Best ice skating rinks in the Bay Area

Get into the holiday spirit by strapping on your skates and going ice skating in the Bay Area
Photograph: Courtesy Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square
By Shoshi Parks |
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The fact that we lack real winter weather doesn’t mean we Californians have to give up the dream of holiday ice skating; 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 early-January) or permanent ice skating facilities adorned for the holidays. 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 chocolatiers.

RECOMMENDED: A complete guide to Christmas in San Francisco

Ice skating in San Francisco

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SF City Hall Christmas
Photograph: Flickr/David Yu
News, City Life

Winter Park at Civic Center

For the first time ever, San Francisco’s Civic Center will 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 opens November 30 and will feature special events like Drag Queens on Ice and Sunday morning curling lessons ($20). General admission for a 75-min skating session is $5-20 (depending on age and time of day) and includes skate rental.

Open November 30 through January 6, 2019.

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Union Square Ice Rink
Photograph: Courtesy Union Square Ice Rink
Things to do, Ice skating

Union Square Ice Rink

icon-location-pin 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 6, 8-9:30pm), Flashback Fridays that feature an 80s soundtrack (6-9:30pm) and the Silent Skate Party (Dec 13, 6-9:30pm).

Open through January 21, 2019.

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Holiday Ice Rink At Embarcadero Center
Photograph: Yelp/Kevin Y.
Things to do, Ice skating

Holiday Ice Rink

icon-location-pin 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.

Open through January 6, 2019.

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California Academy of Sciences
Museums, Science and technology

Holiday Ice Rink at the Cal Academy of Sciences

icon-location-pin Golden Gate Park

The California Academy of Sciences makes the most out of the holidays with indoor snow flurries, a hands-on polar exhibit and an outdoor ice skating rink. Enjoy a daytime spin on the ice ($10), kid-friendly Sunday skate nights (5:30-8:30pm, $15) and adults-only NightLife skating on Thursdays from 6-9:30pm ($10) and a check physics off your list of holiday-inspired scientific experiments.

Open November 16 through January 6, 2019.

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Oakland Ice Center
Photograph: Yelp/Mark R.
Things to do, Ice skating

Oakland Ice Center

icon-location-pin 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.

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Walnut Creek on Ice
Photograph: Courtesy Walnut Creek on Ice
Things to do, Ice skating

Walnut Creek on Ice

icon-location-pin 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 ($12-$15) get you a few hours, or a whole day, of uninterrupted gliding. Every Tuesday night from 5-8pm, a family of four can hit the ice for just $35.

Open through January 21, 2019.

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Winter Lodge Palo Alto
Photograph: Yelp/Divya K.
Things to do, Ice skating

The Winter Lodge

icon-location-pin Palo Alto

The Winter Lodge has been a Palo Alto tradition since 1956. Rated by Outside Magazine as one of the top ten outdoor ice skating experiences in the United States, at the Winter Lodge both beginner and advanced skaters can lace up for an afternoon of fun. 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 ($12 admission, $5 skate rental).

Open through April 14, 2019.

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Solar 4 America Ice in San Jose
Photograph: Courtesy NHL
Things to do, Ice skating

Solar4America Ice at San Jose

icon-location-pin 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.

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Marin on Ice
Photograph: Courtesy On Ice Rinks
Things to do, Ice skating

NorCal Ice

icon-location-pin 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!

Open November 17 through January 21, 2019.

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Photograph: Courtesy On Ice Rinks
Things to do, Ice skating

San Mateo on Ice

icon-location-pin 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 ($16, 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 20-min ride running from 12-8pm daily ($15).

Open through January 13, 2019.

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Downtown Ice San Jose
Photograph: Courtesy Downtown Ice
Things to do, Ice skating

Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice

icon-location-pin 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–$17 you can skate to your heart’s content. From January 7 through closing on January 27, donate a new or gently used children’s book for Reading Partners and skate for free.

Open November 16 through January 27, 2019.

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Santa Clara on Ice
Photograph: Yelp/Ernest P.
Things to do, Ice skating

Santa Clara on Ice

icon-location-pin 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 ($120-150) good for up to twelve visits.

Open November 19 through January 21, 2019.

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Dublin Iceland
Photograph: Yelp/Jay K.
Things to do, Ice skating

Dublin Iceland Ice Skating

icon-location-pin 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.

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ice skating
Photograph: Credit Michael Bentley
Things to do, Ice skating

Boardwalk Holiday Ice

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 from upsized this 2018-2019 season from previous years. Strap on your skates rain or shine. One hour sessions include skate rentals for $14.95 (plus tax).

Open November 17 through January 6, 2019.

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