The abundance of outdoor ice rinks here means we city dwellers don’t have to head for the mountains to partake in winter sports – at least not this one. Whether you need a penguin to lean on, a refresher course or a place to practice your triple lutz, there’s a rink for that. Santa pays a visit to some rinks, as do cartoon characters and even fireworks. Yes, fireworks. Here are 12 rinks to take a spin on – and 12 places near them to warm your tootsies afterward.
National Gallery of Art
Getting to glide among art at this rink surrounded by the Sculpture Garden makes it one of the most popular outdoor rinks every year. Swish past works by artists such as Roy Lichtensetein and Louise Bourgeois.
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child 12 and younger, students with ID and seniors 50 and up, $3.50/skate rental
Where: National Mall between 7th and 9th Sts. along Constitution Ave., NW
Where to Warm Up Nearby: The Pavilion Café is on-site and offers wintry staples such as soup and chili. There’s a small children’s menu, too. Constitution Ave. and Madison Dr. (entrances at 9th St., NW)
Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Open annually from mid-November until March, this 11,800-square-foot rink is the District’s largest outdoor skating venue. Take peeks at the Potomac River and you whoosh around, and stop by for weekly skating events such as two-for-one admission on Tuesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm and Cartoon Skate on Saturdays from 10 am to noon. Note: Helmets and penguin skate aides are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child, senior and military, $6/skate rental
Where: 2000 K St., NW
Where to Warm Up Nearby: Snag a famous Georgetown Cupcake while you’re in the area. In December, check out holiday-themed flavors such as Rudolph Red Velvet and Hanukkah Vanilla. 3301 M St., NW
Canal Park Ice Rink
This park at Capitol Riverfront is a home run for everyone. Skate at your own pace or take Learn-to-Skate classes, which will be offered throughout the winter for $95 per five-class session. Birthday party options are also available.
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child under 12, senior over 55 and military, $5/skate rental
Where: National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW
Where to Warm Up Nearby: Get great views of the area, including Nationals Park, while chowing on an All-American Kobe Dog or Presidential Cheese Sticks at the Top of the Yard on the rooftop of the Hampton Inn and Suites Washington, DC-Navy Yard. Don’t forget to grab a muffin ice cream sandwich for dessert. 1265 First St., SE
Silver Spring Ice Skating at Veterans Plaza
Enjoy some loops around a rink that sits in the middle of a shopping and dining center. Need some instruction? Sign up for Skate School. Classes include introduction to ice hockey for kids 6 to 12, youth group lessons for ages 3 to 15, and parent/tot groups.
Cost: $9/person 13 and up, $8/person 12 and under, $8/senior, $5/skate rental
Where: 8523 Fenton St. (Silver Spring, Md)
Where to Warm Up Nearby: Rest and warm up at the Regal Majestic Stadium 20 and IMAX movie theater, situated within view of the rink. 900 Ellsworth Dr. (Silver Spring, Md)
Rockville Town Square Ice Rink
At 7,200 square feet, this outdoor rink is said to be the biggest between Baltimore and Washington. Skate lessons are available for $85 for five classes for ages 3 to 16. Rockville Town Square has shops, restaurants and even a spa (just saying) to peruse after you hang up your blades.
Cost: $9/person 13 and up, $8/person 12 and under, $8/senior, $4/skate rental
Where: 131 Gibbs St. (Rockville, Md)
Where to Warm Up Nearby: Refuel with pizzas with great names such as Funky Q. Chicken and Maui Wowie from Mellow Mushroom. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. 33A Maryland Ave. (Rockville, Md)
Quiet Waters Park ice rink
The ice rink sits in front of the Visitor Center, which has three art galleries showcasing local talent. Take a break and warm up by perusing the works. Helmets and walkers available for use on the ice, and sessions, which start on the hour, are two hours long. Note: Cash or check payment only.
Cost: $6/adult, $5/child 4 to 12 and seniors over 60, free/child 3 and under, $3/skates, $6/skate blade sharpening
Where: 600 Quiet Waters Park Rd. (Annapolis, Md)
Where to Warm Up Nearby: Take a 10-minute drive to Miss Shirley’s Café, which has a sizable kids menu. Silver dollar pancakes, French toast and sliders are each $8.88. Park Place, Annapolis
Pandora Ice Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
Besides the usual suspects (read skating), this rink has themed events such as First Responders Night (where kids can skate with their heroes) on Dec. 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Ugly Sweater Day on Dec. 16, and the Inner Harbor Frost Fest on Jan. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child, senior and military, $4/skate rental
Where: 201 E. Pratt St., Baltimore
Glen Burnie Outdoor Ice Skating
Music sets the tone for skaters making loops around the rink situated in the Glen Burnie Town Center. This rink, like the others, offers skating lessons and birthday party options.
Cost: $8/adult ages 12 and up, $7/child under 12 and senior 55 and up, $3/skate rental
Where: 103 Crain Hwy. (Glen Burnie, Md)
Where to Warm Up Nearby: Indulge your sweet or savory tooth with a buttery apple or spicy turkey crepe, respectively, from Irina’s Crepes Café. 111 Crain Hwy. (Glen Burnie)
Tysons Corner Center Ice Rink
Part of a plaza that connects the newish Silver Line Metro station with the biggest shopping mall in the Baltimore/Washington area, this rink offers private or group lessons ($125 for four) for ages 3 and up.
Cost: $10/person, $9/child, senior and military, $6/skate rental
Where: 1961 Chain Bridge Rd., (McLean, Va)
Nearby: You’re at the mall, so there’s plenty to do. But if you don’t want to venture far from the rink, head to Shake Shack for a burger and a shake (duh). 7924U Tysons Corner Center (McLean, Va)
Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating
As part of a renovation to the plaza three years ago, more space was made for the ice rink, which now stands at 6,840 square feet – the largest outdoor rink in Northern Virginia and the second largest in the state. Little ones can grab a penguin aide, and youth skating and hockey lessons are available.
Cost: $9/adult 13 and up, $8/child 12 and under and seniors over 55, $5/skate rental
Where: 1201 S Joyce St. (Arlington, Va)
Nearby: Warm up and refuel with the powdered sugar goodness of a beignet and a hot drink at Bayou Bakery in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood a short drive away. 1515 N. Courthouse Rd. (Arlington, Va)
Reston Town Center Ice Rink
This shopping and dining area turns its open-air pavilion into an ice rink every winter. The skate shop has more than 500 pairs of skates in figure skating and hockey styles, plus double-bladed, flat-edge skates for beginners.
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child 12 and under and seniors over 55, $6/skate rental
Where: 11900 Market St., (Reston, Va)
Nearby: Replenish those calories at Edibles Incredible Desserts, which sells works of art in the form of brownies, cookies and chocolate confections. 11917 Freedom Dr. (Reston Va)
Harris Pavilion Ice Rink
Known for its outdoor shows in the warmer months, the pavilion turns icy in November. In January and February, look for special events like matinee skate from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, when $5 buys admission and skate rentals, and Wednesday free skates from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., when all you pay is the $5 rental fee.
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child 10 and under, $5/skate rental
Where: 9701 Center St. (Manassas, Va)
Nearby: Historic Old Town Manassas is less than half a mile from the rink. Learn more about the area at the James and Marion Payne Memorial Railroad Heritage Gallery, which has photographs tracking 150 years of railroad history in the town. 9431 West St. (Manassas, Va)
Where will you be doing triple axles (or falling on your bum) this winter?
—Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Stephanie Kanowitz
Photos courtesy of Kevin H. via Flickr, Caroline.Angelo via Flickr, abelow via Flickr, Washington Harbour via Facebook, Elvert Barnes via Flickr, Thomas Hawk via Flickr