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Andy Froberg

Seattle’s classic street skateboarding spots

Turn the city into a playground

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As wonderful as skate parks are, modern skateboarding was founded on a radical rethinking of urban architecture. Using parts of the built environment that were not meant to be played on as playthings is an incredibly freeing experience. This is what skateboarders reverently refer to as “skating street.”

This map is for practitioners of that not-quite-lost art (the Olympics aren’t here yet, baby!), especially those who are new to the city. There’s no better way to get to know a new place than on your board, and there’s no tool for meeting new people. Skateboarding is an international language. While you can have a blast anywhere that’s got smooth ground and a bit of space to roll around, all these spots have something extra to enjoy, be it a really good granite ledge to grind on or just a solid vibe. Many of them also have a special place in Seattle’s rich skate history.

Because skateboarding is still a crime, we’ve given you an idea of the likelihood of encountering angry security or concerned citizens at each spot. We’ve also provided info on where to find the things that are essential to a successful street skateboarding expedition: water, public restrooms, convenience stores, and cheap pints. Grab your board, cajole your friends off their couches, and get out there.

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1. Red Square

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Red Square
Seattle, WA 98105

The University of Washington’s Red Square is one of Seattle’s classic plaza skate spots. At its height in the early aughts, it was the center of entire era of Seattle skateboarding. You could drop in at nearly any time of day and find your fellows. It’s status as a skate nexus is thanks to the Square’s huge expanse of smooth bricks, upon which you can find almost every obstacle skateboarders enjoy. The spot is anchored by four trapezoidal bulkheads in the middle, which are skatestopped, but still perfect for manual tricks. Grinding typically occurs on the various wooden benches bolted to walls around the massive plaza, but if you’re bold, there’s a six-stair handrail by the administration building that’s skatestopped but still boardslide-able. Of course, there are also plenty of stairs in plenty of different configurations, if you fancy a good old-fashioned carcass huck.

Bust Factor: Used to be legendary. Ask any old Seattle street skater about Officer Parish, and you’ll be regaled with stories of hair-raising chases, flying tackles, and hefty fines. Recently, the university’s police seem to have cooled off on skating a bit. That said, avoid the administration building, on the Square’s south side, especially during business hours. Staffers are notorious for calling the cops, which forces the UWPD’s otherwise lax hand.

Amenities: Odegaard, the UW’s massive undergraduate library, abuts the Square, and has all the restrooms and water fountains you need. It’s open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, so plan accordingly if you need to pee. Nearby University Way (aka the Ave) offers many options for post-session beers, but tradition demands that you only ever go to the College Inn Pub. Pub nachos are half off on Mondays, and they are exactly what you need after a vigorous session.

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2. Garfield High School

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400 23rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 252-2270
Visit Website

Okay, so the main skate spot isn’t technically at Garfield High, but the school has become the accepted point of reference. It’s actually on top of Medgar Evers Pool, a beauty of brutalist architecture. The sides of the entire structure are banked concrete, making it a skateboarder’s paradise. On top of the pool, there’s a very famous 11-stair, next to which sits an equally famous bank that is extended by the near-vertical wall of the pool’s tallest, most imposing turret. Only the bravest souls drop in from the top of that thing, and Nolan Johnson’s backside boneless on it is still one of the craziest tricks done in Seattle. Another is David Gravette’s ollie from one of the pool’s wide concrete guardrails into the murderously steep bank that faces 23rd Avenue. The pool also sports two sets of low, rounded handrails, made of the same rough concrete that the rest of it is. And almost everything part of the structure is slightly sloped, so almost everything is a wallride waiting to happen.

Bust Factor: None, really.

Amenities: There’s an Arco about a block away for sundries, and some of the city’s best fried chicken is directly across the street. Ezell’s is so legendary that Oprah has it flown to her in Chicago, but you can just walk it back across the street and have the best post-session picnic of your life. For beers or bathrooms, head down Cherry Street to the Twilight Exit. You could potentially use the facilities in the pool lobby, too, if you’re polite.

3. Cal Anderson Tennis Courts

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1600 Nagle Pl
Seattle, WA 98122

“The Courts,” as they’re commonly referred to, are the current heart of Seattle’s skate scene. This is somewhat dismaying, as the Courts are really just a pile of decaying wooden obstacles that skaters drag into a net-less tennis court when it isn’t being used by bike polo players. Sometimes there’s some really good stuff there, though! Failing that, there are almost always people skating there, as it’s close to 35th North, the city’s main skate shop, and smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest parks in the city’s most happening neighborhood.

The courts are what we in skateboarding refer to as a “meet-up spot”—a place to run into random people, wait for your crew, and waste tons of time skating flatground. On Fridays, however, they transform into a much more intense, populous skate jam, dubbed “Night Court,” that draws skaters from across the region. If you want to meet other people who love the same stupid four-wheel board thing you love, this is your place.

When the bike polo people give you the boot, the middle tennis court—the one with an actual net—is a great backup. Plus, the crusty concrete ledge in the back of the second court is pretty fun. Its edge has been worn past the point where grinding is possible, but it has three generations of wax on it and you can always depend on it to slide.

Bust factor: The cops gave up on the Courts a long time ago. That said, while public drinking is pretty standard at the Courts, it is also the one thing that the cops will actually come down on you for. Scheduled bike polo matches are your biggest obstacle here, and those generally occur on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Amenities: Whatever you want, Capitol Hill has it. Whether it’s artisan vegan ice cream or a random drunk kid selling club drugs in front of Big Mario’s, you’ll find it within a three-block radius. Pro tip: tall cans are somehow cheaper at the Walgreen’s on Broadway and Pine than the QFC over on Pike. Also, St. John’s is the most skater-friendly bar in the area.

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4. Gas Works Park

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2101 N Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 684-4075
Visit Website

Gas Works park is a lovely, expansive swath of green surrounding the remains of the Seattle Gas Light Company’s defunct gasification plant. It was also, in its heyday, an iconic Seattle skate spot. The big concrete hubba ledge that made it famous is still there, just a bit rounded down. Any review of Gas Works would be incomplete without mentioning the tall, challenging flat rail that extends off a two-stair just after you enter the park, which is also still skateable. The pyramidal ledge stack by the waterfront is a lot more difficult to skate now, what with the worn down bricks in the landing areas and crusty edges, but it’s still got some life in it. It’s also set in front of a breathtaking view of the city, so really anything you manage to do there will thrill and delight your Instagram followers. Which is, after all, the whole point of skateboarding in 2018, right?

Bust Factor: None! You’re stoked!

Amenities: Besides the beautiful park, there ain’t much else to enjoy in the immediate area. The park does have its own facilities, which are open during the day, and a concessions stand that’s open... sometimes? For dependable sustenance, head west on Northlake Way, the street that runs next to the park, to get to the Pacific Inn Pub, where you’ll find one of the city’s best baskets of fish and chips. The Stone Way Cafe, which sits right across the street, also has a mad decent muffaletta.

5. Westlake Park

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401 Pine St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 684-4075
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Westlake Park has a long history in Seattle skateboarding. With its abundance of long, low granite ledges, the wide manual pad next to the fountain, and an expanse of smooth flatground, it is the ideal urban skate plaza. So it’s no surprise that people have been skating it since the early ’90s. In the glory days of Westlake, Pine Street was closed between Fourth and Fifth, making it even more conducive to skateboarding. The perfect marble ledge that juts out from the stage structure towards Pine was also exposed (now it’s covered by a hideous planter box), and the ledges surrounding the Starbucks weren’t skatestopped, as they are now. Suffice it to say, Westlake is a shadow of its former self. However, it’s still incredibly fun. The one remaining obstacle—the raised pad that houses the park’s fountain—is perfect for learning new tricks, be they manuals or grinds/slides on the waxed-up corner. Plus, it’s one of the few spots that’s well-lit at all hours.

Bust Factor: In the late aughts, skating Westlake was downright dangerous. If the cops didn’t tackle you, take your board, and give you a ticket, a mob of Juggalos was equally liable to ruin your night. Things are much, much better now. Cops walk by skaters regularly without batting an eye, and the city’s efforts to reclaim the space has been largely successful. Just be patient with tourists and don’t hit anyone in the ankle with your board, and you’re golden. Going at night is advised.

Amenities: One of the highest-volume Starbucks stores in the world is across the way, and always good for a nice, free plastic cup of ice water. Crucial in the summer. The mall behind it has decent public restrooms, and plenty of cheap sustenance on offer in the food court. El Borracho, a couple blocks west of you on Pine Street, is a great spot for late night beer and tacos. The nearest convenience store is the 7-11 on Third Avenue between Pine and Pike.

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6. Butter Ledges

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915 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98174

The Butter Ledges, at the former Federal Reserve Bank building, are named for the their thick, lustrous, and seemingly impenetrable coat of wax. The spot consists of three consecutive low blocks, with the star of the show being the last one that extends out over a three-stair. The ground is a little dicey, as it is hollow beneath and the large square pavers are prone to shifting and cracking, but this is Seattle, not Los Angeles—we take what we can get.

In the olden days, the strange negative spaces behind the building’s planters were a major skate mecca, as they’re girded by perfect metal-edged ledges. Those are skatestopped now, but the glassy marble step-up ledge on the southernmost planter is still skateable.

Bust Factor: The building is now owned by the same company as the tower directly across from it, and management has tasked that building’s security guard with chasing out skaters. They’re actually pretty diligent, even in the wee hours of the night, but can frequently be convinced to let you get “just a few more tries” in.

Amenities: There’s a DMV office right across the street! But in all seriousness, this spot is in a somewhat forlorn area of downtown, and if you’re there at night there’s almost nothing open. Skate a few blocks down Second and bomb the hill on Cherry Street to the 7-11 on First Avenue if you need snacks, or head north a block to First and University to grab a Rainier at the Diller Room, a haven for downtown’s industry folk.

7. Seattle Center International Fountain

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The Seattle Center’s International Fountain, built for the same World’s Fair that brought us the Space Needle, is not what you would describe as a perfect skate spot. Its main obstacle—huge, gentle banks bordered by a hefty granite ledge—is pretty challenging, and most of it is a water hazard. But that’s not why you skate it. You skate it because it looks extremely cool. You can roll at the banks from the path that spirals down to the actual domed water feature, and skate it like a bank-to-ledge, or you can do tricks into the banks off of the ledge. No matter what you do, doing anything here is hard. If you decide you’d rather not huck yourself off a tall ledge into a rough, pebbled bank, Sea Sk8 skatepark is a literal stone’s throw away.

Bust Factor: Campus security does not want you to skate the fountain. They do not understand why you would skate the fountain when there is a perfectly good skate park right next to it. Don’t waste your time explaining, just get in as much stoke as you can before they show up. And don’t shoot your board out into any of the kids splashing around in the fountain’s center. It makes us all look really bad.

Amenities: The Seattle Center’s food court is not horrible, and if you can navigate the warren-like back office area, you’ll find clean public restrooms. In fact, you’ll find passable public restrooms pretty much everywhere, because it’s Seattle Center. Just around the corner, on Mercer St, is the Lower Queen Anne business core, which has everything from overpriced fondue to cheap pizza, and a large grocery store to boot. The Streamline Tavern is a good spot for beer and pool.

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8. Seattle Central College

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1701 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 934-3800
Visit Website

College campuses are goldmines for street skating. And while Seattle Central has a fairly compact urban campus, it boasts almost as many viable spots in its tiny confines as all of the University of Washington. Most are clustered around the imposing Broadway Edison building, though there are some interesting rocks to dork around on by the Science and Math Building. The most approachable spot is the large, inset window ledges on the Broadway side of the building, which offer a waxed edge for slides or a broad, flat surface for manuals. On the corner of Pine and Broadway sits the famous brick double set, a must-visit spot for traveling pro teams. It’s a 3-flat-3, and boasts a gnarly but very skate able out ledge. Tucked behind the elegant Broadway Performance Hall is an equally famous brick 15 stair and its accompanying handrail. The college installed tiny metal tabs on the rail to keep people off of it, but they don’t really work, and the spot remains a proving ground for the region’s rail chompers.

Bust Factor: High. In the clip of Greg DeHart’s now legendary first-try backside lipslide down the brick 15-stair rail, you can see a security guard following him towards the stairs. He didn’t have to beg for more tries, thankfully, but he probably wouldn’t have been granted them. The college’s security guards are not known for being lax, and they’re pretty on-the-spot about skating.

Amenities: See entry for the Cal Anderson Tennis Courts.

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9. UW Central Plaza Garage C5

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If there’s anything that defines Seattle skateboarding, as opposed to Los Angeles skateboarding or Berlin skateboarding or what have you, it’s that it rains here all the time—and that we don’t really have any good spots to go skate when it rains. Seattle skaters basically hibernate for nine months, and then have a bonanza in the summer. What better place to hibernate than a cave, though?

The Central Plaza garage’s C5 level, with its three massive sheets of perfectly smooth concrete and waxy curbs, is our winter cave. Only in Seattle would a parking garage serve as a meet-up spot, but it is what it is. You’ll frequently find packs of other skaters seeking shelter down there, and sometimes they even bring in boxes or rails to enhance the experience. Given that the only indoor skatepark in the city closes at 9 p.m. and is frequently packed to bursting on rainy nights, C5 is a godsend for the late-night crowd.

Bust Factor: Recreational skateboarding is technically not allowed anywhere on campus, and that applies to subterranean parking garages as well. You can usually skate for a good long time before getting the boot, but it’s best to avoid busy times, as complaints from drivers whose path you block will bring the session to a swift end. Generally, it’s best to start your session after 9 p.m., when the only people using the garage are harried students staying late at the library to study. Probably thanks to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, people below the age of 30 tend to have a lot more sympathetic views on skateboarding.

Amenities: See entry for Red Square.

10. The Death Bumps

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815 Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101

The Death Bumps are exactly what they sound like: a series of raised bumps in a concrete sidewalk that could kill you. This is because the sidewalk they rise out of is an incredibly steep stretch of Eighth Avenue that runs underneath the Washington State Convention Center between Freeway Park and Pine Street. Most people skate the two bumps at the bottom, often in sequence, as they’re both larger and less likely to send you careening to your doom. For the brave, there are bumps at the top of the slope, as well as a three-stair with just enough space to land a trick before the sidewalk narrows into a bobsled-like speed chute and sends you flying towards traffic.

All jokes aside, no one has ever actually died at Death Bumps, so please don’t be the first. Use a spotter at the sidewalk if you’re planning to bomb the whole hill, and triple-check for crossing pedestrians if you’re skating the lower bumps.

Bust Factor: Security does occasionally pop out of the door next to the last two bumps and chase you out. Going late at night greatly reduces this possibility.

Amenities: You are directly across from Clay’s Market, a fine urban convenience store. Whether you need tall cans or Tylenol, they’ve got you covered. If the Convention Center is open, you can probably access a bathroom and drinking fountain there.

1. Red Square

Red Square, Seattle, WA 98105

The University of Washington’s Red Square is one of Seattle’s classic plaza skate spots. At its height in the early aughts, it was the center of entire era of Seattle skateboarding. You could drop in at nearly any time of day and find your fellows. It’s status as a skate nexus is thanks to the Square’s huge expanse of smooth bricks, upon which you can find almost every obstacle skateboarders enjoy. The spot is anchored by four trapezoidal bulkheads in the middle, which are skatestopped, but still perfect for manual tricks. Grinding typically occurs on the various wooden benches bolted to walls around the massive plaza, but if you’re bold, there’s a six-stair handrail by the administration building that’s skatestopped but still boardslide-able. Of course, there are also plenty of stairs in plenty of different configurations, if you fancy a good old-fashioned carcass huck.

Bust Factor: Used to be legendary. Ask any old Seattle street skater about Officer Parish, and you’ll be regaled with stories of hair-raising chases, flying tackles, and hefty fines. Recently, the university’s police seem to have cooled off on skating a bit. That said, avoid the administration building, on the Square’s south side, especially during business hours. Staffers are notorious for calling the cops, which forces the UWPD’s otherwise lax hand.

Amenities: Odegaard, the UW’s massive undergraduate library, abuts the Square, and has all the restrooms and water fountains you need. It’s open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, so plan accordingly if you need to pee. Nearby University Way (aka the Ave) offers many options for post-session beers, but tradition demands that you only ever go to the College Inn Pub. Pub nachos are half off on Mondays, and they are exactly what you need after a vigorous session.

Red Square
Seattle, WA 98105

2. Garfield High School

400 23rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Okay, so the main skate spot isn’t technically at Garfield High, but the school has become the accepted point of reference. It’s actually on top of Medgar Evers Pool, a beauty of brutalist architecture. The sides of the entire structure are banked concrete, making it a skateboarder’s paradise. On top of the pool, there’s a very famous 11-stair, next to which sits an equally famous bank that is extended by the near-vertical wall of the pool’s tallest, most imposing turret. Only the bravest souls drop in from the top of that thing, and Nolan Johnson’s backside boneless on it is still one of the craziest tricks done in Seattle. Another is David Gravette’s ollie from one of the pool’s wide concrete guardrails into the murderously steep bank that faces 23rd Avenue. The pool also sports two sets of low, rounded handrails, made of the same rough concrete that the rest of it is. And almost everything part of the structure is slightly sloped, so almost everything is a wallride waiting to happen.

Bust Factor: None, really.

Amenities: There’s an Arco about a block away for sundries, and some of the city’s best fried chicken is directly across the street. Ezell’s is so legendary that Oprah has it flown to her in Chicago, but you can just walk it back across the street and have the best post-session picnic of your life. For beers or bathrooms, head down Cherry Street to the Twilight Exit. You could potentially use the facilities in the pool lobby, too, if you’re polite.

400 23rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

3. Cal Anderson Tennis Courts

1600 Nagle Pl, Seattle, WA 98122

“The Courts,” as they’re commonly referred to, are the current heart of Seattle’s skate scene. This is somewhat dismaying, as the Courts are really just a pile of decaying wooden obstacles that skaters drag into a net-less tennis court when it isn’t being used by bike polo players. Sometimes there’s some really good stuff there, though! Failing that, there are almost always people skating there, as it’s close to 35th North, the city’s main skate shop, and smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest parks in the city’s most happening neighborhood.

The courts are what we in skateboarding refer to as a “meet-up spot”—a place to run into random people, wait for your crew, and waste tons of time skating flatground. On Fridays, however, they transform into a much more intense, populous skate jam, dubbed “Night Court,” that draws skaters from across the region. If you want to meet other people who love the same stupid four-wheel board thing you love, this is your place.

When the bike polo people give you the boot, the middle tennis court—the one with an actual net—is a great backup. Plus, the crusty concrete ledge in the back of the second court is pretty fun. Its edge has been worn past the point where grinding is possible, but it has three generations of wax on it and you can always depend on it to slide.

Bust factor: The cops gave up on the Courts a long time ago. That said, while public drinking is pretty standard at the Courts, it is also the one thing that the cops will actually come down on you for. Scheduled bike polo matches are your biggest obstacle here, and those generally occur on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Amenities: Whatever you want, Capitol Hill has it. Whether it’s artisan vegan ice cream or a random drunk kid selling club drugs in front of Big Mario’s, you’ll find it within a three-block radius. Pro tip: tall cans are somehow cheaper at the Walgreen’s on Broadway and Pine than the QFC over on Pike. Also, St. John’s is the most skater-friendly bar in the area.

1600 Nagle Pl
Seattle, WA 98122

4. Gas Works Park

2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103

Gas Works park is a lovely, expansive swath of green surrounding the remains of the Seattle Gas Light Company’s defunct gasification plant. It was also, in its heyday, an iconic Seattle skate spot. The big concrete hubba ledge that made it famous is still there, just a bit rounded down. Any review of Gas Works would be incomplete without mentioning the tall, challenging flat rail that extends off a two-stair just after you enter the park, which is also still skateable. The pyramidal ledge stack by the waterfront is a lot more difficult to skate now, what with the worn down bricks in the landing areas and crusty edges, but it’s still got some life in it. It’s also set in front of a breathtaking view of the city, so really anything you manage to do there will thrill and delight your Instagram followers. Which is, after all, the whole point of skateboarding in 2018, right?

Bust Factor: None! You’re stoked!

Amenities: Besides the beautiful park, there ain’t much else to enjoy in the immediate area. The park does have its own facilities, which are open during the day, and a concessions stand that’s open... sometimes? For dependable sustenance, head west on Northlake Way, the street that runs next to the park, to get to the Pacific Inn Pub, where you’ll find one of the city’s best baskets of fish and chips. The Stone Way Cafe, which sits right across the street, also has a mad decent muffaletta.

2101 N Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103

5. Westlake Park

401 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

Westlake Park has a long history in Seattle skateboarding. With its abundance of long, low granite ledges, the wide manual pad next to the fountain, and an expanse of smooth flatground, it is the ideal urban skate plaza. So it’s no surprise that people have been skating it since the early ’90s. In the glory days of Westlake, Pine Street was closed between Fourth and Fifth, making it even more conducive to skateboarding. The perfect marble ledge that juts out from the stage structure towards Pine was also exposed (now it’s covered by a hideous planter box), and the ledges surrounding the Starbucks weren’t skatestopped, as they are now. Suffice it to say, Westlake is a shadow of its former self. However, it’s still incredibly fun. The one remaining obstacle—the raised pad that houses the park’s fountain—is perfect for learning new tricks, be they manuals or grinds/slides on the waxed-up corner. Plus, it’s one of the few spots that’s well-lit at all hours.

Bust Factor: In the late aughts, skating Westlake was downright dangerous. If the cops didn’t tackle you, take your board, and give you a ticket, a mob of Juggalos was equally liable to ruin your night. Things are much, much better now. Cops walk by skaters regularly without batting an eye, and the city’s efforts to reclaim the space has been largely successful. Just be patient with tourists and don’t hit anyone in the ankle with your board, and you’re golden. Going at night is advised.

Amenities: One of the highest-volume Starbucks stores in the world is across the way, and always good for a nice, free plastic cup of ice water. Crucial in the summer. The mall behind it has decent public restrooms, and plenty of cheap sustenance on offer in the food court. El Borracho, a couple blocks west of you on Pine Street, is a great spot for late night beer and tacos. The nearest convenience store is the 7-11 on Third Avenue between Pine and Pike.

401 Pine St
Seattle, WA 98101

6. Butter Ledges

915 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98174

The Butter Ledges, at the former Federal Reserve Bank building, are named for the their thick, lustrous, and seemingly impenetrable coat of wax. The spot consists of three consecutive low blocks, with the star of the show being the last one that extends out over a three-stair. The ground is a little dicey, as it is hollow beneath and the large square pavers are prone to shifting and cracking, but this is Seattle, not Los Angeles—we take what we can get.

In the olden days, the strange negative spaces behind the building’s planters were a major skate mecca, as they’re girded by perfect metal-edged ledges. Those are skatestopped now, but the glassy marble step-up ledge on the southernmost planter is still skateable.

Bust Factor: The building is now owned by the same company as the tower directly across from it, and management has tasked that building’s security guard with chasing out skaters. They’re actually pretty diligent, even in the wee hours of the night, but can frequently be convinced to let you get “just a few more tries” in.

Amenities: There’s a DMV office right across the street! But in all seriousness, this spot is in a somewhat forlorn area of downtown, and if you’re there at night there’s almost nothing open. Skate a few blocks down Second and bomb the hill on Cherry Street to the 7-11 on First Avenue if you need snacks, or head north a block to First and University to grab a Rainier at the Diller Room, a haven for downtown’s industry folk.

915 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98174

7. Seattle Center International Fountain

Seattle, WA 98109

The Seattle Center’s International Fountain, built for the same World’s Fair that brought us the Space Needle, is not what you would describe as a perfect skate spot. Its main obstacle—huge, gentle banks bordered by a hefty granite ledge—is pretty challenging, and most of it is a water hazard. But that’s not why you skate it. You skate it because it looks extremely cool. You can roll at the banks from the path that spirals down to the actual domed water feature, and skate it like a bank-to-ledge, or you can do tricks into the banks off of the ledge. No matter what you do, doing anything here is hard. If you decide you’d rather not huck yourself off a tall ledge into a rough, pebbled bank, Sea Sk8 skatepark is a literal stone’s throw away.

Bust Factor: Campus security does not want you to skate the fountain. They do not understand why you would skate the fountain when there is a perfectly good skate park right next to it. Don’t waste your time explaining, just get in as much stoke as you can before they show up. And don’t shoot your board out into any of the kids splashing around in the fountain’s center. It makes us all look really bad.

Amenities: The Seattle Center’s food court is not horrible, and if you can navigate the warren-like back office area, you’ll find clean public restrooms. In fact, you’ll find passable public restrooms pretty much everywhere, because it’s Seattle Center. Just around the corner, on Mercer St, is the Lower Queen Anne business core, which has everything from overpriced fondue to cheap pizza, and a large grocery store to boot. The Streamline Tavern is a good spot for beer and pool.

8. Seattle Central College

1701 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122

College campuses are goldmines for street skating. And while Seattle Central has a fairly compact urban campus, it boasts almost as many viable spots in its tiny confines as all of the University of Washington. Most are clustered around the imposing Broadway Edison building, though there are some interesting rocks to dork around on by the Science and Math Building. The most approachable spot is the large, inset window ledges on the Broadway side of the building, which offer a waxed edge for slides or a broad, flat surface for manuals. On the corner of Pine and Broadway sits the famous brick double set, a must-visit spot for traveling pro teams. It’s a 3-flat-3, and boasts a gnarly but very skate able out ledge. Tucked behind the elegant Broadway Performance Hall is an equally famous brick 15 stair and its accompanying handrail. The college installed tiny metal tabs on the rail to keep people off of it, but they don’t really work, and the spot remains a proving ground for the region’s rail chompers.

Bust Factor: High. In the clip of Greg DeHart’s now legendary first-try backside lipslide down the brick 15-stair rail, you can see a security guard following him towards the stairs. He didn’t have to beg for more tries, thankfully, but he probably wouldn’t have been granted them. The college’s security guards are not known for being lax, and they’re pretty on-the-spot about skating.

Amenities: See entry for the Cal Anderson Tennis Courts.

1701 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122

9. UW Central Plaza Garage C5

Seattle, WA 98105

If there’s anything that defines Seattle skateboarding, as opposed to Los Angeles skateboarding or Berlin skateboarding or what have you, it’s that it rains here all the time—and that we don’t really have any good spots to go skate when it rains. Seattle skaters basically hibernate for nine months, and then have a bonanza in the summer. What better place to hibernate than a cave, though?

The Central Plaza garage’s C5 level, with its three massive sheets of perfectly smooth concrete and waxy curbs, is our winter cave. Only in Seattle would a parking garage serve as a meet-up spot, but it is what it is. You’ll frequently find packs of other skaters seeking shelter down there, and sometimes they even bring in boxes or rails to enhance the experience. Given that the only indoor skatepark in the city closes at 9 p.m. and is frequently packed to bursting on rainy nights, C5 is a godsend for the late-night crowd.

Bust Factor: Recreational skateboarding is technically not allowed anywhere on campus, and that applies to subterranean parking garages as well. You can usually skate for a good long time before getting the boot, but it’s best to avoid busy times, as complaints from drivers whose path you block will bring the session to a swift end. Generally, it’s best to start your session after 9 p.m., when the only people using the garage are harried students staying late at the library to study. Probably thanks to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, people below the age of 30 tend to have a lot more sympathetic views on skateboarding.

Amenities: See entry for Red Square.

10. The Death Bumps

815 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101

The Death Bumps are exactly what they sound like: a series of raised bumps in a concrete sidewalk that could kill you. This is because the sidewalk they rise out of is an incredibly steep stretch of Eighth Avenue that runs underneath the Washington State Convention Center between Freeway Park and Pine Street. Most people skate the two bumps at the bottom, often in sequence, as they’re both larger and less likely to send you careening to your doom. For the brave, there are bumps at the top of the slope, as well as a three-stair with just enough space to land a trick before the sidewalk narrows into a bobsled-like speed chute and sends you flying towards traffic.

All jokes aside, no one has ever actually died at Death Bumps, so please don’t be the first. Use a spotter at the sidewalk if you’re planning to bomb the whole hill, and triple-check for crossing pedestrians if you’re skating the lower bumps.

Bust Factor: Security does occasionally pop out of the door next to the last two bumps and chase you out. Going late at night greatly reduces this possibility.

Amenities: You are directly across from Clay’s Market, a fine urban convenience store. Whether you need tall cans or Tylenol, they’ve got you covered. If the Convention Center is open, you can probably access a bathroom and drinking fountain there.

815 Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101