Looking for the best rock climbing gyms in New York City?
We’ve been to over 25 climbing gyms all over the US, and some cities have better gyms. NY is one of them.
Climbing in NYC has changed so much since we lived here pre-pandemic. When we moved to NYC, Brooklyn Boulders was where the cool kids go, and we picked our apartment based on it being within walking distance from BKB Queensbridge and Cliffs LIC.
On our most recent visit, we got the help of our friends, Jay and Vi, who still live in the area but left BKB for other gyms to help put together this list. Here’s what we learned.
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Last Updated: December 29, 2022
Most climbers at gyms fall in the beginner or intermediate category. If you’re climbing in the advanced to the pro range, we assume you don’t need to google gyms, and already have a network of climbing friends telling you where to climb (but let us know if we’re wrong, and you happen to be reading this!).
Things to Keep in Mind when Visiting Climbing Gyms in NYC
- The climbing scene will continue to change. We’ll revisit and continually update this post, but I have yet to see the gym scene change as drastically as it has in NY.
- Corporate vs. Independent Gyms – If they hire a new setter, the setting can vary and is usually more drastic at smaller, independent gyms vs. corporate ones.
- Setting – The setting includes how fun the climbs are and the variety of holds. Typically, when they invest more in the variety of holds, they’re also investing in better setters. Each gym has a different philosophy, and it all depends on what you are personally looking for. I’ve noticed my outdoor friends like gyms with lots of ‘tensiony’ moves that train them for the outdoors, but many of our indoor-only climbing friends are looking for something entirely different (i.e., comp-style). Gym climbing has evolved and has become its own sport.
- Grading – We’re primarily looking at interesting movement and fun setting over how they grade their problems. Some climbers prefer a grade range, while others prefer them broken up. Some gyms are stiffer than others, and some grades are all over the place, which we make a note of. What’s most important is that you…