Milwaukee Cheap & Free: Affordable Indoor Workouts for Winter

If you’re not up for wintery wind whipping your face as you go for a “relaxing” outdoor run or bike, try these inexpensive indoor workouts that are equally strenuous — just without the chapped cheeks, frozen snot and eye-sicles.

 $25 and under

→ Milwaukee Curling Club

Where: W67 N890 Washington Ave., Cedarburg
Cost: “Learn To Curl” session $25

Join the 167-year old Milwaukee Curling Club with a weekend beginner class or by joining a league. You will, in fact, be joining an even older 16th-century Scottish game played on frozen lakes and ponds. Classes fill up quickly, so check the schedule soon!

Photo by Chris Apel of Milwaukee Curling Club
→ Wauwatosa Curling Club

Where: 7300 W. Chestnut St., Wauwatosa
Cost: “Try Curling” session $20 / Adaptive Curling free

Join the newer, almost 100-year tradition of Tosa curling at the Wauwatosa Curling Club. Check the schedule for “Trying Curling” (for beginners and non-club members) and Adaptive Curling (for those with mobility disabilities) that uses a “pusher” stick to send the rocks down the ice.

$20 and under

→ Adventure Rock

Where: 2220 N. Commerce St. (also in Brookfield)
Cost: Day pass $16 / Clip’N Go $20 / Shoe and harness rental $5 each / Belay and chalk bag rental $2 each

For the first-timer, climbing at Adventure Rock can be intimidating, with hundreds of feet of vertical faces of red, blue and grey, probably thousands of multicolored grips and lithe spider-like climbers communicating with their belayers. But the Clip’N Go pass makes it easy to clip into many of the ropes and start experimenting, foot by foot.

Adventure Rock

→ Milwaukee Turner Climbing Gym

Where: 1034 N. 4th St.

Cost: Day pass $10 / Shoe & harness rental $4 each / Belay and chalk bag rental $3 each / Student special (Friday and Saturday) $15 / “Learn to Climb” class $30

Foster a “Sound Mind in a Sound Body” (the Turner motto) as you traverse the indoor rock climbing walls right in the historic Milwaukee Turner Hall building. The Climbing Gym features 26-foot top ropes, lead climbing from 5.4-5.13 and a “Cage” filled with hanging holds.

→ PowerCycle

Where: 7954 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa
Cost: First ride free / Single ride $19

Choose your medicine: full-body, extra arm workout, bike and a brunch (or just wine), or one of their many musically themed rides. PowerCycle has something for everyone, even a shorter class for those with a busy lunch break schedule.

Photo by Josh P. Groth Photography
→ Cyclebar

Where: 11104 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon (also in Brookfield)
Cost: First 30-minute ride free / Drop-in $20

Several steps above your local gym’s spin class, Cyclebar takes indoor cycling to new levels, with a tiered theatre of bikes, huge screens and spectacular audio, video and light technology. The dynamic instructors give each ride an added edge. Take a “Classic” ride, race for stats in the competitive “Performance” or focus and restore with “Connect.”

→ Yama Yoga

Where: 231 E. Buffalo St. #201
Cost:  New students 10-day pass $10Single class $15 

Vinyasa flow or hatha, chakra body tapping or meditation, heated flow and prenatal classes. Yama Yoga — named for the five yamas of non-violence, truthfulness, moderation, non-stealing and non-greed — offers an experience for students of all levels.

Photo courtesy of Yama Yoga
→ Hot Yoga Milwaukee

Where: 2084 N. Commerce St. (also in Brookfield)
Cost: Intro special $49 one-month unlimited classes / Drop-in $20

Turn up the heat at Hot Yoga Milwaukee, well-known for their hot yoga classes. Expect the room to reach a humid 105 degrees as you practice the same 26 postures twice. If you need it a little cooler (95 degrees), try the vinyasa flow, “Sculpt” class (which integrates dumbbells and pilates rings) or “Yin” class (focusing on long posture holds).

$10 and under

→ Pettit National Ice Center

Where: 500 S. 84th St.
Skate Cost:  Adult (19-59) $7.50 / Junior (13-18) $6.50 / Youth (4-12) $5.50 / Senior (60+) $5.50 / Children 3 and under free / Skate rental $3.50
Track Cost: Day pass $4

Get pumped up for the 2018 Winter Olympics by hitting the ice with your Salchow, camel spin and triple axel. Public skating times at the Pettit National Ice Center vary depending on the day, so check the schedule. Or get pumped up for the 2020 Summer Olympics with a run on the Pettit’s indoor 443-meter run/walk track, open every day from 5:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.

→ Wilson Ice Arena

Where: 4001 S. 20th St.
Cost: Adult $6 / Junior $4 / Youth $3.50 / Seniors $4 / Skate rental $3.50 / Skate sharpening $6

Open skate times at the Wilson Ice Arena vary, so check the schedule. For skaters with mobility disabilities, RampUpMKE and the Milwaukee County Parks have made ice sleds available for free.


→ Mall Walking

Where: Grand Avenue Mall, Brookfield Square Mall, Southridge Mall, Mayfair Mall
Cost: Free

You don’t have to open your wallet when you visit the mall. Instead, try mall walking! Wear a comfortable, supportive pair of walking shoes, walk with intention and reap excellent heart benefits — for free. Of course, you can always do some window shopping while you walk and open that wallet afterward. Check to see if you need to check in with mall security or a service desk.

→ Stair Club Milwaukee

Where: A tall building near you! 
Cost: Free 

For a more vertical workout, take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, before, during or after work. If you happen to work in a tall building, this is a great winter (and year-round) option for keeping fit and activating even more muscles than just walking. Stair Club Milwaukee also has opportunities for you to train with others for local stair races and charity stair climbs like the Fight For Air Climb at the U.S. Bank Center: 47 floors and 1,034 steps! This is the largest ALA Fight For Air Climb in the country, both in terms of participation and funds raised.

Photo courtesy of Josh Jackett of Stair Club Milwaukee