San Francisco’s UN Plaza Transformed into Skaters’ Haven

Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department recently unveiled a unique chapter in the history of City Hall’s United Nations Plaza, transforming it into a 13,000-square-foot skateboarding park. The first project of its kind, the new UN Plaza reflects San Francisco's commitment to providing purpose-built spaces for outdoor activities like skateboarding.

Collaborating with skateboarding icons Thrasher Magazine and DLX Skate Shop, San Francisco Parks and Recreation set out to redefine and upgrade the city's UN Plaza. Located in the heart of San Francisco's Civic Center, the historic plaza is named for the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945. Now, the plaza has now undergone a radical transformation into the city's first "skate plaza," featuring a variety of concrete features and obstacles inspired by legendary skate spots from across the United States.

The full build process for the new “skateable” features at UN Plaza is available on Thrasher’s YouTube Channel. Each skateable element in the plaza was meticulously crafted, utilizing pumped concrete, structural foam, rebar reinforced with Sakrete anchoring cement and railing posts with anchoring epoxy to ensure long-lasting durability and a skatepark smooth surface. Pumped concrete known as “shotcrete” is used for huge areas like professional skateparks, whereas Sakrete bagged concrete mix works best for DIY parks that require more working time.

“One of the coolest parts of it is that the main corridor in the UN Plaza with city hall as your backdrop is now going to become fully skateable,” explained Austin Kanfoush, owner of Kanfoush Custom Concrete. “What better obstacle to put in this long corridor than a 60 ft. slappy curb, based off the Safeway curb, it’s never-ending fun.”

The plaza’s new 60 ft. curb, reminiscent of California’s “Safeway” curb, a long high curb, adds versatility to the plaza. With a thoughtfully designed layout, skaters can tackle the low, the high or the entire structure. 

Inspired by the famous overpass skate spot of San Francisco’s Chinese Cultural Center, UN Plaza's new "China Banks" feature was constructed using structural foam cut to shape, acting as a fill before pouring concrete. Builders from Kanfoush Custom Concrete used Sakrete High-Strength Anchoring Epoxy to lock-in dowels every 18 inches to secure the structural foam and tie the feature to the structural slab of the BART subway station below. The feature offers a 45-degree bank providing a skater-friendly design with an embedded granite block from the original China Banks for skaters to perform tricks. 

Other new features at UN Plaza include a skateable volcano and pyramid. The concrete "volcano" has a 5 ½ ft radius at the base and tapers up to create a cone shape. The pyramid is a low pyramid with a centered rail across the top. The plaza also features the plaza’s original granite ledges, refurbished using Sakrete anchoring cement and epoxy to make the edges easier and safer to skate.

“A bonus for this project was they really wanted to preserve the United Nations flagpole that’s within the park,” explained Kanfoush. “The creative way to keep people away from interfering with the flagpole was just to put a circular rail around it, so we subbed that out to a local company here in San Francisco.”

Rather than relocate the pole, a railing was bent to a 13 ½ ft radius and installed with Sakrete Anchor Bolt Cement, ensuring stability and longevity even during intense skate sessions. This innovative preservation method seamlessly integrates the plaza's historical elements while offering skaters another feature to skate.

The transformation of UN Plaza into a skateboarding haven emphasizes San Francisco's dedication to embracing its skate culture while fostering community well-being with a more visitor-friendly space. This purpose-built space respects the area's history and represents a positive shift in utilizing public spaces for the enjoyment of locals and visitors. Learn more at and