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Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Fitness and Outdoor

From a way to be shady to a (literal) tailgate to letting the moon be your guide –– discover what our editors chose for the Best of the 'Burgh in fitness and the outdoors.

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photo by chuck beard

Scaling the walls at ASCEND Pittsburgh, an indoor climbing, yoga and fitness facility located in a former South Side brewery, may well be all the exercise you need — the challenge of hoisting yourself up on foot- and hand-holds of varying difficulty is a serious workout. For those who like a little same-day variety in their fitness routine, ASCEND has you covered there as well. Your day pass grants you access into ASCEND’s yoga and fitness classes, time on the cardio machines and with free weights — and even ping-pong. (Somehow, table tennis helps ease the pain in your aching forearm muscles after an afternoon of climbing.) (2141 Mary St., South Side; 412/745-2141, ascendpgh.com) —SC

photo by tree pittsburgh

Tree Pittsburgh grew out of the city’s Shade Tree Commission in 2006, and now it’s putting down roots in a 5-acre campus along the Allegheny River in Lawrenceville that includes the Tree Pittsburgh Heritage Nursery, offices and education center. Danielle Crumrine, executive director of the nonprofit, says the new green building will allow Tree Pittsburgh to offer more educational programs, including summer camps, in addition to its popular tree identification walks and the Tree Tender volunteer program. The $2.6 million project under the 62nd Street Bridge allows Tree Pittsburgh to “teach right on the river’s edge,” Crumrine says. “We create a heightened awareness about the challenges trees face in the urban environment.” (412/781-8733, treepittsburgh.org) —BH

photo by tami weingarter

This summer, hoof up north for a Darlington Polo Club match, one of the region’s most intriguing Friday Night events. The club is an institution in Darlington, and from the beginning has epitomized the blue-collar vibe of Beaver County. Instead of grassy Sunday afternoons in fancy dress, the atmosphere is similar to that of a high school football game; locals gather with picnics or hot dogs from the concession stand or walk over to meet the horses, and the match is played on an illuminated dirt field at dusk, making the club one of the only in the country to play beneath lights. Can you think of a better use for a Friday night? I’d say neigh. (3476 Darlington Road, Darlington; 330/692-0062, darlingtonpoloclub.com) —CG

photo by wally gobetz via flickr creative commons

There’s no bad time to run the North Shore stretch of Three Rivers Heritage Trail. As you make your way toward the Point (and beyond) on the banks of the Allegheny, you’ll pass bustling landmarks and quiet havens; the miles will pass easily. No time is better, however, than the moments just around sunset, when the city skyline is edged with gold and the river begins to sparkle. In fact, this might be the best run in town. (friendsoftheriverfront.org) —SC

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