San Diego’s wide-open spaces and almost perfect weather are why locals and visitors love playing outdoors. Favorite activities include surfing, cycling, and everything skating – on boards, blades, and four wheels. And although roller skating seems to be making a comeback, in San Diego, roller skating culture never went away.
Whether you are dusting off your skates or are just discovering this “trend,” let the good times roll at these outdoor San Diego spots perfect for roller skating.
Derby United opened its doors in early 2020 as a roller derby training and competition facility. As roller skating started to regain popularity, it switched gears, opening its two-acre space to the public. For a fee, roller skate enthusiasts can enjoy sessions and lessons on its large outdoor flat track. Classes are 60 minutes and include beginner recreational, intermediate dance, youth instruction, and figure skating. Sessions are open to all levels and divided into matinee and night. Glide into the golden hour during a matinee session; open for all ages during the afternoon and sunset. Night sessions take place after dark, featuring live DJ music with fun party lights on Thursdays and Saturdays. Don’t have skates? rentals are available for any class or session at no additional charge. Reservations and masks are required.
Looking to skate while taking in the So-Cal beach vibe? Head down to Mission Beach. You’ll find sunbathers, surf shops, restaurants, and a 3-mile-long smooth boardwalk. The two-way path is a hot spot for joggers, cyclists, and skaters. It connects the two laid back communities of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, offering spectacular beach views. The speed limit is 8 miles per hour, and you’ll be sharing the path with foot traffic, strollers, and bystanders. After some fun in the sun, you can wrap up your day at Belmont Park, San Diego’s oceanfront amusement park. The Park offers fun activities and diverse dining options. Pick between Draft‘s 69 brews on tap or fresh sushi rolls from Cannonball‘s amazing rooftop.
Skating and roller skating have been a San Diego lifestyle for quite some time. Skate parks can be found all around the county and make great spots to practice your tricks and spins. There are excellent municipal parks in Coronado, Ocean Beach and Oceanside. Most San Diego skate parks are concrete, outdoor, open-air affairs. In addition to bowls, most have interesting transitions, walls and rail slide features. San Diego City Skateboarding parks are open from 10 a.m. until dusk every day of the year. Approved helmets and safety gear are always required.
Nestled between Imperial Beach and Coronado, you’ll find Silver Strand State Beach. The spot is named for the silvery oyster shells that cover the beach and dunes. The area is popular for surfing, water-skiing, volleyball, picnicking, and camping. A 10-mile-long bike path, part of the Bayshore Bikeway, runs along the beautiful stretch of coast. The path takes riders past the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, a 3,900-acre wetland home to many endangered and migratory birds. Roller skaters can share the trail with cyclists and joggers while enjoying great views of the bay and skyline.
With 17 museums, several gardens, and an award-winning theater, Balboa Park is San Diego’s cultural heart. Its beautiful wide-open spaces are a natural magnet for outdoor enthusiasts. Park visitors can catch roller skaters coasting on various areas throughout the park. Keep in mind there’s no official designated skating sections. All open spaces are shared with pedestrians, children, and dogs on leash. Balboa Park does not permit roller skates or skateboards on roadways or sidewalks. Exceptions include Park Blvd., Richmond St. or Sixth Ave. and those areas of Balboa Park located west of the Cabrillo Bridge or east of Park Blvd.
Viejas Roller Rink
Thirty minutes east from downtown San Diego you will find Viejas Outlets, a prime shopping destination with restaurants and family entertainment. The outlet is home to the largest roller rink in Southern California. That means there’s plenty of space to skate at your own beat. The rink is open through October 30, Friday through Sunday and selected holidays. Admission rates cover one-hour sessions with rental skates included.
Cover photo courtesy of Melanie Powers and Derby United.