GETTING INTO THE GROOVE of walking daily can be great for your health. Whether it’s of the power or more leisurely variety, walking strengthens muscles and bones, improves cardiovascular fitness and even boosts mental wellness. To help encourage this healthy habit, here are seven local spots to get in that heart-pumping, arm-swinging workout while also enjoying unique scenery, adorable animals or educational exhibits.
1. Atwater Beach
4000 N. LAKE DR., SHOREWOOD
Zigzagging the quarter-mile up and down the bluffs at this Shorewood beach is no joke. The peaceful scenery is a good distraction from the burn, and the paved paths help, too. For an extra challenge, head to the staircase in the middle of the park and amp up the cardio.
Tip: Want a more relaxed stroll? Skip the hills, hit the beach and walk along the water.
2. Milwaukee Riverwalk
101 W. PLEASANT ST.
Take in the architecture and public art of Downtown Milwaukee and the Historic Third Ward while waving to boaters as you cruise along the RiverWalk. There are quite a few stairs along this 3.1-mile route to give your quads and hamstrings a pump.
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3. Milwaukee County Zoo
10001 W. BLUEMOUND RD.
Walk in the company of critters at the zoo’s more than 190 acres of parkland. A jaunt along the main trail covers a 1.25-mile loop. The zoo’s public relations coordinator Jennifer Diliberti-Shea says walking the grounds makes getting a workout easy: “You don’t realize you’re exercising!”
4. Mitchell Park Domes
524 S. LAYTON BLVD.
Erica Wasserman, Milwaukee Recreation’s wellness supervisor and the leader of the walking group Mil-WALK-ee, says the Domes are among the best walking destinations in the city. She recommends adding to the step count by looping through Mitchell and Three Bridges parks first, then finishing off with a stroll through all three domes.
5. Pettit National Ice Center
500 S. 84TH ST.
The Pettit’s 443-meter track is a great indoor option when Wisconsin’s weather isn’t cooperating. It’s $4 for access to the track around the ice, and that includes the free entertainment as figure skaters and hockey players are often in motion at its center.
Tip: Make sure the track is open in advance by checking the schedule on the Pettit’s website.
6. Milwaukee Public Museum
800 W. WELLS ST.
While you may not be able to speed down the halls of the museum, a lap around each of the three exhibit floors will net you nearly 3,000 steps. MPM spokesperson Rebecca Ehlers calls it the best way to “travel the world in under an hour.”
Tip: An annual membership for the museum is only $85. That’s less than two months of access to the Y.
7. The Lakefront
The lakefront’s network of trails is a choose-your-own-adventure of walking possibilities. Mix it up by changing your start and end points, or keep it simple by cruising down the Oak Leaf Trail’s Lake Line. The tree-shaded path runs from the top of Lafayette Hill past McKinley Marina and continues all the way down to the Milwaukee Art Museum.