Best Cities For Fitness

America’s Best Cities for Fitness Fanatics

When seeking out a new place to live, you are likely already considering factors such as housing costs, crime rates, or proximity of schools – but what about the overall quality of the city’s fitness culture? Further, would you know how this is measured? Unfortunately, “ability to conveniently join a gym” is not a filter when perusing housing market websites. However, we’ve done the research and can determine the top cities based on several important factors.

Using Yelp data, we identified the most exercise-centered U.S. cities, specifically those with the most fitness locations, the most diverse activities offered, and the highest overall quality ratings. Read on to learn more.

Gyms on Every Corner

To begin our study, we explored which cities in the U.S. have the highest gym-to-population ratio.

U.S. cities with the most fitness locations

New York City has the highest number of fitness centers, with 233.5 locations per 100,000 residents. Without a doubt, New York City prides itself on a multitude of unique opportunities to burn calories. If you find yourself in New York, you could catch a wave during an indoor surfing class or ride a few miles on an underwater stationary bike. In a city with ample opportunities for mixing up your exercise routine, NYC sits at the top of this list.

Las Vegas follows with 171.7 locations per 100,000 residents. Sin City is synonymous with bright lights and overindulgence, but it also supports those leading a fitness-focused lifestyle. Even those just passing through the city will find many ways to weave fitness into their vacation. When navigating those desert temperatures, proximity and convenience to exercise locations are key.

Dallas rounds out the top three for this list with 171.4 locations per capita. Fitness culture in Dallas is ingrained in the lifestyles of the residents there. Catering to skill levels ranging from the rookie all the way up to the NFL Dallas Cowboy, there is a sweat-burning opportunity for everyone. As the number of new gyms and their corresponding celebrity endorsements continue to rise, the focus on fitness grows along with it.

Holistically Ranking America’s Fittest Locations

To collectively rate which cities are best for fitness, we assigned the top 25 cities a meta score and ranked them accordingly. This score incorporates the number of fitness locations per capita, the variety and diversity of these locations, and their average Yelp ratings.

the top overall cities for fitness

New York City again tops the list, only further establishing its position as one of the country’s best cities for fitness. Las Vegas also remains in a notable spot on the list, tying for sixth place with San Jose, California. Dallas fell several places, landing in the 10th spot.

Several California cities, including Long Beach, San Jose, and Los Angeles, were not present on the listing of cities with the most fitness locations per 100,000 residents, but ranked within the top 25 of the meta scoring process. With California consistently being named among the fittest places in the country, it’s no surprise that its exercise locations sit well above average both in terms of quality and quantity.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Any city might offer an outdoor park or local basketball court, but it’s the diversity of activities available that truly highlights a city’s dedication to being a fitness hub – and draws in workout enthusiasts from across the country.

cities with the most gyms based on type of activity

If you are seeking a more unique workout experience, you could attend a qi gong class in Oakland, CA, with 0.49 locations for every 100,000 residents. You may also opt to fly high in an aerial fitness class in Las Vegas, where there are 1.37 locations for every 100,000 residents. More traditional activities, such as cardio classes, Pilates, barre classes, and boot camps are most widely available in New York City. Similarly, NYC boasts the highest number of personal trainers, who operate at 124.74 locations per 100,000 residents. Collectively, New York provides residents with the most overall diversity, offering an effective mixture of both familiar and new activities.

Yelp Reviews Matter

While the quantity of nearby places to exercise can be an imperative factor when deciding on your next move, we must also consider the quality of these locations. By analyzing Yelp reviews submitted for all fitness locations in each city, we can determine the average customer rating, with one star being the lowest score and five stars being the highest. With over 224 million unique reviews logged, Yelp provides an accurate insight into the true customer experience.

Top Rated Fitness cities by location

Fitness centers in California set the quality bar high, resulting in eight cities with average scores well above 4.5 stars. Specifically, Oakland boasts the highest score with 4.86 stars. Sporting some of the country’s most luxurious gyms, the Golden State is clearly hitting the mark when it comes to balancing customer satisfaction and overall amenities.

It’s Time to Get Moving!

Whether you have just graduated from college or are looking for a fresh start in a new location, a city’s focus on fitness may well play into your decision when choosing your next move. Incorporating these measurements of fitness center quantity, quality, and diversity can aid you in making an informed decision.

If you are already living in one of these top-rated cities, you are now aware of the opportunity that awaits you. Need more inspiration to get started? Let help you find your perfect workout plan no matter where you are located.

Methodology and Limitations

Using the Yelp API, we looked at fitness locations in the top 100 cities in the U.S. based on population. The listings analyzed were any that fell into the “Fitness and Instruction” category in the API.

We created a custom meta score for the cities analyzed based on the number of fitness locations per 100,000 residents, the variety of fitness locations, and their average Yelp rating.

Fair Use Statement

Looking to brag to friends and family about how fitness-friendly your city is? We welcome you to share the results of this study for noncommercial purposes. Please include a link to this article and credit