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Unlike many Coloradans, I like to exercise indoors. So I’ve been shopping around for a gym membership, with price being an important factor in my search and proximity to my Capitol Hill residence also a priority. I finally found an affordable option, but it means some sacrifices.
Forgoing some very tempting amenities at other gyms, I signed up for access to the Denver Recreation Centers, with my home base being the Wash Park facility. At $12.50 a month, it’s certainly the cheapest deal I encountered.
Here’s how I came to my decision, and how a few other area gyms stack up to Denver’s rec centers:
Washington Park Recreation Center (701 S. Franklin St.): Whether you choose a three-, six-, or 12-month membership, the cost is always $12.50 per month to use the Denver Recreation Centers, which includes access to any of the 30 or so facilities around the Denver area. I’ve been frequenting Wash Park’s for the proximity to my home and for the indoor pool. But there are limitations, including a lack of treadmills and elliptical trainers. The main options for cardio machines are stationary bicycles and StairMasters. Another drawback is the somewhat limited weekend schedule: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, though the Sunday hours are only through the summer. The rest of the year, the facility is closed on Sundays. But going to this gym gets the job done, just without all the bells and whistles.
24-Hour Fitness Alameda Avenue Sport (4120 E. Alameda Ave.): A membership that allows access only to this location (which isn’t as close to home as I’d prefer) runs $76.10 upfront for an initiation fee and first and last month’s dues. After that, it’s $31.99/month, which includes access to an indoor lap pool, basketball court, sauna and whirlpool, and a full range of cardio machines, weights, and group fitness classes. And, as the name indicates, this gym is open 24 hours a day, perfect for night owls or insomniacs who need to get their endorphins going.
Downtown YMCA of Metropolitan Denver (25 E. 16th Ave.): Originally my first choice (it’s within walking distance of my apartment), there’s a $50 fee to join the Y. From there, it’s $68/month for adults (age 25-59) and $49/month for young adults (age 19-24). There’s no indoor pool, but there are features like an indoor track, plenty of cardio machines, and lots of group-class offerings. This YMCA also keeps a good range of hours, especially during the week, making it convenient for those employed downtown to stop in before or after work.
Matrix Fitness and Spa (925 Lincoln St.): Though the $79/month price tag is out of my price range, Matrix has its appeal. Cardio machines with personal TVs and Internet access, high-quality weight equipment, and a full-service spa (though services have additional costs) are all on the amenities list here. Matrix also tries to eliminate waits for equipment by managing its membership numbers.