City Without Limits

Go Metro

This could be you: Take the A train to New York's Rockaway beaches.     Photo: Bob Scott

CUT LOOSE on the town, work up a sweat, or pamper yourself into oblivion. Whatever your chosen thrill, you're bound to find it amid the bright lights and cool vibe of a city. The trick is knowing where to look. To get you started, we've rounded up 100 routine-busting adventures in eight of America's thriving urban centers, from meditating in San Fran to fly-fishing in Manhattan. But don't stop there. Use the following leads to scout new experiences wherever you are: at home, away for the weekend, or on a business trip in the U.S. or overseas.

PLUG INTO THE LOCAL MEDIA. Comb alternative weeklies for details on festivals and concerts; pick up regional sports publications for the latest on athletic clubs and events like kickball tourneys and 10K's. You'll also find information on sports-and-fitness activities in more than 10,000 American cities at www.active.com.

RECONSIDER THE CLASSICS. Don't write off the tourist hot spots—find a way to experience them on your own terms. Skip the long lines and crowded ferry; instead, see the Statue of Liberty by kayak. Or pass up the Impressionist galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago and ask a museum curator to show you her favorite unsung wing in the museum.

CHECK OUT THE BEST GEAR SHOPS. They're clearinghouses for dedicated neighborhood athletes and are usually staffed with experts who are more than happy to provide inside info about the best their city has to offer.

CONNECT WITH THE LOCALS. Quiz a hip barista about where to find the best live music; ask your spinning instructor to dish on one of his favorite fresh-air rides.

GET OUT OF YOUR ROOM. Work-related travel doesn't have to mean you're a prisoner of the convention center. Skip the hotel gym and run through the most scenic section of town. Ask the concierge for trail maps or other nearby workout options.

GO EXOTIC. Ethnic enclaves in cosmopolitan cities can be a trip—and you won't have to leave town. Forget the hotel's Thai restaurant: Find Little Bangkok and see what panang curry really tastes like.

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN. Start seeing your city as the action-packed playground it is, and you'll be amazed at the adventures you can find.

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