Skateboarding is one of the most popular extreme sports in 21st century America. The roots of skateboarding began in California back in the 1950s when young adults used to surf the streets on wooden boards (and there were certainly no skate parks in those days!). Skateboarding really took off in the 1970s and became part of the mainstream in the late 1990s thanks to the success of Tony Hawk, video games and the X Games. Since then, impressive skate parks have been built all over the country (and the world), and here we’ll rank the top 10 skateparks in the U.S.
#1: Burnside Skate Park (Portland, OR)
Located under the east end of the Burnside Bridge in the city of Portland, Burnside Skate Park has been featured in numerous skate magazines, video games and is considered a classic skate park by skateboarding pros. This quintessential skate park was created in 1990 and features some of the sweetest wall rides, bowls, quarter pipes, hips and bumps. Burnside Skate Park has continuously grown and developed over the last 26 years.
#2: Skate Lab (Atlantic Beach, FL)
First opened in 1997, Skate Lab is considered to be the best skateboarding venue in the state of Florida. Offering a huge collection of ramps, rails and jumps, Skate Lab is known to push skaters to their limits. The finest features of the Skate Lab are huge indoor and outdoor areas so that the weather is never an obstacle.
#3: Denver Skate Park (Denver, CO)
Situated along the Platte River, north of Downtown Denver, this skate park offers an incredible view of the famous Rocky Mountains as you grab some air. Sprawling in size and tremendous with its obstacles, Denver Skate Park has something for every kind of skater. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert skater, the extensive street course and the bowls of the park are open late into the night (perfect for Board Blazers we say!).
#4: David Armstrong Extreme Park (Louisville, KY)
Formerly known as Louisville Extreme Park, this public skatepark in downtown Louisville features a 24-foot full pipe — one of the biggest for any skateboarding park in the United States. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year — this free entry skate park gained national attention after being featured in Tony Hawk's Secret Skatepark Tour video in 2002. If you like some real challenges, this is one park you just have to ride.
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#5: Lincoln City Skate Park (Lincoln City, OR)
Recognized as one of the largest skate parks in the state of Oregon, Lincoln City Skate Park keeps on getting better and better. This skate park is an collection of five mini parks and was expertly designed by Dreamland Skateparks. Every year the skate park enters a new phase or gets an upgrade with a new concrete design. Thrasher magazine has even christened it as "The Gnarliest Skatepark in the World” due to its many unique features.
#6: FDR Skate Park (Philadelphia, PA)
Similar to Burnside Skate Park, FDR Skate Park was created by a few skateboarders who were hungry for some concrete to skate in the city of Philadelphia. Distinct for being located beneath an overpass of Interstate 95, FDR Skate Park has been recognized by both Thrasher and Skateboarder magazine as “a skateboarding paradise”. This park also features obstacles like the 4-foot “Dome” and the 60-foot long “Bunker”. FDR Skate Park was also featured in the Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground video game.
#7: Vans Skate Park (Orange, CA)
Offering indoor and outdoor skateboarding, Vans Skate Park in Orange County is the best place to see veteran skateboarding pros like Steve Salba, Jeff Grosso and Christian Hosoi in action. After making skate shoes for nearly a decade, in 1999 Vans decided to make a premium skate park in California. With the reformation of the famous Upland combi-bowl and an enormous wooden street course, Vans Skate Park doesn’t disappoint in the center of the SoCal skate scene.
#8: Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park (San Jose, CA)
With its plethora of bowls to choose from, Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park is one of the most unique skate parks in the country, and at 68,000 square feet, it’s the largest skate park in California. The skate park offers the world’s biggest cradle (70 feet long) plus several wide pipes, street courses, thimbles, pools, a mega wall and bowls. If you have the adrenaline, this skatepark has everything to satisfy it!
#9: S.P.O.T — Skate Park of Tampa (Tampa, FL)
Since hosting indoor and outdoor skate contests since its inauguration in 1993, S.P.O.T have been featured in several skateboarding videos since. The constantly changing world has skateboarding has made sure that S.P.O.T has both beginner and pro courses. The biggest event on S.P.O.T’s calendar is the annual Tampa Pro contest, held annually at the beginning of March.
#10: Rob Dyrdek/DC Shoes Foundation Skate Plaza (Kettering, OH)
What sets this skatepark apart from most others is that, by incorporating landscaping and art, it resembles a public square and a multi-use park more than a standalone skate park. It is the first major public skate park designed by pro skater Rob Dyrdek in partnership with DC Shoes. Instead of featuring the usual half pipes and bowls, Rob Dyrdek-DC Shoes Foundation Skate Plaza is designed more for street skateboarding and features urban terrain elements such as benches, rails, ledges and vertical ramps.
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About the Author: John Dev is a professional blogger who loves to write about his passion for skateboarding and longboarding. A big fan of the sport, he is also an in-house blogger for SkatesUSA. In his free time, he longboards on his Loaded Complete Tan Tien 2012 longboard. This is his second guest post for the Board Blazers blog.