When it comes to spots, Los Angeles is widely considered the most well-established skate Mecca of the modern world.
There are 500 square miles of urban sprawl in the city. Think: knee-high rails, perfect concrete ledges, and enough stairs to overheat your steps calculator. And then there are the pools, curbs, and public parks present in just about every neighborhood from Redondo Beach to Pasadena. Even our most benign offerings are legendary on an international scale.
So, the question is less, “Where to go?” and more, “Where to start?” It’s all a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, we have Lucy Jean to help lead the way. Lucy heads up GRLSWIRL, a women’s skate collective based in Venice Beach. She knows her way around four wheels and some plywood better than most, and she’s the perfect guide to finding the best spots in the city.
Unfortunately, Lucy’s been off the board for a bit on account of an injury. “I actually tore my ACL, so I haven’t been skating this summer, and miss it terribly,” she told us. “But I would encourage anyone with healthy knees to get the heck out there!”
Still, she was more than happy to chat about some of her favorite locales.
5. Venice Boardwalk
You know it, and for good reason. The Venice Boardwalk is iconic. There are ledges, manual pads, and the famous, sand-swept Venice Skatepark in the middle of it all. “It’s always fun to cruise through and experience all the sounds, smells, and people at lightning speed,” Lucy told us.
4. Will Rogers State Beach Parking Lot
You can find this lot a touch north of Santa Monica at the entrance to Malibu, where Temescal Canyon Road dumps off onto the Coast Highway. “Get there early and cruise on the coast with perfect views,” Lucy said. Avoid the weekends, don’t hit snooze, and you won’t regret it.
3. Venice Pier
A chunk of concrete extending 720 feet into the Pacific Ocean, Venice Pier is one of Lucy’s favorite spots when she wants to break away from the regular city scenery. “It’s so magical skating out the pier at sunset and getting to experience skating surrounded by the elements.”
2. Third Street Promenade
It’s always nice to be able to skate at the same place you can pick up a new deck or a clean pair of shoes. If convenience is more your vibe, than Third Street Promenade is your spot. “Okay, so it’s a tourist trap, but hear me out,” Lucy laughed. “When you are on a skateboard you can fly through any space and get to experience it on your terms. All the concrete is smooth like butter. And it’s so fun to see all the different types of folks from around the world visiting your home town.”
1. Bay Street
You can find this spot on, well, Bay Street in Santa Monica. It stretches from Euclid Street, west of Lincoln Boulevard, all the way to the boardwalk. That’s about ten blocks of downhill, open-road skating. It’s been a favorite of everyone from the Z-Boys in the mid-1970s Dogtown days to GRLSWIRL today. And if you don’t know about it, Lucy has just one bit of insight for you: “It’s iconic, try it!”
Worried about crowds in America’s second most populated city? Don’t be. You can always find your own concrete ledge to call home. All it takes is a car, your board, and a bit of driving around. “I’ve become a bank expert, always scanning parking lots while I’m driving looking for sports to play on,” Lucy said. “Keep your eyes peeled.”
So there you have it. Grab your board and hit some of these spots. Let us know what you think of them by tagging us on Instagram. And if you ever want to check out some of these spots with the GRLSWIRL team, just give them a follow. They regularly post about group skates, get-togethers, and more. We’ll see you out there.