Where to Go Indoor Rock Climbing Around Philadelphia

Plus, where to take beginner lessons if you're new to rock climbing.

Drexel Recreation Center’s rock climbing wall. Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

While it may not involve running long distances or lifting heavy things, rock climbing is still amazing exercise. It not only helps build your strength and mobility, but it also involves different muscles than you might typically use — meaning you might find you’re sore in places you didn’t even know you could get sore.

We may not live in the middle of the Colorado Rockies, but you don’t need a “real” cliff to climb in order to have an awesome time. Philly happens to be home to multiple indoor climbing spots — with three big ones, The CliffsReach Climbing and Fitness, and Philadelphia Rock Gyms Fishtown headed here later this year — where anyone, no matter their skill level, can come to climb.

Ready to get start scaling? Read on for indoor climbing gyms in the area.

Downington Rock Gym

Where: 462 Acorn Lane, Downingtown
Entry Fee: $12 for a day pass.
Introductory Classes: $60 for a three-week basic climbing class
Equipment Rentals: $5 for shoes, $3 for a harness, $1 for a chalk bag

Inside this 10,000-square-foot, community-based indoor rock climbing gym, you’ll find overhangs, boulders, arêtes, chimneys, and caves. The gym — which has walls as tall as 45 feet — is filled with chances to try auto belaying, top roping, or bouldering.

Drexel Recreation Center

Where: 3301 Market Street, University City
Entry Fee: Membership is $35 for a week, $150 for three months, $275 for six months, or $500 a year.
Introductory Classes: “Try-A-Climb Classes” are offered every hour, on the hour and are included in the price of membership.
Equipment Rentals: Included in the membership

Though it offers less space than the large-scale climbing gyms, Drexel’s climbing wall — with its overhangs, bouldering, and lead climbing — is a perfect place for beginners to get their start. With introductory courses on how to move and balance on the wall, Drexel makes sure its climbers are well-equipped to move onto more-advanced routes.

Elite Climbing

Where: 67 Old Kings Highway, Maple Shade, New Jersey
Entry Fee: $15 for a day pass
Introductory Classes: $45 for a Beginners Package, which gets you a belay class (gear included) followed by a day of unlimited climb and a two-week membership
Equipment Needs: $5 for shoes, $5 for a harness, $1 for a chalk bag

This gym is big on community — the owners, John and Ina Ene, are hands-on, organizing member appreciation celebrations, offering information about climbing, and hosting charity and fundraising events. On the walls, you’ll find over 100 routes, an 18-foot cave, and bouldering walls with ten different angles.

Go Vertical 

Where: 950 North Penn Street, Northern Liberties
Entry Fee: $19 for an adult day pass
Introductory Classes: $65 for the two-hour Getting Started class, which includes a day-pass to the gym
Equipment Needs: $6 for shoes, $4 for a harness, $1 each for carabiner or belay device

Conveniently located not far outside of Center City, Go Vertical offers 250 top rope, bouldering, sport, and lead routes — with 20 new routes set every week. With a dedicated climbing school, you can sign up for classes like “Intro to Sport Leading” and “4-Part Climbing Clinic.”

Philadelphia Rock Gyms

Where: Multiple locations in Oaks, Coatesville, East Falls, Wyncote, Fishtown
Entry Fee: $17.95 for a day pass
Introductory Class: $45 for an introduction to top rope climbing and bouldering class
Equipment Needs: $7.50 for a full set of shoes, harness, belay devices, and chalk bag

With bouldering, top-roping, and lead climbing, Philadelphia Rock Gyms (PRG) cater to climbers of all levels. Their gyms range from 10,000 to 14,000 square feet and offer at least 75 routes and bouldering problems at every location, and plenty of routes for all levels of climbers.

The Gravity Vault Radnor 

Where: 175 King of Prussia Road, Radnor
Entry Fee: $18 for an adult day pass, memberships available
Introductory Classes: $24 for a 90-minute Introduction to Rock Climbing class for groups of five or more.
Equipment Needs: $4 for shoes, $3 for a harness $3, $2 for a chalk bag.

With 16,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, 4,000 square feet of bouldering space, and 100 routes, this massive gym has tons of wall space to explore. Plus, the gym has an attached exercise room with cardio and strength equipment.

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: