Chicago is a city known for its towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and deep-dish pizza. But hidden within this urban landscape are some of the best rock climbing spots in the Midwest.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced climber, there are plenty of options to challenge yourself and take in breathtaking views of the city.
From indoor climbing gyms to outdoor bouldering areas, Chicago has it all. Some spots offer challenging routes with overhangs and cracks, while others provide a more relaxed climbing experience for those just starting out.
And with the city's diverse neighborhoods, you're bound to find a climbing spot that fits your style and personality.
But finding these hidden gems can be a challenge. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start.
That's why we've compiled a list of the best rock climbing spots in Chicago, to help guide you on your climbing journey. So grab your shoes, chalk bag, and harness, and let's explore some of the best spots for climbing in the Windy City.
1. First Ascent Block 37
First Ascent Block 37 is a top-notch rock climbing gym with a wide variety of walls suitable for climbers of all levels.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always eager to help, and the gym is kept clean and well-maintained. The bouldering routes change regularly, keeping things fresh and challenging.
The gym also features a workout area with free weights and aerobic machines, as well as a yoga studio.
While the price for membership may seem steep, the quality of the gym and its facilities make it well worth the investment.
2. Movement Lincoln Park
Movement Lincoln Park is a top-notch rock climbing gym with modern amenities such as bouldering, ropes, fitness area, classes, and sauna.
The grading system for bouldering takes some time to get used to, but the routes and boulders are amazing. The gym offers plenty of climbing options, including top rope, lead, and bouldering.
The community is welcoming and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. The fitness area is well-equipped, and the shock-absorbing treadmills are a plus.
The sauna is a great way to relax after a challenging climb or workout. Movement Lincoln Park is highly recommended for climbers of all skill levels.
3. Chicago Movement Gym
Chicago Movement Gym is a unique and exciting rock climbing spot that offers more than just climbing walls.
The gym is optimized for a variety of movement practices, including monkey bars, jump boxes, and slacklines. The instructors are knowledgeable and offer challenging and fun classes.
The gym also offers Aikido, Capoeira, Kung fu, and parkour classes. The Ido Portal movement theory, taught by Dr. Khong, is an effective way to improve strength, flexibility, and overall well-being.
If you're looking for a gym that offers more than just weights and cardio, Chicago Movement Gym is the place to go.
4. Brooklyn Boulders Chicago: West Loop
Brooklyn Boulders Chicago: West Loop is a top-notch rock climbing spot that offers a great variety of routes and difficulty levels.
The facility is clean and well-maintained, and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. The gym is spacious and has plenty of walls for top rope and bouldering.
In addition, there is a co-working space that overlooks the boulder area and front desk. The gym also offers yoga and fitness classes.
Whether you're a seasoned rock climber or a newbie, Brooklyn Boulders Chicago: West Loop is a welcoming and fun place for all.