7 Spectacular Spaces for Skating
It wouldn’t be the season without a place to strap on skates and glide in a spectacular setting, and with Thanksgiving just around the bend, ice-skating rinks are opening up across the nation. From the bare-leaf trees of New England to the palm trees of Southern California, here are seven ultimate U.S. spots to practice your figure eights and triple lutz jumps.
Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Photo credit: Rob Shelley © National Gallery of Art, Washington
While lawmakers debate the issues of the day just blocks away, you can glide and slide past famous works of art by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, and Louise Bourgeois while surrounded by the monuments and museums of the National Mall. The National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden’s skate rink is an oasis in this busy tourist hub, and provides a brisk break from museum overload during a jam-packed vacation.
U.S. Olympic Skating Rink at Squaw, Lake Tahoe, California
Photo credit: Nathan Kendall/Squaw Valley USA
Sure, the Olympics are taking place in Whistler this winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make like a Nancy Kerrigan and head to a bona fide Olympic skating rink. Squaw Valley was home to the 1960 winter Olympics, and its year-round skating rink sits high at an elevation of 8,200 feet, with spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the famous Lake Tahoe. Plus, The Village at Squaw Valley is running a pre-holidays deal right now: stay two nights, get the third one free in a luxurious, condo-style suite.
McCormick Tribune Plaza and Ice Rink, Millennium Park, Chicago
Photo credit: City of Chicago/ Chris McGuire
With the Windy City’s famous skyscrapers looming large on all sides, you can skate right on popular Michigan Avenue, knowing that there are plenty of places nearby to warm up with a slice of deep-dish pizza nearby when you’re done. Best yet, this skating rink is absolutely free to anyone who wishes to give it a whirl–the only thing you’ll have to pay for is your skate rental (and maybe a few bruises).
The Depot Rink in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Source: The Minneapolis Depot
Once the lakes freeze over in Minnesota, broomball isn’t the only sport in town. Head to the Depot Rink for some skating in what was once the old train depot. The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and the kickback is that the skating takes place indoors, a big bonus during a blue-lipped Minneapolis winter’s day. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the rink, showing off the city skyline of Prince’s hometown.
Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center, New York City, New York
Under the gaze of the famous Christmas tree, and beneath all the city’s holiday lights, there is nothing more classic than a skate at Rockefeller Center in New York City during the holiday season. All those shop windows can wait—instead, get dizzy to the dizzying view of skyscrapers overhead. So many proposals take place here that there is a special proposal package available at the ice rink which includes your favorite song on the loudspeakers and a special victory lap.
Ice-Skating Rink at the Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, California
Source: Hotel del Coronado.
There’s definitely a novelty factor to being able to ice skate in southern California, where nearby surfers and rollerbladers in short-shorts take to the beach. Unlike any of the other skating rinks on this list, this rink can boast that it overlooks the ocean, and its connection to the iconic Hotel del Coronado ensures a certain “it”-factor to the beautiful people who turn out to experience the sensation of ice below their feet and palm trees overhead.
Frog Pond Skating Rink, Boston, Massachusetts
Set in the scenic and historic Boston Common, this skating rink gets the distinction of being located in the country’s oldest public park, and you can just imagine the days of yesteryear when women skated in long skirts and men in their bowler hats. Holiday lights bedeck the nearby trees, and lessons are available for beginners if you’re afraid of how you’ll fare amid all the New England natives.
My name: Rachel Berg.
Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.
View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.
Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.
Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.