Saturday night disco fever is back in San Francisco. Far away from the touristic and spotlighted attractions, I discovered and enjoyed a roller disco party hidden in an unexpected place: a church. Oh, My God, I will confess below about the day I rollerbladed in a church!
A Pinch of History
- The Sacred Heart Church was built-in 1897 by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco.
- The Church is part of a four-building complex including a rectory, a school building, and a convent.
- It survived both major earthquakes: the 1906 and the 1989.
- The Archdiocese closed the Church in 2004 due to a costly repair.
- It felt into disrepair until David Miles Jr. proposed the owner hosting a roller-skating party, et voila!
I have visited San Francisco many times (I love this city) and when my French friends holidayed with us I was looking for atypical activities. Besides the must-sees like the Golden Gate or Alcatraz, I wanted them to experience the city like a local. After many researches, I found this hidden gem: the Church of 8 Wheels.
The neighborhood was really quiet when we arrived by early evening. Hidden along residential homes, the Church of 8 Wheels looks like a regular church. Indeed, from 1897 to 2004, the Sacred Heart Church was a spiritual home for the Catholic community. Nowadays, nothing can reveal the disco activity inside with the exception maybe of the colorful lights playing along with the facade. The exterior of the church, as the interior, reminded me of traditional churches back in Europe, all stone built with large stained glasses.
As we entered the place, the sign: “Many in the community still see this as a sacred place. Please be respectful. No drinking. No smoking. Just skating” reminds visitors to respect the history of this location.
We were welcomed by locals, surprised to see some Frenchie’s far away from touristic spots. We rented the roller-skate onsite, you know the old-fashioned ones from the 80’?! Back to the future, lets it started!
The huge empty church was transformed into a disco ground, a few former prayer benches pushed on the side. Flamboyant beams were scanning the space and DJ music overran. Marks of the previous church remain on the architecture of the current structure. I glanced and stared at the religious painting on the roof, the stained glasses with their sacred embodies and the church organ. I was stunned, Holy Christ!
The DJ played mainly music from the 70’ as people roller-skated in a circle. The most skilled ones were dancing and performing acrobatics. There were only a few newbies like us discovering the place and trying to move without falling. The ambiance was friendly, all roller-skaters respectful towards others and the place. I tried to imitate experimented roller-skaters with some figures but I look like more a puppet than a professional. Good heavens! 😉
After acclimating to the 80’ roller-skate, I enjoyed this activity in such a festive ambiance and unexpected location. It was super fun and I had a sweet time with my friends!
Looks like a happy rollerblading (hunting) ground?
- Location: 554 Fillmore St. San Francisco
- Hours: 7pm-11pm on Friday and Saturday
- Cost: $15 for both entrance fees and skate rental (cash only)
- Duration: I rollerbladed for 2 hours
- Parking: street parking
- More information available at http://www.churchof8wheels.com/
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