Travel the World
The 10 Best Ice Rinks Around the World
Lace up your skates! That winter chill is your invitation to take a spin, slide or twirl along the best outdoor ice rinks around the globe. From Montréal to Vienna – and yes, even California! – here are 10 frozen escapes awaiting your best Kurt Browning impression.
The Rideau Canal – Ottawa, Canada
It’s official! According to Guinness World Records, the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink is in Canada’s backyard. Ottawa – our nation’s capital – boasts an ice surface that’s the equivalent to 90 Olympic-sized rinks. Measuring in at a knee-wobbling 7.8 km long, the picture perfect Rideau Canal Skateway winds past Canada’s Parliament Buildings and the majestic Chateau Laurier Hotel. Take advantage of the Canal’s rink-side stands for skate and sleigh rentals, skate sharpening, cozy warming chalets, and snack bars peddling delectable hot chocolate, and sweet BeaverTails. The Skateway is open in January through to March, weather permitting.
Somerset House – London, England
For a taste of culture, romance and old school British cool, head to the rink at London’s Somerset House. If this neoclassical building on the north bank of the Thames looks familiar, you’re probably a movie buff. The elegant structure starred in several Hollywood blockbusters including Tomorrow Never Dies, GoldenEye and Sherlock Holmes. Over the holiday season (November through to January) Somerset House’s courtyard plays host to its popular skating rink. After dark, the ice surface turns into the capital’s hottest club where DJs spin dance hits for an enthusiastic crowd of skaters and merrymakers. Ticket prices start at £7.50.
Patinoire de L’Hôtel de Ville – Paris, France
It’s hardly surprising that a city as fashion forward as Paris would boast one of the world’s most visually stunning outdoor rinks. From December through to March, the Patinoire de L’Hôtel de Ville, a 1,365-square-metre ice surface borders the front facade of Paris’ city hall – a 19th century building that adds style and a certain je ne sais quoi to winter’s favourite pastime. Visitors and locals flock annually to this Parisian hot spot to skate, people watch and soak up the electric atmosphere. Best of all, entry to the rink is free. Don’t have your own blades? Skates can be rented for 5 Euros.
Old Port – Montréal, Canada
A winter wonderland awaits you in Montréal. From November to March, the Old Port skating rink on the edge of the St. Lawrence River is open for business. Enjoy Old Montréal’s mesmerizing scenery while you take a leisurely spin around the Bonsecours Basin rink. The attraction’s famous musical evenings provide a skating soundtrack for all ages and tastes. Try Classical Mondays, World Music Tuesdays, Urban Sounds Wednesdays, Romantic Thursdays, Retro Fridays (’80s and ’90s), Rhythm Saturdays, or French Music Sundays. Season passes, and group rates are available. A single day skate is $6 (adults, seniors and teens), and $4 for kids aged 6 to 12 (children under 6 are free).
Wiener Eistraum – Vienna, Austria
Austria calls its Wiener Eistraum skating rink the Vienna Ice Dream for good reason – its magical setting makes you’ll feel like you’re gliding through a European fairytale. Below the gothic spires of Vienna’s Rathhus (city hall), the icy landscape stretches over 7,000+ square metres. Skating aficionados can whirl around curved pathways, circular turns and ice slabs that reach as far as the eye can see. Worked up an appetite? Indulge in the delicious creations of the gourmet food stalls that ring the Wiener Eistraum. The rink is open from January to March. Admission: 6.50 Euros for adults, and 5 Euros for children.
Keystone Lake – Colorado, USA
Skaters and hockey players in Lakeside Village, Colorado have much to be grateful for in late November. Annually on the US Thanksgiving weekend, Keystone Lake‘s immaculately groomed ice rink begins welcoming visitors and locals for the winter season. Spanning the size of almost 5 football fields, this surface is the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor rink in North America. A $69 season pass allows unlimited visits until the rink closes in March. Daily admission is $12 for adults, $9 for youths aged 5 to 17, and $6 for seniors. Skates, hockey sticks and pucks can be rented on site for an additional fee.
The Natrel Rink – Toronto, Canada
Imagine skating alongside the natural beauty of Lake Ontario with Toronto’s marvel of modern architecture – the CN Tower – watching overhead. At Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink, you’ll discover the perfect wintertime escape in the heart of Canada’s largest city. Unleash your inner Patrick Chan or Joannie Rochette as you glide across the ice. Heated indoor change rooms and washrooms provide comfort from the cold while hot food and beverages will keep the most dedicated of skaters toasty. The Natrel Rink is open from late November through to mid-March, weather permitting. Admission is free and skate rentals are available onsite ($8 for adults 13+, $6 for seniors, and kids aged 12 and under).
Trump Rink – New York City, USA
Skaters are spoilt for choice in New York City. Rinks at Rockefeller Center, the South Street Seaport, and Bryant Park all vie for your figure eights and double axels, but one Big Apple venue offers something extra special – Central Park. The Trump Rink (formerly known as the Wollman Rink) sits nestled within the south side of Manhattan’s beloved oasis (enter from Central Park South and 6th Avenue). Go for a spin amidst the park’s peaceful environs away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The Trump Rink is open from late November through to the first Sunday in April. Admission starts at $11.25 (adults), $6 (kids aged 11 and under). Skate rentals are $8.
Yosemite National Park – California, USA
Surprise! California isn’t only famous for warm weather pursuits such as surfing, beach volleyball, and hiking. One of the world’s most picturesque outdoor skating rinks calls Northern California’s Yosemite National Park home. Since the 1930s skaters have twirled, and glided over the frosty ice surface of the Curry Village rink. The natural beauty of Yosemite’s iconic granite Half Dome, and Glacier Point make this skating excursion breathtakingly unique. The Curry Village rink is open from November through to early March, weather permitting. Prices: $10.00 Adults/Seniors, $9.50 Children, and $4 Skate Rentals.
Tower of London – London, England
It’s not everyday that you get the opportunity to skate over the very spot that once housed a centuries-old moat! From mid-November through to January, visitors can skate in the shadows of the historic battlements of the Tower of London. The imposing fortress beside the Thames offers a unique and unforgettable setting for skaters of all ages. Post-skate beat the winter chill at the Ice Bar and Café with a warm mulled wine, hot chocolate or traditional British cup of tea. Advance bookings are recommended. Prices start at £11.50 for adults, and £9 for children.