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Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square
Photograph: Courtesy Photograph: Courtesy Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square

The 13 best places to go ice skating in the Bay Area

Get into the holiday spirit by strapping on your skates and going ice skating in the Bay Area

By Shoshi Parks

The holidays are just around the corner and so are our favorite winter activities. Bundle up, sharpen your blades and get ready to hit the best spots to go ice skating in the Bay Area! In the Bay Area there are tons of indoor and outdoor rinks to satisfy your winter sports cravings. Take a break from your holiday shopping and head to one of these seasonal rinks (open between mid-November and mid-January) or permanent ice skating facilities lit up with Christmas lights. Keep the celebration going afterwards with one of our favorite holiday-themed cocktails or an oh-so-wintery hot chocolate from the city’s best chocolate shops.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in San Francisco

Best ice skating in the Bay Area

SF City Hall Christmas
Photograph: Flickr/David Yu

1. Winter Park at Civic Center

News City Life

After last year's successful debut, San Francisco’s Civic Center will once again play host to a winter-themed park modeled after the Wiener Eistraum in Vienna, Austria. Glide along on a 6,000-square-foot rink at the center of a forest of lights or along a 400 square foot track woven among the plaza’s trees. The rink also hosts special events like Sunday morning curling lessons ($20) and a holiday tree lighting on December 4. General admission for a 75-min skating session is $13-$18 (depending on age and time of day) and includes skate rental.

Open November 22 through January 5, 2020.

Union Square Ice Rink
Photograph: Courtesy Union Square Ice Rink

2. Union Square Ice Rink

Things to do Ice skating Union Square

San Francisco’s seminal ice skating opportunity is located in the heart of downtown’s Union Square. This holiday tradition is open daily from morning until late at night. Hit the rink every other hour (even hours) for a 90-minute session that includes skate rentals ($13–$18). Double your fun on event nights that include Drag Queens on Ice (Dec 5, 8-10pm), Flashback Fridays with an '80s soundtrack (6-9:30pm) and the Silent Skate Party (Dec 12, 6-9:30pm).

Open November 6 through January 20, 2020.

An empty ice rink with the Ferry Plaza tower behind it
Photograph: Flickr/tama-chan/CC

3. Holiday Ice Rink

Things to do Ice skating Downtown

This massive holiday ice rink has a distinguished location in the shadow of the historic Ferry Building on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. A ticket ($7–$12) gets you an hour-and-a-half glide across the ice (skaters are admitted on the hour throughout the day). Bring your own skates or rent a pair for an additional $5. On Friday and Saturday, the rink is open late for an adult-skewing festive evening.

Opens November 6, 2019

Walnut Creek on Ice
Photograph: Courtesy Walnut Creek on Ice

4. Walnut Creek on Ice

Things to do Ice skating Walnut Creek

Walnut Creek on Ice offers a mix of open skating and eight-week skating classes for both kids and adults ($175). General admission tickets ($13-$15) get you a few hours, or a whole day, of uninterrupted gliding. Frequent skater passes good for 10 visits cost just $115.

Open November 8 through January 20, 2020 

People skating on an ice rink
Photograph: Flickr/Joanne Wan/CC

5. The Winter Lodge

Things to do Ice skating Palo Alto

The Winter Lodge has been a Palo Alto tradition since 1956 and was rated by Outside Magazine as one of the top ten outdoor ice skating experiences in the United States. Join skating school classes designed for children, teens, adults or those with special needs or glide the ice on your own  during public skating sessions ($15 admission, $5 skate rental).

Open through April 11, 2020.

Marin on Ice
Photograph: Courtesy On Ice Rinks

6. NorCal Ice

Things to do Ice skating San Rafael

The 6,400 square foot ice rink at NorCal Ice (formerly Marin on Ice) is Marin County’s favorite outdoor skating spot. $15 will get you access to the ice all day long, or buy a 10-ticket booklet for $130. Grab your friends and family for the quintessential holiday experience!

Opens November 6, 2019

San Mateo on Ice
Photograph: Courtesy On Ice Rinks

7. San Mateo on Ice

Things to do Ice skating San Mateo

Every season, San Mateo’s Central Park hosts one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in the Bay Area, a whopping 9,000 square feet of sparkling ice. Tickets ($17, includes skate rental) are good for a full day of fun on the ice. If skating’s not for you, check out the rink’s bumper cars, a raucous, twirling ride running daily ($10/ride).

Open November 9 through January 12, 2020

Downtown Ice San Jose
Photograph: Courtesy Downtown Ice

8. Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice

Things to do Ice skating San Jose

This seasonal ice rink in the heart of downtown San Jose is a South Bay tradition. Skating is open to the public daily and into the wee hours of the night. For $15–$18 you can skate to your heart’s content.

Open November 15 through January 12, 2020 

Three kids skating on an ice rink with blurred lights behind them
Photograph: Flickr/Michael Patrick/CC

9. Santa Clara on Ice

Things to do Ice skating Santa Clara

This seasonal outdoor skating rink in Santa Clara’s Central Park offers both open skate and weekend ice skating lessons. Six-week classes for beginning or intermediate skaters ($130), are available for ages 5-11 and 12 and up. If you come packing your own ice skating skills (or even if you don’t), you can hit the ice with a general admission ticket ($10-$15) or all-day skating pass ($15-$22). Ice junkies can purchase a Frequent Skater Pass ($100-$150) good for up to twelve visits.

Open November 21 through January 20, 2020.

ice skating
Photograph: Credit Michael Bentley

10. Boardwalk Holiday Ice

Things to do Ice skating

Only in Santa Cruz do the holidays mean ice skating at the beach. Between November and January, the iconic Beach Boardwalk turns the seaside amusement park into a winter wonderland complete with a covered ice skating rink. Strap on your skates rain or shine. One hour sessions include skate rentals, reservations are recommended.

Open November 16 through January 5, 2020 

Solar 4 America Ice in San Jose
Photograph: Courtesy NHL

11. Solar4America Ice at San Jose

Things to do Ice skating San Jose

San Jose Sharks fans will love strapping on their skates for a turn around the team’s official practice rink. This year-round facility offers public open skate and youth and adult hockey leagues. They also provide lessons in figure skating, hockey, ice dancing and synchronized skating. When you’re ready for something less slippery, stop by Stanley’s Sports Bar on the second level to grab a beer and watch the home team on T.V.

Several men on the ice, one kneeling with curling equipment
Photograph: Flickr/Markus Spiering/CC

12. Oakland Ice Center

Things to do Ice skating Oakland

At this year-round ice skating facility operated by Sharks Ice you’ll find opportunities for freestyle fun, structured learning and team sports. Oakland Ice Center’s programs are tailored to different ages, abilities and levels of commitment: if you can’t join a hockey league, for example, drop in and join a pickup game or Gretzky Stick Time. Open public skating is available during the day and on some evenings.

Two kids in helmets and uniforms playing ice hockey
Photograph: Flickr/Joe Terrasi/CC

13. Dublin Iceland Ice Skating

Things to do Ice skating East Bay

For over 40 years, Dublin Iceland has brought the joys of the skating to the East Bay. The facility, open year-round, is chock full of activities for ice lovers including team and individual sports like broomball, hockey, figure skating and synchronized skating. For enthusiasts gliding to the beat of their own drum, Iceland offers open skate hours daily.

Ready to achieve peak holiday cheer?


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