Best Gym

Carondelet Park Rec Complex

Staff Pick

There are fancier places and even cheaper places, but the Carondelet Park Rec Complex (930 Holly Hills Avenue; 314-768-9622) is a big, solidly equipped gym that you might actually enjoy. Instead of gymbros and aggressive sales pitches for tanning packages, you might see Vietnamese grandmothers rolling along on the ellipticals next to young guys getting in their warm-up. Kids come in for afterschool programs, and dads strap on knee braces for pickup basketball. It’s a mix of people that feels like the neighborhood, with preening at a minimum. Entering at street level, there is a walking/running track that circles above a large, lower-level weight room, arranged with your customary free weights, benches and racks at the front and treadmills and bikes at the back. The walkway passes through a dividing wall and takes you over two full-size basketball courts. Along the way, you pass classrooms and carve outs where you’ll often find people doing bodyweight exercises. The crown jewel of the place is the pool, which features indoor and outdoor places to swim and hang out as well as a waterslide so big you can see it from Interstate 55. Top it all off with a walk through Carondelet Park. You won’t even miss your commercial gym. —Doyle Murphy
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