The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views


Maya Singleton / Hilltop Views
Complete overview of skate park, showing all self-made equipment.

Austin, Texas is renowned for its “Keep It Weird” culture. It emphasizes community and is grounded in the locality by supporting neighborhood restaurants, music and art. All throughout the city, there are murals and paintings that have become staples of the Austin experience. This uniqueness and creativity entices tourists and residents alike to return. 

Three years ago, I first happened upon this tucked-away spot on a road trip with my friends back in 2020. We decided to investigate because we were immediately captivated by the battered building, hidden and overrun by nature.

Walking into the structure we could see trash in several spots scattered along the ground. Where there was no debris, there was dust and dirt. The walls were filled with graffiti and art from the previous visitors to the establishment. 

I remember feeling in awe of it, amazed that people could see the beauty in a place so deteriorated and uninhabitable. Where we stood were the remnants of what once was the strip mall.

Since moving to Austin for college, I have seen many popular sites that feature local art. I recently decided to revisit the abandoned strip mall to see if any new or old graffiti had been altered. 

As soon as I entered, I noticed an immediate change. The first major difference was the clutter. Much of it had been cleared or pushed into the ruts on the sides. Moving further through the rooms, I detected new furniture and constructions dispersed throughout the area. Pipes had been planted into the ground, wooden ramps had been assembled and benches had been constructed or imported, converting it into a neighborhood skatepark, now known as Candyland.

The residents leaned into the decrepit look and atmosphere of Candyland. They left the original graffiti, adding more of their own and retained the deterioration in the walls and roof. The beauty of Candyland lies in its vibrant transformation. It is a perfect example of skater innovation, creativity and ingenuity that gives praise to the industrial bedrock of the underground skating world. 

Viewing from the outside, you may assume it to be deserted, but inside, Austin skaters have revitalized this corner of the city into another addition of Austin art. 

The “sign” was designed by the unknown founding skaters, informing guests of the name of the park. It presents an incomparable combination of new and old graffiti art, giving the space a colorful and communal feel. (Maya Singleton / Hilltop Views)
A high flat rail embedded in cement. The smooth, rounded cemented base of this unique contraption allows the skaters to pump for extra boosts of speed, which enhances their ability to perform harder grind tricks. Grind tricks refer to the sliding of the skateboard across rails, ledges, and other objects. There are many variations of this type of trick that escalate in complexity. Additionally, the extreme elevation of the rail can be used to practice expanding one’s ollie height. An ollie is one of the first tricks a person learns when skateboarding. It is when a person hops into the air, accompanied by their skateboard, without the use of their hands.
A low kinked rail. Made slanted on each side, it allows beginners easier access to the rail to improve their grind tricks.
Grind boxes, both straight and curved ones, made from wood and pipes, are placed so that skaters can effortlessly transition from box to box, continuing their line.
Partial overview of the skate park, showing the fun box, ledges and graffiti.
A vert ramp attached to a foundational pole. This provides the skaters with a means to pump for more speed, practice fakie transitions, as well as enabling them to launch off the higher sides to practice flip and air tricks. (Maya Singleton / Hilltop Views)
Left side of the skate park showing outside graffiti and deterioration. (Maya Singleton / Hilltop Views)




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  • R

    RMMar 12, 2024 at 6:27 pm

    Just a heads up, Candyland was recently slated to be demolish. Its awesome you captured how special it is (was)…. There is a news article on, just Google: demolition-planned-for-east-austins-most-mysterious-abandoned-strip-mall