The aim of this study was to describe the profile of users and non-users of the Academia da Cidade Program to promote physical activity in Recife, Pernambuco State, Brazil. Four of the program's 19 units were sampled. Users (n=277) and non-users (n=277) were matched for gender, age (+/-5 years), and place of residence. Among non-users, 22% had never heard of the program. Among those who knew of the program, 54.3% learned about it by actually having seen one of the units. Among users, the main reason for participating in the program was to improve their health; mean participation time was 27.5 months (SD = 23.1); and 72.8% reported high satisfaction. The proportion of individuals with fair or poor self-rated health was significantly higher among non-users (45.4%) than users (28.5%). Users of the program appeared to be satisfied. Strategies to further publicize the program should be prioritized to make it known to a larger proportion of the city's population.