Photo courtesy of City of Boulder Parks and Recreation's Facebook page

A Look at Boulder’s Rec Centers


In the fittest city in America, it’s only fitting that the community rec centers rival some of the nation’s best gyms.

These are far above your ordinary rec centers.

Boulder boasts three different recreation centers in different corners of town, aptly named the North, South and East Boulder rec centers. Each facility has a ton of amenities, from swimming pools to basketball courts to free weights — but also a ton more, including unique features and classes you’d never expect.

Here’s a closer look at Boulder’s three rec centers: where they are, what they offer and what makes each one unique.

North Boulder Rec Center

3198 N. Broadway

North Boulder Rec Center. Photo courtesy of City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Center

Amenities: 25-yard, eight-lane lap pool, swimming pool, hot tub, locker rooms, gymnasium, racquetball court, dry sauna, weight room, cardio equipment, child care, multi-purpose rooms, indoor and outdoor pickleball courts and four lighted tennis courts, plus two platform tennis courts.

Unique offerings: This rec center has a full, super fun water slide, as well as other pool features: mini slides, a zero-depth pool for little ones, a water play structure and even a poolside basketball hoop.

North Boulder also has its own full, 12,000-square-foot gymnastics center. The gymnastics program here is highly respected and trains more than 1,000 students. (If you need proof, just look at the wall adorned with hundreds of trophies.) This is one of the biggest and best-equipped gymnastics facilities in the area.

The North Boulder Rec Center also offers some interesting drop-in group fitness classes.

Ayre is a dance class that blends various dance styles to upbeat tunes. You can get your cardio in a fun way, but no dance background is necessary to join. Check out Ayre 9 a.m. Wednesdays and 10:45 a.m. Fridays for an hour.

Another oh-so-Boulder class is Body Mandala, a “soulful movement class” that blends yoga, dance and somatics. It’s all about moving and connecting with your body. No dance experience required. Try it yourself at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays.

Local tip: Want to try a free group fitness class? North Boulder Rec offers a free, community Zumba on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. This class is taught in both Spanish and English and open to anyone who wants to work out, have fun and sweat. No dance experience necessary.


East Boulder Community Center

5660 Sioux Drive

East Boulder Recreation Center. Photo courtesy of Christina Shelite

Amenities: A 25-yard, eight-lane lap pool, swimming pool, hot tub, steam room, locker rooms, weight room, double gymnasium, fitness room, dance studio and child care.

Unique offerings: One thing that makes the East Boulder Community Center stand out is the East Boulder Community Park, which extends the healthy lifestyle of the facility outdoors. This park has a pond, turf fields, a dog park, sand volleyball courts, a playground, a demonstration garden, four outdoor handball courts, two outdoor squash courts, a tennis teaching center and a soccer field. You can take small, non-motorized boats out onto the lake.

The Nature Play area behind the facility invites kids to access the pond, watch geese swim and play on natural structures, like rocks. Oh, and there’s a huge dinosaur to climb on.

Indoors is just as fun at East Boulder. The pool features a lazy river (kept warm, at about 92 degrees), bubble bench, 150-foot water slide, a smaller slide for younger kids, a basketball hoop and a sun deck with Flatirons views. The pool area feels connected with nature, with floor-to-ceiling windows all along two walls.

Climbing wall. Photo courtesy of City of Boulder Parks and Recreation

Beyond the pool area, the East Boulder facility offers an indoor climbing wall. Sign up for classes for people of all ages to learn basic rope skills, movement over rock and how to climb safely. You can also do equipment-free bouldering up to 10 feet high.
East Boulder also offers interesting group fitness classes, like Body Mandala and warm water fitness classes specifically designed for older adults. These classes are held in the warm, shallow pool, so you don’t need to be able to swim. You can try it out at 1 p.m. for 45 minutes on Tuesdays.

South Boulder Recreation Center

1360 Gillaspie Drive

South Boulder Rec Center. Photo courtesy of FCHS Boys Swim Team Facebook page

Amenities: A 25-yard pool, diving board, hot tub, dry sauna, weights and cardio equipment, locker rooms, a dance and yoga studio, dry sauna, indoor racquetball/handball court, outdoor soccer fields, four outdoor tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pickleball and wifi.

Unique offerings: South Boulder has a special Pilates studio, as well as a stretching/functional fitness room. It also has its own 18-basket disc golf course at the Harlow Platts Community Park.

This park, adjacent to the rec center, is home to Viele Lake, as well as a playground, picnic tables, a shelter and grills, the outdoor courts, special exercise stations so you can workout outside, bike racks and bike access. Go fishing at the lake or walk around it on the 0.7-mile path. Dogs on leash are welcome in the park.

The South Boulder Rec Center also has unique group fitness classes; again, you can take Body Mandala here. You can also try a class called Hydro Dynamics, a low-impact but medium- to high-intensity class done in the water. It’s offered 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Families also enjoy South Boulder’s Gym Jam program for kids 9 months old up to age 4. For Gym Jam, staff fills the gym with fun, kid-friendly equipment to play and learn on. It’s an open gym, so you stay and supervise your own kid any time between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Friday mornings through May 15. Learn more about Gym Jam and how to register here.

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