11 Free Places to Exercise in Atlanta

If, like me, your New Year’s resolution to get fit has been an epically delicious failure involving too many tacos, too much booze, and way too little exercise because good ATL gyms are wildly unaffordable, you're in luck. What if we told you that you could still get into great shape without affecting your income? Atlanta has plenty of places for you to break a sweat without breaking the bank -- specifically, these 11 spots:

A true hidden gem, Washington Park is a veritable fitness oasis. With an exercise zone, indoor pool, tennis court, and walking/jogging track, they have almost everything you'd want from an outdoor fitness spot. Bonus: it’s not as crowded as some of the other places.

All over Atlanta
This one surprised us too. In addition to other free programs, many libraries offer free fitness classes. Offerings range by location and month, but classes like yoga and Zumba are popular.

Man road biking down Blankets Creek trail
Blankets Creek

Mountain bikers across the city flock to this gorgeous Caton spot that's well worth the schlep. It's a challenging trail that’s as rough as it is rewarding, and you don’t have to pay to park -- but a donation is recommended. And after you see how fun and great this trail is, you'll absolutely want to pull out your wallet. 

Woman in plank position at Atlanta Lululemon store
lululemon athletica Atlanta ITP

Buckhead (& other locations)
Who knew proprietors of high end yoga gear would offer free yoga classes? Lululemon does it weekly through what they call “the gift of yoga.” Local instructors lead the classes (which you can find on their website), making it a great way gain some flexibility without flexing your wallet.  

All over Atlanta
There are running clubs throughout the city, and a lot of them are organized by things like marital status (meaning if you’re single and looking to mingle, it’s a great opportunity to get in shape and possibly find an equally in -- or out of -- shape partner). Either way, it’s free, supportive, and fun. And that's all you need to make any exercise endeavor successful. 

People running along the Atlanta BeltLine
Atlanta BeltLine

Inman Park and Reynoldstown
With all its art and beauty, the BeltLine is the best thing to happen to Atlanta since Coca-Cola. But not everyone knows that the BeltLine has a TON of free fitness classes: yoga, boot camp, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, and way more. Plus, after busting a sweat, you can cool down with some of the best people watching in the city.

Clear day at the Historic Fourth Ward Park
Flickr/Bradley Huchteman

Old Fourth Ward 
Adjacent to the BeltLine, this park offers free yoga classes during warm weather and also boasts a skate park, as well as a playground and multi-use athletic field. 

Atlanta silver comet trail during the day
Flickr/Tom Robbins

This mammoth, nearly 62 mile trail cuts through Cobb, Paulding, and Polk counties. Only 13 miles north of Atlanta, it's a quiet, paved trail that's perfect for walkers, hikers, rollerbladers, dog walkers, horse riders, and bicyclists.

Snow-capped peak of Stone Mountain in Atlanta
Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain
So it’s not totally free if you enter the park, but if you park along a side street or neighborhood street and wander along the many trails, you’ll not only burn some calories, but see some breathtaking sights along the way (always helpful for taking your mind off how much you’d rather be marathoning Netflix).  

Sunlit Grant Park as seen during the daytime

Grant Park
The oldest park in the city is also what some people call the most beautiful. It has scenic trails for walking and running and it’s adjacent to some incredible restaurants in case you need to refuel and/or reward yourself for a job well done.

Coan's a large, gorgeous green space that offers a bunch of cool stuff, including an ADA accessible playground, tennis and basketball courts, softball and soccer fields, a rec center, and outdoor fitness equipment. There's also a vast lake where you can sit and contemplate why your backhand just isn't what it used to be in college.

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Brook Bolen thinks fitness should be free. Follow her @brookbolen for this and other musings.