Thinking of the city rarely calls images of fog-ringed mountains and wolf-filled forests to mind, but Discover Outdoors?formerly known as Outdoor Bound?turns these scenes into reality. Owner, avid outdoorsman, and eight-time marathon runner Kirk Reynolds makes sure of it. He and a staff of experts?each a licensed trail guide and Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT?temper the stress of city living with day trips to nearby natural enclaves and weekend camping excursions. The getaways thrill with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and horseback riding.
International trips, meanwhile, quench a thirst for life-defining adventures beyond trips to the grocery store during peak Saturday hours. Among them: hikes up famed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, treks to Machu Picchu in Peru, and jaunts through the Canadian Rockies. Some of the journeys even grant travelers the opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause as they explore.
An intense workout can lead to an endorphin rush. Members of Sky Club Fitness & Spa get this rush—along with a rush from elevation—every time they work out near a window. That's because the gym looks out over the New York City skyline.
This epic vista follows them as they step out onto the sky deck to lounge in the sun. On the top floor, windows peek out at the horizon near an Olympic-size saltwater pool. In the lower floors, members work out on rows of cardio machines and free weights—alone, with friends, or under the guidance of a personal trainer. They also forge muscles during group fitness classes that range from cycling to boxing and unpacking heavy boxes. After a tough workout, they gather quietly in the European bath to detox or ease their lactic acid buildup with a massage.
The nonprofit Asphalt Green keeps children, teens, and adults in shape with an array of fitness, swim, and sports activities and programs. Members enjoy full access to fitness centers equipped with Precor equipment, including treadmills and ellipticals with built-in TV screens, and lap swim pools fit for all levels of swimmers. For an additional fee, members can also take advantage of babysitting services offered for children ages six months to six years. The Upper East Side location's weightlifting area features a picturesque view of the East River, which members can also enjoy from the adjoining roof deck. Swimmers of all abilities glide through the 50-meter Olympic-sized pool, once home to Olympic bronze medalist Lia Neal and currently the home of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The Battery Park City offers a sunlit fitness center, 25-yard pool, and a wood floor gymnasium with open gym time and pick-up basketball. After battling on the court, members can refuel at the juice bar. The organization also offers training programs and seminars for triathletes, a variety of community outreach programs including adaptive swim for veterans, and kid-focused summer and sport camps to keep young ones from making bad decisions, such as using chewing gum to plug up holes in dams.
Billed as "the United Nations of Beer," the eighth-annual Great World Beer Festival (a.k.a. Brewtopia) showcases brews from around the world, allowing barley buffs to taste to their liver's content without need for a translator. With your ticket, you'll get a souvenir tasting glass, plus unlimited sampling of brews from more than 50 domestic and international breweries. Lap up the taste-bud-reviving ales and stouts of California's Stone Brewing Co., or sip on the irresistible elixirs from Vermont's Magic Hat. Lederhosen-wearing lion tamers can crack the whip at Bavarian Weissbier from Hofbräu München, and Asian-beer buffs can try China's Yanjing Beer. Along the way, food vendors, such as Helmut's Bratwurst and Pretzels and Phil's Philly Steak Sandwiches, will pair tasty brews with equally flavorful eats.
With more than 120 classes and a plethora of programs offered each week, the YMCA bolsters bodies with invigorating and enjoyable fitness regimens throughout Manhattan. Aspiring circus strongpersons have their pick from brawn-building courses such as kettlebell for a full flexibility workout, spinning for 45 minutes of fat-burning cardio, and capoeira for winning dance-fights against hard-bargaining local street vendors.