Group of Young Women Jogging in a Local Park

How to stay fit without a gym membership

Prioritize your fitness and wellness with these cost-saving solutions.

Traditional gym memberships sometimes come with a hefty price tag, particularly given stubborn inflation, but maintaining your health doesn’t have to break the bank. All you need is a bit of creativity and motivation to find opportunities in your very own city. Try these fun, accessible, and budget-friendly options to achieve your fitness and financial goals.

Find your people

Fitness isn’t a fleeting transformation; it’s a lifestyle change that comes with the occasional challenge. Working out in a group with like-minded people who share the same goals helps strengthen your motivation and focus. 

Consider Meetup groups for competitive play at any level, from casual pick-up soccer games to dodgeball (or any activity you like!), to meet new friends and elevate your well-being. Or search for fitness-centric groups on social media to like and follow. Let the algorithm do some heavy lifting.

If you have a specific activity in mind, find local groups dedicated to it. For instance, provides an exhaustive list of running clubs for adults and children. 

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Get fitness gains by giving back

Volunteering has dual benefits: serving your community and, if you find the right opportunity, boosting your heart rate. Many volunteer activities involve physical tasks like park cleanups, neighborhood beautification projects, community gardening, or event support. 

Organizations like Hands On Atlanta and the YMCA have extensive volunteer programs, including athletic coaching, warehouse labor, and food pantry prep and distribution. Support Habitat for Humanity’s home renovation projects or community gardens like Metro Atlanta’s Urban Farm and work up a sweat while paying it forward. 

Young Women Hiking a Trail Together

Hit the trail

Hiking, walking, running, and cycling outdoors can promote your physical health and mental health. Across the Greater Atlanta area, there are picturesque trails in almost every direction. Many paths have excellent views, so you can boost your health and explore geographic gems that are all around you.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, about 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta’s city center, offers a variety of trails that range from a half-mile to 16 miles, providing accessible options for new and experienced hikers alike. 

Head east from downtown Atlanta to Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, where you’ll find 40,000 acres serving as an outdoor playground for biking, hiking, and fishing. Visitors can enjoy accessible trails and guided tours or discover a new favorite path — just download a visitor’s guide and start the journey. 

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, nestled in a southwest Atlanta neighborhood, is a hidden gem of natural wonders, including springs, waterfalls, and ancient rock formations. The area is one of the largest forests inside the city limits and offers easy walking trails (no biking) that will give you a glimpse of beauty while you reach your wellness goals. 

In fact, in almost every corner of Metro Atlanta, you can find a trail that will work for your fitness goals. 

Take advantage of the workout spaces all around you 

If you love nature, consider taking your workout outdoors. Exercising in a natural environment exposes you to fresh air and sunlight, enhancing your activity and increasing the likelihood of sticking to your exercise routine. Jonquil, Arrow Creek, Piedmont, Old Clarkdale, and Rodney Cook Sr. Parks are just a few of the options available. Hours of operation vary, but facilities generally have flexible opening and closing times. Most don’t require an entrance or membership fee and offer trails, workout stations, and more. 

Or consider gyms right where you live. Some apartment communities offer state-of-the-art fitness centers, free group classes, dedicated gym/workout support, and other location-specific amenities that help your well-being right at home. You don’t even need to leave your four walls — any living space can become a gym with the right app or YouTube tutorial, with online educators offering fitness styles ranging from HIIT to Pilates. 

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a membership to get in shape. When you approach the city as your gym, maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle is not only possible; it’s thrilling. Atlanta has a wealth of opportunities to help you stay active. The streets, parks, and community spaces are your personal fitness playground. Engage in new outdoor activities, connect with others, uncover some of the city’s hidden gems, and curate a fitness plan on your terms. 

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Table filled with barbecue meats and sides

5 dining delights in the Dallas suburbs

There are thousands of excellent dining choices in a region as large as North Texas, but these five eateries should be at the front of the list.

You don’t have to venture far to discover culinary delights beyond Dallas’ bustling city center. Plenty of delicious options can be found in each of DFW’s vibrant suburbs.  

We’re here to take you on a flavorful journey through five of the best, where you’ll find everything from top-notch barbecue to innovative gastropub creations, authentic Cuban pastries, Vietnamese street food with a twist, and artistic cuisine that transcends the ordinary. 

Take a break from your downtown routine and come with us on a food adventure that’s only a short drive away.

Cattleack Barbeque

13628 Gamma Rd, Dallas, TX 75244 (Near Addison and Farmers Branch) 

(972) 805-0999

Cattleack Barbeque, situated in North Dallas, initially began as a retirement project for Todd and Misty David, but it has since become renowned for some of the best barbecue in Dallas. The restaurant offers limited operating hours, and there will likely be a line, but it’s well worth the wait. Imagine sinking your teeth into tender beef ribs, whole hog pulled pork, hatch chili and cheese sausage, and sweet banana pudding. They also offer weekly specials like pastrami brisket. Though the restaurant was sold to employee Andrew Castelan in 2023, pitmaster Todd David is still working hard behind the scenes to guarantee exceptional quality and flavors. 

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Barley & Board 

Multiple locations (Denton and The Colony)

This gastropub takes pride in using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and offering an exciting array of cocktails, wine, and beers. The menu changes with the seasons to ensure high-quality dishes are served all year round. The offerings are generally New American cuisine, featuring an enticing array of small and large plates like chicken-fried oyster mushrooms, a blackberry and turkey club sandwich, and a wagyu pastrami melt. You can savor this delicious experience at two locations: one in the charming heart of downtown Denton and the other at Grandscape in The Colony.

Cris and John 

5555 Preston Oaks Rd.#5, Dallas, TX 75254 (Near Addison)

(972) 803-4750

This charming North Dallas spot is extremely close to Addison, so we’re including it in this list. Here, you’ll find Vietnamese street food with fun, delightful culinary twists. One standout dish is the Phorrito, a playful take on pho that you can eat with your hands. It comes with rice noodles, jalapeno, basil, onion, bean sprouts, hoisin, and sriracha sauce, all wrapped in a flour tortilla and pan-fried (we recommend adding a side of pho broth for $2.00). Another standout is the birria tacos: three crispy birria tacos come filled with spicy beef, short ribs, and mozzarella cheese and are served with a side of pho broth for dipping. Also, make sure to keep an eye out for their weekly meal specials.

Cuban Dulceria International Bakery

Multiple Locations (Carrollton)

(972) 242-3797

Cuban Dulceria International Bakery is a hidden gem with two Carrollton locations and a delightful repertoire of pastries. This bakery was founded over 30 years ago and offers notable staples like guava and cheese puff pastries, ham croquettes, and authentic Cuban sandwiches. With a commitment to quality ingredients and time-honored recipes, Cuban Dulceria International Bakery has become a beloved institution for those seeking a taste of Cuba right in their neighborhood. Whether you’re stopping by for a quick snack, a leisurely meal, or a special occasion dessert, you can expect warm hospitality and delicious treats. It’s not just a bakery; it’s a slice of Cuban heritage brought to life through the art of baking.


1251 State St #950, Richardson, TX 75082

(214) 716-2610

When it comes to dining experiences that blend creativity with warm Texan hospitality, Jasper’s stands in a league of its own. Named after the renowned American artist Jasper Johns, who is celebrated for elevating everyday subjects through unique techniques, Jasper’s takes the essence of backyard cuisine and transforms it into a culinary adventure. Standout dishes include five-spice Cervena venison, grilled oysters, butternut squash and apple salad, and ultra-creamy mac and cheese. The beverage selection at Jasper’s is impressive. Expertly crafted cocktails featuring in-house infused spirits complement the meal, and the extensive wine list ensures the perfect pairing for every palate.

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Bust in a glass case at an art museum

8 incredible Phoenix art exhibitions to see in 2024

The Valley will welcome remarkable curations, big-name works, and novel concepts in its museums and galleries in 2024.

Phoenix’s arts and culture scene is fun, sophisticated, and surprising — especially this year, boasting an eclectic selection of exhibitions.

We’re welcoming in 2024 with a list that includes Barbies, bluegrass, and baskets, along with an innovative idea: A display curated not by academics but by frontline museum staff who interact daily and directly with guests.

Barbie: A Cultural Icon

Phoenix Art Museum

Feb. 14-July 7

The buzz of the 2023 Barbie movie might’ve simmered down, but the party’s not over. A Barbie exhibition opens in February at Phoenix Art Museum, so break out the pink, glitter, and sequins again. More than 250 vintage dolls, including the original Barbie from Mattel and the collection of private collector David Porcello, will be on display. Some attractions include diverse Barbies, video interviews with Barbie designers, and a life-size pink Corvette for photo ops. The museum also features “The Power of Pink,” exploring the history, science, and associations of the color that’s so connected to the Barbie brand.

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Guitars on display in a glass case.

Acoustic America: Iconic Guitars, Mandolins and Banjos

Through Sept. 15

Musical Instrument Museum

Fans of folk, blues, and bluegrass won’t want to miss this exceptional display of 90 historic stringed instruments owned and played by some of the legends of these genres. Instruments that belonged to and were played by Earl Scruggs, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotten, Peter Yarrow, and stars of the Grand Ole Opry are here as well, along with more than 30 other special examples from renowned mandolinist David Grisman’s collection. The exhibits come to life as you approach, with music flowing through your headphones and videos discussing the instruments and showing them being played.

American Icons: Wright & O’Keefe

Taliesin West

Through June 3

Two American treasures and visionaries, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and artist Georgia O’Keefe, had much in common. They were both born in Wisconsin but loved the Southwest and made homes here (Wright in Arizona; O’Keefe in New Mexico). They deeply respected nature and paid homage to it in their works. And in 1942, they met and began corresponding for over two decades. These 20 photographs of Wright and O’Keefe in their homes by Michael A. “Tony” Vaccaro (1922-2022) give an intimate look into how they inspired each other and the world around them.

Guarding the Art: A Frontline Perspective

Jan. 19-Dec. 1

Phoenix Art Museum

This is a brilliant concept: Ask people who aren’t degreed experts but spend thousands of hours a year around art — and people enjoying it — what they would hang in a gallery. Thirteen employees from security, retail sales, and events/rentals chose more than 20 works from the Phoenix Art Museum’s collection of 20,000 for this exhibit. These guest curators worked closely with mentors and staff in marketing, arts education, and more to bring their vision to a diverse yet unified display. This is the first national iteration of the model originally developed by the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2022.

Heart of the Community: Baskets from the Basha Family Collection of American Indian Art

Opens Feb. 2

Heard Museum

Native American baskets are both practical — used for everyday life and ceremonial purposes — and beautiful, and this exhibit will feature mostly works from the early 20th century by Western Apache, Yavapai, and Akimel O’odham weavers. It marks a time when the artists were referencing design important to their lives and recognizing change. This is the first in a series of exhibits that will celebrate a massive gift to the Heard from the family of late local grocery entrepreneur Eddie Basha, who amassed a collection of 2,000 pieces of Indigenous and Western art that was on display in Chandler until 2023.

Inner Light: The Art of Tom Gilleon

Museum of the West

Opens Jan. 16

Think you’re not really into Western art? Think again. Contemporary Western master Tom Gilleon might not be a household name —yet — but his style and use of color have been compared to Edward Hopper and Mark Rothko. Gilleon is not only a fine artist with works in permanent collections around the country but also worked alongside Disney art legend Herb Ryman. This retrospective features 70 paintings, including a dozen on loan from Walt Disney Imagineering. Also at this show, view the world premiere of Spirit Catcher, his stunning 22-minute digital painting triptych created with former Walt Disney Imagineer and concept designer Marshall Monroe of Marshall Monroe Magic.

People participating in a Black Lives Matter protest.

Twin Flames: The George Floyd Uprising from Minneapolis to Phoenix

ASU Art Museum

Feb. 3-July 28

When George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in 2020, it reverberated throughout the nation and sparked a series of protests. This powerful exhibition showcases a selection of the thousands of offerings laid by mourners and protesters at George Floyd Square, collected by a group of community caretakers and cataloged by the George Floyd Global Memorial team. The exhibit aims to reflect on public memorials and the stories they share and to ask important questions about the role of art and community as a vehicle for bearing witness and creating deeper understanding and empathy.


Tempe Center for the Arts

Jan. 13-April 20

Storytelling can take many forms: Verbal, written, song, and even visual art. In this exhibit, ten acclaimed female artists — six local and four national — offer personal insights into various human experiences like grief, trauma, and the healing journey. Stories will resonate on personal and societal levels, illuminating universal threads as well as distinct perspectives. Several free programs and workshops will be held in conjunction with the exhibit to spur conversations, so check the website for a full list.

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