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Chicago's Top 5 Sporty Date Ideas

This morning I received an email from Tobias van Schneider titled, "Body & Mind" which was an excellent refresher on the do's and don'ts of eating clean and feeling good. Out of the basic rules, #2 stood out. It stated, "No alcohol (red wine is fine, one or two glasses), yet I opted for NO alcohol without exception. I actually stopped drinking alcohol exactly 12 months ago."

This prompted a text message to my triathlon teammates requesting a bet on who could go the entire month of October without alcohol. One teammate replied, "I'm not even going to pretend," but I knew someone would take the challenge (thank you Ivi!). If one of us cracked, that person would have to pay the other's entry fee into the Kona 70.3 race (entry fee is $350). If neither of us cracked, we would reward ourselves by stuffing our faces with celebratory ice cream.

We were left with limited options to fulfill our weekend social calendar, but we quickly learned there was a whole new world of sports and active events in Chicago. This is what led me to create this list of things to do for those outside of the world of boozy dating.

Furthermore, there are pros to breaking a sweat while on a date: You get to see how hard your date is willing to work, and you get to see your date in that post-workout sweaty glow!

One last final tip.... If you don't have a date lined up, fly solo to any of these venues and meet other like-minded active singles. Read on and please leave comments on some of your favorite sporty spots in Chicago! 


1. Brooklyn Boulders

Brooklyn Boulders is an amazing venue with a new 25,000 square foot facility now open in Chicago’s West Loop. This venue offers so much more than just a climbing space, as they are very community orientated. 

"Brooklyn Boulders Chicago celebrates community with recurring and new events each month. Enjoy signature BKB productions ranging from resident competitions and live entertainment to pop-up shops and Breakfast Clubs. Can’t make it to your favorite taco joint?  Keep an eye out for our Food Truck drop-ins. On a budget? Be sure to stay up to date on our holiday deals and weekly Ladies Night discounts. We even have neighborhood volunteer opportunities at your fingertips with the newly launched Climb + Care."

Check out their calendar for ongoing events or sign up for one of their classes by going to their website.


2. Crosstown Fitness NIKE Community Class

Crosstown Fitness is a great little gym located on the quaint street of Madison in the West Loop. While purchasing a membership is well worth the money, they also offer weekly NIKE community classes completely free and open to the public. Their trainers are knowledgeable and motivating and you often get to pair up (wink wink) with your partner (aka date) or someone else from within the class (if you're flying solo). There's lots of cafes and coffee shops along Madison Street for a post-workout beverage as well. It's a good idea to signup online beforehand, which you can do from their website. Can't make the Thursday 11am NIKE class? They also offer passes to try out some of their other classes. 


3. East Bank Club

**You must be a member or a guest of a member to attend (guest passes are $25)**

As a member myself, I know how easy it is to spend an ENTIRE day here (I almost thought about sneaking into the nap room to stay the night too). This club is a gym, yoga/pilates studio, spin studio, tennis club, golf range, restaurant, bar, music venue, poolside lounge, and spa all combined into one magnificent 4-story building located right on the river in Chicago's River North neighborhood. They have every kind of sport to easily fill a day's worth of activities (tennis, squash, pickleball, basketball, golf, among others), a performance center, 4 pools (2 indoor, 2 outdoor), Maxwell's (upscale restaurant with riverside patio seating), a cafe with TV screens to catch your favorite sports game, and a rooftop pool + lounge area to grab a cocktail and people watch (for which East Bank is well-known!) I could go on and on, but I will leave it up to you to find which activities suit you best. Head over to their website to check it out. 


4. Chicago Kayak

Much of Chicago's intrigue lies in its landscape dichotomy — a serene river running through a bustling city. Take advantage of all its splendor with Kayak Chicago, and see your city from a new perspective. Beginners and experienced kayakers alike will enjoy specialized tours like a fireworks tour, Lake Michigan paddle, architectural and history tour, sunset, and night paddle. Or simply rent a kayak and take to the water. Chicago Reader says:

"Kayaking lessons and equipment rental, as well as guided tours that include an architectural paddle and a night paddle. Three locations: one on the Chicago River (1501 N. Magnolia) and two on Lake Michigan (Montrose Beach and North Avenue Beach). Season passes available."

Check out their website for more information.

5. Diversey Tennis Center (outdoors), McFetridge Sports Center (indoors)

Looking for a cheap alternative to the pricey East Bank Club for a game of tennis? You may not find nap rooms or poolside cocktails, but these two tennis centers are great for challenging your date to a tennis match. If the weather is nice enough, head to Diversey Tennis Center, located in the heart of iconic Lincoln Park. BONUS: The center actually has clay courts! Reservations are taken up to a week in advance and for a small fee (under $20) you can reserve a court for an hour. If you have remaining energy, you can also find a golf range and putt-putt in the same location. If the weather isn't so nice, head over to McFetridge Sports Center where you can rent an indoor court for under $20.

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