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Where to Ice Skate in Washington, DC
Lace up your skates and triple axel 'round the District at these ice skating rinks.
DC’s year-round temps are pretty moderate, but during the winter – when cold Canadian winds whistle down the Potomac – Washingtonians bundle up for a day (or a night) on the ice. Public ice skating rinks can be found in multiple neighborhoods in DC proper, so check out the best places to hit the ice in the nation's capital.
Imagine this: Ice skating amid magnificent works of art and towering sculptures in a lush garden. The ice rink at the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden is a quintessential winter experience in Washington, DC. It opens up in mid-November and lasts until mid-March, and it’s a scenic atmosphere firmly planted on the outskirts of the National Mall.
The Scene: This rink has a romantic vibe. Maybe it’s the art. Maybe it’s the smaller, cozier rink. Maybe it’s the starry sky above. Maybe it’s the single string of lights surrounding the rink like glowing candles. It rates an A+ for creative date ideas. But you’ll see plenty of multi-generational families too, due to its central location.
Insider Info: Tickets are sold in two-hour sessions beginning on the hour. If you aren't prepared to begin skating at the top of the hour, you could end up waiting a while to skate. This is especially true during crowded weekends. To make the most of your time, buy your ticket first and if time permits, take the opportunity to visit the works of art in the surrounding Sculpture Garden.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Open Nov. 16, 2018 – March 10, 2019.
Cost: $9 adults, $8 children/age 50+/students, $4 rentals
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004
Formerly an abandoned bus parking lot, Canal Park is one of Capitol Riverfront's many neighborhood attractions. The ice rink at Canal Park stands out from its other DC counterparts in that the ice is on a track, much like gliding along a frozen canal. Skate your way around and around the figure eight, and admire city views everywhere you turn.
The Scene: Locals, locals, locals. In the spring and summer, the neighborhood attracts loads of baseball fans since Nationals Park is nearby. Like many neighborhoods in DC, this one is in the midst of major redevelopment and seemingly has more and more to offer every time you return.
Insider Info: The rink is open from mid-November until the end of February. Located one block from Navy Yard Metro, the rink is easy to find, but remains a lesser-known gem in DC. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, this is the place to go. And if you can't get enough of the ice, make a trip to nearby Ice Cream Jubilee, thaw out with wine at District Winery or dig in to crave-worthy pasta dishes at Osteria Morini overlooking the Anacostia River.
Hours: Monday-Tuesday, 12-7 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 12-9 p.m.; Friday, 12-10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Open Nov. 17, 2018 – February 2019.
Cost: $9 adults, $8 children/seniors/military, $5 rentals
Canal Park Ice Rink, 202 M Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
Most of the year, Washington Harbour in Georgetown greets visitors with spectacular waterworks: a dancing fountain surrounded by half a dozen restaurants. But when the cool temps settle in, the fountain transforms into prime ice skating real estate. After dark is when it’s most magical, with dozens of twinkling white snowflakes lighting up the rink.
The Scene: Since it’s open from mid-November until March, the ice rink is a bit of a novelty, attracting lots of people every single day, even Christmas Day. With classes offered for kids ages 3 and older, as well as for adults, you’ll see families with children. But it’s also a date night winner since it’s so easy to grab a drink or bite to eat at one of the surrounding restaurants.
Insider Info: Not only is this the largest ice skating rink in DC, it’s even larger than the rink adorning New York City’s Rockefeller Center. Certain days of the week offer skating specials and themes: Two for Tuesday Skate (2 for 1 admission from 4-6 p.m.), College Night Skate Thursdays ($2 off admission with valid ID), Cartoon Skate Saturdays (fun morning skate from 10 a.m. to noon) and Rock 'n' Skate Saturday Nights (8-10 p.m.).
Hours: Monday-Tuesday, 12-7 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 12-9 p.m.; Friday, 12-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Open Nov. 16, 2018 – March 1, 2019.
Cost: $10 adults, $9 children/seniors/military, $6 rentals
Washington Harbour Ice Rink, 3050 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
The Southwest Waterfront is the place to be this winter – specifically the skating rink on The Wharf's Transit Pier. Yes, with so many things to see and do at The Wharf you could spend a week here, but gliding across this riverfront ice rink underneath the evening glow of Edison bulbs is a can’t-miss winter experience.
The Scene: Foodies, families and friends. The revitalized Wharf has transformed the home to the nation’s longest continually operating open-air fish market into a year-round destination for visitors of all ages. With 20-plus new restaurants and bars, shops from local artisans and global brands come on board, the destination remains fresh and inspired. The best thing to pair your ice-skating experience with: a concert at any of the three music venues!
Insider Info: The Wharf’s ice rink is expected to open in mid-December until the end of February, weather permitting. Located just four blocks from the National Mall, The Wharf is accessible by Metro, a free shuttle bus and even water taxi. Local residents can enjoy a $2 discount on Mondays with a valid ID from the 20024 ZIP code and Friday nights feature Rock N Skate with a live DJ from 8-10 p.m.
Hours: Monday-Tuesday, 12-7 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 12-9 p.m.; Friday, 12-10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Open Dec. 2, 2018 – late February 2019.
Cost: $10 adults, $8 children/age 65+/active military, $6 rentals
The Wharf Ice Rink on Transit Pier, 960 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
Top of the Gate, one of the District’s most popular rooftop bars at The Watergate Hotel, transforms into Top of the Skate, a winter wonderland complete with 360-degree views of the city skyline and nearby Arlington, Va. Enjoy a unique skating experience on the rooftop’s synthetic rink, which has a skate-up bar serving seasonal cocktails both warm and cold (think spiced apple cider with bourbon, warmth-inducing Kentucky hug included) and an a la carte snack menu that adds to the cozy winter vibes.
The Scene: A younger crowd may venture here seeking the perfect cityscape Instagram, but Top of the Skate is open to skaters as young as five. Whether you’re seeking homey after-work drinks or searching for the perfect all-ages weekend activity, The Watergate Hotel is the place to be.
Insider Info: If you’re more into lounging than skating, Top of the Skate has fire pits and couches for the ultimate chill experience. Cap off your skating session with a luxury igloo experience (yes, luxury igloo) downstairs at The Next Whisky Bar, where 12-foot heated domes on the bar’s outdoor terrace are available to rent for parties of 2-8 people.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-10 p.m. Opens mid-November.
Cost: $20 adults, $10 children
The Watergate Hotel, 2650 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
Need to warm up after your time on the ice? Check out the best restaurants to get cozy in Washington, DC.
Where to Go Ice Skating in Washington, DC
Lace up your skates and head to these public rinks in the District