Skateboarders have gotten a bad rep for years, but that’s changing. The sport emerged on the west coast in the 1950s as a way for surfers to practice their skills when the waves weren’t cooperating. Over several decades, skateboarding rolled its way across the U.S., finally landing a spot in the 2021 Summer Olympics. For many, skateboarding culture supports creativity and, according to Nic Dobija-Nootens in this feature from The Atlantic, “skateboarders tend to think of their activity as fundamentally anti-competitive, anti-authority, and anti-mainstream. Yet today, skateboarders aren’t the outsiders they once were.” If you’re ready to grab a board and hop on this trend locally, you’re in luck! We put together a list of eight skateboard friendly parks and businesses:
- Drawing crowds since its unveiling in 2018, the Davis Street Skatepark is the Vine Neighborhood’s skating destination. Featuring a selection of ramps, a bench, and a rail, this small park is great for all experience levels.
- Alongside a pool and various ball courts, Upjohn Park’s skate area provides options for the more experienced skater. Serving as the previous site of the Six Starz Skate Jam, this is the place to take your skating to the next level.
- If you’re up for an adventure, Wayland’s local parks have a lot to offer—including the city’s skate park! While not large, the skate park is a great addition to the rest of the community’s outdoor recreation options found just a few blocks away.
- Offering a street-style plaza and an in-line hockey rink, Portage’s South Westnedge Park is a favorite for local skateboarders.
- Skater-owned and operated since 1990, the K-Zoo Skatezoo has both an in- and outdoor park. Also offering an onsite pro shop, Skatezoo is Southwest Michigan’s destination for every skate need, all year round.
- Drop-in to Niles’ Skate Park to start your full sesh of banking and bowling.
- Roll east towards Battle Creek to ride the ramps at Battleground Skate House. Calhoun County’s only indoor skate park is open to all wheels, ages, and experience levels.
- You’ll be stoked upon arrival at the John and Dede Howard Skate Park in St. Joseph. This in-line skating, skateboarding, and BMX biking facility has all the ramps, rails, and half-pipes you need to practice your landings.