The Best College Gyms in Boston

These five jaw-dropping college gyms will make you severely underwhelmed with your treadmill.

Think college campuses are just about the classrooms? Think again. We visited some of Boston’s best campus gyms, and what we found—juice bars, lazy rivers, climbing walls, and kayak rentals—will make wish you could have stayed in college forever. 

Northeastern University Marino Center

If you’ve ever driven down Huntington Avenue, you’ve seen the stunning glass facade of the Marino Center. Built around a spacious, airy atrium, the gym contains two state-of-the-art fitness floors, basketball courts, several group fitness and martial arts studios, and a “Treadwall” that simulates rock climbing. This fall, the school added Revolutionz, a high-tech cycling studio complete with flashing lights, a professional sound system, and flat screen TVs for a sensory-overload workout.

Northeastern’s Marino Center sits on bustling Huntington Avenue. (Photo by Jamie Ducharme)

Revolutionz cycling studio, which opened last fall, rivals any high-tech spin studio. (Photo courtesy of Brooks Canaday)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center

Thanks to a donation by Al and Barrie Zesiger, the “Z-Center” was built as an addition to the existing duPont Athletic Center 10 years ago. The gym boasts a sleek, modern exterior and a host of facilities open to the MIT community and members of the public alike. In addition to all the basics like fitness machines, basketball courts, and group fitness classes, you will find tennis courts, an indoor ice rink, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, massage therapy rooms, a PGA golf simulator room, a gymnastics facility, and a fencing room.



The Z-Center’s Olympic-sized pool is one of the largest in New England. (Photo courtesy of MIT)

The Zesiger Center
The Z-Center’s exterior is equally impressive. (Photo by Jamie Ducharme)

Boston University Fitness & Recreation Center

Widely considered one of the top campus gyms in the country, BU’s FitRec center has something for everyone. As if an 18,000-square foot fitness area wasn’t enough, the facility also offers above-and-beyond amenities like a leisure pool—complete with a lazy river and a jacuzzi—a huge indoor rock climbing wall, a dance theater, a juice bar, nutrition and cooking classes, and an indoor track suspended over the basketball and volleyball gymnasium. Is it too late to transfer?


Leisure pool
BU’s leisure pool, complete with a lazy river, you know, for the days you can’t make it to the water park.
(Photo by Jamie Ducharme)

Juice bar
The juice bar—for that post-workout thirst. (Photo by Jamie Ducharme)

University of Massachusetts Boston Waterfront Recreation Center

In addition to a top notch, newly-renovated fitness center and an ice rink open for regular free skates, UMass Boston makes the most of its prime location by offering a seasonal waterfront recreation center. With programs like free kayaking and sailing classes for all students, stand up paddle board rentals, and free boat use, it’s enough to have any student itching to get their sea legs.

Waterfront recreation centerIs this summer camp or a college gym? (Photo courtesy of UMass Boston)

UMB sailing
UMB students hit the water. Photo courtesy of UMass Boston

Harvard University Malkin Athletic Center

Judging from its picturesque red brick architecture, you’d never guess the Malkin Center is a gym. Built in 1930, the fitness center offers old-school architectural beauty with modern day amenities like cardio and weight rooms, group fitness classes, lap pools, swimming lessons, water aerobics, rooms for personal training, an indoor cycling studio, and basketball courts.

Malkin Athletic Center
The Malkin Center blends right in with the rest of the Harvard Campus. (Photo courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications)

Did your university have gyms like these? If you are currently in school, what is your gym like?