Ice Skating
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10 Best U.S. Ice Skating Rinks for Winter Gliding

Winter may bring a chill to the air in many parts of the United States, but it also invites those who love the season to get outside and have fun! One of the best wintertime activities is ice skating, which is fun for all ages and is often accompanied by Christmas music and even Christmas lights.

The results are in from the readers and editors of USA Today 10Best — the 10 best ice skating rinks in the country. From historic venues with Olympic history to nostalgia-kissed outdoor rinks, each rink on the list offers a memorable experience.

10. James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval | Lake Placid New York

This speed skating oval was once the site of speed skating competitions during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. It remains a popular site today among skaters of all ages who come to skate on the same oval as Olympic legends.

Nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is a marvelous place to visit during the winter. Visitors can explore more of the town’s Olympic history by visiting the Olympic Center and Museum or taking a thrilling bobsled ride at the Olympic Sports Complex.

Visitors looking for more outdoor adventure around Lake Placid can snowshoe or cross-country ski through the Adirondacks or visit nearby Whiteface Mountain to enjoy skiing and snowboarding.

9. Pershing Square’s Holiday Ice Rink | Los Angeles California

Ice skating isn’t always a cold-weather activity because Pershing Square in the middle of downtown Los Angeles transforms into a fun, winter skating destination each winter.

Los Angeles comes alive during the winter, offering all the excitement of the holiday season without the stinging cold or piles of snow. Visitors and residents can enjoy holiday-themed events and pop-up bars, as well as outdoor movie screenings of holiday movies.

Additionally, visitors can soak up the magic of the holidays with colorful light displays at the LA Zoo and Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted Forest of Light. A stroll down The Grove or Rodeo Drive also reveals bright Christmas displays, adding to the excitement of the season. 

8. Wollman Rink | New York City

Big Apple visitors looking for the quintessential New York City winter experience can find it at Wollman Rink. Nestled amongst the stunning beauty of Central Park, skaters can enjoy gliding on well-maintained ice while soaking in the views of New York’s iconic skyline.

The Big Apple is a special place any time of year, but those looking to experience the best of the city during the holidays have no shortage of options. Visitors and residents can go to the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and go skating at the rink below it.

Also, guests can visit Lincoln Center to catch a performance of “The Nutcracker” or see the Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. They can marvel at the decadent window displays along Fifth Avenue and drop into holiday markets at Union Square or Columbus Circle too.

From Christmas shopping to extravagant shows and light displays to ice skating and the famous Rockefeller tree, there’s something for everyone in NYC during the holidays.

7. Hotel del Coronado’s Skating by the Sea | Coronado California

Visitors who want to ice skate while listening to the crashing of waves can have the best of both worlds along the California coast. At this seaside rink, visitors can effortlessly glide across the ice or lounge around fire pits while enjoying holiday food and drinks.

In addition to skating at the Hotel del Coronado, visitors can go to the hotel to see its festive decorations and the annual Coronado Christmas Parade. And, Downtown Coronado is filled with charming shops for holiday shopping, as well as local restaurants with delicious fare.

Those looking for a California-flavored way to celebrate the holidays can go to San Diego (less than 10 miles away). In San Diego, visitors can take holiday-themed gondola rides or explore fun holiday events at SeaWorld or the San Diego Zoo.

Additionally, visitors can explore the charming shops and restaurants in the downtown area, take a holiday-themed gondola ride in nearby San Diego, or attend special holiday events at the nearby San Diego Zoo or SeaWorld San Diego.

6. Union Square’s Safeway Holiday Ice Rink | San Francisco California

Each winter, a fun, festive holiday tradition returns to San Francisco’s Union Square — ice skating. The rink is surrounded by festive lights, creating the perfect holiday atmosphere for skaters of all ages.

 The City by the Bay is bustling with activity in the winter, and after skating, visitors can take marvelous holiday lights tours to see the best of the city’s festive decorations. Attending the Great Dickens Christmas Fair is another fun activity, offering a chance to experience a Victorian-era holiday.

Also, visitors can enjoy holiday-themed cruises on San Francisco Bay for unforgettable views of the city skyline, and the brightly lit lantern sculptures at Illuminate SF Festival of Light are a sight to see too.

5. Ice on Main | Greenville South Carolina

This community skating rink on Village Green is one of the most popular sites in Greenville. It’s adjacent to City Hall and opens in mid-November, serving as the traditional opening to the holiday season.

Greenville has plenty more to offer residents and visitors during the holiday season, including its annual Poinsettia Christmas Parade. For more than 75 years, the parade has helped usher in the holiday season and has attracted thousands of visitors to downtown Greenville.

Plus, visitors can spend time exploring Greenville’s holiday markets for the perfect gifts or take fun, relaxing holiday carriage rides through the historic downtown to see lights and soak in the magic of the holiday atmosphere.

4. The Frankenmuth Ice Rink | Frankenmuth Michigan

Frankenmuth, known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, is a popular destination during the holidays. It’s also the home of the Frankenmuth Ice Rink, which is situated in Zehnder Park in the heart of downtown. The rink is open all winter and offers both rentals and day-long admission.

Michiganders and visitors looking for the perfect day trip during the holiday season will find filling, family-style chicken dinners at both Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Downtown Frankenmuth and the nearby River Place shops offer plenty of quaint stores to pick up gifts.

Visitors who want to extend their stay in Frankenmuth can book a room at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, which is within easy walking distance of downtown. Zehnder’s Splash Village and its indoor water park is also a great place for a family stay.

And, don’t forget a trip to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland. This massive Christmas store is packed wall to wall with Christmas decor, and it’s hard not to walk out with at least one decoration.

3. The Boston Common Frog Pond | Boston Massachusetts

The Boston Common Frog Pond becomes a magnificent outdoor skating rink that’s frequented by locals and visitors alike. Starting in mid-November, eager skaters can sign up for lessons, take a spin on the ice, or watch the action while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.

Boston is brimming with other festive activities during the winter too. Visitors can take holiday-themed trolley tours to see brightly lit landmarks and city lights. A performance of “The Nutcracker” by the Boston Ballet at the Boston Opera House is not to be missed, while the Blink! holiday show at Faneuil Hall Marketplace is impressive.

2. Curry Village Ice Skating Rink | Yosemite National Park California

Yosemite National Park is a popular year-round destination. But in the winter, the park draws scores of visitors to its Curry Village Ice Skating Rink, which has been a mainstay since the 1920s. Skaters can enjoy gliding on the ice while enjoying the site of Half Dome in the heart of Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite is a wonderland during the winter, and guests are invited to explore more of the park on a leisurely drive to take in the scenery. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy guided snowshoe walks and cross-country ski excursions as well.

One can’t-miss event at Yosemite is the annual Bracebridge Dinner at The Ahwahnee. This longstanding holiday tradition features a delicious feast and an unforgettable theatrical performance.

1. Guidant John Rose MN OVAL | Roseville Minnesota

The Guidant John Rose MN OVAL is the nation’s largest outdoor refrigerated skating facility. It’s made up of 110,000 square feet of ice — big enough for a variety of ice activities, including hockey, bandy, and skating. Plus, the oval has a 400-meter speed skating track surrounding the infield ice arena.

Because Roseville is just minutes from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, visitors can easily drive over for more holiday fun. The annual Holidazzle Parade and WinterSkate outdoor ice rink in St. Paul are beloved parts of the holiday season.

In addition, residents and tourists can visit the Minnesota State Capitol to see colorful and festive holiday lights and decorations. Last-minute Christmas shopping can be easily accomplished at festive Twin Cities holiday markets, and venues like the Orday Center for the Performing Arts offer fun-filled holiday performances.

Plan Your Experiences on the Best U.S. Ice Skating Rinks

Ice skating on the best rinks in the country creates memorable experiences. From the Olympic vibes at Lake Placid’s Sheffield Oval to the sunny, festive rink in downtown LA’s Pershing Square, there’s a spot for every kind of ice skating fan.

But, there’s more to visiting these destinations than ice skating. Each city offers winter experiences with parades, lights, shopping, and loads of holiday cheer. So whether you’re into traditional winter scenes or something a bit different, this list can help you plan some fun winter memories.