Photo courtesy of Noah Diamond, Flickr
Skateparks in Los Angeles became part of L.A. culture when surfing legend Hobie Alter created Hobie Skateboards in the 1960s. Shortly after, places like Venice Beach were deemed major skate destinations, appearing in numerous skate videos.
Today, Los Angeles and the surrounding areas boast impressive skateparks featuring ramps, bowls and rails. Skateparks are tourist attractions in their own right, and they're given celebrity status thanks to the pros who have helped design them.
A few details before you go: many skateparks are free, while others cost a few dollars for the day, and most public parks require proper protective gear. Places that rent skateboard equipment are few and far between, and Skatelab is one of the only parks that will provide full gear. Otherwise, get out there and enjoy!
This $1.1 million skatepark in East Los Angeles designed by Lawrence R. Moss & Associates is an all-out tribute to skateboard culture. When the park opened, local pros such as Tony Alva tested out the concrete. Complete with pools, a wall ride, vert waves and more, the park is packed with features and skaters who know their tricks. Free. 323.260.2342.
4914 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles
The Culver City Skatepark is one of the most popular skateparks in Los Angeles. Created by the city and a group of local skaters, the park features a wealth of park features, including ledges, rails, a flow area and of course, the clover pool — probably the best skatepark pool in Southern California. Free. www.culvercity.org
9910 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City
20,000 square feet of ramps, bowls and stairs make up one of the modern birthplaces of skating. This is where the Dogtown gang spent much of their time transforming surf moves into skateboarding tricks. When skateboarding hit another wave of popularity in the 1990s, the Cove was a prime location in skateboarding videos. Moderate cost for admission. www.smgov.net/Departments/CCS/content.aspx?id=32414
14th and Olympic, Santa Monica
The Venice Skatepark was unveiled in 2009, and local skateboard fanatics are thrilled with the 16,000 square feet of premier skatepark. The new park builds on quite a bit of skateboarding lore. The original Venice “pit” was an iconic place for skateboarding in Los Angeles, even though modern skateparks are by far bigger and better. Still, it’s hard to scoff at the history (it made a cameo in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2). www.veniceskatepark.com
1608 Ocean Front Walk, Venice
This 9,700 square-foot skate park opened summer 2011. Located in Westchester Park, it is the first skate park in the city. Westchester Park also features a playground, basketball and tennis courts, barbeque pits and more. www.laparks.org
7000 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles
Street, vert and pool sections make Glendale skatepark a 15,000-square-foot gem for local skaters to pull off new tricks. For tranny riders, the park is a must-see, with a kidney pool and combination bowl. A snake run mixes a street course, mini ramp and vert basin for a nice flow area. Moderate cost for admission. www.ci.glendale.ca.us
1621 Canada Blvd., Glendale
Some people think of the indoor Skatelab as the Cooperstown of skateboarding, a place where future stars practice the stuff of video games. Ramps, rails, bowls, vert waves…you name it and Skatelab has it. It’s also one of the best places for beginners because of its novice classes — three-hour lessons run $25 — which cover safety, fundamentals and techniques. Moderate cost for admission. www.skatelab.com
4226 Valley Fair St., Simi Valley