Day in and day out, prospective parkour athletes post across various social media, begging their social circles, “Does anyone know of any good parkour spots?” I myself spent years in this mindset, struggling to locate what I would eventually learn to see all around me.
Growing up and starting parkour in Salt Lake City, Utah left me wanting. It seemed like such an empty city compared to the videos I was seeing every day. Since then, my eyes have opened and I’ve compiled a list of over 75 local parkour friendly locations, and an additional extensive list of spots that haven’t been trained before. Like any decent spot hunter, I can help you discover these hidden gems for yourself. The images herein are all actual spots trained by myself and my local community.
Places to look out for:
- Wheelchair Ramps: most if not all public buildings will have a wheelchair ramp outside of the building itself. While the ramp isn’t always particularly useful, the winding nature of the wheelchair ramp often provides the myriad walls or rails necessary for some really effective parkour training. These can be found literally everywhere, it’s just a matter of finding one that speaks to you. (My personal favorite local wheelchair ramp pictured below.)
- Public Playgrounds: this is an obvious one, but is also one of the most exploitable and varied examples of a parkour spot. In America in particular, every public park, and indeed every elementary school comes equipped with these towers of metal and plastic. Playgrounds are not to be slept on (ha!), they provide some of the best training available on short notice. (Shown below, Hidden Village Park, image courtesy of Murray City Parks and Recreation)
- Schools: similar to playgrounds, many primary and secondary schools are treasure troves of good parkour spots. Finding challenges at your local schoolyard is extremely useful for developing your “parkour eyes.”
- College Campuses: This one is more or less lumped in with schools, however, college campuses tend to provide a much larger sampling of spots due to their size. There is also a tendency, at least in America, to build colleges and universities in as interesting a fashion as possible. Something about inspiration maybe? All I know is that it’s wildly inspirational to my parkour. (Shown below, the law building at the University of Utah, courtesy of spectrumengineers.com)
- Churches: These are easily found, no matter where you live, though the social implication of training on a church might change from place to place, so be aware. I find most churches near me to be excellent for “Steeple Chasing,” a game we made up in high school, where you start at ground level on the opposite side of the building from the steeple, and then you race to the steeple.
- Skate Parks: Skate culture has undoubtedly left an impression on parkour, so it’s only fitting that we should co-opt their training location. Skate parks are best trained with an eye towards sharing the park. You’re likely to get pushed around by skaters if you’re taking it upon yourself to shred the park without a board, but in my experience most skaters usually respect parkour if you respect their space. (Fairmont Skatepark below, a local favorite for parkour and skating. Image courtesy of freeskateparks.com)
- Apartment Complexes: Most if not all apartment complexes have the potential for parkour. Many have a series of walls, planter boxes, trees, and signs upon which you can jump.
- Recreation/Community Centers: Community centers are usually decent places to find spots. Due to their nature of being a public space for community engagement, you rarely get kicked off, and many feature community donated landscapes that are hard to come by elsewhere.
- Business Parks: Business parks can be some of the best possible places to find spots. Most are built to impress and feature some sort of external architecture or sculpture that makes for interesting training. (The local O.C. Tanner building below, one of the best spots in the city. Photo courtesy of O.C. Tanner)
- Shipping Docks: Nothing to jump on in the front of the business? Check out the back. Many loading, shipping and receiving docks are practically built for parkour, replete with walls, rails, and platforms.
- Hospitals: Similar to Business Parks, hospitals often feature donated sculptures or landscapes that are extremely beneficial to parkour training, though you’re most likely to find yourself kicked off here. (Pictured below, one of several University of Utah Health Centers. Image courtesy of the University of Utah.)
- Interactive Art Installations: This is more specific to larger cities, but can often be found in small college towns as well. Anywhere the city has built something interesting, see about climbing and jumping off of it!
- Ride Around: If you have a bike or a skateboard, go for a ride, and instead of focusing on finding parkour spots, focus on single challenges. You’ll end up having had an excellent session, and not staying at one spot for more than a few minutes at a time depending on the difficulty of the challenge.
- Explore Google Maps: By far the single best tip I can provide you is to utilize Google maps in your free time. Specifically the street view and satellite image options. These allow you to literally get a bird’s eye view of your entire locale, and then view it from the ground. I have spent hours in Google maps scouring block by block of my city; just dropping pins and writing addresses into my phone for anything that looks even remotely worthwhile, then I visit them when I can.
Try using some of these location ideas and exploration tactics, and instead of asking, “Where are all the good spots?” You can whip out your handy dandy notebook and take your friends on a local spot tour.
For those of you who made this journey to the bottom of the page, I appreciate you, and I implore you to make good use of this discount code. Use CHAPPY10 for ten percent off all of the sick digs you need to explore your city in style.