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Despite all the time we spend at the gym, few of us would rave about the aesthetics. And that’s fine—we’re there to get our sweat on, not debate the pros and cons of neoclassical architecture while we’re swinging kettlebells. Still, there’s something to be said for fitness centers that aim to be as beautiful as they are functional, like the 10 spots shown here. After all, it’s easier to get excited about your gym workout when your gym looks more like a luxe oasis than a barebones high-school weight room.
Life Time Athletic in Boca Raton, FL
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Beyond the indoor and outdoor pools, full-service spa, and health-food café, the beautiful Life Time Athletic gym in Boca Raton, FL, offers basketball and squash courts, fitness studios (for pilates or indoor biking classes) and so much equipment that you’ll never have to wait for a machine.
David Barton Gym at the Limelight, New York, NY
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Since the first one opened in 1992, DavidBartonGyms have tried to set themselves apart from the traditional fitness center. And one way they do that is by settling into unexpected—and breathtaking—spaces. The latest locale is a renovated church-turned-drug rehab center-turned-nightclub. It features dramatic stonework and eye-catching stained glass windows, plus your usual ellipticals, treadmills, and dumbbells.
San Francisco CrossFit in San Francisco, CA
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Located underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and with an open-air setup, the stunning San Francisco CrossFit was one of the first CrossFit gyms in the world. It offers running, gymnastics, and kids’ programs in addition to the usual train-like-a-caveman plans.
PHOTO: VANCE JACOBS PHOTOGRAPHY
Stone Summit Climbing Gym and Fitness Center in Atlanta, GA
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One of the largest climbing gyms in the U.S., Stone Summit has brightly-colored walls reaching 60 feet that are suitable for beginners and advanced climbers alike, plus a bouldering room and group fitness classes. (Add this to the list of the 12 Places to Go Rock Climbing Before You Die.)
PHOTO: STONE SUMMIT
The Bellevue Club in Bellevue, WA
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We admit, this isn’t your standard gym. The Bellevue Club is an athletic and social club in a suburb of Seattle, and in addition to the top-tier restaurants and luxurious hotel, the 200,000 square feet of athletic facilities are a main draw. Whether you’re swimming laps in the stunning pool or taking advantage of all the latest gear (including TRX and Kinesis systems), the gorgeous surroundings will have you doing double takes all day.
PHOTO: BELLEVUE CLUB
MV Fitness Athletic Club in Baltimore, MD
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“Elegant” probably isn’t a word used to describe most gyms—but then, most gyms aren’t outfitted with crystal chandeliers, Tiffany skylight windows, original hardwood floors, marble mantles, and local artwork, like the MV Fitness Athletic Club is.
The Mercedes Club in New York, NY
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This 80,000 square-foot fitness center boasts a full-service spa, totally tricked-out locker rooms, and an indoor lap pool for swimming. With plenty of windows to let in the sun and a clean, modern aesthetic, you’ll never want to leave the luxurious space.
Larry North Fitness at Cityplace in Dallas, TX
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This gym is located in the second and third floors of the beautiful Tower at Cityplace in Dallas. If you can, try to snag an elliptical or treadmill by the window on the third-floor cardio area. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of downtown. (These 12 Hotel Gyms with Killer Views offer some breathtaking vistas, too.)
PHOTO: STEVAN KOYE
Health Spa Napa Valley in St. Helena, CA
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The fitness center at the Health Spa Napa Valley is state of the art, featuring the latest LifeFitness equipment, flat-screen TVs, and a group fitness studio. (Before you visit, learn What Your Trainer’s Not Telling You.) But even without all that, the heated outdoor lap pool alone—with its view of the vine-dotted main building—makes a membership worth it.
The Houstonian Hotel, Club, and Spa in Houston, TX
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When it comes to getting their sweat on, members of the elegant, historical Houstonian don’t have to “settle” for the 300 cardio and strength-training machines in the state-of-the-art fitness center, the indoor and outdoor tennis and racquetball courts, or the four gorgeous pools. They can also join the cycling team, running club, or any of the specialty classes offered.