The 10 Most Charming Ice Skating Rinks in the U.S. for Winter Fun
From iconic New York City rinks to a national park hidden treasure.
Nothing says the holidays quite like ice skating around a beautiful rink surrounded by twinkling lights, falling snow, and the sounds of laughter from families celebrating together. From iconic rinks like the beloved one at Rockefeller Center rink in New York City to more lesser-known ones in small-town California, you are sure to find the ice skating rink of your winter dreams on this list. Keep reading to see what the travel experts picked as their favorite ice skating rinks in the U.S.
The Best Ice Skating Rinks in the U.S.
1. Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The winter wonderland themed ice skating rink at the town square in Jackson, Wyoming feels like walking, err, skating into your own little holiday oasis.
"There aren't harsh spotlights to illuminate the rink so instead, the famous antler arches and park trees that are wrapped in twinkle lights offer a magical sparkle" says Melanie Musson, a travel expert with AutoInsurance.org.
When you're not awe-ing over the dreamy lights surrounding the rink, the stunning mountain scenery that overlooks the town square is sure to get you in the holiday mood. And to add a few bonus points for your whole family, when you've done all of the skating that you want, you can help yourself to hot cocoa and other refreshments that will be sure to keep you cozy all evening long.
2. Redwood Empire Ice Arena – Santa Rosa, California
The Redwood Empire Ice Arena in Santa Rosa, California is known as Snoopy's Home (yes, that Snoopy) and caters to anyone who sees themselves as a kid at heart.
"This rink was built in 1969 by the Peanuts' creator, Charles M. Schulz and it boasts the charm and ambiance of a Swiss Alpine village," says Giacomo Piva, a travel industry analyst who owns Radical Storage. "You can enjoy an ice skating session under the festive lights before taking a tour of Snoopy's Gallery & Gift Shop."
If you're a sucker for Charlie Brown or cartoons in general, you'll love this fun experience fit for kids and adults alike. The ice skating rink also includes the "Warm Puppy Cafe" that offers organic treats and goodies for your whole family to scarf up after getting all of that exercise.
3. The Rink at Rockefeller Center – New York, New York
The rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City is a fan favorite for everyone, from New York natives to tourists from all over the country (and world).
Abby Price, the CEO of the travel blog, Trekking Price tells Best Life, "This skating rink is full of charm and glam and its location could not be more perfect. The Rink is located right in the center of Rockefeller Center surrounded by countless stores, restaurants, and commercial businesses."
Skaters get to enjoy gliding against the backdrop of the stunning giant Norway spruce Christmas tree (it's 82 ft. tall!), and marvel at the Christmas lights that twinkle along the midtown Manhattan streets, sprawling with shops, bars, and restaurants. "As you skate along the ice you are able to take in one of the most magical views, the massive and beautifully decorated Rockefeller Christmas Tree," adds Price.
4. Boston Common Frog Pond – Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Common Frog Pond is a true Boston staple in the wintertime that you won't want to miss on your next visit to the East Coast. This rink is specifically unique for its state of the art ice making system and the stunning downtown of Boston.
"Nestled in Boston Common, this rink features its own ice-making system, with skate rentals and hot cocoa available at the Pond Cottage," says Piva. "You might also enjoy some time taking in a brand new film at the Boston Common Loews Theater, or some retail therapy at the Downtown Crossing."
From mid-November to mid-March, visitors and locals alike can enjoy skating in America's oldest public park. The gorgeous city lights and charm of the downtown area make this a beautiful destination you will want to keep coming back to year after year.
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5. CitySkate – Phoenix, Arizona
"CitySkate includes a massive Christmas tree as its centerpiece amongst many charming lights and other holiday décor. Skaters will be able to glide swiftly underneath the city lights and sky rise buildings of Phoenix in the delightful city setting," says Michael Chirichillo, a travel expert who works for Visit Phoenix.
It's hard to picture a winter oasis in Arizona, but you and your loved ones will be pleasantly surprised when you see just how stunning the scenery is at CitySkate.
"It's also a centralized location and is close to many popular downtown restaurants making CitySkate a fantastic stop for a date night or family gathering," adds Chirichillo.
6. Curry Village Ice Rink – Yosemite, California
When thinking about ice skating in a winter wonderland, California isn't the first state that comes to anyone's mind, but the rink at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park makes an excellent exception.
"Yosemite National Park has a great ice skating rink each year at Curry Village," says Nick Mueller, director of operations at HawaiianIslands.com. "You'll get amazing views of Half Dome and Glacier Point while you enjoy the rink. And when you're done skating, you can warm up by the fire with some s'mores."
Visitors will be thrilled to skate surrounded by snowy mountains and snow-covered trees—this rink truly encompasses what it is to be a winter wonderland.
7. Winter Lights Rink – Santa Rosa, California
This ice skating rink that's made entirely out of synthetic ice located in Santa Rosa, California is ideal for a unique and fun experience you won't find anywhere else.
"For sustainable travelers looking to enjoy winter fun without the cost of our environment, Santa Rosa has one of the most unique and charming rinks that requires no water, energy, or carbon emissions", says Nadia Villanueva, a PR Coordinator for the tourism company, 360viewPR.
For travelers passionate about the environment, this rink is the perfect one for you. "The Winter Lights Rink uses synthetic ice for a drought-conscious experience visitors can feel great about," says Villanueva. "Synthetic ice is a substitute for real ice and works just the same–minus the energy cost of conventional skating rinks. The engineered plastic comes in sheets that are 100 percent seamless to create excellent glide-ability, so you still get the same experience you would on real ice."
If your family wants a unique and special place to skate, look no further than this ice skating rink that helps the earth, too.
8. Central Park Rink – New York, New York
For many people, the Rockefeller ice skating rink may be a little chaotic and at times, overwhelming. For visitors that want to find a rink that's more relaxed and quiet in Manhattan, the rink at Central Park is a great recommendation.
"New York City has several famous ice skating rinks, but I think that the most charming one is in Central Park, near the central park zoo, says says Jon Stephens, the director of operations for Snowshoe Vacation Rentals. "It's a spacious rink so you're not too crowded while you skate, which allows you to take in all of the city lights that surround you in a 360 degree view."
This rink is a great alternative to bigger rinks in the city and is ideal if you want more space and time. It's also the perfect winter oasis for anyone who wants to explore Central Park during the chillier months. "During the day is fun because you are surrounded by stunning trees and views, but nighttime is when the experience is most spectacular. Plus, they will usually be playing NYC-inspired music, which definitely makes for a charming ambiance," Stephens adds.
9. Neenah Plaza Rink – Neenah, Wisconsin
The Neenah Plaza Rink in the heart of downtown Neenah, Wisconsin is just as gorgeous as the Rockefeller rink without the extra crowds of people.
"This ice skating rink was inspired by the Rockefeller Center in New York City. And unlike many outdoor skating rinks, this one holds ice as long as the weather is 50 degrees or colder, so families can enjoy it for a longer period of time," says Maddie Jack, marketing communications manager at the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.
This beloved rink is perfect for you and your significant other, and also offers a cafe that features everything from s'mores to hot cocoa to warm you from the inside out. Neenah Plaza also includes gas fire pits so you can cozy up to your loved ones when you're finished skating.
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Blue Cross River Rink – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Blue Cross River Rink in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a true winter wonderland. This stunning rink overlooks the Delaware River and offers guests the opportunity to skate along the winter garden, full of beautifully lit trees.
Sean Harris, the managing editor at Family Destinations Guide tells Best Life, "You will be sure to get into the festive mood with Christmas lights and music shows in the evenings here. While skating, you can enjoy the sight of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Delaware River."
This beautiful rink offers incredibly cozy amenities that will make your whole family happy and warm. "This rink also features warming cabins, comfy fire pits, and a food lodge nearby," says Harris. "One can also relax on a comfortable couch while enjoying the warmth of the fireplace in the inn."