If there’s one thing the U.S. is known for that goes unnoticed by a lot of people, it’s skate parks. While they went through somewhat of a revival during the 1990s (thanks, Tony Hawk!), they’ve been around for decades with the earliest park dating back to the 1970s. Their nearly 4-decade history precedes them and, now, many are undergoing yet another revival thanks to all the sports on wheels that are coming back.
You can find any number of retro rollerskaters, skateboarders, and even inline skaters at parks across the U.S., but only a handful are considered some of the best in the world.
Les Coleman Skatepark, New York City
When it comes to iconic city memories, for some, that includes the Les Coleman Skatepark in New York City. This park is the central point for any major skating event that goes on in the city and with the Manhattan Bridge going right overhead, it makes for a pretty dramatic urban backdrop.
This park was originally a local spot, with skaters turning an abandoned basketball court into the perfect place for sliding down steel railings and jumping over ledges. In 2012, the park was renovated thanks to the help of city funding and backing by Nike SB. The community feel in the park remains to this day one of the things skaters and onlookers love about it, coupled with the nostalgic appearance of its obstacles.
Vans Skatepark, Orange County, CA
If you’re looking to meet the pros, it wouldn’t be entirely unlikely that you could run into them at the Vans Skatepark in Orange County. As the name implies, this is one of the most well-known skateparks in the world and is also considered the best in the world. Since its opening in 1999, the park has only gained more attention with many novices and pros coming back to perfect their techniques.
The skatepark absorbed the previous Upland Combi-Bowl to create the massive park that exists there today, complete with an indoor area that spans 20,000 square feet. An 80-foot-wide ramp is also one of the park’s best features.
Denver Skatepark, Denver, CO
The Denver Skatepark is great for all skill levels but also offers something a little bit extra in terms of its views. The Rock Mountains in the distance serve as a fair landscape for this park, making for a pretty epic landscape on which to perfect that perfect trick.
Inside the park, 60,000 square feet of concrete has been shaped to form various bowls to the north, with the eastern section of the park featuring ramps, rails, and ledges.
Kirtsis Skatepark, Lincoln City, OR
According to Skateboarder’s HQ, Kirtsis Skatepark was given the title of being the ‘gnarliest skatepark in all of America’ by Thrasher magazine. It’s the largest skatepark in the state with a total of 40,000 square feet of skate space, consisting of five miniature skate parks in one place.
It was built in 1999 and has been steadily added to since then, quickly turning into one of the most beloved skateparks on the West coast.
FDR Skatepark, Philadelphia, PA
As the name of this park implies, it was once part of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in Philadelphia. Similar to many skateparks, it grew steadily and was maintained by volunteers and the skaters themselves who used the park.
To this day, the park continues to grow thanks to the help of those who are so passionate about its purpose. Those responsible for adding to the park annually are always welcoming new faces, and it also doubles as a center for the arts, music, and poetry. Profits from these events go back into the park are what have truly made it a community center as well as an epic skatepark.
Kona State Park, Jacksonville, FL
Kona Skate Park is one of the oldest operating skateparks in the U.S. which makes it a great destination for anyone whether they’re a skater or not. The park has been open since the 70s and still has that same nostalgic feel as it did back then, but that’s not the only thing that has given it such a big reputation.
The park nearly went bankrupt in 1979 before the Ramos family stepped in to save it, which is the reason it’s still thriving to this day. It was clear in their passion as a family that this park and its mission, to give kids a safe space for their skating, would keep it around for years to come. The park is given credit for being the first to showcase the vertical ramp, and it’s also been featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.
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