With all the perks of a night out like dancing, frying, and disco lights, roller rinks hold both nostalgic and joyful magic. Even through the social and economic changes wrought by the 2020 pandemic, they allow visitors to feel free in ways few places can.
Roller skating rinks have a long history in this field, dating back to mid 1700swhen theater actors tried to imitate ice skating as part of a sketch. Eventually the skates were patented and roller rinks were opened in the UK and later in the US. By the late 1800s the activity had grown in popularity and sports like roller derby were born.
The rinks have also evolved with American history since – they were originally separate (which the documentary plain skates hollow), but have also been a basic refuge for young black and brown people and their families to come together. Rinks flourished with the disco boom, giving rise to Roller Disco, and followed the rise of hip-hop.
Yet in recent years roller skating rinks have suffered, with places like California’s iconic Northridge Skateland one of first roller skating rinks around the country known for their star appearances – closing in 2020, as well as SkateDaze in Omaha, Nebraska; Golden Skate in California; and countless other once-thriving community treasures.
Nevertheless, interest in roller skating remains. In 2020, while roller rinks may have suffered, skate shops lacked inventory. At a time when nightlife is increasingly expensive (and arguably monotonous), spots like Tampa’s United Skates of America offer an affordable and creative alternative. And if you travel? What better way to tap into a new city than by visiting a time-warping roller rink.
Pack your socks and plan to check out some of these roller rinks in the USA that are keeping the unique enchantment of skating alive in 2023.