Lake City Skate Spot at Virgil Flaim Park. Credit: Nancy Chaney
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Skatin’ and scootin’ are awesome ways to get the kids outside and working up a sweat. City streets and emptied-out pools were the original skater’s playground. Today, a totally rad skatescape, with bowls, ramps, rails and ledges is a much hipper — not to mention safer — option.
Luckily, the Seattle area has no shortage of these pro-approved spaces for every age and skill level: from seasoned skaters to youngsters practicing their skateboard, scooter or balance bike skills. Along with the brand-new Lake City Skate Spot at Virgil Flaim Park that just opened, we’ve rounded up seven of the best Seattle and Eastside skate parks to practice those flips and grinds. Grab your wheels and get rolling!
1. Lake City Skate Spot, Virgil Flaim Park
Find it: 2700 N.E. 123th St., Seattle
Designed to provide an opportunity for youth recreation and community building in urban Lake City’s Virgil Flaim Park, the new 8,000 square foot skate spot (which had its ribbon cutting on Sept. 9) promises a place for riders beginner to advanced. It features a mix of traditional and street elements, and lots of spectator room to learn from the pros.
Nearby bonus: Shoot some hoops at Virgil Flaim’s newly redone basketball court, adjacent to the skate park, while the littles tumble on the playground (with old-school metal slides!); make a pit stop to refuel at the Lake City location of Dick’s Drive-In on your way home.
2. Lower Woodland Skate Park, Woodland Park
Find it: 1000 N. 50th St., Seattle
This spacious track, located next to the tennis courts in Seattle’s Woodland Park, is just for skate boarders: scooters and bikes aren’t allowed, although there’s a steady stream of kids and adults who disregard this rule. Kiddos of all levels are bound to find the perfect pipe in one of the nine skate areas, including a smaller four-sided bowl just for the newbies.
Nearby bonus: This one’s a no-brainer. The incredible Woodland Park Zoo is just a short walk away, offering a wild good time before or after your wheeled adventures. Kidd Valley makes for an easy lunch stop, and Green Lake is also just across the road; note that Green Lake’s playground, next to the community center and pool, is on the far side of the lake.
No Seattle skate fest would be complete without some spins and airs at Seattle Center’s skate park, or “SeaSk8” as it’s known to the locals. With 10,000 square feet packed with edgy elements, glass surfaces, skate-able sculptures and a street-style plaza with stairs and ledges, there’s something for everyone — whether they’re showing off their kickflips or enjoying the action from the sidelines. Plus, the park hosts free drop-in sessions for kids ages 12 and under, and girls-only skate times. Check the website for schedules.
Nearby bonus: There’s no shortage of family fun at Seattle Center, including the epic Artists at Play playground. For snacks, hit the Armory. To make a full day’s adventure, check out the Pacific Science Center and catch an IMAX movie, or explore the Seattle Children’s Museum located a level below the Armory restaurants.
Find it: 2850 S.W. Roxbury St., Seattle
Only a few years old, Roxhill Park’s neat skatescape in West Seattle shows off several challenging features for the skilled tricksters, along with lower-key bowls and lower ramps for the starter set. Scooters and bikes are good to go, and when they’re ready for a rest, watching the experienced crowd perform their best moves makes for exciting entertainment.
Nearby bonus: Roxhill Park is known as "Castle Park" for its fantastic wooden play structure with castle-like features, a climbing net and a sandbox for the tots. Pack a picnic and plan to spend the afternoon.
Easily accessible in Redmond’s downtown core, this edgy Eastside arena has pipes, bowls and ramps galore for skaters young to old. Scooters and balance bikes are welcome, and riders just starting out get lots of practice space on the easier elements. A funky addition is the groovy graffiti wall where budding street artists can show off their talents.
Find it: 14224 Bel-Red Road, Bellevue
Our long months of rain can put a damper on outdoor play — so grab those boards and head to Bellevue’s indoor skate park, newly remodeled for 2017 with polished pipes, banks and a thrill-tastic "vert" wall. Several levels of ramps, from a soaring 6-foot to a micro mini, cater to all ages, with lessons available for those learning the basics. And when the weather cooperates, a 13,000-square-foot outdoor plaza is right next door, with a newly refinished surface and elements that replicate favorite global street spots (scoots, bikes and rollerblades are allowed at the outdoor plaza only).
Nearby bonus: Head to Highland Park for a frolic at the cozy playground while older kiddos practice their swing at the tennis courts. Then, grill lunch or dinner right at your table at Blue Ginger Korean Grill.
Find it: 15300 8th Ave. N.E., Shoreline
This park in Shoreline has heaps of attractions for all ages, including a popular skate ramp used frequently by the short set during the school day, and teen and adult skaters later in the afternoon. Other features of this park are a large paved loop trail for scooting or practicing pedaling skills, a multi-feature climbing structure, swings and even adult exercise stations so parents can get a workout while kids play. Note that the skate park has a sign posted prohibiting bikes, although any visitor will see that this rule is regularly ignored.
Nearby bonus: Grab a tasty, quick bite at Taqueria El Sabor, a casual, family-friendly taco place a couple of miles away.
Skate Like a Girl, a local non-profit organization, runs a variety of camps and programs throughout the city, with events, drop-in clinics and free lessons at skate parks during the summer months. Boys need not shy away — aside from a few girls-only events, Skate Like a Girl's offerings are for all ages, all abilities and all genders.
Our weather doesn’t exactly account for year-round outdoor time, so if you’re tired of asking the kids not to skateboard through the house, get in on the fun at an indoor park. All Together Skate Park in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood gives them access to all the practice terrain they need while escaping the rain, plus lessons, kid-only skate times and a variety of events and programs.