Roller skate rentals in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park starts this weekend

Roller skates for rental at San Francisco's Church of 8 Wheels. 

If you've ever strolled or rolled through the JFK Promenade in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on a Sunday, you've probably noticed all the fun the roller skaters are having. Well, you don't have to feel the FOMO (feeling of missing out) anymore. Now you can get in on the fun, with roller skate rentals kicking off in the park this weekend. 

Skate rentals will officially be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Skatin' Place near 6th Avenue and Fulton Street. Inline skates and roller skates will both be available. Youth rates for those under the age of 12 are $12 an hour and then $5 for every hour thereafter. For 13 and up, and adults, the rentals are $20 an hour and $5 for every hour thereafter, according to San Francisco Recreation & Parks

Safety gear won't be required, but will also be available for a $5 per day rental, the park and rec department said. There are plans to open the rentals on Fridays in the future. 

David Miles Jr., also known as the ‘Godfather of Skate’, is the founder of the Church of 8 Wheels and a longtime skating advocate. He's also the steward of Skatin' Place, the aforementioned fun and festive part of the park on the promenade that is known to attract roller skaters from all walks of life. 

Miles, usually adorned in his own eccentric and stylish fashions, owns DMJ Skate Sports Marketing LLC. As we've previously reported, he's dedicated his life to spreading positivity and fun through skating. The Church of 8 Wheels, on Fillmore Street, is a decommissioned 19th century church that was converted into a roller rink in 2013. Within this sanctuary, he spreads his form of ‘rolligion’ to his holy rollers.    

Now, his movement seems to be spreading in an official capacity through this partnership with Rec & Parks. 

"It's like a dream come true, really," said Miles. He said this is a long overdue development. People come from all over to enjoy watching skaters and to skate. People always ask, "Where can I get skates? And there is nowhere to get skates." 

According to park historians, skating in Golden Gate Park dates back to 1891 when John McLaren, the park's designer and first superintendent, built a roller rink at Children's Playground. It wasn't until much later that roller skating reached mainstream prominence in the 1970s. It was during this era that skaters started coming to the park in droves. Park officials estimate it was thousands who descended upon the park on any given weekend. 

SEE ALSO: Roller Revival celebrates 40 years of roller skating in San Francisco with series of events

Legend has it, this popularity led to the formation of the Golden Gate Park Skate Patrol, an ambassador group led by Miles. He said the last time the park had skate rentals available was in 1981. "You drove your van, and you'd put a sign out and rent skates," he said. By 1982, he said, they were all gone. Recreational equipment vendors in the park were outlawed. 

But with the park partially closed to traffic and the proliferation of scooter, bicycle, and Segway rentals, Miles said the time is now. 

"I’ve been wanting to do this for many years. With several improvements recently made at Skatin’ Place and the permanent closure of the JFK Promenade to cars, now is the perfect time for rentals," Miles said. "People can come out and get the full roller-skating experience at one of the most beautiful parks in the nation."

David Miles Jr. aka, the Godfather of Skate. 

One of those improvements is a vibrantly-colored 28-foot by 93-foot psychedelic mural, which was painted over the asphalt at Skatin' Place during the COVID pandemic. The mural was designed by Bay Area artist Aimee (Bruckner) Stevland, who happens to be a longtime skater at the park. 

Miles said the mural is like an exclamation point to show that this is a designated area where you go to roller-skate. He said the mural is full of representations of San Francisco. "It's an expression of roller skating's contributions." He said every city should have areas like this that are designated for skating, similar to how parks commonly incorporate basketball and tennis courts. 

Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg is equally excited about this development. 

"Skating is integral to Golden Gate Park’s cultural fabric and to this day it remains one of the most prominent and popular activities," Ginsburg said. "If car-free JFK Promenade is the heart of Golden Gate Park, then the park’s soul is located at Skatin’ Place."

MORE: Meet San Francisco's Godfather of Skate: David Miles Jr. 

For Miles, who has seen the ebb and flow of roller skating's popularity through the years, this is like coming full circle. He's a direct connection to the ‘old-school’ roller skating scene. 

"This is all I do in life. Period. Roller skate. This is where it all began. You very rarely get this opportunity to follow your life's dream. I love San Francisco and I love the fact that it's embraced me the way that it has.  

He said he wants to be doing this at 90. "This is how I see my place in San Francisco, growing old, getting others to skate." 

If you'd like to get a head start on renting skates in the park, click here

Andre Torrez is a digital content producer for KTVU. Email Andre at or call him at 510-874-0579.