Nick G., M1
There are basketball courts in every direction from the Central West End, so where you play depends on how far you want to go! The outdoor courts we’ve used are A.B. Green Park (in Richmond Heights) and Tilles Park (a little further south). There are courts closer to the area but these two are well-maintained. Once the Sumers Recreation Center on the Danforth Campus reopens, there will be access to its indoor courts too.
Nick L., M1
With tons of trails, wide streets, and less traffic density than most metropolitan areas, getting around by bicycle in St. Louis is a great way to explore the area (or get an awesome workout in!). Close to school, check out Forest Park’s Wheels Path which circumnavigates the park in an approximately 6 mile loop. The St. Louis area is also known for some great rails-to-trails options. Cross the Missouri river to the Northwest, and you will find the Katy Trail, a hard, packed gravel trail suitable for all kinds of bikes that travels some 240 miles to Kansas City. Inside the city, lookout for Grant’s Trail which rides for 10 miles south / southwest of the city. If crossing state lines is your thing, be sure to check out the trails along the Mississippi on the Missouri side and cut over to Illinois to explore the excellent MCT trail network. The trails are paved and the riding smooth and flat. If you are a cyclist, make sure to connect with the medical school’s cycling club: the Kreb Cyclers (reach out to Adam Ostergar, email@example.com, for more info).
For the competitive cyclist, there is a large racing community in the area. Be sure to check out racing for the collegiate club team, which is run from the Danforth Campus (firstname.lastname@example.org). One more shout out to the Penrose Park Velodrome which is an oval track with steep banks for racing on fixed gear bicycles. It was recently resurfaced and is one of only 27 velodromes in the United States.
Matt J., M1
Missouri climbing is, unfortunately, not world class. But that is not to say it doesn’t exist. There are multiple gyms in the city, including Climb So iLL where WashU students receive reduced membership cost. They have a location downtown (10 minutes from campus) as well as a larger and newer location in St. Charles (30 minutes from campus). If you want to get outside, the closest large bouldering area is two hours away at Elephant Rocks, where there are tons of problems on super sharp granite. The closest sport is actually in Illinois, at Pere Marquette about an hour away, with a good mix of face and crack climbing on limestone. There is also good quality — and significantly taller — sport about three hours away outside of Columbia. The Red River Gorge is a six-hour drive, which makes it perfect for a weekend trip to one of the best crags in the country. If you rotate between locations, there is more than enough opportunity to keep you entertained for however long you stay in St. Louis, and there are certainly enough climbers here for you to find regular partners.
Jennifer L., M2
There are quite a few dance studios in the area, but Central Studio is just a hop, skip, and jeté away — that is, about 10 minutes from the FLTC. They offer adult classes in a variety of genres (ballet, contemporary/jazz, tap, and more), and you can either attend on a drop-in basis ($16/class) or buy a class pack! Pro tip: Wait for their Black Friday sale, when you can snag a bundle for ~$11/class. Most classes are offered in two levels, with Level 1 being geared towards beginner dancers and Level 2 towards intermediate/advanced dancers. Ballet class is even more fun post-Anatomy — you’ll find yourself intimately familiar with each and every muscle activated by that plié.
M2s dancing to Lizzo in the choreographed “boy band dance” at the annual AMWA Red Dress Event.
Jackson B., M1
As someone who grew up in Park City, Utah — one of the premiere mountain biking destinations in the world — I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what St. Louis has to offer. There is a very strong mountain bike community here with about 50-70 miles of well-maintained trails within a 30-minute drive from the Medical Campus. A lot of the trails are converted hiking trails with a combination of fun, technical rocky features and newly constructed switchbacks and flowy berms. Overall, there’s plenty here to keep a mountain biking fanatic or new rider happy. I’d recommend taking a break from lecture and getting out during the week to skip the weekend crowds!
Josh M., M1
My class made a GroupMe to coordinate playing and it has been a great way to take a break from studying and to get some exercise! There are two places to play racquetball that are absolutely free — Forest Park and Hudlin Park (literally right next to The Core and Becker Medical Library). The courts are “outdoor” which means that they have an opening in the upper quarter of the back wall. While I was skeptical at first, I have been pleasantly surprised with how well the courts have worked.
Elijah F., M2
While gyms and indoor spaces may be limited for the fitness fanatics out there, the great outdoors still has plenty of space to work up a good sweat and carve out a few miles. Whether it’s a donut run with friends (routes for assessment and caloric balance abound) or a MSG-sponsored 5K race in Forest Park, there are trails and sidewalks that are perfect for the intrepid med student to prepare for the day or burn out some study stress. It’s been fairly easy to distance from others on the trail or run with a buddy staggered six feet apart! Can’t wait for you to catch up!
Josh K., M1
Although WashU intramurals have been postponed until it is safe to participate in them again, soccer is still an excellent way to stay active and do something outside of school. There are many places to play whether that be on the SLU or WashU campuses or in Forest Park. When the weather is nice, there are always people willing to shoot around on the weekend. I personally like to play at the SLU intramural field because it is not too far from campus and it has nice goals and turf. Depending on your preference, you can play casually as a relaxing study break or have an intense workout!
Evan L., M1
The Danforth Campus gym, which is about a 9-minute drive from the CWE and is accessible by the MetroLink, has a nice Olympic pool which is free for you to use. You also get your own lane reserved this year (maybe the only good thing about COVID?). Six of us drive out there at least once a week to work out together, which can be a fun way to spend time with classmates. If you live elsewhere in the city, there are also a couple of local YMCAs which have pools.
Jenna B., M1
There are so many public tennis courts in the area and it’s such a great activity to do with classmates, whether you’re just starting out or have been playing for years! For people who live near the hospitals, the most convenient (although not the nicest) courts are the six in Hudlin Park, literally next to Barnes-Jewish Hospital on the Medical Campus. The six courts on WashU’s Danforth Campus are also just across Forest Park, and they are in amazing shape and have lights that stay on for as late as the Athletic Complex is open (but it’s good to be aware of when the varsity and club teams practice). Just northwest of the Danforth Campus in University City are the five courts at Flynn Park, which are also in good condition but can be pretty full of other community members depending on what time you go. Some other peripheral options are two courts at A.B. Green Park, and eight courts at Heman Park, four of which have lights.
Ian M., M1
The Core gym is an awesome gym and is very conveniently located. It is a 2-minute walk from the Becker Medical Library and the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (FLTC), where you’ll find most classes and study spaces. It’s even closer for students who live in The Core Apartment Residences (same building). The facility includes all the traditional amenities, such as plenty of cardio machines (e.g. treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, rowing machines, and stairmills), as well as weight machines and free weights. The Core gym also has some more unique amenities, including punching bags, a deadlift platform, and monkey bars. We currently do sign-ups for 90-minute blocks and there are always times before, after, and in between classes to workout. The gym overall is never too packed and I never any issues waiting for equipment to open up. Overall, It’s a really great gym that I use most days of the week and would recommend to everyone.
Emma L., M1
Although the St. Louis ultimate leagues and pickup games are on hold for now, socially distant throwing in Forest Park has been an amazing way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors with classmates! There are beautiful fields in the park that are always open just a ten-minute walk from the Medical Campus. Whether you have been playing ultimate for years or have never touched a Frisbee, throwing and playing mini games masked in the park with classmates is so much fun and a great stress reliever!
Elijah F., M1
How do WashU students get connected with all the wellness-related programming and helpful resources that are around? The answer is through WUMS Well! Through super useful wellness newsletters that let you know what’s happening around St. Louis to WashU-specific programs like the peer advocates that help support students, WUMS Well is able to connect students, faculty, and the community in all kinds of fun ways. Some highlights for me have been seeing my faculty coach’s insta-story takeover and then discovering in a wellness newsletter that St. Louis has a cherished Taco Week with deals all over the city! WUMS Well truly is a stellar showcase of the interconnectedness and support found at WashU.
Ilana O. , M1
There are so many different ways to practice yoga in St. Louis! The WUSM Yoga Club holds weekly evening classes (outdoors when the weather was nice, then transitioned to Zoom) for a small, one-time fee. On Saturday mornings, there is also donation-based outdoor yoga at Tower Grove Park (a quick bike ride or short drive away from the Central West End) during the Farmer’s Market. I have also seen yoga classes at the Grand Basin in Forest Park, though I have not attended one there myself. I have yet to check out any local indoor studios due to COVID but have had plenty of opportunities to practice yoga regularly despite the circumstances.