The Best Gyms In NYC To Spot Celebs, Find Spa-Worthy Extras, Or Break A Sweat On A Budget
December 5, 2019
Written by Jordan Galloway
Gym chains were having a tough go in New York City for a while. First, the boutique fitness boom happened. Then, the digital workout revolution. Now, OG gyms are cool again, thanks in no small part to the fact that they've stepped up their game recently to win clients back. No matter what you're looking for in a gym—top-notch group classes, locker rooms that feel like spas, or budget-friendly memberships that make it possible to break a sweat without breaking the bank—there's a Big Apple gym for you.
Consider this your guide to finding the best gym in NYC for your particular needs. You'll discover the fitness centers where you're most likely to spot celebs, take your self-care practice to the next level, join a sports league, or just get in a no-fuss workout without having to wait in line for the showers afterward.
Each entry has been handpicked by WH's editorial team and includes information about membership costs, plus a few highlights about each gym that speak to why it's worth ponying up to become a member.
Now, there's no guarantee that you'll cross paths with the likes of Blake Lively if you happen to hit up her gym (of course I had to include Blake's gym), but even if all you leave with is a good ol' fashioned rush of endorphins and a closed exercise ring on your Apple Watch, you'll still be glad you checked out one of the best gyms in NYC, no?
Best for A+ Amenities
Monthly Membership Fee: $180
While Chelsea Piers' original location on the West Side Highway is hands down the best place to go if you want to participate in recreational sports like rock climbing, soccer, or volleyball, its shiny new outpost in downtown Brooklyn just beats it as one of the best gyms in NYC.
Why? For starters, it's a recently opened fitness center with two floors of exercise areas that hold all of the gym equipment you could ever need. Plus, it has Peloton bikes, as well as its own Pilates reformer and hot yoga studios.
But the real draw is the fact that CPF BK is the perfect place to practice self-care post workout. Its locker rooms have heated floors, steam rooms, dry saunas, and shower products from Malin + Goetz (heavy sigh). Oh, and did I mention the robes?
Best CrossFit Box
Monthly Membership Fee: Starting at $299
There, you'll find dedicated athletes who love burpees, box jumps, and each other. Not to mention, you can work out with some of the city's top trainers, including MTV reality star-turned-cpt, Kenny Santucci.
Best Group Classes
Monthly Membership Fee: Starting at $260
Equinox has 40 "clubs" in NYC, and each one is packed with plenty of equipment to let you exercise on your own time. But the real perk of being a member here is that you get access to all of its great group classes. (Some gyms make you pay extra for certain ones, so read the fine print.)
Better still, Equinox started its own incubator to discover and develop the top talent from NYC's pool of boutique fitness instructors back in 2017. It's called Project by Equinox, and the gym regularly features standouts from its lab on its schedule of classes. The result is that you have the best of both worlds: a boutique fitness experience and a big box gym.
Best Places to Spot Celebrities
Monthly Membership Fee: $249
This inconspicuous fitness center on Broadway in SoHo is where famously fit celebrities like Emily Blunt and Ryan Reynolds work out when they're in town. Even Serena van der Woodsen (I mean, Blake Lively) has been spotted breaking a sweat here (sorry, had to).
So, what draws so many stars to this gym? That would be celebrity trainer Don Saladino, who works with all of the actors above, plus a few more you might just find yourself running next to on the tread.
Best Big-Box Chain
Monthly Membership Fee: Starting at $70
Like yellow cabs and Broadway shows, Crunch gyms are part of the fabric of NYC. The first one opened in the East Village in 1989. Today, there are 45 locations in the tri-state area.
No matter which one you choose to join, you can bank on the fact that you'll find all the basic gym equipment you need to bust out a bootcamp or circuit training workout—without all the bells and whistles that might cost you more money every month at other gyms.
Best Budget-Friendly Option
Monthly Membership Fee: $10
Planet Fitness prides itself on being a "judgement-free" zone. You won't find any "critics" here, as murals on its walls read—and you won't find any extra costs, either.
Planet Fitness is so cheap that you can find lattes in NYC that cost more than a monthly membership at this gym. There are 20 locations across the five boroughs, making it easy to get in an affordable workout, no matter where you live.
Best Gym for Families
Monthly Membership Fee: Costs vary by location.
The Village People were right, folks: It's fun to be at the YMCA. This is especially true for families who want to work out together because the community fitness centers offer discounts for single-parent and two-parent households.
What's more, the YMCA offers free childcare while you exercise. So you can take a group class, go for a swim, or use the Y's cardio machines or weight room while your kiddos play.
Best Gym For Night Owls or Early Risers
Monthly Membership Fee: Starting at $30
As the name implies, the four 24 Hour Fitness locations in NYC are open all day—pretty fitting for the city that never sleeps.
Here you'll find the usual gym equipment: free weights, cardio machines, and open exercises spaces. You'll also find perks like a sauna and juice bar, as well as specialty equipment like TRX suspension units.
JORDAN GALLOWAY - Jordan Galloway is the fitness director at Women’s Health with 10 years of experience as a reporter and editor covering the health and wellness industries.