Next up from the Hippie Vaults, here is an updated look at our 10 Best Cities to Skate In The World list from our Oct. 2011 issue. Seven years on, we stand by our choices. Book a skate trip to one of these locations today! —ME
Our pastime has always thrived in the metropolis. In keeping with the International Issue, the following, in no particular order, are our picks for the 10 best cities on earth for skateboarding. (Outside of TWS’ humble hometown, San Diego of course).
The Catalan capital has been the world's Mediterranean skateboard Mecca since the late '90s. MACBA, Paral-lel, Sants, Forum, Fondo, Barcelonetta, Beer Banks, Arc de Triomf, Mercado, Universitat, Molins de Rei, and onwards. BCN remains a crown jewel on anybody's travel wish list for architecture, weather, and lifestyle. Still got it. (Ed Note: At the time of this writing the city of Barcelona just suffered a terrorist attack in Las Ramblas. Our hearts go out to all in BCN.)
Sour’s part in the Cinematographer Project: World View (2017) not only does a good job showcasing Barcelona’s ample spots it also details their most creative usage.
2. Los Angeles
The birthplace of modern skateboarding. Home to probably more pros, more companies, and more documented spots than any other city on the planet. From Venice Beach to Downtown, Hollywood High to San Pedro, the City of Angels mixes perfect weather and the heart of skate culture with anything from schoolyard tables to backyard pools. (Ed Note: Since this article appeared LA also saw the triumphant return of Courthouse and the rise of Stoner, Westchester, West Hollywood plazas, JKwon and more.)
The Adidas team hit a cross section of iconic spots throughout LA—the birthplace of skateboarding.
3. New York
The buzzing vibrancy of the city that never sleeps just energizes skating there. Rolling down the avenues, surrounded by the flurry of lights, diverse cultures, and massive skyline is enough to make you feel like an immediate superconductor. Tie in NYC's rich skate history and scene along with some epic spots, and you're landing high on this list.
Johnny Wilson’s Sure video from 2015 gives a good taste of NYC skating and spots.
4. San Francisco
Also rich in skateboard history, San Francisco was the center of the world in the EMB heyday of the early to mid '90s. Home to skateboarding's most famous hills, some of our most iconic companies and pros, and housing legendary spots from Wallenberg to 3rd and Army, The City exemplifies real street skating's ideal visual aesthetic.
This San Francisco Hills (2016) mini documentary by Joe Pease breaks it all down.
Writers, poets, and artists have been inspired by the City of Lights for centuries. Skateboarding there is no different. The abundant marble of Le Dôme, Bercy, or La Défense, and perhaps even the legendary Eiffel Tower "Basins" crossed with the rich Bohéme lifestyle of cafés, Le Métro, and multiethnic cuisine keep Paris up on any top 10 city list. (Ed Note: Even before the city was graced with a Supreme outlet and Place de la République became a thing.)
2016’s Pussy Gangster (William Strobeck for Supreme.)
Australia hosts some of the best metropolitan areas on the planet. With a shot out to Sydney, Melbourne has become the main travel destination, skate-wise there over the past five to ten years. With a bustling scene, and a solid collection of spots, from the popular museum gaps to the old Flinders Street gold rail of Dollin fame (how many rails have a Dunk named after them?), Melbourne is in the club.
This Butter Goods video (2017) featuring Morgan Campbell, Ben Gore, Alex Schmidt and crew will give you a pretty good idea of what Melbourne offers currently.
While the rain may be hard to get past, I'll claim that the home of PWBC, Southbank, and Slam City Skates has a romantic appeal specifically for it. London footage always has that telltale signature feel that makes a Nick Jensen sweater vest look spot on. It's also been the cultural epicenter of the European skate scenes since R.a.D. magazine.
No sweater vests but this Adidas video (London, Meantime ) of the crew hitting the streets might wet your appetite.
With buildings springing up overnight, China at large has risen from obscurity since '00 to become a go to skate travel destination, clocking footage in every major video from Zoo York to Lakai. Shenzhen, in the South of China's Guangdong Province has proven enough of an untouched marble goldmine to serve as the epicenter of the budding Republic's skateability.
Some Shenzhen spot porn from the good people at Vans. Welcome to Shenzhen (2016) featuring Chima, Kwalks, Elijah and more.
About two years back, sold on cheap rent, a thriving social and art scene, and the city's futuristic infrastructure, a bunch of my Euro cool-kid friends began deeming Berlin the new Barcelona. Packed with spots, from Kulturforum to Friedrichshain Monument and on, one need not look further than recent adidas, Cons, and Habitat videos to see why.
Check this Pop Live in Berlin video (2016) from the dudes at Live Skateboard Media. Berlin spots look tasty!
10. Tel Aviv
Our own Mike O'Meally clued us in to Israel's hidden gem after returning from a tour there (See our March 2010 Issue). Tel Aviv is in the midst of a smooth ground building boom, is littered with spots, boasts incredible fresh local cuisine, has a flourishing nightlife, club, and art scene, and is topped off with year-round good weather and topless beaches. Amen.
Ben Chadourne’s AT YAFA (2017) montage will have you wishing you were in Tel Aviv today. This city and Israel at large remains high on our list.
Obviously skateboarding, favorite cities, and favorite skate spots are wildly subjective. If you don’t see your favorite city on this list give us an earful and your favorites in the comments. Happy travels!