Rock climbing

7 indoor climbing spots to get your kids moving

If your kids have been climbing the walls, now is a great time to take them to a place where acting like a monkey is totally encouraged. Rock climbing is a fun way to burn off energy and bond as a family, and you don’t have to travel far to find some of the best rock climbing spots in and around Chicago.

To note: We update our website as quickly as possible, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please check before you go for the most up-to-date information on safety measures and last-minute cancellations. Be careful!

Brooklyn Rocks

Although many hardcore climbers frequent this gym, guests with children aren’t required to take any introductory lessons, just a quick orientation to the facilities. Daily classes at the Kids Academy teach skills such as bouldering, rope climbing and team building. Birthday parties and STEAM-focused adventure camps are also offered, as well as teen and after-school programs.

Vertical forces

This western suburban gym is one of the largest indoor rock climbing facilities in the United States, with over 45,000 square feet of space. Three bouldering rooms (where no harnesses are required) and 30 auto belays (a device that takes up slack and lowers you to the ground in the event of a fall) make this place ideal for families. Discounted days are available for schoolchildren and scouts, and there are many courses, clubs and camps for families to choose from.


If your kids aren’t quite ready to tackle a full climbing gym, this play center is a fun way to introduce them to the sport. Forty interactive “fun walls” including a beanstalk and a dinosaur skeleton will delight and delight your little ones, while older ones can give the Rocktopia Granite wall a try. With two locations in Glenview and Naperville, there are also ropes courses, climbing obstacles, a Jungle Gym and a realistic cave structure to explore.

climb on

From top rope and bouldering to lead climbing, you’ll find classes for all ages and skill levels at Climb On. If your kids are serious about learning rock climbing skills, the gym offers a $70 family orientation for kids under 14 to (literally) learn the ropes and practice rock climbing. team. Once you’re ready to make rock climbing a regular part of your routine, there are several membership plans available.

First ascent

This yoga, fitness, and rock climbing gym offers rock climbing for kids ages 5 and up at each of their six Chicago-area locations. Parents are required to watch children, but do not have to pay a fee if they are just watching. Their wide range of classes aim to improve children’s balance and coordination, as well as build confidence and strength. Parents can take a survey on the gym’s website to determine which class best suits their child’s needs.

Recreational climbing wall UIC Campus

The 43-foot Entre Prizes freeform wall at UIC simulates the look and feel of real rock, making for a truly authentic experience. Featuring seven top strings, the intricate details of the wall will make you feel like you’re miles away from the city. Children 5 and up are welcome to use the wall during weekend hours and college vacations, and non-members can get a punch card of five climbs.

Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center

  • Address: 800 St. Charles Road, Glen Ellyn
  • COVID-19 Updates: The indoor climbing wall is temporarily closed.

The Glen Ellyn Sports Club is home to the Ackerman Alps, two thirty-foot climbing boulders and a climbing wall with an automatic belay system. Be sure to check out the Adult/Toddler Drop-in Days, where parents can bring their 2-5 year olds to climb for free ($5 for non-members). There are also daily drop-in times for older children and adults.

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This article was originally published on February 13, 2020. It has been updated with the latest information.