rd on WalletHub’s list of the best cities for an active lifestyle. It’s tied with two other cities (Orlando, FL and Atlanta, GA) for the most fitness centers per capita, plus it’s tied with Orlando for the most golf courses per capita. That makes Scottsdale an ideal choice for retirees and anyone who enjoys the occasional round of golf. Plus, with plenty of parks, pools, sports and recreation centers, and trails, there’s something in Scottsdale for everyone to enjoy.
8. Hartford, CT
Hartford, Connecticut is home to more than 50 parks and squares, covering an impressive 27,000 acres. Hartford’s Division for Recreation makes a variety of activities available for people of all walks of life and all abilities, from youth flag football to basketball, cultural activities, and more. One of the biggest draws to the area is the Riverfront Recapture program, which consists of four parks with connected paths for walking, running, and biking, plus playgrounds, boat launches, fishing, and just about anything you could want to lead an active lifestyle.
9. Orlando, FL
Orlando, Florida is one of the three cities with the most fitness centers per capita and is tied with Scottsdale for the most golf courses per capita. There are also ample opportunities for aquatics, athletics, and more. The City of Orlando maintains nine fitness centers itself, but there are a multitude of privately owned fitness and recreation centers, as well.
10. Atlanta, GA
With 17 neighborhood and community parks, plus an 18-acre sports facility that accommodates a number of youth sports programs, Atlanta offers many opportunities for families and singles interested in leading a more active lifestyle. You’ll never run out of sporting events to attend or things to do in this bustling city – but that shouldn’t turn nature lovers off; Atlanta’s greenspaces include hidden forests and trails for hiking, running, and trail riding to experience the great outdoors.
America is getting more health-conscious every day, and cities across the country are providing more opportunities for indoor and outdoor recreation and fitness to help residents and visitors maintain an active lifestyle. The truth is, you can manage to stay fit just about anywhere if you’re committed, but if you’re in search of a particular lifestyle, there’s a city somewhere waiting for you to call it home.