Blast from the Past: The Best Roller Skating Rinks in America

Bring out those pom-pom socks

If you're anything like me, the last time you went to a roller skating rink was when you were still sleeping with stuffed animals and thought chocolate milk was humanity's greatest invention. (Full disclosure: I still love chocolate Yoo-hoo.) I figured skating rinks had gone the way of landlines and scrunchies. But as it turns out, roller skating is alive and well—there's even a Roller Skating Association chock full of information on how to start your own rink. Established in 1937 and still going strong today, they pride themselves on being the "voice of the roller skating industry." Mind=blown.

But just because you haven't been roller skating since you were a kid doesn't mean you can't have a terrific time at a rink today. Slap on some hot pants and get ready to boogie at America's top roller skating rinks!

Oldies but goodies

Northridge Skateland, California – this LA-area roller skating icon has entertained over seven million visitors throughout its 60-year history, including celebrities. Several television shows have been filmed here, including Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Parks and Recreation, and The Office. It was even the backdrop for a Jay-Z music video. Northridge Skateland's family ownership, loyal fans, and commitment to change with the times has allowed it to prosper, even as other local business slowly vanish. Their song library boasts over 7,000 songs, and DJ requests are usually honored unless it's incredibly busy. The experience can be a bit of sensory overload, with giant televisions screens displaying special effects and music videos sprinkled throughout the rink, so just keep your eyes on the person in front of you. If this is your idea of a dream wedding, you're in luck—Northridge hosts every event you can think of, including birthday and anniversary parties, fundraisers, corporate training events, and anything else you can imagine.

Oaks Park, Oregon – one of the oldest and largest skating rinks in America and home to a competitive skating club (yes, it's true), this rink has hosted thousands of happy skaters since its grand opening in 1905. It's part of the Oak Parks Amusement Park in Portland, a park which also includes miniature golf, carnival games, and enough amusement park rides to make you wish you hadn't wolfed down that second chili dog. Not to be outdone by newer skating rinks, Oaks Park actually hosts an organ player who sits overlooking the rink (visible through a glass window), playing live music on the last Wurlitzer pipe organ in a roller rink in the United States. Apparently, organs in skating rinks were all the rage in the 1940s and '50s. Who knew? You'll whizz around on Oak Park's polished maple floor, and with this 100'x200' space, there's enough room for you to practice your best moves without fear of a hockey-style pileup.

SkateDaze, Nebraska – The Cernik family started opening roller skating rinks in 1947, and eventually came to own and operate a total of eight. This particular location––which came to be known as SkateDaze––was a relatively recent addition, having opened in 1982. The interior would not be out of place in Saturday Night Fever. Hundreds of multi-colored lights reflect off the maple hardwood floor. If you get bored with roller skating, there are plenty of other entertainment options to choose from, including laser tag, bumper cars, and arcade games. Like many other rinks, it also offers ample room for celebratory gatherings of all ages. With a full-service bar available, you risk some serious injury if you opt to imbibe, but at least you'll have a legendary story to tell the day after.

Modern madness

Pier 2 Roller Rink, New York – Considering you can now drop $18 on a cup of coffee in New York City, this open-air skating rink in the heart of its finest borough may well be the best bargain you'll encounter. Located at Brooklyn Bridge Park, on a clear day you'll have the iconic Manhattan skyline winking at you from across the East River. In springtime it offers free public skating from 10 am – 12 pm, then from 12 pm to 7 pm it costs just $9.00 for entry. Tots and balance challenged individuals (no shame!) can rent Skate Mates to help them maneuver across the floor without incurring serious injury or crashing into a more graceful participant. If you're looking to up your party game for your kid's birthday, Pier 2 offers party packages starting at $275 for ten attendees. This lofty price tag may raise some eyebrows amongst people living outside of New York's high-priced world, but for NYC it can almost be considered a deal.

United Skates of America, Florida – In 2015 Money Magazine ranked Tampa as one of the 5 Best Big Cities in the United States. No doubt this was primarily due to its low cost of living and anticipated job growth, but perhaps United Skates of America also factored in? (Okay, probably not, but it's still a pretty sweet rink.) Not only can you skate to your heart's content, but you'll also get schooled: USOA offers educational STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) field trip adventures for kids and teenagers. The instructors teach scientific concepts using roller skating, acoustics, and rink design as real-life examples. The outing includes one hour of STEM education and two hours of skating. This beats the pants off of a stuffy visit to the state capital. If that wasn't enough, USOA also offers skating camp for kids during the summer, a café serving fried everything (Chicken tenders! Mozzarella sticks! Churros!), and an arcade for the less athletically inclined.

For those who scoff at the idea of rhythmically gliding across polished floors with top 40 hits reverberating through your body, take note that roller skating torches almost 600 calories per hour. And it's way more fun than having someone scream in your face to feel the burn as you sweat through yet another spin session. Roller skating may be retro, but it's also a hell of a lot of fun!

Read More from Journiest

Subscribe now

Related Posts
Travel Tips

Best Jobs for People Who Love To Travel

If you want to travel but have a job that is currently holding you back, here are a few of our suggestions for the best jobs for people who love to travel.

For many people, traveling is an amazing experience, but traveling is not always feasible because of responsibilities to work.

One way to get around this roadblock is to get a job that will let you travel and see the world. Here are some of the best jobs for people who love to travel.

Hostelworld HostelworldHostelworld.com

Translator

A translator is a wonderful job for those who want to travel. It will bring you to many places as you work, so long as those places speak the language you can translate. The great thing about translating is the variety of work you can get by translating for specific clients or just translating for tourists in the area. You can choose what type of scene you wish to work in very easily.

Pilot

A pilot fits the definition of a job that gets to travel perfectly. Now, whether you are a private pilot or a commercial pilot, you will still get to fly all over the planet. The only major problem with this job is the requirement of flight classes. But once you get your license, you can fly freely around the world while making yourself money to fund your trips.

Travel blogger

Being a travel blogger is a temperamental job but, if done correctly, it will allow you to visit anywhere you want. Writing to fans as you travel the world can be a fun and exciting way to engage with the planet. This job can be difficult to do, though, as you must be able to write consistently and capture your audience with each post.

English teacher

This may not sound like a job that allows you to travel, but schools all around the world are always looking for more people to teach English.

In this career, you would move near the school that you would teach at and live there over the course of your time there. The interesting thing about this job is that it does not necessarily require a teaching degree, depending on the school and country in question. You also get to live in a new country for an extended period.

When it comes to the best jobs for people who love to travel, these are just a few of our suggestions. There are plenty of jobs where you can travel around the world, but these ones are far-reaching and cover a lot of different lifestyles. They might seem like pipe dreams, but hey, you never know!

Seattle, Washington is a rainy, coffee-fueled, coastal town often referred to as the "Emerald City."

Located against the ecological wonderland of Puget Sound, this cosmopolitan, seaside city is a mishmash of arts, culture, history, nature, and, of course, cloudy weather. Thanks to its proximity to nature, its greenery, and its culturally rich, big-city atmosphere, the city is becoming increasingly popular, both for tourists and those looking for a change of scenery.

The Big Stops: Tourist Seattle

If you only have a few days to visit Seattle, you'll probably want to check out the area's most famous attractions.

For nature lovers and summit-chasers, there's the imposing, wildflower-shrouded Mt. Rainier.

Mt. Rainierthebesttravelplaces.com

Mt. Rainier

For foodies, there's the popular Pike Place Market, a giant patchwork of food-sellers and friendly chaos where you can purchase everything from giant crabs' legs to bottomless amounts of coffee (more on that later).

Pike Place Marketseattle.eater.com

And finally, there's the iconic Space Needle and the Sky View Observatory, which will give you extraordinary views of the city.

Space Needlegetyourguide.com

Seattle Arts and Museums

For arts and culture lovers, Seattle has plenty to cut your teeth on. Don't miss the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a collection of extraordinary blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

Chihuly Gardensfodors.com

Chihuly Gardens

For art, there's the giant Seattle Art Museum Downtown. Seattle also offers the Museum of Pop Culture, a nonprofit that features all your favorite icons from history, and plenty of other options.

Museum of Pop Culturesmithsonianmag.org

For some history, there's the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which commemorates Seattle's history as a gold rush hub.

There are plenty of quirky attractions—like the giant Fremont Troll, the 18-foot sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood that cuts an imposing figure.

Fremont Trollsillyamerica.com

You could also take in the city from a boat—marine enthusiasts might enjoy visiting to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to explore the history of this port city.

Seattle, of course, also has a gritty underground side—you may know the city from its time at the heart of the '90s grunge movement.

It also has a long, storied history that has left more than a few scars. You can literally see its underground through one of its underground tours, which will take you on a walk through the "buried city," the remnants left over from before the Great Fire of 1889.

Seattle Undergroundpinterest

Natural Wonders

Seattle is notorious for its natural wonders. For a close-up view, there's the Seattle Aquarium, a marine experience that showcases the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.

For more exposure to the beauty of Seattle's nature, try the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre showcase of Seattle's wetlands and natural wonders.

Washington Park Arboretumtriposo.com

You might also pay a visit to the Alki Beach for some time with the ocean waves.

Alki BeachMetropolitangardens.blogspot.com

Or consider taking a more exhaustive adventure to Discovery Park, a giant and labyrinthine natural park at the edge of Puget Sound.

Discovery Parktrip savvy.com

Food and Drink

Food tours are also popular options for those who want to get more intimate with the city's cuisine, and Seattle is often ranked as one of the best cities for foodies.

It's also a great place for coffee-heads. You might also pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, AKA Ultimate Starbucks, a tasting room that features a coffee library amongst other treats for coffee addicts.

Sarbucks Reserve Roasterydesigner.com

Moving to Seattle

If you're planning on moving to Seattle, locals say there's a few things you should know. First off, it is most definitely overcast the majority of the time, though the rain is rather like a mist. That makes the rare sunny day shine even more, though, locals say, in addition to fostering natural abundance.

The city is generally very congested with traffic, which can be noisy, though it offers great public transportation options, from buses to rail—regardless, you'll want to get an Orca Card for that.

Like every city, Seattle has a number of diverse and charismatic neighborhoods. For example, there's the beachy, more laid-back West Seattle.

West SeattleWest Seattle

There's the vibrant Capitol Hill, a hub of arts, culture, tech bros, and nightlife (during non-COVID times).

There's the historic and artsy Pioneer Square, featuring plenty of museums, shops, galleries, and pubs.

Pioneer Square SeattleExpedia

Fremont is a more bohemian area. Belltown is a trendy waterfront neighborhood that's close to everything.

In general, Seattle residents love the city for its proximity to nature, from beaches to glaciers, and its abundance of arts and cultural attractions. As Kimberly Kinrade said, "Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it." Residents dislike the steep cost of housing and all things that come from rising prices, including the city's large homeless population.

In general, the city is known as environmentally conscious, liberal, and dog-loving. The people are often referred to as nice but possibly a bit standoffish and cold (the "Seattle Freeze" is when you make plans to hang out and then bail, which is apparently very common). The rain can certainly get depressing, but the proximity to nature helps.

Remember, if you do happen to move: umbrellas are dead giveaways for tourists.


What's your favorite part about Seattle? What did we leave out? Let us know at @thejourniest on Twitter!

Travel

Weed World Candies Exist to Prey on Gullible Tourists

Weed is still illegal in New York, but scamming tourists is not.

You wouldn't know it walking around midtown Manhattan, but marijuana is still illegal in New York.

It does seem strange to think that perhaps the most metropolitan city in the US would be lagging behind so many other parts of the country that have legalized possession, production, and sale of cannabis and THC products, but it's true.

New York's decriminalization of marijuana has led many smokers to be more brazen with their public consumption in recent years, and Governor Cuomo recently announced plans for limited legalization for recreational use at the state level. But for the time being the sale of products containing THC is still very much illegal.

buy happiness You sure about that?

Adding to the confusion is a company that has sprung up to prey on tourist's uncertainty. Weed World trucks have multiplied at a staggering rate since they first started appearing in Midtown and the Village a few years ago. Easily a dozen RVs and vans now line the tourist-dense streets of Manhattan, advertising Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue, clad in marijuana-leaf decals and occupied by employees who are paid either to be stoned out of their minds, or just to pretend they are.

With eyes nearly in slits and an air of relaxation that suggests that customers are temporary interludes from a permanent nap, they will promise you as much as they can get away with while letting their branding do most of the work. They will sell you four lollipops for $20, which would seem like a great deal if not for the fact that they will not deliver on the strong implication that they'll get you high.

They have a Twitter account where they celebrate the supposed availability of weed and claim to "have New York locked down." They'll even sell you vape cartridges that advise you to "get medicated," and which are packed with potent doses of… flavor?

weed world truck

An employee once assured me that their candies do contain THC—maybe they wouldn't be so brazenly dishonest today—and in a drunken state I coughed up $5 to test that claim. There is a faint weedy taste to their candies, and you may find trace amounts of CBD inside, but that's it. It's a scam. There is no THC. Nothing that will give their customers the experience they're selling.

Worse than the trucks is the Weed World Candies storefront that opened in midtown in 2019. Just walking past you would swear that people were passing a massive blunt inside.

The smell is unmistakable and overpowering, except that it's fake. Whatever chemical fragrance they pumped onto the street, it was not connected to anyone smoking weed. Inside, the psychedelic wall art complemented shelves lined with suggestive candies and boxes emblazoned with pot leaf insignia.

Whatever the venue, they are all too happy to sell you overpriced hemp products and CBD creams and chocolates made to look like nugs. And if you're a tourist, or a moron like me, you might believe the scam long enough to give them money, but nothing they sell will get you high.

weed world store Hiroki Kittaka

The owners of Weed World, Judah Izrael and Bilal Muhammad—who prefers to go by "Dro Man" or "Doctor Dro"—will defend their products by claiming that they serve to promote legalization and decriminalization efforts by normalizing the idea of public sale of marijuana. But at no point in the purchasing process is the illusion that their candies will get you high broken. At no point are their customers offered literature explaining the mission of Weed World.

On their website's FAQs page, there is no mention of THC or its absence from their products, but the first question, "How much should I eat?" is answered, "It's all based on your tolerance but there's no limit." Tolerance for what? Sugar? The company—which originated in Alabama and has spread to cities around the country—mostly seems like a very profitable way to sell candy to gullible adults.

weed world wall art Nicole Mallete

The best thing I can say in their defense is that one of their trucks was recently busted by police in Saraland, Alabama, with products that "tested positive for marijuana." Assuming this isn't a screw up or deliberate frame-job by the police, it's possible that some of the Weed World trucks are using their faux activism as a front for selling actual drugs. If so, that would be the most honest thing about this company. Until that's confirmed, ignore these trucks and maybe just ask a friend for a hookup.