It's easy to rock at something with the best equipment, tons of time to practice, and every resource at your fingertips. But it can be frustrating to be so passionate about boarding and feel like you don't have a place to really practice. But that's not what skating is about: working with what you have, hanging with friends, trying that ollie until you've got it perfect, making do with a park bench – that's what makes skating unique! The team here at Board Blazers is passionate about working with what we've got, and that's why we're so pumped to bring you this list of the 10 best places to skate when "there's no skate park near me!"
1. Community college/University campus
Most every city has a community college or even a university nearby. These are killer places to skate because they typically have large paved or concrete areas, tons of benches, parking lots with curbs, big staircases with rails, and loads of other awesome skateboarding opportunities. As a bonus, the campus is usually less busy on nights and weekends so you can really go big! Campus security can be a bust, but be cool to them, and they'll be cool to you. Click here to find a community college in your hood!
2. Malls with large parking lots
Similar to community colleges, malls and corner shopping centers with large parking lots have a ton of opportunities for skaters: lots of curbing, handicap ramps, rails, and open expanses for cruising. Plus, they're usually well lit at night. As always, be safe and look out for cars (and pedestrians) since parking lots can be busy places at any time of day.
3. Parking garage
Take the elevator to the top floor and bomb the ramp all the way to the bottom. The possibilities here are pretty much endless: get some serious downhill speed, curbing, long stretches of sloped concrete, stairs, railing, the occasional bench or garbage can-get creative! However, be EXTREMELY cautious and careful while skating a garage. Cars will not be expecting you. It's best to try for a time at night when the garage near you is less busy.
4. The back of warehouse stores
Make sure you hit these places up after hours, but with multiple loading docks for trucks, plenty of handrails for workers' safety, dumpsters, pallets, and who knows what else on any given night, these places are like Disneyland for skaters. With huge expanses of wide open concrete, and little traffic after the store's closing time, this is a great place to meet up with your friends, bump some tracks, and get to work perfecting your latest trick.
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Stuck in suburbia? Don't be too down about it. Almost every community has parks that can be awesome for skateboarding. Every park is different, but most of them have lots of paved paths, benches & railings, playground equipment, shady ramadas with picnic tables, basketball courts and tons of other killer skating opportunities.
4. Large suburban neighborhoods
Are long cruises your jam? Most housing areas provide lengthy stretches of pavement or sidewalk. Use these to take a sweet night ride either alone or with your skate crew. Big neighborhoods provide a sweet cruising spot without having to cross major street traffic. Don't get stuck in the same rut, try different routes through your hood, and take a swing down some new streets!
6. Local attractions
Live near the beach? Cruise the boardwalk and grind on those retaining walls. Got a large sports arena nearby? Go check it out on day where there isn't a game, and you have it all to yourself. Is there a local museum in your city? Might be a killer spot after hours! Anything and anywhere that is paved is your playground! See what kind of awesome local haunts you can find.
7. Bike or pedestrian paths
Loads of cities are becoming more bike-friendly, and while our feelings are a little hurt that they don't always include skaters in their plans, we can forgive them. Especially since those super long (often MILES long) stretches of concrete or paved pathway provide us with ample spots to cruise, practice tricks, meet up with our crew, or whatever that day holds. Look for spots where paths cross under major streets - underpasses can be killer for tricks & jumps. Major bonus if you can find large drainage pipes! Look out for hilly places on pedestrian paths – you're likely to find some stairs and handrails there that would be perfect for grinding! Click here to find a list of bike paths near you!
9. Your own house/street
It's not as fun or exotic as a beach boardwalk or an amazing skate park, but there's nothing like being familiar with a spot to help you improve your consistency, especially when you're trying to master a new skill. If you're short on time or freedom to wander, you can enjoy a great skate on your home turf. Crank some tunes and hit the pavement – you'll be glad you did.
10. Keep your eyes open and look around!
Your new favorite skating spot could be literally just around the corner. Get out there with your friends and go find a great spot! Keep your eyes open while you're driving around town; you might see the perfect place. Get creative – you'll be surprised what you might find. Take a cruise on your board to some new spots and just take it all in. You might just find a sick secret place to grind. Want to share your spot with your crew? Check out these tips for how to best use skateboarding forums online.
As always, remember to be safe while you skate. Always wear a helmet, be careful to obey local laws and look out for vehicles. And, if you're skating at night, Board Blazers are always a good idea. Don't skate in places that are restricted or fenced off. If you're asked by security to leave, just move on and remember that the next best skating spot could be right around the corner.
Image sources: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.