From our friends at evo, a skate shop, bike shop, surf shop, wake shop, ski/snowboard shop, camping store, and lifestyle retailer all under one roof
For many kids, sports present a great outlet for their energy, provide great exercise, and they also teach valuable life lessons of hard work, dedication, and resilience. After all, one of parenting’s greatest challenges is teaching your children that when you fall down, you just have to get back up. Of all the sports out there, perhaps the best teacher of this is skateboarding. We’re sure any of you parents that grew up skateboarding can vouch for this!
While Portland may be best known for its trendy coffee shops, awesome food trucks, and hipsters, it’s also home to a rich skate culture, complete with great longboarding shops, unique urban areas, and world class skateparks. So pack some snacks, grab your skateboard, pad up, and start checking out some of these endlessly fun concrete playgrounds.
There are five main skate parks in Portland, each with its own unique flavor and features, so it’s worth trying to hit all of them to decide which ones your kids like best. It’s possible to skate between the parks, or grab a ride on public transportation. And because the city has so many skaters, you’re never too far from a Portland skate shop to grab a new skateboard deck, spare bearings or wheels.
Probably the most famous skatepark in Portland is the Burnside Park. The Burnside Park originated as a homemade, unsanctioned skate spot under the Burnside bridge, built by local skaters. The area under the bridge was originally a camp for homeless people, but local skaters started building banks with bags of their own concrete, and eventually convinced nearby construction workers to supplement their efforts with leftover concrete from freeway construction. Eventually the city recognized skaters’ efforts and legitimized the park.
The Burnside Park is seen as one of the genesis of DIY skateboarding, and is an incredible park for skaters of any ability level. It’s also protected from the rain by the bridge over it, and has electric lights. No skate trip to Portland is complete without a visit to this iconic and influential park.
Commonwealth Skatepark is another skatepark with a unique Portland flare. Commonwealth is located entirely indoors and features a 4500 square foot concrete skate park with integrated skate shop. Commonwealth is located in the heart of downtown southeast Portland, and is surrounded by a diverse group of small businesses. Commonwealth skatepark is open to the public during specific sessions, from 2-8 PM everyday. This allows them to reserve the park for special events, like their dedicated kids’ sessions, and weekly ladies only sessions. If you’re looking for a unique skatepark experience in the heart of downtown, don’t skip Commonwealth.
For something completely different, check out Glenhaven Skatepark. The Glenhaven park is located right next to Portland’s Madison High School. In fact, they’re so close together that it almost looks like the skatepark is built on school property. That’s actually not the case, but it does mean that the kids attending Madison High School are privileged to have a great skatepark just a few steps from their classes. Glenhaven has an open layout that lends itself to long, creative, flowing lines. If you make it to Glenhaven make sure to check out their awesome original sign art by Josh Meer.
Ed Benedict Skatepark
For street skaters, the Ed Benedict skate plaza is a must visit. This 18,000 square foot skatepark is designed to emulate the best street skating spots around the world. It’s littered with ledges and banks, as well as some of the most creative street style features in the world. From stair sets to manual pads, the Ed Benedict skate park has it all. There is also a kid’s play structure in the park, as well as basketball courts and sports fields. In keeping with Portland’s eco-conscious culture, the Ed Benedict skate park is the first environmentally sensitive skatepark in the world.
Alberta Skate Spot at Kʰunamokwst Park
Finally, the Alberta Skate Spot at Kʰunamokwst Park is a small, but hugely fun park tucked away off of Northeast Alberta Street. Constructed by Evergreen Skateparks, the Alberta park is a flowy park, full of creative transitions and semi-pool sections. This makes it a blast to cruise, with limitless line options. The Alberta Skate Spot is a great example of how well space can be utilized in a small but well-designed skatepark. It may lack the square footage of some of Portland’s other skateparks, but it will still challenge skaters of any skill level.
So next time your kids have extra energy to burn, escape to these concrete playgrounds to skateboard! We can almost assure you that you’ll be blown away with the endless fun and creativity they inspire. Plus with so many different “styles” of skateboarding, each Portland skatepark — from Burnside to Alberta — has something new and exciting to offer.
About the Author
evo is a skate shop, bike shop, surf shop, wake shop, ski/snowboard shop, camping store, and lifestyle retailer all under one roof. In addition to retail, we provide bike repairs, mountain bike rentals, and more! With flagship stores in Portland, Seattle, Denver, and soon to be Whistler and Salt Lake City, all evo locations proudly showcase evo’s trademark blend of sport, culture, art, retail and service.