Many queer adults today didn't get to grow up with the sweet, nostalgic experiences of young love the way straight folks do. Bringing a date to prom, slow dancing at the sock hop, wearing someone's letter jacket for all to see — many idyllic rites of romantic passage are a bit delayed for us. Put on your rainbow-tinted glasses, though, and you might find that a missed experience is just an opportunity for doing things on your own terms, on your own time. One absolute must on the queer sweetheart bucket list is the coveted Couples Skate. Didn't get to glide over to your crush under the disco ball for a tender little routine at the local skating rink? No problem. Grab your shortest shorts and tallest socks and roll on down to these cute little Houston skate spots.
Tucked away in Buffalo Bayou Park right in the shadow of downtown is The Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark, the first world-class, in-ground skatepark in our region. Whether on boards or skates, this place is full-on X-Games mode, but don’t let all that sick grindage deter you — there are sometimes beginner classes and workshops you can sign up for through the city. Open 9 AM - 10 PM Monday through Sunday, look for all 30,000 feet of this state-of-the-art facility next to the Sabine Street bridge. A night skate back home or to the car along the bayou is good for the soul — plus, the signature blue lights along the path are a good substitute for those roller rink Couples Skate blacklights.
After skating along the Waugh bridge to watch the bats take off at dusk (hello, perfect date idea), whirl over to nearby Spotts Park for a challenge that’s totally worth it. Though Houston is quite flat compared to other parts of Texas, Spotts Park has a section that sits on a bit of a hill that winds down (with a smooth, concrete path) for an epic DIY rollercoaster situation on skates. If you’re feeling a little intimated by the prospect, that’s just another excuse to hold your date’s hand.
Not only is Discovery Green amazing for its almost 12 acres worth of green space smack dab in the middle of the major metropolis that is downtown Houston, but it’s also the site of Houston’s first-ever outdoor roller rink. This is the real deal, y’all, the pure distilled nostalgia of a vintage 80s roller rink under the big and bright Texas stars. Future date alert: Discovery Green also has an ice rink open seasonally, and this year it opens on November 15th! Mark your calendars, as last year’s specific LGBTQ skate night was hugely popular.