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Grab your board, throw on some kicks, and buckle your helmet as we get ready to drop into the Golden State’s best skate parks. Complete with indoor spots to practice your tricks and beachside scenes to show them off, California has something for every skill level—and rightfully so, considering that skateboarding was born and raised right here.
Skateboards first appeared as a fad in the 1950s and were initially manufactured by Southern California surfers who wanted something to do when the waves were flat. What started as a 2x4 wooden plank mounted on four wheels has evolved into so much more, becoming a worldwide phenomenon that will make its Olympic Games debut later this year.
Today, skateboarding is embraced by millions of people around the globe who practice the sport and embrace the culture—but none of it would’ve been possible without SoCal’s innovators. Whether you’re looking to step on a board for the first time or are ready to go pro, check out these enviable California skate parks that will take you to the next level.
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Of the 450 skateparks in the Golden State, Venice Beach Skatepark (also called Venice Skatepark) is undoubtedly among the greatest. This 16,000-square-foot skater’s paradise is the world's only beachfront skatepark. Along with this impressive designation, Venice Beach Skatepark holds the record for the most expensive skate park in California—costing a whopping $3.5 million—which was funded by passionate local skaters and generous skateboarding pros.
The park features a large snake run, two bowls, and a variety of boxes and rails, making it an ideal location for both street and vert riders. Thanks to its unique location near the famed Venice Beach Boardwalk, this skate park has earned a reputation for being a hub for local riders who love to perform wild stunts—and for drawing crowds of enthusiasts who come to watch. If you want to see these athletes in action and skate at an iconic spot, this is definitely the place for you.
Skateboard Park Hours: Dawn to dusk
Linda Vista Skate Park is the second largest skate park in California and the single largest in San Diego County, with 34,000 square feet to shred. Outfitted with rails, stairs, ramps, banks, jumps, bowls, a bridge, a full pipe, and everything else you could want from a skate park, it’s easy to see why this spot is beloved.
Tucked inside Linda Vista Community Park, Linda Vista Skate Park is one of the newest, having opened its gates in 2018. Take your boarding to the next level and leave the grocery store parking lots behind as you hone your skills at this iconic park.
Skateboard Park Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Vans Skatepark opened in 2014 and, like Vans’ sneakers, the park was an instant classic. While primarily an indoor skate park, this Huntington Beach locale is notable for its outdoor section as well, allowing skaters to test their skills on a wide variety of terrain.
The park’s design is pretty remarkable, but there’s nothing quite like the 6-foot-tall Vans logo that riders can jump over. In addition to this mainstay, there are stylistic touches that you’ll only find here, including checkered floors and red and blue grind rails. If that’s not enough to catch your interest, the Vans Skatepark even features an exact replica of the world-famous Combi bowl.
Built in the early 1980s, the legendary Combi bowl in Upland Pipeline Skatepark is still considered to be one of the best park designs in the world. The massive re-creation of the bowl at Vans Skatepark was made to scale—reaching an unheard of depth. The 12-foot-tall construction challenges even the most experienced skateboarders, making it one of the coolest skate parks in California.
Skateboard Park Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Day or night, you’ll always find people hanging out at West Oakland’s Town Park. Nestled east of the Bay Bridge, Town Park skate park is one of many attractions at DeFremery Park. The park is relatively small compared to the others on this list, but it’s well-known in the skateboarding community for its smooth flow and unique obstacles.
Thanks to local activists, Town Park has become somewhat of a sanctuary for the skateboarding community; concerned for the wellbeing of the local youth, these activists worked with the city of Oakland to build its first skate park.
Along with the skate park, DeFremery Park has a swimming pool, tennis courts, and sports fields spread across its 9.5-acre property, but the locally painted murals are what truly make it one of a kind.
Skateboard Park Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Located in the South of Market (SoMa) District, SoMa West Skatepark is one of San Francisco's newest skateparks. Since the park is tucked beneath a busy freeway, SoMa West offers a uniquely urban experience during rush hour when it’s surrounded by bumper-to-bumper traffic; the hectic sounds of cars combine with echoes from the bridge and keep the city ambience alive.
To further enhance the vibe, the skating obstacles—including rails, bowls and manual pads—have been intentionally designed to recreate some of San Francisco's most prized street skating spots. The architects of SoMa West Skatepark pay homage to the historic skateboarding destination of Embarcadero Plaza with identical ledges and stairs. Because of this attention to detail, many people see the SoMa park as a work of art, preserving the history of skateboarding in S.F. while welcoming travelers from across the globe.
Skateboard Park Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
With nearly an acre of terrain made for cruising and a water park right next door, Fremont Skate Park always makes for an exciting trip. This park features large palm trees and patches of grass that make you feel like you’re in a beautiful plaza.
The park terrain varies, offering both street and bowl features, with areas suitable for beginners and advanced riders alike. This skatepark is also one of the Braille skate team’s favorite locations to shoot videos. Come on down for a chance to see Aaron Kyro and his team skateboarding or filming their hilarious challenge videos.
Skateboard Park Hours: Dawn to dusk (or until 8 p.m.)
If you’ve been searching for a gritty place to hang out away from the surfers in Los Angeles, Garvanza Skatepark is the place to be. Known for its gnarly, graffiti-filled bowl, this is not the spot for beginners, but is an ideal destination for seeing celebs—if you’re trying to see the rad pros competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, that is.
Rumor has it that Rialto’s Tristan Rennie and Oceanside’s Nicole Hause travel to this L.A. hot spot just for the adrenaline-inducing bowl. If you’re not quite ready to tackle the bowl yourself, check out the rest of Garvanza’s chill terrain, which includes rails and ledges.
Lake Cunningham Action Sports Park is California’s largest skate park, spanning an impressive 68,000 square feet—making it one of the must–see destinations in the South Bay. The park is located along the shoreline of the scenic lake and is conveniently surrounded by a dirt-bike track.
Built in 2008, Lake Cunningham holds several world records for its incredible structures and design. It’s home not only to the globe’s largest fullpipe—measuring in at 20 feet wide and 70 feet long—but also to the largest cradle and tallest vert wall, which only the most skilled skaters dare to conquer.
But this skate park is not all about shattering expectations; it’s also full of mellow terrain spread across the spacious lot, making it a welcoming locale for newbies and experts alike. (Make sure to pack some cash before you head over so you can cover the $6 parking fee.)
Skateboard Park Hours: 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset
Comprised of 16,000 square feet, Potrero del Sol (also known as La Raza) is San Francisco’s largest skate park. Situated about a mile east of the 24th Street Mission BART station, Potrero del Sol is a local skateboarding favorite. Due to its location in the Mission District and advanced terrain, this park is best left to serious skaters—so leave the kids at home.
The Mission District is known for its elaborate murals, and La Raza is home to its own kind of mural, too. The graffiti can make the concrete slippery, so watch out and take it easy, but don’t miss out on your chance to bust a move in the bowl.
Skateboard Park Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Inspired to hit up your nearest skate park? Let us know your favorite in the comments below.
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