Photo: Vital Climbing Gym

The Best Climbing Gyms on Long Island

Whether you’re new to climbing or a crag veteran, these local rock gyms can build both your abilities and your outdoor community connections.

Long Island might not be home to towering cliffs flocked by climbers, but there are hundreds of climbing routes to be found all over the island—you just have to take a trip indoors.

As climbing gyms proliferate across the country, communities on Long Island have not been left behind. And as the offerings have expanded, so too has the appeal. Climbers of all stripes now realize gyms are not just for hardcore experts who need keep up finger strength in the off-season. They open up an engaging fitness activity surrounded by a fun-loving community. Gyms also act as a regular hub for meetups, providing an active place to find an outdoor group for hiking, paddling, and, of course, trips to heralded rock destinations upstate.

So, whether you’re learning the sport or just looking to have fun and meet like-minded groups, look to these standby climbing spaces colored in a palette of physically exerting puzzles. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Nassau or Suffolk County, Brooklyn or Queens; you’re within reach of the quality indoor crags on par with the finest anywhere. Here are five particular favorites where you can stay fit and social all winter. 

Island Rock — Plainview

Opened in 1996, Island Rock is the original climbing gym serving central Long Island, making use of a former warehouse to provide 14,000 square feet of climbing options. Rope climbers will find over 100 top-roping routes, as well as 40 lead-climbing routes. There are even a couple of crack climbs up the 30-foot-high walls, plus a rappel wall. Those looking to take a simpler approach can find over 100 bouldering problems in their own space away from the rope climbs. Island Rock offers rentals and first-time belay lessons, as well as advanced instructional offerings for those who would like to learn lead climbing.

Details

60 Skyline Dr. Plainview, NY 11803. Hours: Monday/Friday noon - 10 p.m, Tuesday/Thursday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Wednesday noon - 11 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Day passes: $22 adults, $19 students. Monthly membership: $80 adults, $75 students. Rentals: $5 shoes and harnesses, each. A beginner lesson with rental and day-pass cost $48.

More info

islandrock.com

Photo: Vital Climbing Gym

The Gravity Vault — Melville

A fixture in Melville since opening its Suffolk County location in 2017, this regional climbing gym franchise location is just two exits east of Island Rock on Interstate 495. The 20,000-square-foot recreational space features 100 top-roping routes, a bouldering area, speed-climbing wall, plus a yoga room and lounge. Beyond the usual walls and overhangs, the Gravity Vault adds some fun for climbers scaling indoor heights with an elevated arch to practice lead climbing and a 360-degree spire.

Details

40 Melville Park Rd., Melville, NY 11747. Hours: weekdays 9 a.m. - 10 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Day passes: $28 adults and $25 youth. Monthly membership: $110 adult, $100 youth. Rentals: $5 for shoes and $4 for a harness. An introductory climbing course is available for $33.

More info

gravityvault.com

The Cliffs at LIC — Long Island City

Though located in Queens, this well-established gym is an easily accessible haunt whether you’re coming from Manhattan, Queens, or Nassau County—the MTA 7 Train and Long Island Rail Road stations are just a few blocks south. And in a city where square footage comes at a premium, The Cliffs sprawls open with 350 routes and a separate bouldering area. Give your screaming fingers a break in the central lounge area that offers a view of all the action—and that hosts numerous meetup events for community climbers to connect.

Details

11-11 44th Dr, Queens, NY 11101. Hours: weekdays 6 a.m. - 11 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. Day pass: $32. Monthly membership: $125. Rentals: $6 for shoes, $5 for harness. Introductory course with pass and rental included available for $49.

More info

lic.thecliffsclimbing.com/

Vital — Brooklyn

Though this rope-free, bouldering-only gym opened in a 45,000-square-foot warehouse in 2021, it offers some lifestyle perks beyond textured walls and a palette of gritty plastic holds: For members, Vital is a 24/7 climbing facility that never sleeps. There’s also a rooftop cafe with plenty of seating to bring along your laptop and join the flanks of fellow remote professionals. Take a break between Zoom calls for a session on the outdoor bouldering space open year-round with an invigorating view of the Manhattan skyline.

Details

Located on the border of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods (221 N 14th Street). Open daily 9 a.m. - 11 p.m. (24 hours to members). Day pass: $35. Monthly membership: $145. Rental shoes $5.

 

More info

vitalclimbinggym.com/brooklyn

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.

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