Year after year, Boston is consistently ranked among the healthiest cities in the US. If you’re reading this, that’s probably not a big surprise. You know all about our dedication to running outside, even during Nor’easters. How we make the most out of every summer moment because the season is so short. And our city’s dedication to helping out those in need through events that combine fundraising and fitness. Bostonians have a rep for being cold and maybe a tad confrontational, but really we’re just proud of the awesome and active place we call home. There’s a reason why it’s nicknamed the Hub, after all.
Three words: the Boston Marathon. Every April, thousands of runners celebrate Patriots’ Day—AKA Marathon Monday—by tackling 26.2 miles. And thousands more come out to cheer them on. The energy in the city is positively electric and may even inspire your own marathon dreams. Just remember: right on Hereford, left on Boylston, and you’re home.
What began as a challenge between two friends in Boston has evolved into a worldwide fitness phenomenon. The November Project now has groups in cities and countries around the world, so just bring up that we’re the OGs to make others jealous. All you have to do is “Just Show Up” to get your sweat on outside, rain, shine, or snow.
A decade ago, it was rare to see someone commuting by bike in Boston. Today, the city’s streets are full of cyclists on their way to work, doing errands, or just out for a ride. With some protected bike lanes and even bike traffic lights, plenty of places to ride off-road, and several local bike shops to help get you geared up, Boston has become a cyclist’s paradise. Don’t have two wheels to call your own? No worries. Just hop on a Hubway bike at one of 180 stations across Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville. You can ride all day for just six bucks.
New York City may be home to the king of all urban parks, but Boston has its very own Frederick Law Olmsted-designed green space that we’re just as proud of. It’s called the Emerald Necklace and you can follow it all the way from the Public Garden/Boston Common to Franklin Park. It’s the perfect place to run, walk, or lounge on a beautiful day.
You know the song — the one where we all belt out how much we love Boston’s dirty water and how proud we are to call this city home. Well, there’s a good reason it’s one of our city’s anthems. Whether it’s the Charles River, the Mystic River, or, you know, the ocean, Boston is practically surrounded by water. And there are a ton of ways to enjoy it all, whether you paddleboard, kayak, swim, or hit the beach.
Living in Boston can be stressful. The frigid winters, the delays on the T, the nail-biting Super Bowl comebacks. But Boston doesn’t leave you hanging. The city is absolutely full of amazing yoga studios that are perfect for any type of yogi, whether it’s your first class or your 50th. Sometimes you can even take a class for free (or at least on the cheap). And in the summer, bringing our mats outside is one of our favorite ways to unwind.
When Brooklyn Boulders Somerville opened its doors in 2013, it took the local climbing scene by storm. The 40,000-square-foot factory turned gym has two-story-high bouldering and top-rope walls. There’s even a 50-foot wall that rewards climbers with views of Boston from the top. After your climb, grab your computer and settle into the co-working space. And when you need a break from emails, there are plenty of challenging routes to try right in the building.
Years ago Boston’s food scene was mostly known for its baked beans, brown bread, and cod. We still do seafood better than just about anybody (lobster roll, anyone?), but now the city also caters to all kinds of other tastes. We’ve got every type of healthy food you can think of, whether you’re giving paleo a go or eating meat-free. We’ve even got healthy pizza, including lots of solid gluten-free options. And on those cold winter mornings, hit up the area’s first oatmeal cafe to start your day right.
It’s not a stretch to say that Boston runs on Dunkin’. And while we’re not anti-DD, we prefer to grab a cup of coffee from a local joint when we can. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from all across the city. Really want to fit in? Take part in a local tradition when you sip an iced coffee while shoveling your sidewalk after a blizzard. We guarantee you won’t be the only one.
Decades ago, Boston was at the forefront of the craft brewing scene with Sam Adams and Harpoon leading the way. The big guys are still here and they’ve since been joined by a ton of awesome smaller breweries that we just can’t get enough of. The best part? They’re all located near gyms and run routes, so you can get your sweat on before you work on the 12oz. curls.
The farm-to-table movement has taken the Boston area by storm and we couldn’t be happier about it. There are tons of seasonal farmers markets all over the city where you can buy fresh, local produce, bread, cheese, eggs, and so much more. Plus, we even have the Boston Public Market. It’s a permanent, all-local, indoor farmers market that’s open every day, all year long. Music to our ears.
Like most major cities, Boston is always DTB (that’s down to brunch). Some of what you’ll find is super decadent, like lobster benedict, but there are plenty of healthy brunch options in the city, too. And if you’d like to get some burpees in before downing all that bacon, look no further than Brunch Fit. The group hosts several events every month that combine the best of Boston’s food and fitness scenes. Sounds like a match made in heaven to us.
If you prefer to get around on two wheels instead of two feet, the Pan-Mass Challenge might just be the biking event for you. Every August, 6,000 cyclists from around the world come to Massachusetts to ride anywhere from 27 to nearly 200 miles. And they’re not just doing it for themselves. These riders are slogging it out in the summer heat to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since its founding in 1980, the PMC has raised nearly $550 million for life-saving cancer research. It’s the perfect place to do good and feel good.
Bostonians love to get fit in just about every way you can imagine, but at its heart, it’s a running city. That may have something to do with our famous marathon. But whatever the reason, we’ll take it. One of the best parts about living in a city that’s crazy for running is that there’s no shortage of run clubs to join. No matter your neighborhood or ability, there’s one out there that’s perfect for you.
Let’s be real — joining a gym or yoga studio can cost a pretty penny. And sometimes you’d like to try a class or scope out the facilities before making a big commitment. Well, you’re in luck because there are a ton of ways to workout for free in Boston. Whether you’re sampling a new-to-you-gym or hitting up one of the many free or wicked cheap yoga classes throughout the city, there’s a way to break a sweat without breaking the bank.
Bostonians aren’t afraid of exercising outside in just about any type of weather. Extreme heat and cold don’t scare us. That’s a good thing because there are a ton of ways to take your workout outside. Whether you’re looking to pound the pavement, cycle along the river, tackle a parcourse, swim, or do yoga, there’s a spot for you to get fit and get fresh air.
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but Boston has some of the most loyal and proud sports fans of any city in the world. It’s not unusual to see people wearing Patriots, Bruins, or Celtics jerseys year-round. Or to go to a concert and have the band announce the Red Sox score between songs. Right before belting out their own rendition of Sweet Caroline, that is.
We’ll keep you up to date on all things health, fitness and local food in Boston.