8 of the Most Unusual Places You Can Work Out
In a Restaurant
If you thought restaurants were only for brunching on weekends, think again. Restaurateur Michael Chernow (who happened to make the cut for The Top 25 Hottest Chefs in America), owner of seafood-focused Seamore's in New York City, launched an in-restaurant wellness series that transforms the dining room into a workout studio. Held quarterly in partnership with fitness influencers like Sarah Levey and Holly Rilinger of Nike, the Fit Squad concept started as part of the restaurant's employee wellness program, then expanded to the public. The 45-minute class is, of course, followed by a family-style brunch and Bellinis.
On a 75th-Floor Rooftop
Where there's a rooftop, there's a yoga class these days. But you probably haven't taken one quite like this. At The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, take a private elevator from the spa to the rooftop on the 75th floor. The class takes place Saturday and Sunday mornings through October on the actual tip-top of the building. (Heads up: You won't find a cute bar up there for a post-om mimosa. The sweeping views and stunning quiet in the middle of the city are worth it, though.) Afterward, a jog on Lake Michigan with the hotel's run concierge is a rejuvenating way to kick off the weekend.
In a Helicopter (Kinda)
Okay, so the heliyoga class through Maverick Tours doesn't actually involve downward dog inside a helicopter (that would be seriously claustrophobic), but the moment of takeoff is where this magical workout experience begins. Up to six passengers load into a helicopter in Las Vegas and zip off to the Valley of Fire, where you hop out onto the red rocks for a 75-minute yoga class. The location is only accessible via air—talk about serene!—and afterward, the trip concludes with a flight over the Las Vegas Strip.
In an Ice Castle
The cold workout trend is gaining steam, but a company called Ice Castles takes it to another level with a class held inside an acre-size ice castle in Edmonton, Alberta. Not for the faint of heart (or the easily chilled), the one-hour Ashtanga yoga class requires winter gear—parkas, hats, and mittens. It's led by an instructor from Sattva School of Yoga, who encourages breathing through each pose to generate internal heat. It typically takes place once a year, in late January (look for the date announcement on its Facebook page), and is completely free.
In an Art Gallery
Even if your plank isn't quite picture perfect (yet), you can pretend it fits right in with the works adorning the walls of your barre studio for the day—the on-site art gallery at 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington, KY. Held every other Saturday morning, the Barre with Art class is led by certified barre instructors from local Elle Fitness studio. The $10 ticket includes the one-hour workout and a post-class mimosa; wandering the halls of the hotel to admire the exhibitions (and brunch to follow at Lockbox, the hotel's restaurant) is highly recommended.
On an Observation Wheel
If you haven't been to Las Vegas in the last few years, you're missing out on one of the greatest new attractions: the High Roller, the tallest observation wheel in the world at 550 feet. It's hugely popular for events, as each of the 28 air-conditioned cabins can hold up to 40 guests (talk about a happy-hour high!). And now, you can take a yoga class inside one of the cabins. A Silent Savasana instructor leads the one-hour, two-rotation class (with the option of booking a sunset session), and students wear headsets to hear the music.
In a Teepee
The natural, light-filled fitness center at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, NM, is gorgeous, but you'd be remiss to opt for the gym over the one-of-a-kind yoga or meditation classes held inside the resort's luxury teepee. It's located on a secluded part of the property built around two "spiritual vortexes" (one of them right next to the teepee) that were identified by a shaman before it opened. Inside the enclosed space—the teepee measures 18 feet in diameter and is just over 13 feet tall—tap into your own spiritual side while taking in the rich culture of the region. (Looking for another kind of teepee? Check out gorgeous places to go glamping if sleeping bags aren't your thing.)
On a Group Bike
The 15-person, pedal-powered Cycle Party bicycle in West Palm Beach, FL, sounds like the kind of party bike popping up in cities around the country. Beyond bachelorette parties and birthday weekends, though, this bike becomes a workout and a way to see the sights during a fitness class called Total Movement led by trainer Erika Strimer. The pedaling is only the warm-up—attendees cycle to a park, hop off to do a series of HIIT movements, then get right back on to head to the next location, and repeat. The reward at the end of the two-hour class: a light brunch at a downtown restaurant. (Related: How Giving Up Uber On Vacation Changed the Way I Travel)