Unless you're downtown on a Saturday night, in which case you're screwed. Portland's downtown 24 Hour Fitness location closes at 9 pm, which is so downtown Portland. We're a provincial bunch, which makes it oddly poetic how each 24 Hour location is a direct reflection of the city quadrant where you choose to get swole. In a year of bouncing from one location to the next in search of the fitness chain's sweet spot—the place where the music is innocuous, the showers are piping hot, and the treadmills are far, far away from the groaning and grunting of the free-weight section—I learned there's no clear-cut answer when everyone's fitness needs are different. Which one is right for you?
4224 NE Halsey St., 281-4767, 24hourfitness.com/Website/Club/955.
Pros: Free towel service, endless treadmills, convenient TriMet access.
Cons: Showers are never operating at 100 percent, the swimming pool is always full of old people, and there's always an old, naked Japanese guy making menacing ninja warrior poses in front of the mirror. Trader Joe's and its den of sugary evil is across the street, and convenient TriMet access means there are crustpunks on every corner.
1210 NW Johnson St., 222-1210, 24hourfitness.com/Website/Club/562.
Pros: Great for implementing the "copy what the ripped guy with the sleeve of tats and the Hood to Coast shirt is doing" workout plan. An excellent ground zero for Tinder-ing if you're new to the #basic market.
Cons: It's in the Pearl. An endless cloud of Axe body spray wafts upward from the free weights. The music is very '90s Abercrombie & Fitch. Your bike will probably get stolen. Twinky dudes in the locker room foster low self-esteem.
Pros: Only four blocks from the county courthouse, making it a great place to get a quick shower before your arraignment.
Cons: Only open 24 hours on weekdays. If you need to run off some club drugs or wash off someone else's puke at 3 am on a Saturday, you're stuck with the frat party up in the Pearl. Just call a cab and go home.
4546 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 205-9588, 24hourfitness.com/Website/Club/425.
Pros: Towel service, massive locker rooms, cardio equipment on the ground floor (because going upstairs is hard!), shower stalls with doors, and a covered parking deck without the winding, meandering chaos of the Hollywood location's parking structure.
Cons: Automatic sinks in the locker room are the worst of any location, it's not walkable unless you live in the neighborhood, and it's hard not to hang a right out of the parking lot and mysteriously drive up to nearby Acropolis.
10052 SE Washington St., 252-2447, 24hourfitness.com/Website/Club/423.
Pros: Close enough to burn off the shame of eating endless pasta at the Olive Garden across the parking lot without having to get in your car, but you'll probably get in your car anyway. Next to a Target with a Starbucks, if you're into one-stop shopping and aimless yoga-panted afternoons wasted on an elliptical machine.
Cons: It's all the way behind the mall. You'll get lost and give up five times before you even break a sweat here. If you're out this far, you might as well save yourself $30 and sign up for Planet Fitness. They have free pizza!
The Health Goth Issue: