Love Park is a park in the center of the city of Philadelphia which for a time became a major hub for skateboarders beginning in the 1980's and continuing on to the early part of the 21st century. The Philadelphia Love Park was first opened as a park in 1965, however, and is found above an underground parking garage. Today, skateboarding is no longer allowed in Love Park Philadelphia through a series of events which resulted in the banning of skateboarding in Love Park Philly.
Love Park first became an attractive place for skateboarders
to practice their sport in the 1980s as skateboarding
grew in popularity throughout the east coast after becoming
big among surfers in California along the west coast. Philadelphia Love Park was covered
by curved steps made of granite, a stone fountain in the
center of the park and large granite surfaces which were
perfect for skateboarding. Love Park Philadelphia started
to gain an international reputation during the 1990s as
many of the local users who had grown up skating Love
Park Philly went on to secure multi-million dollar contracts
as professional skateboarders. Stevie Williams, Josh Kalis,
Ricky Ovola and Anthony Pappalardo are famous early skateboarders
who did most of their early skating at Love Park.
Due to the attention, Philadelphia Love Park was chosen as the site of the 2001 and 2002 X-Games. More than 150 million people watched these games from all over the world, catapulting the sport of skateboarding to world-wide popularity. Eventually, many of those same skaters who excelled at skateboarding would also turn to the slopes, bringing those same moves to snowboarding and creating yet another competitive sports empire and a whole new class of young athletic stars.
Skateboarding at Love Park Philadelphia was eventually banned, however, by Mayor John Street, soon after the completion of the X-Games. Mayor Street not only banned skateboarding at Love Park Philly, but commissioned a renovation that totally remodeled the park to make it nearly impossible as a location for skateboarding. Planters were implemented in order to block access to ledges, and all of the formerly stone benches were replaced with soft wooden benches. Most of the large open spaces which were once covered in granite are now covered by grass and flowers and skateboarding no longer taking place in any part of the park. Mayor Street did, however, promise the residents of the city of Philadelphia that he would commission the building of a new park which would be reserved exclusively for skating. This newer park, however, has not yet been built nor has it been commissioned. A number of companies have offered the city money to use for the re-opening of the park to skateboarders, however the city has not accepted these offers. Today, visitors will find that the park is a fairly typical park and can be visited for free.
Love Park is a great place to go for a picnic during
a walking tour of Philadelphia. The Franklin
Institute, the Philadelphia
Museum of Art, Independence
Hall and the Liberty Bell are all within close proximity of the park. The Philadelphia
Zoo is also located in Philadelphia and is a fun place
to visit during a Philadelphia
day trip. Side trips from Philadelphia can include
day trips to Lancaster, Hershey
Park or Gettysburg.