Roller Skating in San Diego

“Roller skating has been around since the 1700s,” Bernice read from her iPhone. “It’s funny to think of the founding fathers on skates. I’ve always associated roller skating with the 1970s.”

“Did they have the disco lights in the 1700s?” joked Patrick.

“No, but they did on your first date at the skating rink,” our friend Sarah reminded him. “Josh [her husband] and I were there, remember? Freshman year. Double date. You and Eve, budding college sweethearts to be, skating hand-in-hand. It was the ’90s, but the rink was playing the Bee Gees. We all thought that was hopelessly old-school back then.”

“I was just worried about landing on my can,” I answered. “It was my first time on roller skates.”

“My fear was rolling out of the bathroom with toilet paper on my wheel,” laughed Sarah. “And I did.”

Nostalgia overcame Sarah. “Let’s all meet at the rink for a date night.” Her nostalgia gave way to practicality. “But where? Is there a skating rink left in San Diego?”

“There’s got to be,” I replied. “I’ll find one.” I found two.

“Our Adult Skate is an old-school night, meaning ’80s, with lights and music,” said the rep at SkateWorld located in Linda Vista (858-560-9349; sandiegoskateworld.com). Tuesday evenings 7:30–10:30 p.m. are reserved for adults, 16 and up: $8 admission ($7 regularly); $4 skate rental.

SkateWorld rents inline skates and roller skates. “They are different styles of skating. Roller skates are more popular. For many, roller skates are easier.”

The rink offers private parties. “People can rent out the facility for just their group [$500 to $600 for two hours],” said the rep. If you want to bring the kids to skate during a public session for a birthday party, there are party packages. For $150, you can bring ten people ($12 each additional person) for 2½ to 4 hours of skating, depending on the session. The package includes admission, skate rentals, cake, candles, ice cream, punch, place settings, and a half an hour in the party room. For an extra charge, the rink can provide pizza. The DJ will announce the birthday.

For those wishing to learn to skate, SkateWorld offers lessons on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. Tuesday evenings are for adults: 6:30–7:15 p.m. for $6 a class plus $4 skate rental; $8 to attend the aforementioned adult skate session from 7:30–10:30 p.m. Saturday-morning classes for adults and children are from 9–9:30 a.m. for a beginning I class, 9:45–10:15 a.m. for beginning II class.

“We are open to the public for skating on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons” said Gordon Nichols, manager at Skate San Diego in National City (619-474-1000, skatesandiego.net). “Sunday through Thursday we do roller hockey for high school and adult leagues.

“We have the disco lights, and we play older music. Our regulars come on a weekly basis. We encourage them to bring their own music, which we will play. Saturday nights we reserve for private parties and fundraisers. Sometimes we have a gospel night, with church music.”

Skate San Diego rents both roller skates and inline skates. “I think the inlines are easier to balance on,” continued Nichols. “I grew up with roller skates, and I can’t roller skate now but I can do inline....”

“Our business has picked up a little bit,” he explained. “For a while, it seemed like it was a dying entertainment. I know there are only a few rinks left in Southern California for roller skating.”

At Skate San Diego, “Friday-night admission is $8 from 7–10:30 p.m., which includes admission, skate rentals, a slice of pizza, and a soda. The Saturday public skate is $10 from 1:30–8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday we only do roller hockey.”

Birthday parties at Skate San Diego can be held Friday night from 7–10:30 p.m. or Saturday from 1:30–8 p.m. For $150, you can have 13 guests, two large pizzas, two pitchers of soda, and birthday placemats and plates. You can rent out the rink for a private party for $500 for up to 100 people for two hours. Each additional person is $5. Skate rentals are free. For a three-hour session, it’s $600 for up to 100 people, $6 each additional person. Food is available for an additional cost, and clients choose the music.

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Angela D. says: When I was a kid I was passionate about roller skating. There were no rinks near me so I skated on the street. Eventually I felt too old to be doing that (this was pre-skateboards), but felt jealous of other younger kids still skating. Years went by and we moved to Australia from UK and I discovered a skating rink in my new home town and dragged my kids along - it was quite something to be faster than them, at least to start with! I haven't skated for years, but now I've retired maybe I'll take it up again! Thanks SD Reader for bring back the memories!

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