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Best Locations for Gyms + 20 Best Places to Open a Gym in 2024

Best Locations for Gyms + 20 Best Places to Open a Gym in 2024

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on May 20, 2023 ā€” Updated on January 1, 2024

Read this guide to the best locations for gyms to understand how to choose a location for a gym, how to evaluate the best places to open a gym, and browse our list of the best cities to open a new gym.

Best Locations for Gyms

If you are a gym owner looking to open a new gym, or maybe you want to scale a gym to multiple locations, you know how important it is to choose a great location for a gym. The good news is that there are plenty of great places to open a gym available, with the best cities for gyms across the United States offering communities in need of gyms and fitness centers. Be sure to check out our big list of the best cities to open a gym below too.

As the old real estate adage goes, “Location, location, location.” So too for finding the best place to open a gym. Sometimes in order to have a successful gym business and increase gym gym revenue and profit, the most important first step to make your gym stand out is simply (or not so simply, in some cases) choosing one of the best locations to open a gym.

Fitness Income Ideas

Selecting the ideal location for your new gym can be a game-changer in your business’s success. From assessing population density to understanding local fitness trends, several factors influence this critical decision. But, even the best gym location won’t maximize your potential without the right management tools. Exercise.com, the best gym management software, can provide the robust solutions you need to scale your operations, manage memberships, deliver stellar customer experiences, and more.

Read on to find the best places to open a gym or start a fitness business, and then see why the best software for managing a gym is the unified gym business, marketing, workout, and communication platform, Exercise.com. From the best gym check-in software to the best personal training software and the best gym mobile apps softwareā€”you can manage your new gym and market to your new gym community in a single platform.

Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
Brandon Stroupe
Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

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How to Choose the Best Location to Open a Gym: Insider Tips

You don’t want to just find a good location for a gym, you want to find a great location for a gym! Read on to learn all of the factors that go into choosing a new location for a gym.

Choosing the right location for your gym is a critical decision that requires a thoughtful approach and insider knowledge. We work with experienced gym owners all day everyday, and we understand the nuances that can make or break a gym’s success, why a gym is one of the most successful gyms in America and why some gyms fail.

Here’s an extensive list of factors to consider, ensuring you make the best choice for your new gym. Exercise.com’s gym management software is an excellent choice for gyms of all sizes, providing essential tools for success regardless of your location.

Market Demographics and Accessibility

The demographics of your gym target market and the accessibility of your gym are fundamental considerations. Your gym’s location should align with the lifestyle and needs of your ideal clientele, whether they are busy professionals, students, or families.

  • Identify Your Target Audience: Are they young professionals, students, or families? This will influence the gym’s offerings and atmosphere.
  • Consider Proximity to Residential and Business Areas: A location near homes or offices can significantly boost membership due to convenience.
  • Transportation and Parking Facilities: Easy access via public transportation and ample parking space are essential for member convenience.

Understanding these factors helps in selecting a location that is both convenient and appealing to your potential clientele, thereby increasing your gymā€™s attractiveness and potential for success.

When it comes to launching a new gym, location plays a crucial role. Understanding your market is the first step towards selecting the right place. Ask yourself, who is your ideal customer? Is it a busy professional, a college student, a stay-at-home parent, or a senior citizen? By understanding your gym target demographic, you can pick a location that aligns with their needs.

For most people, convenience is a major factor when choosing a gym. Generally, people prefer a gym that’s close to their home, work, or on their daily commuting route. Therefore, consider setting up your gym in residential areas, near offices, or along major roads. Easy accessibility and ample parking space are other factors to consider.

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Evaluating Population Density and Local Competition

Population density and local competition are critical in determining the potential for new memberships and the level of market saturation.

  • High Population Density Areas: Urban locations generally offer a larger pool of potential clients but may also come with increased competition.
  • Research Nearby Gyms: Understand the strengths and weaknesses of local competitors. Are there gaps in their offerings that you can fill?

Choosing a location with a healthy balance of high population density and manageable competition can lead to a steady influx of new members.

The larger the population, the greater the potential for gym members. Areas with high population density often have a larger number of potential customers. Urban areas are usually more populated than suburban or rural areas, but the competition can be fiercer.

Researching local competition can provide insights into what works and what doesn’t in a particular location. Areas with fewer gyms can be a great opportunity, but a lack of gyms could also signal a lack of demand. Conversely, while a lot of gyms in an area might indicate a saturated market, it could also reflect a high demand for fitness services.

Affordability and Facility Requirements

The financial aspect of opening a gym, including rent or purchase costs and the size of the space needed, is paramount in your decision-making process.

  • Balance Size and Cost: Ensure the space is large enough for equipment and classes but remains within your budget.
  • Future Expansion Potential: Consider if the space allows for growth and expansion of your services.

A financially sustainable location that allows for future growth without straining your gym budget is key to long-term success (Note: don’t have a gym budget? We’ve got you covered. Learn how to create a gym budget, how to create a gym sales forecast, and get free gym budget templates here).

Consider the cost of rent or purchase in your desired location. You need a space large enough to accommodate gym equipment, locker rooms, and possibly group fitness classes. It must be affordable to maintain profitability.

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Safety, Neighborhood Appeal, and Community Trends

The safety and appeal of the neighborhood and the prevailing fitness trends in the community can significantly influence your gymā€™s success.

  • Choose a Safe and Welcoming Area: Members are more likely to join and stay with a gym in a safe, appealing neighborhood.
  • Align with Community Fitness Trends: If the community favors yoga and Pilates, a gym focused on these disciplines may be more successful than one centered on weightlifting.

Selecting a location that is both safe and in line with local fitness trends ensures that your gym resonates well with the community. People are more likely to join a gym in a safe and appealing neighborhood. A gym in a well-lit, busy area may attract more members than one in a secluded or poorly lit area.

Look at the growth potential of the area. Are businesses thriving? Are new housing or commercial developments underway? A region with growth potential can attract more members over time.

Examine the fitness trends prevalent in the community. If yoga and Pilates classes are popular, a traditional weightlifting gym may not fare well, and vice versa.

Legal and Structural Considerations

Compliance with legal requirements and the physical attributes of your gym are also crucial.

  • Ensure Zoning and Legal Compliance: Each location will have specific regulations. Ensure your gym complies with these.
  • High Ceilings and Natural Light: These features can make a smaller space feel larger and more inviting.
  • Quality of Building Construction: Newer constructions can offer better energy efficiency, impacting your utility costs.

Choosing a location that meets legal requirements and has desirable physical attributes like high ceilings can enhance the overall appeal and cost-efficiency of your gym. Each location will have specific gym zoning laws, building codes, and regulations. Make sure your gym complies with these.

Read More:

Additional Considerations

Several other factors also play a significant role in the decision-making process:

  • Effective Signage and Street Visibility: Make sure your gym is easily visible to attract walk-in clients.
  • Minimal Local Competition: Setting up shop too close to competitors can be detrimental. Look for a unique location.
  • Appropriate Adjacent Tenants: Avoid locations next to businesses that conflict with your health and fitness message.
  • Community Restrooms vs. Private Facilities: Weigh the benefits of having community restrooms against the cost and effort of maintaining private facilities.
  • Building Super or Property Manager Availability: A dedicated property manager can be a valuable asset for maintenance and operational support.
  • Clean Sight Lines for Safety and Supervision: Ensure the gym layout allows for clear visibility across the floor.
  • Ample Waiting Area for Parents or Members: Providing a comfortable space for members or their companions enhances their overall experience.

Incorporating these detailed insights into your location search can guide you towards making an informed decision that aligns with your business goals. Remember, no matter the location, leveraging a robust gym management system like Exercise.com can greatly enhance your gym’s efficiency and member experience.

Leveraging Gym Management Technology

Use a platform like Exercise.com to manage your gym effectively, regardless of location. With features like workout plan creation, ecommerce, performance health assessments, and more, Exercise.com can help ensure the success of your new gym.

Offer gym check-ins.


Easily set up gym booking and appointment scheduling, online and in-person.


Sell gym memberships, process gym payments, offer gym e-commerce products, and much more.

Gym ECommerce

Create workout plans and offer workout logging.

Workout Logger

And much, much more. All from your own custom branded gym apps.

Custom Branded Apps
Overhead Squat FMS
“We went live with our Fitness Business Management software at four locations. Everything is working great. The import and export are easy and the guys are really liking the look and convenience of the platform. From both my side and the user side the platform has exceeded our expectations.”
Mike Contreras
Founder & CEO, FMS HS

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Top 20 Best Places to Open a Gym

Selecting the ideal location for opening a gym is crucial for its success. Different cities offer unique opportunities, markets, and challenges. Here’s a comprehensive list of the top 20 best cities to open a gym, each with distinct advantages for gym owners.

#1 Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, is renowned for its health-conscious and active population, making it an excellent choice for a new gym. The city’s emphasis on wellness, combined with its rapid population growth and youthful demographic, provides a large and engaged customer base. Austin’s vibrant community culture and outdoor activities also complement a fitness-focused business.

#2 San Francisco, California

San Francisco offers a lucrative market for gym owners due to its affluent population and widespread focus on health and fitness. The city’s urban setting means a high potential customer base in a compact area, ideal for specialized or high-end gym concepts. San Francisco’s tech-savvy residents also appreciate innovative fitness technology and services.

#3 Denver, Colorado

Denver’s active lifestyle and growing economy make it a prime location for a fitness business. The city’s residents, known for their love of both outdoor and indoor fitness activities, provide a steady market for gym services, especially during colder months. Denver’s focus on health and wellness aligns well with a gym business model.

#4 New York City, New York

The diversity and density of New York City’s population offer a vast market for gym owners. The city’s fast-paced lifestyle drives demand for conveniently located fitness centers. Each neighborhood presents opportunities to cater to specific fitness preferences, from high-intensity training to wellness-focused studios.

#5 Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, with its focus on health, fitness, and appearance, is a hotspot for fitness businesses. The city’s large population, including celebrities and influencers, creates a substantial market for upscale and specialty gyms. Los Angeles’s emphasis on holistic wellness and beauty makes it ideal for innovative fitness concepts.

#6 Portland, Oregon

Portland’s commitment to health, wellness, and community-focused living makes it an attractive location for gym owners. The city’s residents support sustainable and locally-owned businesses, offering a unique opportunity for gyms that align with these values and promote a sense of community involvement.

#7 Seattle, Washington

Seattle combines a health-conscious population with a strong tech industry, creating a demand for high-quality, technologically advanced fitness solutions. The city’s residents value innovative and effective fitness experiences, making it suitable for modern, well-equipped gyms and specialized fitness studios.

#8 Miami, Florida

Miami’s year-round warm climate and focus on appearance make it a strong market for fitness facilities. The city’s vibrant nightlife, beach culture, and tourism industry contribute to a continuous demand for gyms, especially those specializing in bodybuilding and high-intensity training programs.

#9 Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s large population and diverse neighborhoods offer numerous opportunities for gym owners. The city’s cold winters increase the need for indoor fitness facilities, making it a strategic location for gyms offering a variety of activities, from traditional workouts to innovative fitness classes.

#10 Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s dense population of college students and young professionals creates a solid customer base for fitness businesses. The city’s emphasis on education and health awareness drives demand for quality fitness facilities, making it a promising location for new gym ventures.

#11 Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta’s booming economy and diverse population make it an attractive city for gym owners. The city’s residents value fitness and health, providing a steady market for both traditional and niche gym concepts. Atlanta’s growing suburban areas also offer opportunities for gym expansion.

#12 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is known for its active community and high quality of life, which includes a strong focus on fitness and wellness. The city’s extensive park system and emphasis on outdoor activities year-round create a complementary environment for a gym business.

#13 Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital, with its large population of professionals and government employees, offers a steady market for fitness services. Washington D.C.’s residents have a high health consciousness and disposable income, making it suitable for premium gym services and wellness programs.

#14 Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh’s growing economy and reputation as a hub for education and technology make it an appealing location for gym owners. The city’s young, educated population provides a market that values fitness and wellness, ideal for innovative gym concepts.

#15 Houston, Texas

Houston’s diverse and growing population offers a broad market for fitness businesses. The city’s size and economic growth provide opportunities for a range of gym types, from large-scale fitness centers to specialized studios.

#16 Orlando, Florida

Orlando’s tourism industry and growing local population create a unique opportunity for fitness businesses. The city’s focus on entertainment and services caters to both residents and visitors, offering potential for gyms that provide diverse and flexible fitness options.

#17 Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville’s vibrant culture and growing population make it an exciting location for a new gym. The city’s focus on music and arts creates a dynamic environment, suitable for fitness concepts that blend traditional gym services with innovative wellness programs.

#18 San Diego, California

San Diego’s year-round pleasant weather and health-oriented lifestyle are ideal for a fitness business. The city’s population values outdoor activities and fitness, making it a great location for gyms that offer a mix of indoor and outdoor fitness options.

#19 Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City’s focus on health and outdoor activities, combined with a growing economy, makes it an excellent location for a gym. The city’s residents value fitness and wellness, providing a solid market for both traditional gyms and specialized fitness centers.

#20 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia’s rich history and diverse population offer a unique market for gym owners. The city’s emphasis on community and health, combined with its urban setting, makes it suitable for gyms that cater to a wide range of fitness needs and preferences.

Choose the Best New Gym Location

Each of these cities offers distinct advantages for opening a gym, from robust economies to health-conscious communities. Leveraging the right gym management software, like Exercise.com, can further enhance the potential for success in these top locations, providing essential tools for managing and growing your fitness business.

While starting a new gym can be daunting, choosing the right location doesn’t have to be. By understanding your target market, assessing the competition, and making use of technology, you can set your gym up for success.

AMPD Golf Performance
“Working with Exercise.com and their team has been an amazing experience and a dream come true in terms of accomplishing a vision! Their workout technology has helped us effectively engage our community, and I highly recommend Exercise.com to grow your business!”
Andrew Banner
Co-Founder, AMPD Golf Performance

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What makes a good gym location?

A good gym location is one that’s easily accessible, visible, and located near your target demographic. High traffic areas, close proximity to residential areas or business districts, and availability of parking can contribute to the attractiveness of a gym location. When selecting a location for your gym, it’s crucial to analyze the local market demand, competition, accessibility, and the lifestyle of the potential clientele. These factors play a significant role in determining the best place to open a gym for optimal success.

What is the best state to open a gym?

The best state to open a gym would depend on various factors like population health consciousness, competition, and economic conditions. States like California, Texas, and Florida have a reputation for fitness, but thorough market research should be done to identify the most promising opportunities.

What is the best city to open a gym?

Austin, Texas, is renowned for its health-conscious and active population, making it an excellent choice for a new gym. Again, this is highly dependent on market conditions, demographics, and competition. Major cities with a large, active populationā€”like Los Angeles, New York City, or Miamiā€”may offer excellent opportunities, but also present intense competition.

What are the best countries to open a gym?

The best countries to open a gym, considering factors like health consciousness and economic stability, include the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and parts of Western Europe. These regions are known for their active lifestyles and represent some of the best places to open a gym.

What are the best cities to open a gym in California?

When considering the best location for a gym in California, cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Irvine stand out. They offer a conducive environment for fitness centers, owing to their health-focused populations and lifestyles.

What are the best cities to open a gym in Texas?

In Texas, the best locations to open a gym are found in cities such as Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. These cities are characterized by their growing populations and increasing interest in health and fitness.

What are the best cities to open a gym in Florida?

Florida’s top cities for gym areas, particularly for opening a new gym location, include Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville. These cities are known for their active and health-conscious residents.

What are the best areas in Austin, TX to open a gym?

In Austin, TX, prime gym areas include Downtown Austin, South Congress, and The Domain. These neighborhoods are the best places to open a gym due to their vibrant, fitness-oriented communities.

What are the best areas in San Francisco, CA to open a gym?

For a fitness center in San Francisco, CA, the SoMa, Marina District, and Mission Bay offer the best locations. These areas are frequented by young professionals and fitness enthusiasts, making them ideal for a new gym.

What are the best areas in Denver, CO to open a gym?

Denver, CO’s top spots for a gym include Cherry Creek, Downtown Denver, and Highlands. These locations are perfect for opening a gym, considering their active lifestyle culture and wellness-focused residents.

What is the ideal space for a gym?

The ideal space for a gym should be spacious enough to accommodate workout equipment, locker rooms, a reception area, and perhaps a small shop or cafe. High ceilings, good ventilation, natural light, and accessibility features like ramps or elevators are also beneficial. The amount of space you need for a commercial gym is at least 1,000 square feet, because experts recommend having 36 square feet per member and 45-75 square feet per piece of equipment.

Read More: How much space is required for a commercial gym?

What state uses the gym the most?

According to various studies, states such as Colorado, California, and Utah often rank high for gym usage due to their populationsā€™ interest in health and fitness.

What are some things to avoid in a potential gym location?

Avoid locations that are difficult to access, lack visibility, or have insufficient parking. Locations in areas with little to no demand for fitness services or in neighborhoods that don’t align with your target demographic should also be avoided. Lastly, consider the state of the building itself; a space with significant repair needs might lead to unforeseen costs.

What should I consider when choosing a location for my gym?

When choosing a location for your gym, consider factors like the local population, competition, accessibility, parking availability, and the size and layout of the potential space. Also, ensure the location aligns with your target demographic.

How important is the location in the success of a gym?

Location is highly critical to the success of a gym. A good location can increase visibility, attract more potential members, and provide convenience for customers, thereby increasing their likelihood to maintain memberships and engage in services.

What’s the best way to research potential locations for a gym?

Start by defining your gym target market, then research areas where those individuals live or work. Look at factors like population density, average income, and local competition. Visiting locations at different times of day can also provide insight into traffic patterns and potential customer flow.

Read More: How to Choose a Gym Target Market

How does Exercise.com help in managing gyms across multiple locations?

Exercise.com’s gym management software provides robust tools for managing multiple gym locations. It offers features for scheduling, membership management, staff assignments, financial tracking, and data analytics, all of which can be customized and segmented for each location.

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What is the average cost to rent or buy a space for a gym?

The cost to rent or buy a space for a gym varies greatly depending on location, size, and whether the space is already fitted for a gym. It’s best to work with a commercial real estate agent in your desired area to get accurate estimates.

Can I start a gym in a residential area?

Whether you can start a gym in a residential area depends on local zoning laws and regulations. You’ll need to check with your local city or county planning department. Consideration of noise and traffic impact on the neighborhood is also crucial.

How can demographic data influence the location decision for my gym?

Demographic data can provide valuable insights about the characteristics, behaviors, and needs of potential members in a given area. Knowing the age range, income levels, fitness preferences, and other demographic details can help you select a location that best aligns with your target audience.

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Where is a good place to put a gym?

A good place to put a gym is in an area with high foot traffic, easy accessibility, and ample parking. Ideal locations include busy city centers, shopping malls, and neighborhoods with a strong focus on health and wellness. Proximity to complementary businesses, like health food stores or sports shops, can also be beneficial.

Where are the most gyms located?

The most gyms are typically located in urban areas and cities where there’s a higher population density and a greater demand for fitness facilities. These areas often have a more health-conscious demographic and a lifestyle that values fitness and wellness.

How important is location for a gym?

Location is extremely important for a gym. A prime location can significantly increase visibility, attract more foot traffic, and provide convenience to members, all of which are crucial for membership growth and retention.

Where do gyms make the most money?

Gyms tend to make the most money in affluent areas where residents place a high value on health and fitness and are willing to pay for quality services. Gyms in urban centers or upscale neighborhoods often have higher membership rates and can offer a wider range of services.

Read More: Ways Gyms Make Money

How does location affect a gym?

Location affects a gym’s success by influencing its accessibility, visibility, and the type of clientele it attracts. A good location can lead to higher foot traffic and easier marketing, while a poor location might result in fewer members and higher marketing costs.

How do I open a gym in a small town?

To open a gym in a small town:

  1. Research the Market: Understand the local demand and fitness preferences.
  2. Find the Right Location: Choose a spot that’s easily accessible to most town residents.
  3. Community Engagement: Become involved in the community to build relationships and market your gym.
  4. Tailor Your Offerings: Offer services and classes that appeal to the local population.

Where is working out most popular?

Working out is most popular in urban areas and cities where there’s a higher emphasis on health and fitness, and where residents have access to a variety of fitness facilities and outdoor recreational activities.

Who uses the gym the most?

Young adults, particularly those between the ages of 20 and 40, tend to use the gym the most. This demographic is generally more health-conscious and fitness-oriented.

What state has the most gyms?

States with larger urban centers and higher populations, such as California, New York, and Texas, typically have the most gyms. These states have a diverse population with a broad range of fitness needs and preferences.

Where is best to open a gym?

The best place to open a gym is in an area with a strong demand for fitness services, such as a growing urban or suburban community. Areas with a lack of existing fitness facilities and a health-conscious population are also ideal.

What type of gym is more profitable?

Boutique fitness studios offering specialized services like yoga, Pilates, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) tend to be more profitable. These types of gyms can charge higher prices due to the specialized nature of their classes and services.

Read More: Most Profitable Fitness Business Models

Is it worth it to open a gym?

Opening a gym can be worth it if there’s a demand for fitness services in your chosen location and you have a solid business plan. Success depends on various factors, including location, gym type, management, and marketing strategies.

Is owning a gym passive income?

Owning a gym is typically not considered passive income since it requires active management and involvement, especially in the initial stages. However, a well-established gym with a strong management team can provide more passive income opportunities.

Read More: Fitness Passive Income

What is the toughest thing about being a gym owner?

The toughest thing about being a gym owner is managing the various aspects of the business, including financial management, marketing, staff management, and maintaining high levels of customer service and satisfaction.

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How can Exercise.com help me run a gym business?

Exercise.com can help run a gym business by offering comprehensive gym management software. This includes features for membership management, scheduling, billing, workout creation, and performance tracking. The platform streamlines administrative tasks, enhances member engagement, and provides tools for effective management and growth of your gym business, ensuring a focus on providing high-quality services and improving customer satisfaction.

Jimmy Myers Relentless Sports Performance
If you want to offer an elite service for the end user you need to get with the times and use elite level software that is intuitive, visually appealing, and effective. That is exactly what Exercise.com delivers to its clients.
Jimmy Myers
Owner/Trainer, Relentless Sports Performance

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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