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6 must-visit skate shops in LA and nearby

Cruisin City was born in LA.
Although I grew up in Paris, France, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to California from a young age, bridging two worlds of urban culture and skateboarding.

Cruising the streets of El Segundo as a teenager and exploring the surrounding shops, I gained insight into the shared characteristics that great skate shops have.

The landscape of skate shops has naturally evolved since the 90s-2000s, yet some shops remain institutions even today.

If you’re in the area, take a moment to visit some of the shops we’re about to introduce!

Whether you’re looking to buy gear or just out of curiosity, you’ll immerse yourself in skate culture and sometimes feel like you’re visiting a museum.

For your information, all these addresses can be found in our guide to Californian spots.

1- E.T. Surfboards

Nestled in Hermosa Beach, ET Surfboards stands as an iconic landmark for surf and skate culture in California.

Founded by Eddie Talbot, a former compatriot of big wave surfing legend Greg Noll, the shop started as a humble establishment selling the necessary gear for shaping surfboards. Eddie Talbot made a name for himself and established the shop’s reputation through his connection with the surf community.

Today, the shop remains a significant place in the history of surfing and skateboarding in LA, brimming with gear and boards stored from floor to ceiling.

As a personal anecdote, this is the shop where I bought my first pro-model board!

The service is still top-notch, so you can go ahead with confidence.

2 – Rip City Skates

Located in Santa Monica, Rip City Skates stands as one of the most authentic skate shops in LA.

Born in 1978 during the “Dogtown” era, it has earned recognition for its meticulously curated selection: you’ll only find high-quality products here, unlike the kinds of items you might encounter at more ubiquitous, big-box skateboard chains like Zumiz—a stately well-known U.S. chain yet one that’s been met with scoffs from the “core” skate community for not being “legit.”

Rip City Skates prides itself on being a family-run venture. Shopping there means you’re not only getting some top-tier skate supplies but also casting your support towards local skate shops—places that nurtured skate culture well before it swelled into the mainstream.

3 – Pharmacy Boardshop

If you find yourself in Hollywood, you’d do well to make a stop at Pharmacy Boardshop.

Emerging in the late ’90s, this shop also prides itself on carrying out a stringent selection process before placing products on its shelves.

At Pharmacy Boardshop, regardless of your level, you’ll be welcomed in the same warm manner and provided with the utmost care and attention from the store’s knowledgeable staff.

And since you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to check out the local bookstores and record shops! They’re worth the detour…

4 – Long Beach Skate Co.

Long Beach Skate is one of the oldest skate shops in Long Beach.

Of course, the shop stocks all the essentials, from timeless classics to the most recent releases.

Given the abundance of skate spots and the number of skaters per square mile in the area, Long. Beach Skate naturally stands out as a go-to destination, both for locals and visitors alike!

5 – Arbor Skateshop à Venice

You’re probably familiar with the ARBOR brand for the aesthetic and the quality of its boards. At ARBOR, there’s a deep-seated love for wood, a tradition that’s been ongoing since 1995.

If this design sensibility appeals to you, then you’ll be delighted by a visit to their flagship store in Venice!

The shop is conveniently located right next to Venice Pier, making it an ideal place to head out cruising right after.

Whether you’re in the market for a cruiser or a longboard to take a laid-back ride along the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, you’re bound to find your dream ride at Arbor.

The brand also places a high value on eco-responsibility and the sustainability of its products – you’ll even find clothing made from responsibly grown bamboo at Arbor! So, you can shop there with a clean conscience.

6 – SoCal Skateshop

SoCal Skateshop is located in Orange County, specifically in Mission Viejo, south of Los Angeles. But it may be on the route for some of you, and it’s definitely worth the detour!

Founded in 2002 by Mike Hirsch in his garage (in true Californian business tradition), SoCal Skateshop evolved from a humble online store to one of the most established shops on the Californian skate scene, with the opening of its physical store in 2009.

The SoCal team didn’t stop there; in 2010, they added a large warehouse, enabling them to stock even more products.

No matter your style or preferences, whether your roots are in the 80s or the 2020s, you’ll find dream boards at SoCal.

I hope this journey through LA’s skate scene has left you inspired to visit these incredible shops.

For other finds and must-visit spots, feel free to check out our guide to the best places in Southern California.

You can also read our article on the best places to cruise in LA and surrounding cities.

Have a great stay. Keep cruisin’!

David L.

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