Arizona is often forgotten as a skateboarding metropolis. All the credit seems to go to California, Arizona's cooler big brother and the first to experiment with taking boards from the ocean and onto concrete. But with its near constant sunshine, ubiquitous parks and active culture, Arizona is as good a place as any for skaters. In fact, there are myriad skate parks around the state that offer skaters a chance to refine and showcase their skills. From the outdoor parks with urban landscapes to the indoor parks with cool air-conditioning, here are the best skate parks in Arizona.
The Tempe Sports Complex has one of the best all-around skate parks in the state. This 32,000-square-foot park attracts some of the best technical skaters around with its combination of rail ledges, stairs and angled walls. The real draw, however, is the flow bowl. This in-ground concrete bowl is regarded as one of the fastest in the state. It may come as no surprise then that full pads and a helmet are required attire.
Snedigar Skate Park in Chandler has been attracting skaters from all over the world for over 15 years. It was even named one of the top five skate parks in the country by Thrasher Magazine. This giant, 33,000-square-foot park lives up to its reputation. It includes two bowls, decks, banks, ledges, pyramids and metal rails. The diversity of terrain makes it a welcoming spot for skaters of all skill levels.
Freestone Skate Park was designed by SITE Systems Design Group—the same group that constructed Snedigar Skate Park. Though not quite as large or popular, this skate park holds its own and is a great backup option if Snedigar gets too crowded. This 22,000-square-foot park includes a fast, deep boomerang bowl as well as a long spine bowl. The large street course packs in a lot of features including a box, pyramid and a beginner bowl.
The Albert M. Gallego Skate Park lies within Santa Rita Park and has been frequented by Tucson skaters since 2009. This 16,000-square-foot concrete park is known for one thing: Bowls. Skaters can take their pick of a low course bowl, kidney bowl and clam bowl. This skate park gets bonus points for having evening lights and being open until 10 p.m.—ideal for skaters looking to escape the glaring sun in the summer.
The McDowell Mountain Ranch Skate Park emulates the surrounding city of North Scottsdale. This 16,000-square-foot park features many of the typical objects found in Scottsdale including benches, tables and planters. The skate park also includes a 10-foot concrete bowl. It's not the biggest or most advanced park. However, it's a Scottsdale park which means it's polished, preserved and has some great desert views.
It's no secret that Arizona gets hot. Phoenix often feels like a ghost town in the summer while everyone hides from the heat in the comfort of their air-conditioned homes. Hence the need for indoors skate parks. One of the best such parks is AZ Grind—a paid park located in Mesa. This indoor park has a mix of bowls, rails, box jumps and ramps complete with foam pits. This park is best for beginners looking to dip their feet into the skating world. They frequently offer lessons and have a skate shop onsite.
Premises Park is an indoor skate park established to fill a certain niche. Its mission is to provide a safe, drug-free environment for skateboarders and BMX riders in Tucson. This non-profit park is in a warehouse with all-wooden ramps, a street course and foam pits. They also have a skate shop and lessons on the premises.
With its cool weather and gorgeous red rocks, Sedona is a favorite getaway spot for many Arizonans. Fortunately, this small town is also very skater friendly. Located within the Posse Grounds Park, the Jack Malmgren Memorial Skate Park is a favorite of skaters of all skill levels. The park is designed for everything from skateboarders to inline skaters and BMX riders. These skaters can all enjoy the clover bowl, rails and blocks with Sedona's red mountains in the background.
Desert West Skateboard Plaza is strictly for skateboarders. Their commitment to the skateboarding community is on full display when they host the annual PhxAM Skateboard Tournament. This is the de facto park for downtown Phoenix, complete with an urban landscape and graffiti murals. Its terrain includes everything from curbs, bumps and hips to its three bowls. Built in 1997, this park recently added a new 2,000 square foot bowl with tiered steps for carving and a vertical clam shell.
Located in the quiet suburb of Ahwatukee, Pecos Park is designed with an open flow that is good for beginner to intermediate skaters. At 30,000 square feet, Pecos Park has plenty of room to maneuver and avoid collisions with other skaters. This all-concrete park combines grinding ledges, quarter pipes, and sloped ramps that make for a fun, flowing ride.