Best rock climbing for kids in NYC

Little climbers will reach new heights while having fun at these NYC gyms that offer rock climbing for kids
Photograph: Courtesy DUMBO Boulders/Boone Speed

If the monkey bars at the playground are no longer cutting it for your little climber, then it might be time to check out the best NYC gyms that offer rock climbing for kids. With locations around the city and a variety of programs for all skill levels and ages, there’s bound to be one that will cater to your tots. Who knows? Maybe they’ll find a challenging new hobby to love and Mom and Dad might catch the climbing bug right along with them!

Looking for more sporty activities for kids? Then check out the best kids' play spaces in NYC, youth fitness classes for sporty kids and trampoline park spots around NYC.

Best rock climbing gyms for kids in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Paula Lobo
Sports and fitness, Climbing

The Cliffs at LIC

icon-location-pin Long Island City

The Cliffs provides a fun experience for all ages and levels. Whether your kids want to tackle the tall walls or stay close to the mat in the bouldering section, this gym offers it all. Youth programs introduce kids to rock climbing starting as young as six. Tots in Club 1 (beginner, ages 6–9) will get acquainted with the wall through games and fun activities and those in Club 2 (intermediate, ages 6–9) will learn techniques and build strength as they tackle various courses. If your budding climber wants an extra challenge, three Vikings curriculums for ages 9–12, 13–18 and a competitive team for all ages will provide advanced training. For a more immersive experience, The Cliff’s Summer Vacation program, which runs from July 10 through September 1, is a week-long outdoor adventure where kids will learn rope skills, how to belay and tie knots and learn how to problem solve during their climb. 11-11 44th Dr, Queens (718-729-7625, $30 for day pass, gear rentals $3–$6; Club 1 and Club 2 $400/six-week session for one day per week, Recreational Vikings curriculum $425/six-week session for one day per week, Summer Vacation $700. All ages.

Sports and fitness, Yoga & Pilates

Brooklyn Boulders

icon-location-pin Gowanus

From the experienced climber looking for new challenges to tackle to the curious newbies, Brooklyn Boulders has something for all levels in its 22,000 square-foot gym. In the Kids Academy, the 5-to-12 set will do bouldering, roped climbing, stretching and participate in climbing and STEAM games. If they’re itching for more time on the wall, Brooklyn Boulders Adventures offers single and full-week programs during school vacations. Don’t want to trek all the way into Gowanus? Brooklyn Boulders also has a location in Long Island City. 575 Degraw St (347-834-9066, $32, gear rentals $2–$7; Kids Academy $49 for single day, Brooklyn Boulders Adventures $119 for single day. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Bryan Coppede
Sports and fitness, Climbing

DUMBO Boulders

icon-location-pin DUMBO

The Cliff’s DUMBO locations offers rock climbing with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline. It’s also much cheaper than its sister indoor gym in Long Island City and located in Brooklyn Bridge Park so you won’t have to worry about kids using their outdoor voice. You’ll only be able to boulder at this spot–the LIC gym offers top rope and lead climbing, auto-belaying and bouldering–but the shorter walls and safety mats make it a wonderful play space for kids 6 and up. Just note that kids 14 and under must be supervised and spotted by an adult and each adult can only supervise a maximum of two kids. 99 Plymouth St (718-489-8363, $9 for day pass, including rental shoes, kids can scale walls with their own sneakers. All ages.

Sports and fitness

Chelsea Piers Field House

icon-location-pin Downtown

If you want to participate in sports leagues or learn a new action sport, Chelsea Piers is the place to go. The Hudson River facility offers climbing for kids and adults on its 23-foot indoor rock wall at the Field House. Kids ages 5–9 can join in on Open Youth Rock Climbing sessions during which instructors teach and supervise the kiddos and provide all equipment needed to hit the walls. Rock-n-Roll sessions for those aged 5–16 feature 45 minutes of gymnastics and 45 minutes of rock climbing to really get those little ones moving! Pier 62 (212-336-6500, $25 for 2 hours; Rock-n-Roll $32 for 90 minutes. Ages 5–16.

Sports and fitness

Manhattan Plaza Health Club

icon-location-pin Hell's Kitchen

The climbing gym at the Manhattan Plaza Health Club contains 5,000 square feet of climbing space with over 70 routes. Young climbers ages 3 and older are welcome to climb in the bouldering and top rope rooms during kids hours (Bouldering room: Mon–Fri 10am–4pm, Sat and Sun noon–6pm; Top rope room: Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat and Sun noon–6pm). Private lessons with an MPHC instructor are also available. 482 W 43rd St (212-563-7001, $20. Ages 17 and under $15

Sports and fitness, Climbing

Steep Rock Bouldering

icon-location-pin East Harlem

With locations in both East and West Harlem, Uptowners have a great place to get their climbing on without traveling far. The gym is exclusively for bouldering and anyone ages 5 and older can hit the walls. After school programs for kids will build on strengths while helping them overcome challenges they might face during their climb. School of Rock is perfect for 5- to 8-year-olds who have little to no climbing experience. Club Rock, for the 8 and older set, gets those mental gears turning as kids are encouraged to problem solve and push past their mental and physical comfort zones. Rock Apprenticeship and Rock Master programs are available for those who’d love to compete at local, national and international levels. 603 W 129th St and 1506 Lexington Ave (212-410-7070, $25, shoe rentals $6; School of Rock $500 for 1-hour session a week, Club Rock $1,100 for two 2-hour sessions, Rock Apprenticeship $1,300 for two 2-hour sessions, Rock Master $1,500 for three 2-hour sessions. All youth programs include gym membership for the season. Ages 5 and up.

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