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Finding outdoor activities in the city

Outdoor enthusiasts can even find fun and recreation in the heart of a city! Get out there and discover an active lifestyle in the concrete jungle.

woman playing golf

There are cities that are ideally suited for the outdoor enthusiast, where sport and adventure are available almost literally in people’s own backyards. For others, canoeing and mountain biking are activities they can enjoy only on vacation. Not every community caters to the outdoorsy type, but nearly every city provides some opportunity for outdoor fun. Let’s go find it!

What’s available

There could be an outdoor paradise closer than you think! You may not have to travel far to find a nearby river or local mountain. The best cities and towns offer a range of year-round activities if you just know where to look.

Cities near water

Oceans and rivers invite activities like kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rafting, white-water rafting or simply drifting along and enjoying passing scenery on the banks.

Cities near mountains

Skiing and snowboarding in winter, rock climbing and mountain biking in warmer months — cities near mountains offer many perks. Find a hiking trail or meandering stream to sink your line and chill out fishing. There’s always plenty to do outdoors in the lucky communities near the mountains!

City slickers

Most large cities appreciate the importance of green spaces, so find a park and enjoy the amenities. Often there are public tennis courts or outdoor pools, playground equipment for kids and plenty of hiking and biking paths. Get your fresh-air fix by walking, jogging, running or rollerblading.

Quick Tip Your local YMCA will have outdoor spring and summer activities for both children and adults. Visit them to find out about sports programs and recreation in which you can participate.


Play golf, and don’t take the cart! It’s a fun day on gorgeous green fairways and an excellent cardio workout as a bonus. Most major cities have public golf courses and lessons available for the novice. Find out if you can rent clubs, and give it a try.

Cool down

Cold-weather towns have outdoor ice arenas where you can rent skates to give it a whirl. Grab a friend and hang on while you find your balance! Ice skating is fun, and the crisp air is invigorating. In snowy season, there will always be a hill for sledding and an opportunity to pull out the cross-country skis for a glide around town.

Take a swim

Find a club or neighborhood pool and soak up some sun while you work on perfecting your backstroke. Outdoor recreational facilities at the local high school or university are frequently available for use by the public during specified hours. You can shoot some hoops on their court, practice lobbing tennis balls, run on their track or get a softball game going on their baseball diamond.

Get your race on

Spring and summer are the seasons when many communities host road races for runners and cyclists, walks for charities and a variety of athletic competitions open to residents. You can sign up and join in to enjoy the outdoor fun and exercise in a casual and friendly environment. Look for ways to get outside to play!

The great outdoors

Discover popular outdoor adventures where you live with our Outdoor Activities Guide. From hiking trails to balloon rides, we’ve got you covered. What are you waiting for? Mother Nature awaits!

More tips

Using your city to get fit
Quick cardio workouts in your neighborhood

4 Reasons to exercise outdoors

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