Unlike with bicycles, it is illegal to skateboard (or roller skate or unicycle, for that matter) on a public roadway in Milwaukee. But there are still plenty of spots where you can get your wheels on the pavement.
200 N. 25th St.
One of two indoor skate parks in the area, both Four Seasons and Cream City skate parks (below) are protected from the elements, although both follow a pay-to-skate model. A foam pit was recently added for testing riskier tricks. There’s a strong member community at 4 Seasons, hosting lock-ins every couple months and offering lessons for newbies and amateurs alike. The owner, Neal Levin, makes sure that the park remains decidedly drug-free and welcoming for all ages. It was also a favorite of pro skater and Milwaukee-native Greg Lutzka, whom Milwaukee Magazine featured six years ago.
Abendschein Park, 1311 E. Drexel Ave., Oak Creek
Ramps, rails and benches provide an accessible entry point for new skaters. It’s simple, but it fits the far south suburbs’ needs.
5560 N. Park Dr., Butler
The second indoor skate park near the city, Cream City Skate has one of the biggest drops in the city and sizable pools for experienced skaters to test themselves in. But there are still plenty of quarters, tables and rails for those who prefer staying close to the ground. There’s also a shop on site, so you can skate and gear up all in one place.
Estabrook Parkway, Milwaukee
A quarter-acre of open ground invites street skaters to chain runs. You won’t be able to get big air here, but creative skaters will feel right at home. It’s also nicely secluded behind a chain-link fence, providing privacy for those who prefer four wheels to two legs.
1716 S. 84th St., West Allis
A large, metal gear makes for an unmistakable centerpiece to Radtke Skate Park. It’s a recent addition to the MKE skate scene, constructed in 2015. There isn’t much opportunity to get air, but the stairs, small ramps and banks make do.
7300 W. Chestnut St., Wauwatosa
It’s probably the most organized of the outdoor MKE-area skate parks, with a dedicated website (tosaskate.org), nonprofit community organization (Tosa Skateboarders United) and an ongoing fundraising effort to expand the park, which opened in 2016. For now, a pool, several quarter ramps and a selection of rails and stairs are more than sufficient.
Graffiti lines concrete paths along Honey Creek Parkway, just north of State Fair Park. There are sections of smooth sailing, followed by hilly trails. Either way, the path is usually pretty clear of walkers and friendly to skaters. Keep an eye out for makeshift cement ramps.
The Oak Leaf Trail is 120 miles of smooth, paved paths. You can get some speed going from the corner of N. Lake Drive and N. Lincoln Memorial down toward Bradford Beach and Veterans Park. For a calmer ride, one of our favorite stretches starts near Cupertino Park in Bay View through Grant Park seven miles southward. You can see the lake all the way down and feel its breeze. Just look out for the rocks that get kicked up, trying to kick you off your board.
You can’t really go wrong at Veterans Park either, but it tends to be a bit busier and isn’t nearly as extensive as Oak Leaf. Still, if you’re looking for a quick ride on a skate or longboard, Veterans gets the job done.
350 E. Ward St.
Owner Brian Curtiss is as knowledgeable as anyone on the Milwaukee skate scene — he even lent his expertise to this article. His shop probably has the biggest selection in the region: skateboards, BMX bikes, roller skates, scooters, repairs and just about any accessory you might ever need. They also host a skate deck art show twice a year, coinciding with Bay View Gallery Night.
2) Phase II
7346 W. State St., Wauwatosa
A huge selection of boards, complemented by a still-sizable apparel and shoes collection, makes this locally owned store a one-stop skate shop. The Brookfield location closed in 2017, but the Wauwatosa location has been going strong since 1985.
8004 W. National Ave.
Apparel, boards, board parts and a bunch of scooters round out the inventory at Transaction.
This online-only store doesn’t really have a focused identity. It’s a punk rock record label, most notably working with the band D.R.I. They also produce custom apparel. But, for our purposes, they design and print custom, eye-popping boards, all of which stick with the punk aesthetic. It doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar location, but it’s virtual roots still live in Milwaukee.
Embedded below is a fan-made map of some of the best places to board around town.
To find more skate parks in your area, check out concretedisciples.com.