16 College Rec Centers So Awesome They Will Make you Want to Work Out

As colleges become more selective, so do their students. For the last decade, universities have begun to attract students with beautiful—and giant—recreation centers. The result is some of the best outfitted and designed fitness college rec centers in the country.

Whether you spend hours a week at the gym or need some motivation to get back into your workout routine, you’re sure to be impressed by the college rec centers on this list.

1. Auburn University

Auburn University has one of the best college rec centers.

Auburn Recreation via Facebook

Opened in 2013, Auburn’s 240,000 sq ft behemoth of a rec center includes the standards as well as a golf simulator, a 1/3 mile indoor track which snakes through the gym, and a game room with foosball and table tennis. This rec center truly has something for everyone.

2. University of Arizona

The University of Arizona has one of the best college rec centers.

University of Arizona Recreation via Facebook

The University of Arizona’s main gym measures in at 108,000 sq ft and is LEED platinum-certified. In addition to standard cardio and weight training equipment, the rec center houses an indoor sand volleyball court and a bouldering area.

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3. Ohio State University

The Ohio State University has one of the best college rec centers.

Ohio State Recreation via Facebook

OSU’s Recreation and Physical Activity Center houses over 150 diverse cardio machines, as well as hundreds of pieces of strength equipment. The facility also houses squash and racquetball courts, a sauna, and two cafes.

4. University of Iowa

The University of Iowa has one of the best college rec centers.

University of Iowa Recreational Services via Facebook

UIowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center features state of the art aquatics facilities including a natatorium, diving pool, and a leisure pool with a lazy river. The center features plenty of cardio and weight equipment, as well as massage services and a smoothie cafe.

5. Colorado State University

Colorado State University has one of the best college rec centers.

Colorado State Rec via Facebook

CSU’s rec center features a climbing wall, aquatic sports area, and individual fitness studios in addition to its 24,000 sq ft of cardio and weight-lifting space. Patrons can always ensure they’ll have access to a treadmill or bench by checking online live webcams before heading out.

6. University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas Austin has one of the best college rec centers.

University of Texas Recreation via Facebook

UT Austin has 9 recreation facilities scattered about its campus, totaling 500,000 sq ft of indoor rec space. Gregory Gym (pictured) features indoor and outdoor swimming, fitness equipment, as well as courts for badminton, handball, and more. The gym also has a separate fitness area for faculty and staff.

7. University of Maine

UMaine Campus Recreation via Facebook

The New Balance Student Rec Center provides over 87,000 sq ft of workout space, featuring floor to ceiling windows for tons of natural light. If the cardio, lifting, courts, and aquatic areas aren’t enough, the center also rents out outdoor rec equipment for the trailed forest area adjacent to the center.

8. University of Missouri

MizzouRec via Facebook

Mizzou Rec is broken up into several sections including the Cardio Gallery, Jungle Gym, Pump Room, and a Boxing Gym. In addition, the main gym features a 1/6 indoor track and courts to accommodate several sports. Additionally, Mizzou Rec actively updates its blog so that you’re always motivated.

9. Northern Arizona University

NAU Campus Recreation via Facebook

NAU is bound to offer something you can get excited about, no matter how you want to get in shape. The rec center houses courts for basketball, volleyball, squash, and racquetball, in addition to cardio, free weight, and selectorized weight machines. TRX fitness equipment is also available, in addition to a full-feature aquatics center.

10. University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota Wellness via Facebook

UND’s Wellness Center approaches fitness holistically. Along with decked-out gyms, aquatics, and fitness areas, the center also houses the “Culinary Corner” where students and community members can learn to prepare nutritious and budget-friendly meals.

11. Indiana State University

Tcampbell via Wikimedia Commons

Outfitted with tons of cardio and strength equipment, ISU’s rec center has everything you need to get your sweat on. After your workout, be sure to check out the sauna, 22-person spa, as well as the juice bar to relax. Find out your lean mass percentage by trying out the Bod Pod while you’re there as well.

12. Purdue University

Purdue Recreation via Facebook

Purdue’s LEED-Gold rated rec center features not one, but two 1/10 mile indoor tracks on separate levels, as well as an expansive aquatic sports area and a range of fitness courses. Purdue’s wellness program also offers free light therapy to students with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

13. University of Cincinnati

UC Campus Recreation via Facebook

UC’s 200,000 sq ft rec center has something to get anyone moving. An impressive rock climbing wall and aquatics center in an architecturally intriguing building go above and beyond your typical gym. Free blood pressure testing is also available to all UC’s fitness center members.

14. Northeastern University

Northeastern University Campus Recreation via Facebook

The Marino Center’s floor to ceiling windows give the facility its striking appearance. Get your cardio or strength work out on while looking out at the streets of Boston. Unique cardio equipment at Marino also includes a cross-county ski simulator and a rock wall simulator. Other facilities at NEU house a full-length lap swimming pool and courts.

15. Rice University

Rice University has one of the best college rec centers.

Rice University Recreation Center via Facebook

Whether you want to swim laps or play Marco Polo, Rice has got a pool for you. In addition to state-of-the-art cardio and strength equipment, the facility also houses the Outdoor Adventure Center, where students can rent outdoor rec equipment and get expert planning advice from staff.

16. University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota has one of the best college rec centers.

University of Minnesota Recreation and Wellness via Facebook

UM’s Recreation and Wellness center was expanded to 175,000 feet in 2013. The facility includes all the fitness equipment and amenities you could want, as well as a full-service cafeteria. There’s also a pro shop and equipment rental area in-house should you need anything to power through your workout.

Interested in any of these schools? Use College Raptor’s free match tool to discover if they’re a good fit for you!

4 thoughts on “16 College Rec Centers So Awesome They Will Make you Want to Work Out”

  1. cassidy says:

    You completely left out Mizzous entire indoor and outdoor pool area and the picture you used? come on, that looks like an other gym. mizzous rec is a lot better than you described it

  2. bryan flake says:

    The UofA gym looks like it would be a fun place to work out. For me, I need to find a place that bears the environment of peace and meditation. The last thing I need is metal and gear clanking together with loud rock and roll blaring on the speakers.

  3. Trinton Mills says:

    What about Oklahoma State’s rec center? Easily one of the biggest and nicest gyms in America!

  4. Noah Parker says:


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