running outside

Gym Reimagined

WORDS: Megan Michelson
Photo Above: NPHOTOS

A music venue isn’t just for concerts. Here are some of the country’s most unique amphitheaters and music venues that also double as workout epicenters during the day.

Packed concerts by night. Stair climbing, yoga, and bootcamp classes by day. Welcome to the new gym, now taking shape at amphitheaters, concert venues, and public spaces where you’d least expect to find joggers and yoga mats. Turns out these spaces—from dimly lit concert halls to grassy, outdoor amphitheaters—are prime for daytime group exercise classes and those looking to squeeze in a workout that doesn’t involve a treadmill in a cramped gym.

Morrison, Colorado
Red Rock Amphitheater

© Red Rocks Entertainment

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Set amongst brick-colored sandstone monoliths outside of Denver, there’s a mystical concert venue called Red Rocks, where U2, Neil Young, and The Grateful Dead have played. During the day, the place is open for the public to use, and use it they do. On weekend mornings, hundreds of spandex-clad Coloradans show up for free, organized workouts led by local trainers, and midweek you’ll find runners pounding the hundreds of steps that ascend from the stage. 

Nashville, Tennessee

Ascend Amphitheater

Nashville’s new Ascend Amphitheater opened in July 2015 in downtown Music City’s new 11-acre Riverfront Park. The music venue was designed with a custom electronic orchestra shell to serve as the summertime home of the Nashville Symphony. Other musical acts, including Phish, My Morning Jacket, and Florence and the Machines, have already played at the new venue. Around the concert space, you’ll find ample options for a downtown, open-air workout, like basketball courts, running trails, and an 11-station fitness circuit.

Boca Raton, Florida 

Sanborn Square

Sanborn Square is a small public park in downtown Boca Raton where public concerts, art shows, and other events are often held. The city is now offering free fitness classes in Sanborn Square on Saturday mornings, starting with yoga at 9 a.m., followed by capoeira. 

Salt Lake City, Utah
gallivan center

© Gallivan Center Events

The Gallivan Center

The Gallivan Center is a public, grassy amphitheater and event space in downtown Salt Lake City. Among the public events and activities, you’ll find ice skating, food truck Thursdays, concerts, and more. This winter, they’ve started offering free weekday workouts in the evenings from January to March, including yoga and bootcamp classes on the event stage.

Brooklyn, New York

Verboten

This 10,000-square-foot music venue, housed in an old metal shop in Williamsburg, is known for its underground music scene and intimate concert space. Now, it’s also known for yoga. Verboten offers yoga classes several times a week, complete with DJs, disco balls, complimentary yoga mats, and post-yoga brunch at the on-site restaurant. 

Los Angeles, California
Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California

© November Project Los Angeles

Hollywood Bowl

LA’s mega famous Hollywood Bowl—which has hosted the LA Philharmonic, Kayne West, The Rolling Stones, and others over its 93-year history—is actually part of the LA County Regional Park system, which means when the band shell isn’t booked for an event, it’s open to all. You’ll find runners—including Hollywood High’s track team—sprinting the thousand-plus stairs in the bowl for regular workouts during the day. The November Project leads a free group fitness program on the Hollywood Bowl stairs each Wednesday morning.

RockSweat

A music industry executive and a fitness trainer launched RockSweat in Los Angeles to merge the worlds of group fitness and concerts. It began in 2014 with weekend morning dance-themed workouts with DJs, smoke machines, and light shows at the Roxy Theater on LA’s Sunset Strip. Now RockSweat also travels to music festivals and private events all over. 

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