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ALL THE BEST INDOOR ROCK CLIMBING GYMS IN NYC RIGHT NOW

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GABRIELLE KASSEL

MAR 26, 2020

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IMAGE VIA @BROOKLYNBOULDERS | INSTAGRAM 9

Whether you're a climbing enthusiast in the city or just looking to jazz up your weekend adventures and workout routine, there are tons of indoor rock climbing gyms in the Big Apple to hit up. Check out the best climbing facilities where you can train hard, dabble in bouldering, and climb to new heights.

Everyday Athlete’s Brooklyn Heights studio is wrapped in a 2,500-square-foot custom rock climbing wall. A ceiling grid allows for overhead props like yoga hammocks, rings, and bungees. Making use of every inch of space—New Yorker-style—their hybrid bootcamp classes offer cardio and strength training that happens both on the floor and up the wall. The One Brooklyn Bridge studio—which is just three blocks from the OG gym—features 4,600 square feet of scalable faux-rock. At both gyms, you should expect to see plenty of sports equipment, like resistance bands and kettlebells, in addition to the climbing holds. You can start hanging with this borough’s bouldering community as early as 6am and as late as 10pm.

This giant facility in Chelsea is one of the largest indoor rock climbing gyms in Manhattan, and one of the most challenging walls in the country. With over 11,000 square feet of craggy terrain to work with your calluses will have calluses in no time. Novices can sign up for one-on-one lessons while more advanced climbers can get right to dangling. If you can't get enough, make your way over to their spot on the Hudson River, book a private lesson, and climb to new heights.

More and more Manhattanites and Brooklynites are making the trek to The Cliffs in Long Island City to get the grip, strength, and skills they need to take their climbing skills outside. Whether you’re brand new to the sport or already a seasoned climber, they’ve got a class catered to honing your skills and upping your psyche. Think top-rope lessons, basics, sports lead intro, and tons of classes designed to prepare you for outdoor climbing. Plus, they host “Ladies Who Love Climbing" clinics, so it’s a go-to for women looking to meet some climbing buddies. In the summer, they open an outdoor bouldering wall as well—The Cliffs at DUMBO.

They say it’s all about who you know in New York, and that's true for using this climbing area. This facility at the gym on the NYU campus is for both the novice and the super-skilled climber (there are six levels) and is available to non-students for $10 fee if signed in by a student. The Rock Wall area boasts a 30-foot-high Nicros A.R.T. wall (which is the kind of wall that offers the most realistic climbing experience) and a bouldering cave that spans two floors.

With one gym snuggled right in the heart of NYC—Lexington Ave.—and the other on 126th and Broadway, it’s no surprise that Steep Rock Bouldering is considered the quaintest climbing gym in the city. The Lex Ave. outpost may be a tight squeeze, but being that both studios feature climbing routes that change bi-weekly and offer many different kinds of holds, boredom is never an issue. Bonus: they’re open until 11pm on weeknights, making it a surprisingly good after-work date.

With a mindset reminiscent of yoga, the MPHC rock climbing gym is all about athletes finding their inner strength. This Midtown getaway offers a 5,000-square-foot climbing playground with routes changing weekly, keeping things fresh and challenging for climbers of all ages and abilities. But if you’re a newbie to the sport, we recommend taking advantage of the welcoming staff’s knowledge of the sport. They’ll give you the lowdown on all your most pressing climbing questions. Equipped with showers, a sauna, steam room, two hot tubs, and a pool, you’re basically signing up for 365 days of staycation if you join the club.

Climbing gyms are becoming increasingly popular across the city, but what sets MetroRock apart is that it’s equal parts badass and welcoming. Based in New England, MetroRock has two locations in Massachusetts and one in Vermont, but the Brooklyn location rocks has a fitness and yoga studio alongside the climbing walls. Plus, MetroRock is just as passionate about climbing as it is about community, so you’ll quickly find that the gym is a hangout for New Yorkers who really love the sport.

This Brooklyn warehouse turned rock gym welcomes fitness fanatics, beginner climbers, and boulder badasses alike. With over 300 routes at all levels of difficulty, 22,000 square feet of climbing surface and climbing instruction available, Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus guarantees a flurry of activity at any time of day. This hang spot also offers AcroYoga, Yoga for Climbers, a core-sculpting class called Climber Core, slack-lining classes, and a bootcamp for those craving a different kind of challenge. Need more convincing? There is also a members' lounge, free WiFi, and an even larger sister facility in Queens.

Rising to 35 feet, Aviator Rock boasts the tallest indoor rock climbing wall in Brooklyn. But this classic indoor rock climbing wall has plenty of options for climbers of all experience levels. They also offer the most space for kids of any of the gyms listed, so you can bring your climber-in-the-making and get a whole different sort of adrenaline rush watching them take on the holds. Just make sure you call ahead before making the trek to Flatbush — they're often closed to the public for private birthday parties.

For Upper West Siders and boulderers who are willing travel to scale, Central Rock Gym may be your new hangout spot. The facility features over 400 linear feet of bouldering for climbing virgins and pros alike. Just don’t expect any ropes or harnesses — bouldering is their sport of choice. After a one-on-one lesson for newbies, grab a Kill Cliff, hang in the large central area to borrow some beta from other climbers, or tap into the free WiFi and relax.

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