Every big city is chock full of skate spots, from packed skate parks to as yet undiscovered banks and ledges. But the list of skateboarding destinations can get a little overwhelming, so here’s our list of the top five skate cities you need to visit.
We made these choices based on a variety of factors. First and foremost, the quality, variety, and quantity of good skate spots. We don’t want anyone to hop off that plane, skateboard in hand, only to find every ledge and rail bolted and scattered with stoppers. Good places to ride take priority.
Our second criteria is a little more nebulous, we chose spots that have been historical hotbeds of skate culture. One of the things that can enhance an already great skatepark or urban spot is its legacy. There’s something special about finally visiting spots where our favorite videos were filmed. Every city on this list has shaped, or is currently molding the pastime.
Finally, we took into consideration each city’s culture. Sure, you’re there to ride, but if you’re planning on just eating at McDonalds and watching old skate videos on your phone during your downtime, you’re going to miss out on the best part of any skate trip, experiencing new places and taking in the local culture.
Bonus Tip: A skateboard deck from a local shop is one of our favorite souvenirs, no matter the location. Hang them on your wall at home, or skate them to death!
We’ll just get this one out of the way immediately. Every skatepark has that crusty old ramp rat who waxes lyrical about his squandered youth skating the hallowed streets of Barcelona. It couldn’t be as good as those old guys say, right? Wrong. Barcelona is as good, or better than you’ve heard. If you’re just planning on hitting one european skate city, it should be Barcelona.
The list of classic Barcelona skate spots is longer than we care to reproduce here, but rest assured, their all as sweet as they look on video. You could spend a year in Barcelona without burning out on the skating. Sure, it’s trite, everybody says to visit, but in this case, everybody is right. Go for the skating, stay for the world-class food, coffee, and culture. Barcelona has it all, great riding, a rich skate history, and a beautiful and historic culture.
If California was the birthplace of modern skating (and it was) then San Francisco gets joint credit as one of the birthplaces of street skating. Embarcadero is arguably one of the most influential spots in the history of technical street skating.
If your were paying attention in the 90’s, then San Francisco was probably high on your list of must visit cities, and if you weren’t, you should have been. Now, even with some iconic spots closed, the city is still worth a visit. Bomb some hills, gap some stairs, ride a street car, and watch the sun set over the Bay.
For a while, some skaters have been calling Berlin the “new Barcelona.” That’s nice, but it does both cities a disservice. Berlin is its own unique beast. Some of that comes from the fact that much of the German architectural style used in the city seems purpose built for skaters.
The city is littered with ledges, banks, stairs, and rails, all perfect for street skaters. Combine that with several huge, well-designed parks, and the city’s rich history, and you’ve got a must-skate location.
The “City of Lights” could also be called “the city of great skating.” Paris’s historic streets have it all. There’s a plethora of great street skating, several great parks, and the views are hard to beat. From the Arch de Triumph to the Eiffel Tower, there’s a reason folks flock to this city.
It’s been a cultural hub for hundreds of years, but only in more recent decades have skaters discovered its allure. And where else can you ride all day, and then crab a baguette at a charming cafe? Go to Paris to skate, stay for the culture and food.
What can be said about New York that hasn’t already been rehashed countless times? It’s the stereotypical city, alive and vibrant, buzzing through the night. Skateboarding made its way east from California quickly and found a natural home in New York, and it’s been thriving there ever since.
Olly a few manhole covers, ride park until your knees go to jelly, and then go grab a slice of pizza. Then get back out there and ride some more. The city never sleeps, and you don’t need to either.
Read more about the best cities to skate in Europe.
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