Rock climbing is one of the ultimate outdoor hardcore sports. Aside from a safety harness and a helmet, climbers use only their own skills and muscles to hold themselves to a cliff face. More than a test of courage and endurance, it is a great workout as well. And luckily, even in inclement weather and in the middle of one of the biggest urban centers in the country, rock climbers unable to get away to a mountain can practice their skills at one of the many indoor climbing gyms or walls in the city. Below are some of the biggest and best climbing gyms in New York City.
Brooklyn Boulders Rock Gym in Brooklyn
For serious climbers, Brooklyn Boulders is the place to be in New York City. It has 22,000 square feet of climbing area and is proud to call itself one of the biggest climbing gyms on the east coast. A day of climbing can be purchased for only $25, plus the cost of renting equipment if necessary. The gym offers multiple classes, some climbing related and some not. Kids are welcome as well, and in fact there are several classes targeted specifically towards young climbers. Brooklyn Boulders is on 3rd Avenue and Degraw Street in Brooklyn, and can be reached via the R train or is a slightly longer walk from the B, Q, D, N, 2, 3, 4, or 5 trains.
Steep Rock Bouldering in Manhattan
The new kid on the block, this small Manhattan climbing gym just opened in 2014. A day pass at is only $20, plus the cost of equipment rental. The focus, as can be seen in the name, is on bouldering rather than roped climbing, so floors are thickly padded but there are no very high vertical walls. There are specialized classes aimed at both women and children, as well as unisex classes and private instruction offered. This gym is a short walk from the 6 train and is located on Lexington and East 97th Street in Manhattan.
The Cliffs at Long Island City in Queens
There are over 30,000 square climbable feet at this Queens climbing gym. Another new climbing gym, its opening was a bit rocky. Though it originally opened in October of 2013, it was closed by the city due to permit issues only a month later. It re-opened, with all the proper permits in place, in March of 2014 and climbers can now head out to this new climbing gym and pay $25 plus equipment rental for a day pass. They also offer classes for every experience level. The E, M, G, 7, N, Q and F trains all run within walking distance.
Everyday Athlete in Brooklyn
This Brooklyn Heights gym isn’t exclusively geared at climbers, and also offers more traditional fitness classes. It does however have a climbing room as well as offering multiple climbing classes, including ones aimed at children and families. Their climbing class costs $35. The gym is located in Brooklyn Heights near the A, C, 2, 3, and R trains.
The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan
Climbing is just one part of what is offered at this expansive gym. However, that doesn’t mean they skimped on their breathtaking 11,000 square feet of climbing walls, some of the biggest in the city. With problems for every climbing level, as well as a climbing roof that has visitors literally hanging from the ceiling, visitors are not going to want to leave. Though it is a bit pricey, at $50 for belay-certified non-members, it is open late into the night and worth a visit. Classes are also offered, as is a 4 week climbing school. Though there is not a subway right outside Chelsea Piers, it is walkable from the A, C, E, L, and 1 trains.
The Manhattan Plaza Health Club in Manhattan
Though a private full service gym, their climbing gym is open to the public. Experienced climbers can pay just $20 for a day of climbing, and first-time climbers can get equipment and a lesson thrown in for just $60. Monthly memberships are also very affordable. The climbing routes at this gym, which has 5,000 square feet of climbable area, are redesigned monthly, so even regular visitors won’t get bored. Among its other charms is a climbing roof and two squeeze chimneys. This Hells Kitchen gym located near Times Square at 10th Avenue and 43rd Street can be easily reached by the A, C, and E trains and is just a short walk from the N, Q, R, B, D, F, M, 7 and 1 trains.