’Tis the season! As temperatures plummet below freezing, we bundle up, brighten our homes with festive lighting, and enjoy the coziest time of the year with loved ones. For ice-enthusiasts, that usually means we get to share our favourite winter pastime with friends and family: skating!
Unfortunately, the 2020 pandemic has thrown a wrench into our favourite winter-season pastime. Whether you still have access to your regular arenas, or you’re on hiatus due to the pandemic, everyone can benefit from the joys of outdoor skating. Check ahead for changing regulations and make sure to stay safe out there!
In our 1st of our 3 part series, we’re proud to present the top 20 places to skate outdoors across Canada and the United States, from east- to west-coast!
Emera Oval, Nova Scotia
This popular spot in Halifax became a permanent fixture after the 2011 Canada Winter Games. Spanning the size of three NHL hockey rinks, this spacious rink is perfect for social distancing!
Patinoire Carre D’Youville, Québec
Located at one of three gateways to old Québec City, this gorgeous outdoor pavilion will make skaters feel like they are gliding through the streets of a European village. Paired with Quebecois music and the charm of French Canada, this spot will inspire the coziest memories you can make on the ice.
Boston Common Frog Pond, Massachusetts
New-Englanders have become accustomed to the transformation that takes place every winter at Boston Common Frog Pond. This outdoor arena offers east-coasters a chance to lace-up, take private or group skating lessons, and enjoy a Pond Cottage hot cocoa at the end of your skate.
Beaver Lake Ice Skating Rink, Québec
A gorgeous winter-wonderland escape in the heart of Montréal, Beaver Lake can be found in Mount Royal Park. A frozen-lake in tandem with an outdoor arena paired with festive lighting is a recipe for beautiful winter memories.
Lake Placid Oval, New York
Have you ever wanted to feel like you were skating in a snow globe? Then I promise you, a visit to the historic Olympic Oval in Lake Placid is a must. This location is perfect for upstate New Yorkers and a great pit stop for road-trippers post-pandemic.
Rockefeller Center, New York
A tried-and-true tradition for east-coast skaters, skating at the Rockefeller Center in New York City is a must for outdoor skating-enthusiasts! Be sure to arrive early as there is a limit of 150 guests at a time (Pandemic most likely lowering that number). The glittering Christmas tree will make it worth the wait!
Wollman Rink, New York
Another incredible outdoor skating destination in New York City, the Wollman Rink offers an unforgettable Central Park experience for those of us craving the NYC winter made famous by movies like “Serendipity” and “Love Story”. Enjoy the backdrop of the New York City skyline and skating-lessons for newcomers!
The Rideau Canal Skateway, Ontario
This UNESCO world heritage site is a beloved winter destination for Canadians. The Rideau Canal, located in Ottawa, holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for largest natural skating rink, and is sure to satisfy all *chionophiles* with an icy trail into the heart of the nation’s capital.
Liberty Ice Pavilion, Virginia
Skate into colonial Williamsburg as you enjoy this notable escape! Located in the heart of the America’s Historic Triangle, explore the roots of America’s beginnings and dip into one of the local bakeries for some gingerbread.
Arrowhead Ice Skating Trail, Ontario
Take a trip to cottage country to glide down the most picturesque trail in Huntsville. Arrowhead Provincial Park also hosts Fire & Ice nights with cozy campfire rest stops and beautiful trail lighting.
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, Illinois
Head over to Chicago’s Millennium Park to ride the glide near the Magnificent Mile. Stop for a selfie in the Windy City’s famous Cloud Gate sculpture (better known as The Bean) right next door!
The ICE at Discovery Green, Texas
For our skaters in the south, you don’t need to travel north to enjoy an outdoor rink! The Southwest’s largest outdoor skating rink is located in Houston and offers skaters of any level the chance to enjoy this beloved winter activity.
Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink, Saskatchewan
Located in the shadow of the Delta Bessborough Hotel, this recently-renovated hot spot in Saskatoon was voted “Canada’s Best Outdoor Skating Rink” (Reader’s Digest, 2006). Hockey legends like Wayne Gretzky are among the many who have enjoyed their rink-side fireplaces and cozy chalet-style warm-up centres.
Beaver Creek Ice Rink, Colorado
Also known as the Leon Black Family Ice Rink, this Beaver Creek hideaway is sure to rouse some winter nostalgia as you skate in the heart of mountain country. This warm Christmas ambiance is actually open year-round!
Lake Louise, Alberta
Easily one of the most breathtaking views in North America, Banff National Park offers skaters a once-in-a-lifetime frozen lake experience complete with the Ice Magic Festival every January.
Sun Valley Ice Rink, Idaho
Located in Sun Valley, Idaho, this famous skating spot is open year-round, offering gorgeous views and world-class entertainment for your off-ice moments.
The Ice Rink at Cosmopolitan, Nevada
The Cosmopolitan is ready to take you from splash to skate on the Las Vegas Strip. This winter wonderland transforms the Boulevard Pool to offer skaters 4200 square feet of real ice, sparkling lights, and s’mores — guaranteed to kick off an unforgettable party in Sin City.
Curry Village Ice Rink, California
The beloved Yosemite National Park houses this popular skating destination, cradled by breathtaking mountain views and complimented by hot cocoa and s’mores. What better than taking in Half Dome and El Capitan followed up with some ice skating? Closed temporarily for the 2020 season, don’t skip out next year!
Hotel del Coronado, California
Bask in a proper California Christmas at this San Diego resort! Hotel del Coronado transforms their Pacific coast lawn into an outdoor ice rink surrounded by festive palm trees, illuminated by a warm glow. Closed for the 2020 season, but put this one on your bucket list!
The Whiteway, British Columbia
The world’s longest skating trail (Guinness Book of World Records, 2014) measured at 30km is located in Columbia Valley. A fun historical fact: the Whiteway was originally built to connect the local communities surrounding Lake Windermere by blade or skis!
Leave us a comment if there are rinks elsewhere that you have skated on!
This article was written by Victoria Smith. Victoria is a Canadian choreographer and synchronized skating coach. She was a member of NEXXICE Senior, winning the 2015 World Championships and earning 2 more world medals and 3 national titles. As a choreographer, she has worked with Team France (Chrysalides), Team Australia (Team Unity, formerly Fire on Ice), Team Turkey (Team Vizyon), and Team Great Britain (Team Zariba). She is currently a head coach at Évolution Synchronized Skating Teams in Québec, Canada. Beyond the rink, Victoria has earned a Bachelor of Arts, Honours History degree from the University of Guelph, and her TEFL Certification from the University of Toronto. She also works as an English teacher in Québec.