Climbing in Central Square

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Towering 22 feet in the air, the main bouldering wall at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville stretches 140 feet across, leaving plenty of room for climbers to make their ascents. The wall is part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, which include a shorter bouldering area plus a 50-foot-high atrium complete with top-roping and lead-climbing routes.

These impressive features explain why Brooklyn Boulders Somerville has earned such glowing press, though that's not the whole story. The rest of the 40,000-square-foot center houses everything from climbing fitness rooms full of hang boards and pull-up bars to a yoga studio situated beneath a skylight. Other amenities include a weight room, a space dedicated to cardio equipment, and saunas for relaxing after a tough workout session.

The sauna isn't the only place to kick back at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The entire space is equipped with free WiFi?no surprise given the center's newly launched Active Collaborative Workspace, where groups gather to launch start-ups, finish work, or get cranking on school projects in a setting that's about as far from "cramped conference room" as it gets. Elsewhere, pop-up shops spotlight locally made clothes and wares, and a gallery showcases rotating artwork.

303 3rd St #806
Cambridge,
MA
US

This women-only local chain of fitness centers is beyond popular, if the numbers mean anything: 15,000 members, 500-plus employees, and four locations (plus two non-profit fitness centers). Over 30 years, clearly Healthworks Fitness Center has figured out what women want in the fitness world. The Back Bay location in Copley Square is steps from the nearby subway station, making it convenient for those coming to work in the area, as well as residents of the Back Bay and the South End. The formula is easy: offer literally hundreds of group classes each week, a team of personal trainers on tap and provide a spa-like atmosphere in the locker rooms, which are stocked with amenities like hair dryers and towels. A wide variety of equipment, plus services like childcare, nutrition counseling, massage therapy and special events and programs, keep things buzzing all day long.

441 Stuart St
Boston,
MA
US

Monadnock Glass Arts was shaped under the finely wrought fingertips of owner and flameworker Eric Duyette, who breathes more than a decade of experience into every blown sculpture, vase, and bulb. Classes introduce students to the art of flameworking borosilicate glass by creating marbles. pendants, beads, sea-life sculptures and various functioning & non-functioning lamp worked projects. Two torch workstations dominate the intimate studio environment where Duyette instructs with an emphasis on safety and proper ventilation and equipment use.

343 Medford St.
Somerville,
MA
US

Certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, the staff of climbing instructors at Boston Rock Gym teach torsos how to ascend altitudes with indoor-, outdoor-, and youth-climbing activities. The savvy instructors lead the way around the facility’s more than 40 ropes, which set the stage for both group and private indoor lessons, as well as open climbing sessions in which self-guided climbers reach for neon-colored handgrips while being supported by auto-belay devices. Outdoors, students learn to navigate nature’s authentic slabs during lessons and clinics that start with the basics and graduate up to advanced ice-climb maneuvers. Additionally, the facility’s youth programs cater to smaller grips and aim to boost self-confidence while preparing children for the physical-fitness portion of the SAT.

78 Olympia Avenue
Woburn,
MA
US

South Kingstown is the newest location opening in 2013 of Rock Spot Climbing’s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes—low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves—and lead climbers set their own anchors as they scale the wall. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. Cardio machines let athletes warm up or cool down between climbs, and instructors lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.

67 Sprague St
Boston,
MA
US

The family that owns Rock On Adventure brings outdoorsy recreation to the great indoors, covering their facility with grippable surfaces and safety cables that allow kids and adults to safely tap into their inner thrill seekers. Between the colorful climbing walls—some of which jut out at challenging angles—vibrant aerial silks hoist budding acrobats into the air for gravity-free spins and tumbles. Kids or bull mastiffs convincingly disguised in helicopter beanies and knee socks can further acquire tricks of the climbing and twirling trade during classes and monthly kids' nights, as well as gather their friends for a birthday party.

661 Pleasant St
Norwood,
MA
US