Just wanted to give a quick shout-out for the Stadium Place YMCA. I've frequented three gyms in my time here in the Baltimore area - the Towson Bally's, the White Marsh Bally's, and the YMCA. Comparing the three based on a variety of criteria, the Stadium Place YMCA wins almost with all hands down.
Cleanliness: The Stadium Place YMCA is much cleaner. Bally's, after I'd been part of it for five years, just added equipment wipes, but there aren't enough and no one uses them. The Y has spray and towels at nearly every piece of equipment, and everyone pretty much uses it. Plus, the White Marsh Bally's bathrooms almost always smell like excrement or urine. It's just too small for all its use. The Towson Bally's is considerably cleaner than the White Marsh Bally's, but not nearlya s clean as the YMCA, which sparkles.
Clientele: The Stadium Place YMCA has signs everywhere that ban the use of cell phone in the workout area, and this just seems to help so much. I never realized how much the use of cell phones at gyms bugged me before, but it really does. I'm not worried about people taking photos of me, but it just seems to rude. Plus, in general, beyond cell phone use, the people at the Stadium Place YMCA are just nicer than the Bally's crowd. Often, at Bally's, there will be a group of guys working out together, and one of them will sit on another - unused - piece of equipment while he waits. I shouldn't have to ask someone to get off a piece of equipment that he's not using. Plus, no one restacks their weights, so finding two 40-lb dumbbells is often a futile search.
Equipment: The Towson Bally's just got some great new equipment, and the White Marsh Bally's just got some new stuff as well (just not as good). For these reasons, these places might get the nod. But the Stadium Place YMCA has much better free weights. Not as much variety, perhaps, but solid, well-organized, and I rarely have to wait.
Cost: This is the only place where the Stadium Place YMCA lags behind. But for $43/month, it's cheaper than what I paid for the first three years of my Bally's membership ($48/month). I now realize I should have haggled, which makes me mad, because a person shouldn't have to haggle to get the best price available. As it is, I pay $12/month now there, which means I'm paying $55/month for these two gym places. I still go to the Bally's up in Towson fairly often, and even the one in White Marsh every now and then, but usually they're a function of wanting to visit the other places around it, like Trader Joe's, Barnes & Noble, or the White Marsh library.
So, to sum up, the Stadium Place YMCA rocks. Friendly, clean, and well-serviced.