New York skateboarders are proud of their city. Not only are there plenty of places to ride, but the community is also a thriving one that extends to all five boroughs. But for those new to the city (or new to skateboarding), it can be a bit intimidating to find out where to go. Whether you’re looking for a spot to learn how to skate or just want a new locale to practice some old tricks, these are some of the best places to skate in New York City.
All the downtown Manhattan skaters eventually end up here. The LES Skatepark—also called the Chinatown Skatepark or Coleman, depending on who you ask—is where you’re most likely to spot skate legends whizzing in and out of pipes. Plus, there are $1 dumplings right down the street, so everybody tends to congregate for mid-skate session snacks.
For skaters in Queens who don’t want to go too deep into the borough, Astoria Skate Plaza is a perfect option. There are plenty of open spaces, which means that skaters of all different skill levels can each go at their own speed without worrying about colliding into each other. There are also plenty of surfaces (stairs, rails, banks, and ledges) to practice tricks.
One of the city’s newest skateparks lies out in East Williamsburg. Trendy skaters from all over Brooklyn tend to come here to test out the ledges, ramps, and rails. But everybody’s favorite fact about this skatepark is that it was reportedly named after Peter Cooper, the inventor of Jello.
Skaters who love ramps and half-pipes tend to flock to Pier 62, but everybody tends to swing through at least once to appreciate the fact that New York City has a giant skatepark (15,000 square feet or 1,393.5 square meters) at the end of a pier overlooking the Hudson River. In some minds, it may even put California skateparks to shame.
For those who judge quality by size, Hamilton Bridge Skatepark could be the best skatepark in New York City. It officially opened in 2014, with the city proclaiming it as the largest skatepark in any of the five boroughs, and it was specifically built on a downward slope to help skaters rack up maximum momentum. The park was given its name because it sits directly underneath Hamilton Bridge, so it could be a bit tricky to find at first.
The plaza of Flushing Meadows may not technically be a skatepark, but that doesn’t stop skaters from taking it over every day. The area’s got plenty of stairs, ramps, and euro gaps for those who enjoy more street-style boarding. Plus, it’s super close to the famous Unisphere fountain—a great place to take pictures or cool off.
Head deep into Brooklyn (Bay Ridge) to discover one of the city’s most open skateparks; it rarely feels overcrowded. Owl’s Head Millenium Skatepark sits right on the water’s edge, but most skaters’ favorite part is the giant bowl, composed of two conjoined bowls.
Skaters who appreciate a bit of history will love Mullaly. Up until about the mid-’90s, this was one of the only proper skateparks in New York City. People used to sneak in before the park officially opened so that they could take advantage of the half-pipe before the entire city’s skating population would flood in for the day. (Just a warning, though: the park tends to attract BMXers now.)
Skaters who don’t mind trekking up to the Bronx will find plenty of flat, even surfaces for street-style skating at River Avenue. Skaters tend to come here to shoot videos as the backdrop (underneath an elevated train track) can make for some pretty stunning shots.
This one’s a bit of a cheat because it’s not technically a skatepark per se. But at certain times, there are more skaters who take the bridge than pedestrians. It’s a perfect place to ride (often called “the best hill in the city”) because it’s flat, smooth, and you’re sure to meet plenty of other people on boards.