What you should know about skateboarding in Central Park
New York is a popular place for skateboarders, both for locals and tourists. The mass public transit makes it easy to travel across the city, and there are plenty of cool urban backdrops to try new tricks and hang out with friends. One essential place to take your board when you are in Manhattan is Central Park. As you coast around the park, you will encounter all kinds of extreme sports fans, from triathletes working on their run times to BMX bikers and in-line skaters.
Whether you are only in New York City for a few days or you're a local who wants to find a new place to skateboard, use this guide to learn all about skateboarding in Central Park.
The first thing you should know about skating in Central Park is that skateboarders need to follow all local traffic and pedestrian laws. Additionally, you should always avoid large crowds when skateboarding. By doing so, you decrease the chances of running into someone and can have more space to work on your tricks.
One of the main drawbacks of Central Park is that there isn't an area just for skaters. However, while there isn't a dedicated skate park in Central Park, you will find no shortage of skateboarders carving out niches for themselves and looking for places to pull off tricks. There are plenty of ledges, hills, and rails for skateboarders to hone their skills. The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation is welcoming to skateboarders and will permit them to ride through the park.
If you want to find an actual skate park in New York City instead of cruising around Central Park, check out our Red Bull guide to NYC skateparks for a top list of options across the five boroughs.
Tips for Skateboarding in Central Park
Before you head out to Central Park, it's important to create a plan. This park can be incredibly fun for skateboarding if you know where to go. Here are a few tips:
Make sure you have the right board and safety gear before setting out. The National Safety Council recommends wearing a helmet, along with knee pads and closed-toed, slip-resistant shoes. Most of the skateboarding surfaces in Central Park are on pavement or sidewalks.
Check the weather before you go. Rainy and icy conditions on the pavement can make skateboarding more dangerous and ruin your day out.
Avoid peak times when the park is more likely to be congested. These include weekends, major tourist seasons (in the summer and during spring break), and warm sunny days after a long bout of cold and rainy weather. Your best bet is to get to the park early or go on weekdays when more people are at work.
Remember, you are sharing the park with other New Yorkers and visitors who want to enjoy the walkways and areas. If you want to try out your tricks, look for a less congested area. This way, you won't have to move out of the way or wait for joggers or families to move.
Best Places to Skateboard in Central Park
As you explore Central Park, you will start to find areas that offer quality skateboarding and longboarding paths. These paths provide great ways to explore the park and travel to other areas of Manhattan without taking the subway.
Jesse, the blogger at Riding Boards, recently shared his favorite places in New York to board, both in Manhattan and Brooklyn. For Central Park, he recommends boarding around Great Hill on the northwest side and the Central Park loop.
Another great resource for planning your skateboarding paths is the New York City In-line Skating Guide. This group provides tips for safety and recently shared their top locations for skating in Central Park. They also recommend skating the loop (also called The Big Loop) to get a feel for the park. This whole loop is 6 miles around. The good news is that you don't have to do the entire thing. You can enjoy the lower loop (at 1.4 miles) or just travel from one street to the next, depending on how much you want to board.
The loop is so big that you can carve out space for yourself to explore and see different parts of the park every time.
Get the Most Out of Your New York Skateboarding Experience
If you are new to the city, spend an afternoon skateboarding around Central Park and getting to know the area. Bring a few dollars with you so you can enjoy a New York hot dog from one of the many stands throughout the park. During the summer months, you can enjoy lemonade, ice cream, pretzels, and other fun treats from vendors nearby. If you need a break from trying new tricks, find a warm spot on the grass and lounge with friends or watch one of Red Bull's favorite street performers.
Almost every skateboarder who lives in Manhattan will have their tips for bringing their boards to Central Park. They have their favorite areas to hang out and a few top paths that they enjoy rolling by. Soon, you can develop your own favorites, whether you are cutting through the park in a hurry to meet friends or spending your day checking out the greenest park of NYC.