11 Awesome Rock Climbing Gyms in NYC - Urban Outdoors
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Whether you’ve been climbing for years, or recently watched Free Solo and want to give it a go, this list of climbing gyms will help you get good in the Big Apple. No matter if you’re a cut loose boulder-er, a slick n’ swift sport climber, or a good old trad dad looking for some indoor fun, this roundup will have something for all you looking for rock climbing in NYC.

Ney York City's rock climbing scene is vibrant with some huge bouldering only centers to big towering top ropes NYC has it all
This list breaks down 12 NYC rock climbing gyms you should consider if you’re looking for somewhere to rock out with your chalk out.

Without Further Ado Here is The Finest Selection of NYC Rock Climbing Gyms

The Cliffs at LIC rock climbing gym in NYC in New York City, showing off their bouldering, with strategically placed top ropes in the background.
The Cliffs at LIC climbing gym

The Cliffs at LIC

  • Location: 11-11 44th Drive, Long Island City, NY 11101
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top rope, Autobelay, Lead Climbing
  • Best For: In house gear shoppers and climbers of any ability

Anyone can learn to climb at The Cliffs at LIC‘s indoor rock climbing gym. Classes are available for first time climbers, all the way up to those looking to take the next step towards some outdoor sends. With a strong community, finding a belay won’t be hard and the gear shop is right there if you run out of chalk…or ‘accidentally’ forget your shoes and decide to buy a new pair.

One thing everyone is going to notice is how big this place is. Climbers looking to join the mellow crew have no shortage of training facilities here, sporting steep boards, dedicated training areas, and more routes than anyone could possibly need. Memberships do come with some extra perks like yoga classes and towel services, so if you’re a frequent visitor this will save you time and money. So why not join the self proclaimed ‘best community’ and go rock climbing in NYC?

This rock climbing wall in NYC is outdoors and features a cool sloping overhang that starts steep and eases off the further round you climb, but I'm sure the hold size will be decrasing accordingly.
Watch the landing as this one doesn’t have any mats!

Dumbo Boulders

  • Location: 99 Plymouth St, Brooklyn, NYC
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering
  • Best For: Climbing when the weather is good

Part of the The Cliffs group, Dumbo Boulders is an outside plastic pulling bonanza. However, opening is weather dependent and seasonal, so do be sure to check their website for information before you rock up. There are 2 areas at this facility including an all ages and an adult area, which I’m sure is a relief to any parents who are looking for some more relaxed family fun. Rental shoes are available, but if you have them don’t forget them. Further, turn up ‘ready to rock’ as there aren’t many amenities such as changing rooms. As a final piece of advice: This is situated just under a trainline, so if you’re sensitive to loud noises then I would err on the side of caution.

The snazzy paintwork in Brooklyn Boulder's Gowanus gym located in NYC give this place a real slick vibe so you can enjoy cutting loose on those steep overhangs
No shortage of foam rollers at Brooklyn Boulder’s Gowanus center

Brooklyn Boulders

  • Gowanus Location: 575 Degraw St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
  • Queensbridge Location: 23-10 41st Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top rope, Autobelay, Lead Climbing
  • Best For: People who describe themselves as climbers before their job title

Despite their name Brooklyn Boulders offers a whole host of other climbing styles including Top rope, Autobelay, and Lead. Founded on bouldering, you know that this purpose built facility will not only provide you with everything you need to get good, but also feel good. Fitness focused training areas contain a host of climbing specific and general equipment, while the Queensbridge location also has a sauna to help you relax after a long session.

Some of the much appreciated amenities at the Brooklyn Boulders gym include work-spaces, free WIFI, lockers and those sick new kilter boards you always see the Mellow team crushing on. Brooklyn Boulders is a real do all gym with some of the best rock climbing in NYC.

Steep Rock Bouldering – East and West

  • West Location: 3225 Broadway, NY 10029
  • East Location: 1506 Lexington Ave, NY 10027
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering
  • Best For: First time to already strong small rock wrestlers

Some – very cool – new school bouldering can be found at the appropriately named Steep Rock Bouldering Gym. Sporting 2 centers with additional access to GP81 for members, there’s no shortage of plastic to pull on. With some great prices and no initiation fee Steep Rock gives you a lot of bang for your buck if you’re not into the ropes.

A couple things to note about climbing here is that there aren’t any showers on site and the lockers require a padlock so be sure to grab one if you’ve got any valuables that don’t fit in your boulder bucket. The rules regarding minors differ between each center, so do check out their website before you take the kids along.

GP81

  • Location: 81 Quay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Training
  • Best For: Gettin’ your gains on

Certainly more for established climbers, GP81 is notorious for having limited easy climbs. However, if you’re looking for a challenge this is the place. Featuring steep overhangs, nearly every hang board on the market, and multiple moon boards; GP81 will help you hit full sending potential. Some membership options at Steep Rock Bouldering will give you access to this facility, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for some easier days. A final word of warning: This center is off limits to those under the age of 13, so parents may need to pick a different NYC rock climbing gym on this list.

MetroRock's NYC Rock climbing gym is vast with some super interesting changes in wall shapes and a big volume maybe 3 to 4 meters across
I’d like to know how MetroRock installed that big volume back there

MetroRock

  • Location: 321 Starr St Brooklyn, NY 11237
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top rope, Autobelay, Lead Climbing
  • Best For: Climbing on a very large star shaped volume

Metrorock is a great gym for all climbers, with multiple disciplines on offer including a large training area. Plenty of courses and instruction can help newcomers find their footing, or get you boulders a little psyched on the ropes. One big advantage to Metrorock is their outdoor instruction days for folks looking to test their skills on real rock. Starting with simple introduction to the outdoors all the way to the complexities of traditional, or even ice climbing, there’s something for everyone.

One last little tip would be to look out for their upcoming in house store, as well as their partnership with New England Resoul, for when your shoes are wearing thin.

Central Rock Gym in NYC has a cool exercise frame right in the middle of all the bouldering so you can quickly end your sessions with some strength training without a commute across the gym
A nice central exercise area at Central Rock Gym

Central Rock Gym

  • Location: 21 West End Ave, Manhattan, NY 10069
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Autobelay, Top rope
  • Best For: Big communal space, with bonus exercise with friends

Dog friendly, kids friendly, and newbie friendly, it’s safe to say the Central Rock Gym is very accommodating. Sporting more than enough routes to keep you entertained this is a great option to keep in mind, especially if you’re not so keen on leading (although they do offer courses in how to lead). I would point out that this is a great place if you’re new and know you’re going to be keen on keeping it up. Their memberships are straightforward and it comes with loads of perks. For example all classes are free to help you progress without paying extra (which can’t be said for any of the gyms I’ve ever been to).

The gym also has a good fitness area with weights and plenty of other equipment; free wifi and changing rooms with showers, which also generously contain lockers that come with a built in combination lock, so no need to carry around that heavy padlock. There’s even a shop to get you started once you decide to commit to climbing, with a good 20% off purchases while you’re in the first 60 days of your membership.

The Gravity vaults rock climbing gym in NYChas loads of tall walls with enough top ropes to satisfy anyone before the next reset
Throw some shapes on a low gravity day curtesy of The Gravity Vault

The Gravity Vault

  • Melville Location: 40 Melville Park Rd, Melville, NY 11747
  • Poughkeepsie Location: 6 Neptune Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top rope, Auto belays, Lead, Crack, Speed
  • Best For: All and Any Climbers

Offering a full immersion into the NYC rock climbing scene, The Gravity Vaults at Melville and Poughkeepsie are excellent choices of gym. While the Melville location is the larger of the two, both feature an extensive number of walls and routes, with spicy overhangs and delicate slabs. With specific courses for first-timers all the way to improvers trying to take their climbing to the next level, The Gravity Vaults will have you sending hard in no time. It’s also a kid-friendly center for all you literal trad dads trying to start them off young, with opportunities to join their very own junior NYC climbing team.

Additional extras and perks include extensive training equipment and areas, including fingerboards, campus boards, moon boards, weights and cardio room, yoga room, showers, and lockers. There are even party and conference rooms, although these are location dependent. I can’t think of a better way to finish that annual board meeting than with some rock wrestling.

This rock climbing wall located in NYC  is old school textured before people realized that no one likes having rough textured walls that steal all the skin off your knees
Old school – knee scraping – textured panels at The Rock Club

The Rock Club – At Pine Wood Fitness

  • Location: 130 Rhodes Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top rope, Auto belay, Lead
  • Best For: Admirers of old school rock gyms, New comers looking to learn the ropes, and anyone in-between

The Rock Club offers good flexibility for adults, students, and children with a plethora of teaching options and payment schemes to suit your needs. A great space for parties, events, and groups too, the gym offers packages specifically for you. There’s also everything shy of a lead rope available for rental, but by the time you’re leading you’ll probably have invested in your own.

Manhattan Plaza Health Club Climbing Gym

  • Location: 482 W 43rd Street, Between 9th & 10th Avenues, NY 10036
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top rope, Lead climbing
  • Best For: Joining a health club

This NYC rock climbing wall is just part of a larger facility with a gym, spa, pool and much more. The walls are old-school textured, and not as vast as some of the other centers on this list. However, the routes are changed regularly and they offer some very decent sounding clinics to help you start out and improve. The video on their website also features a Grigri on every top rope, so you might be able to leave the ATC at home.

Chelsea Piers Fitness

  • Location: 60 Chelsea Piers, NY 10011
  • Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top rope, Lead climbing
  • Best For: Evening climbers

Loads of old-school sculpted walls help make the climbing at Chelsea Piers Fitness feel closer to real rock. With plenty of ever-changing routes, you’ll have a great time squeezing a foot hold out of the featured walls (though the guy who couldn’t do it might call it cheating, I assure you it isn’t).

Bonus student rates, and plenty of options for instruction and group climbs, the Chelsea Piers is very friendly to anyone looking to learn something new. Although this is not a dedicated NYC rock climbing facility, there are a lot of routes here. A day pass will set you back a whopping $50, so keep that in mind before you turn up. However, there isn’t much information on memberships, so you’ll have to scope this one out yourself.

Additional Resources for Rock Climbing in NYC

What to Bring

Everyone’s checklist

  • Clothes – There’s no best outfit for climbing and figuring out what to wear is always a little tricky when you’re just starting. Shorts or trousers? Honestly, just dress for the temperature and any sportswear will do. Although protecting your knees is often a good idea, and going from climbing to casual without changing in a good pair of trousers can save you space in your gym bag. Honestly as long as it’s stretchy you’ll be fine, but if you can get a pair with a diamond gusset like Hippy Tree’s Sierra Pants or Patagonia’s Venga Rock Pants, you won’t regret it. Shorts wise, anything baggy or stretchy would also be fine, but I have noticed the cool kids do like to wear Prana’s Mojo Shorts. IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TIME – BRING SOCKS (those rentals aren’t getting any newer)
  • Water – Any respectable athlete will tell you that staying hydrated is really important, and any climber will tell you there are 3 options for bottles, all of which you must plaster in stickers. They are: The old reliable BPA free Nalgene, the elite Hydroflask, and finally the eco friendly Klean Kanteen.
  • Snacks – There is quite frankly nothing better than a little nibble when you’ve been trying hard, but a full meal will probably derail your journey on the send train. Personally, I always carry some sort of cereal bar to keep me going mid session such as Cliff Bars or RXBARs.
  • Tape – I’m talking good sticky zinc tape. Offered by a host of climbing brands and easily bought at your local gym, tape is used to save some skin or seal up that flapper. Metolius makes my favorite, but there’s plenty of options out there.
  • Hand Balm – There’s plenty on the market, but I’ve had the same nub of climb on for a couple of years and it’s doing me good. Although, I did recently get a tub of Joshua Tree and that stuff really works.
  • Nail clippers – Now this is super underrated and honestly the last thing you want is to be the one making horrible scratching noises every time you crimp. Additionally, long toenails can make squeezing your feet into already tight climbing shoes all the more painful, so be sure to pick up a pair and throw them in your bag.

Established climbers checklist

  • Climbing Shoes – The staple of all climbing, a great selection can be found online here. Picking the right shoe can be really tricky, but look out for our future advice article.
  • Chalk Bag – Sweaty hands are the bane of a climbers existence. We carry chalk to quickly deal with those sweaty tips and up the friction. Chalk comes in balls, loose, bricks, or liquid, whilst the bags come in all shapes and sizes. Boulderers might prefer ‘buckets‘ to avoid losing your chalk in a tumble.
  • Harness – These are much of the same, but some are particularly light to help you hit the higher grades, though they often end up losing a couple of features. Some of the best do-all harnesses include Petzl Adjama, Black Diamond Momentum, and Mammut Sender Fast Adjust which feature enough gear loops for getting into more complex climbing, as well as adjustable leg loops for when you need to layer up.
  • Belay Plate – There are really only 3 factors to consider when choosing one of these; what you learnt to use, where you want to take your climbing, and the cost. Standard ATC, Guide ATCs and Assisted Braking Devices all work, but it’s really all down to personal choice. The flexibility of guide plates make them a favorite amongst those looking transfer their knowledge outdoors, while assisted devices can feel more secure to beginners.
  • Brush – You only need a small personal brush for when the chalk has built up and make the holds smooth, a lot of gyms do provide them so you don’t need one. Saying that, why not accessorize your chalk bag with a colorful brush like these Lapis Boar hair brushes!
  • Rope – When you get to leading you’ll probably want your own rope, but if you’re climbing indoors avoid making the ‘I need a light skinny rope to send’ mistake. You’re going to be running loads of laps, so get a good thick dynamic rope like this 9.9mm aptly named Workhorse rope from Mammut or even a fat 10.2mm from Black Diamond that’ll stand up to heavy gym abuse. Also, since you’ll be indoors you can skip any dry treatments that push the price upwards.
  • Backpack – You’ll need a gym bag of sorts to help you lug all this around, and how big you go is totally up to you and what you’re going to be carrying. If you’re just hitting up the bouldering gym, or don’t mind wondering around with the rope on show, then a good 15-20L bag like the AR 20 from Arc’teryx is ideal. Plus it’ll suit all your future fast and light days. Going up to 20-35L, will let you start packing those extra layers and maybe get the rope inside your bag too. At this size Patagonia’s Crag Smith is full of features and makes a great all round day pack!

Post send and extras

  • Belay Gloves – By no means do you need belay gloves, but some people like to keep their hands a little safer just in case (some people do let go if the rope starts to burn their hands). The trick to these gloves is leather palms to achieve the right friction. Outdoor research make a great set called the Fossil Rock Gloves, and they’re fingerless for both breathability and style points.
  • Crack Climbing Gloves – If you’ve been inspired by the Wide Boyz, but are tired of ripping tape off the back of your hands then a pair of the new Black Diamond Crack Gloves or Outdoor Research’s Splitter Gloves could be for you.
  • Skin File – If your calluses are getting a bit dry and you’re starting to get the equivalent of a hangnail in the middle of your finger, this is a sure fire way to end up with one big flapper. You can file it down with one of Climbskin’s portable solutions and avoid that week of taping up an avoidable mistake.
  • Shoe deodorant – Climbing shoes get notoriously smelly, lucky I’ve got 2 great solutions for you – Boot Bananas and Disinfectant spray, I genuinely use these and they work a treat and when I run out the shoes stay out my bag.
  • Acupressure Ring – Who knows if these work or not, but I’ve been using one religiously on a pulley injury and I think it’s helped a lot. They’re pretty cheap, so why not?
  • Long Term Antiperspirant Treatments – Good skin care is important to keep you in top climbing shape. Rhino Skin Solutions are a great brand, endorsed and used by all the big names in climbing, with the big benefit of reducing sweating. I mean the less time you’re hanging around chalking up, the more energy you’ll have to send. The job lot Skin Abuse Pack and their Tip Juice might help you push your grades sooner.

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