Take a whirl this winter: Enjoy outdoor ice skating

Ami Neiberger-Miller

Outdoor skating can be magical. The outdoor ice rinks in this round-up provide plenty of options. All of them are near restaurants, shopping, and other amenities, so if your toes get too cold, it’s not hard to warm up with cup of hot chocolate or a tasty snack.

Outdoor rinks in the metro area are open from November through mid-March, weather permitting. Many rinks are open on the holidays, too. Check on rink hours and availability before heading out for a whirl around the ice.


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is between the NGA’s East and West buildings and across the street from the National Archives (Constitution Avenue at Seventh Street NW) and offers lessons and lots of inspired skating. Warm up at the Pavilion Café (closed in January) over hot chocolate, delicate pastries, and sandwiches.

The Washington Harbour Ice Rink in Georgetown (3000 K St. NW) is huge at 11,800 square feet. Take a spin around this rink for views of the Potomac and Theodore Roosevelt Island. Weekly skating events include Two for Tuesday, College Night Skate, Cartoon Skate on Saturdays, and Rock ‘n’ Skate on Saturday nights. Little ones can lean on a sturdy “penguin” as they learn to balance on blades.

The Canal Park on the riverfront lets you cruise its elliptical 12,000-square-foot rink located at Second and M streets SE. This rink offers thematic sessions, learn-to-skate lessons, and a full bar at the Park Tavern for post-skate refreshments.


Rockville Town Square (131 Gibbs St.) offers outdoor ice skating and even extends its hours when schools are out. Lessons for children and adults are offered. The rink is 7,200 square feet and the largest in Montgomery County.

Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring (8523 Fenton St.) offers ice skating outside at slightly lower rates than many of the other rinks in the Washington area. Enjoy an outdoor skate in easily accessible downtown Silver Spring.

Outdoor skating is fun at Glen Burnie Town Center (103C Crain Highway N). The rink offers a to-punch discount card. Skate school and birthday parties available.

Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis (600 Quiet Waters Park Road) boasts a family-centered county-run outdoor rink. Helmets and walkers are available for novices and they will even sharpen your skates on-site. Not open on Tuesdays unless there is a school break.


Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington, Va.) is recently renovated and now has an expanded ice rink. Skaters are sure to delight in “Snow on the Row,” which puts snow nightly on the rink at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, Dec. 7–Jan. 1. An outdoor dual-sided stone fireplace lets you lounge rink-side.

Reston Town Center’s outdoor ice skating pavilion (1818 Discovery St.) is beautifully lit and offers plenty of fun, including themed events such as College Skate Night (Thursdays), Rock ‘n’ Skate (Fridays), and Cartoon Skate (Saturdays). Enjoy a birthday party at the rink. Stroll nearby to see a movie, go shopping, or get a bite to eat.

The Harris Pavilion (9201 Center St.) in downtown Manassas offers skating and rentals, as well as lessons. A special secret: The rink offers “free skate” on Wednesdays from 6:00–8:00pm and skate rentals are only $4.

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