Let’s be honest—a bit of flurrying snow or a cold snap in the air is no excuse for slacking on your fitness goals. Not in Pittsburgh, anyway. This is the ideal time to break out the snowshoes, skate on the Pens’ home ice, heat up with some high-energy zumba, and more. The following list of activities is your official command to get off the couch, move your body and have some winter fun.
BIKE OR WALK
“Our motto is, ‘There’s no bad weather, only bad gear.'” says Val Scholar, founder of Bike the Burgh and Walk the Burgh Tours. The company offers a variety of city excursions on foot or wheels over the winter months. Their walking tours (just launched in Fall 2016) meander through the heart of Downtown, stopping along the way to admire iconic buildings (the Courthouse, Frick Building, Union Trust, Oliver Building, and William Penn Hotel), cultural and historic landmarks (churches and much more), and hidden gems. The two-hour tour starts at the corner of Ross Street and Fifth Avenue, winds through the Cultural District and ends at Market Square. Whether you’re a native or new to Pittsburgh, you will no doubt learn something new about our fair city’s illustrious history.
“Pittsburgh is one of the most perfect cities for a walking tour because of the topographical layout and how condensed its core is,” says Scholar—a native of Italy and 10-year resident of Germany who has lots of experience exploring European cities by bike.
“And all major cities in Europe, and US cities like Portland, San Francisco, Washington and New York City, have guided city bike tours. Now it’s Pittsburgh’s time.” Biking tours cover more ground, naturally. “We offer lots of different themed tours and are designing new routes all the time,” Scholar explains. Selections include “Bridges of the Burgh” (9 miles), “Glass & Steel City Tour” (8 miles), “Land of Barons and Bankers” (7 miles from Oakland to East Liberty), “Hollywood East Tour” (6 miles exploring filming locales featured in the movies), and “Best of the Burgh” (7 miles, with a fun quiz at the end and one lucky winner). Bring your own bike, or use one of theirs.
Times: Daily upon request at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Address: 500 Ross Street, Pittsburgh
Price: $20 for 2-hour walking tour, $23 for 3-hour bike tour
Learn more: biketheburgh.com
Dance like you’ve never danced before and create your own heat at one of many drop-in adult dance classes around town. Millennium Dance Complex offers weekly classes in ballet, hip hop, contemporary, jazz, modern and burlesque at beginner to intermediate levels. The Pittsburgh Dance Center offers adult tap, ballet/barre, salsa, swing, ballroom and even an aerial silks/circus class. Polish your Dancing With the Stars technique at Absolute Ballroom Dance Center, or get your swing on with one of the various swing dance groups in the area.
Score big by skating on the same ice where the Penguins train. The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township offers a public skate every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with great music and a fun light show. Sessions have been known to sell out so arrive early to guarantee entrance—or, better yet, purchase tickets the day of (not earlier). Bring your favorite blades or rent a pair of hockey or figure skates there. Open to all ages and skill levels.
Times: Friday, Saturday and Sunday (check website for times)
Address: 8000 Cranberry Springs Drive, Cranberry Township
Price: Adults $8, children 12 and younger $6; skate rental $3
Contact: 724-900-2799 or visit upmclemieuxsportscomplex.com
SNOWSHOE OR CROSS-COUNTRY SKI
Snowshoeing is gaining traction in the Pittsburgh region. It’s a great workout, too, burning about 600 calories per hour. The closest and best trails around the city include White Oak Park, Raccoon Creek State Park, Moraine State Park and Jennings Environmental Education Center.
When the snow falls, trails in Allegheny County’s nine parks become great cross-country skiing spots, as well. Take your pick of Boyce Park, Deer Lakes Park, Harrison Hills Park, Hartwood Acres Park, North Park (Central, Northern and Southern Sections), Round Hill Park, Settlers Cabin Park, South Park and White Oak Park.
All are free and open to the public. Contact the individual park for trail maps or visit alleghenycounty.us.
What’s more exhilarating in the winter months than a cruise through the snow-capped Laurel Highlands on a snowmobile? Seven Springs Mountain Resort offers one-hour guided snowmobile tours on a daily basis, weather permitting. (Natural snowfall must be on the trails.) Of course, the popular resort offers skiing, snow tubing, salon services, hot cocoa by a roaring fire, and much more.
Time: Daily, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Address: Seven Springs Mountain Resort, 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs
Price: Monday – Thursday, $80; Friday – Sunday, $90. Snowmobile driver must be age 18 or older with a valid driver’s license; passengers must be age 12 or older.
Contact: 800-452-2223, ext. 7899 or visit 7springs.com. Check snow conditions at: 800-523-7777.
Even as the snow’s flying, you can get in a new workout at one of the new, innovative gyms in the area. A few options: Pittsburgh Fit in Point Breeze, a community-based gym with a “just do it” approach. There’s also the CrossFit-turned-warehouse-workout-spot Arsenal Strength in Upper Lawrenceville, and 3Minute Fitness, a functional interval training studio on the South Side.
Yoga studios are now ubiquitous around the ‘Burgh, and we’re all breathing easier as a result. Stop in the one nearest your neighborhood, or say “Namaste” to one of these: Schoolhouse Yoga (Squirrel Hill, East Liberty and the North Hills) teaches traditional ashtanga yoga, Yin Yoga, prenatal yoga and much more. Amazing Yoga (Wexford, Shadyside and South Side) leads power flow classes and has the Amazing Café (South Side location only), where you can grab GMO-free fare, smoothies and juices after a sweat session. If your furnace goes out (or even if it doesn’t), get heated up to the max at Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh, the city’s original hot yoga studio, in Lawrenceville. Yoga Flow (various locations around Pittsburgh) also offers heated vinyasa flow classes.