An Urban Playground: Skateparks in Philadelphia and its surrounding regions

Adam Hribar at Paine's Park (Photo via Facebook)

Originating from surfing, California residents created skateboards so that they could not only surf the ocean, but surf the concrete of the streets. Since the 1950s, the skateboard has evolved from clay wheels and plastic decks to urethane wheels and 7-ply maple decks with other advancements along the way. Skateboarding, through time, has been looked at more as a vandal activity—destroying others’ property and public grounds—and now has grown more acceptable in the public through competitions on national television like Street League, and the Dew Tour. With the popularity growing, and more and more kids getting into skateboarding, the growth of skate parks has risen all over, and there are many to choose from in Philadelphia and its surrounding regions. There will always be a sense of street skating in every skateboarder's mind, but here are some places you can skate without receiving a $300 fine and a night in jail.

Pop’s Playground- Nestled off of Trenton Avenue in Fishtown is Pop’s Playground, a DIY park by Jesse Clayton and 5th Pocket Design—a skater owned and operated skate park building company. The distinctive design and way everything transitions together makes this park great for all types of skateboarders. Be careful, you can run into each other easily here.

Paine’s Park- Many years of funding and a hardworking effort from the Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund has resulted in Paine’s Park, Philadelphia’s first skate plaza, mixing landscape architecture and skate spots all in one. Paine’s Park's debut in 2013 shed light on the Philadelphia skateboarding scene and showed skateboarders that the city did care about them. If you like jumping down stairs, slashing coping, or doing tricks-in-tricks-out, Paine’s park got you covered.

Ambler Skatepark- With the help of Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund, 5th Pocket Design, and the Ambler Township comes this concrete plaza nestled conveniently in the neighborhood of Ambler, Pennsylvania. Set up a fresh board and skate the curved ledges, steps, and the bump to rails this park has to offer.

Radnor Skatepark- A tennis court turned skate park by Skatewave Landscape Structures is a fun location surrounded by trees making it the perfect place to skate when the sun is beaming down. From fun boxes to a spine ramp, Radnor Skatepark is worth the drive for all types of skaters.

Patrick Kerr Memorial Skatepark- This park, located in Roslyn, Pennsylvania was created in memory of Patrick Kerr, a skateboarder from Fox Chase. This concrete park mixes street features as well as transitional ramps. Two bowls are located in the back of the park for those who like to take it big.

FDR- One of the most prominent parks in Philadelphia is FDR Skate Park in South Philadelphia. This all transitional DIY Park is made of pure concrete and has visited by many well known professional skateboarders on skate tours. Just a heads up, locals are very protective of this concrete park.

Whitehall Skatepark- Located right off of Torresdale Avenue in Frankford sits an abandoned tennis court filled with a mixture of skatewave ramps, as well as concrete ledges and transitions by Franklin’s Paine and 5th Pocket Design. This skatepark has seen many changes in its history and is a favorite spot among many.

Grays Ferry- Open to the public as of last year, Grays Ferry Skatepark was built by 5th Pocket Design to bring skateboarders another concrete playground. This South Philadelphia skate park includes numerous transitional obstacles as well as pool coping to grind across.

Black Diamond Skatepark- Black Diamond Skatepark, located at Franklin Mills Mall is a perfect destination for anyone trying to skate, especially when the weather is ruining our day. The changes the park went through in the past years made sure that there is a spot for everyone to favor, which is why some consider the park a training ground.