Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Since 1947, Baltimore Ski Club has loaded up its bus with ski poles, parkas, and club members, setting off for trips to some of the world's oldest mountain ranges. A nonprofit group, the ski club functions thanks to the annual contributions of its members, who in turn get access to ski trips and monthly get-togethers. From December through April, the club sponsors trips across the East Coast, the Western states, and European mountain ranges. Trips include the price of transportation, lodging, and lift tickets, allowing skiers to ride local slopes or legendary Alps without having to stuff their boots with dollar bills.
Within a neon interior reminiscent of a 1950s diner scene, Boulevard Diner's menu packs in an extensive collection of nostalgic noshes alongside tasty international munchies. Dinner items such as homemade meatloaf ($11.95) or a 16-ounce broiled new york strip steak ($20.95), both accompanied by potatoes and veggies, make for a meal more American than working an unpaid internship. Midday hunger twinges dissipate into happy thoughts with a greek burger's 7-ounce beef patty, feta cheese, onion, and tomato ($6.75+), and the Neptune sub ($9.35) cradles a bed full of succulent fried shrimp snuggled up to a blanket of coleslaw and cocktail sauce. Offering large portions for every edible item, Boulevard Diner also beefs up its comestible cornucopia with savory seafood, Mediterranean, and deep-fried fare.
A vast litter of comfy chairs, sturdy end tables, and bedroom furniture commingle in DJ Furniture's 50,000-square-foot shelter, waiting to bond with shoppers and follow them home. Browse brand-name home stuffers from lines such as Ashley, Lane Home Furnishings, and Serta, or prepare for summertime patio parties and camping on the White House lawn with vibrant colors of Breezesta maintenance-free, recycled outdoor Adirondack chairs ($199).
Gold's Gym began more than 45 years ago and today features an impressive array of next-generation fitness gadgets, a results-oriented focus, clean facilities, and certified personal trainers. Hop on a cardio machine, possibly including a built-in TV, pump up in a controlled manner on strength-training machines, tighten up in the abdominal and functional stretching area, or stick with lifting huge, heavy pieces of metal and commercial chest freezers. Facilities and classes vary by location; weekly classes include Zumba, BodyCombat, yoga, Pilates, group cycling, and lion punching.