A Fitness Lover's Guide To Washington, D.C.

©Elvert Barnes/Flickr
©Elvert Barnes/Flickr
Photo of Kate McMahon
5 September 2016

Year after year, Washington, D.C. is proclaimed the fittest city in America. It’s not hard to see why – you’re bound to be passed by at least five joggers upon stepping outside. With a wealth of parks and trails, the city is the ideal urban environment for outdoor activity. After all, Washingtonians have to burn all the stress away that comes with government jobs.


Washington, D.C.’s ample green space provides the perfect venue for early morning runs before work. Running is so popular in DC that a myriad of running clubs exist. Be it Color Runs or the Marine Corps Marathon, Washingtonians are always on foot and on the move. Even if that means multitasking at events like Miles to Mimosas – an athletic collective that gathers every Sunday to run 2 -4 miles to a designated brunch spot and sip on mimosas.

Best Running Spots:

© Elvert Barnes/Flickr | © Elvert Barnes/Flickr


With such stressful work environments, Washingtonians are really into meditation and relaxation. There’s a new yoga studio popping up on every block. Hot yoga is the latest fad in the District, which involves practicing yoga in essentially a sauna to sweat all the toxins out. Some yogi event is always going on – keep up with them all here.

Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe, a coffeehouse with free-roaming cats available for adoption, offers monthly yoga classes. Practice your best downward dog as a homeless cat cuddles up to your leg. Namaste.

Free city yoga recently stuck its claim in DC; enjoy free yoga classes every Wednesday at 6:30PM.

Yoga On The Mall | © Ted Eytan/Flickr


Biking is an immensely popular mode of transportation in Washington, D.C. – for environmental reasons, convenience, and to get around the city’s horrid traffic situation. The city’s bike sharing service, Capital Bike Share, provides around 3,000 bikes at stations scattered across the District. Anyone with a membership can grab a bike from a station and return it to the nearest convenient location. The capital was the first U.S. city to institute a bike sharing service.

Biking through DC allows you to see a wide variety of scenery and historic locations in a short amount of time. In one hour, you can pass the Lincoln Memorial, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, The White House, and National Botanic Gardens.

On weekends, Beach Avenue in Rock Creek Park closes to vehicular traffic. The cyclists and runners swoop in and take the road over.

© Mr.TinDC/Flickr | © Mr.TinDC/Flickr


Washingtonian’s healthy bods are as much a result of their diets as they are from their fitness activity. The wide array of authentic international cuisine, and resident’s penchant for farmer’s markets, makes eating healthy, delicious food relatively accessible. A farmer’s market in Ward 8, an area plagued by shootings, aims to bring healthy foods into poorer neighborhoods, which are typically food deserts.

Best farmer’s markets:

  1. Eastern Market; Saturday & Sunday 9AM – 6PM.
  2. Dupont Farmer’s Market, Saturdays 8:30AM – 1:30PM.
  3. Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market, Thursday 3 -7PM.
  4. Columbia Heights Community Market, Saturdays 9AM – 1PM.
  5. Ward 8 Farmers Market, Saturdays 9AM – 2PM.

Dupont Farmer’s Market | Timothy Vollmer/Flickr

Alternative Workouts

Pole Dancing: DC possesses a surprisingly large market for pole dancing classes. Stereotypes aside, pole dancing requires serious core strength and experts are exceedingly fit. Take classes at Pole Pressure.

Rock Climbing: EarthTreks climbing gym is designed for beginners and experts alike. Work out those finger muscles with a day pass or purchase a membership.

Trapeze: Get a high-intensity full body workout with a dose of adrenaline through classes at The Trapeze School, located in Navy Yard.

Local Climber At Earth Treks | © Joshua Kruger/Flickr