One of the best things about winter holidays rolling around, aside from limitless reasons to drink hot cocoa, is arguably all the pop-up ice skating rinks that come to town.
Tis the season when you can channel that inspiration you get watching the Winter Olympics into holiday cheer, and pretend you’re the next pro skater. Although we don’t live in region frequented by snowflakes and extreme cold, this is the perfect opportunity to sport those subzero puffer jackets you rarely use. So head on over to a rink near you, lace up those figure skates, and embrace the winter in spirit while these rinks are around!
California Academy of Sciences, $12 non-members, $10 members
Science and nature lovers are in for a treat with the new addition of a holiday skating rink in the East Garden of the Academy of Sciences. The only ice rink on the western side of the city, this intimate rink is nestled along the trees and includes skate rental in admission.
Embarcadero Center Holiday Ice Rink, $12 admission, $8 children 8 and under, $5 skate rental
With striking views of the Ferry Building, this large rink in Justin Herman Plaza is a must for seasonal skaters who want to glide with holiday cheer. There’s no place that feels more like winter in SF than a trip to this rink with family and friends as the lively hustle and bustle of the Embarcadero carries on next to you.
Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square, $18 admission or $13 children 8 and under
For the classic city life skate experience, come glide smack dab in the middle of Union Square, surrounded by San Francisco’s skyline. This surely is a festive bucket list item to check off for any Bay Area inhabitant or visitor.
Marin on Ice, $15 admission
The best and only rink in Marin includes 6,400 square feet of real ice in Oaktree Plaza at Northgate Mall in San Rafael. If you go after sundown, the rink is lit by string lights overhead, adding that extra charm to your experience. In-and-out privileges and skate rental included in admission.
San Mateo on Ice, $15 admission
Serving as the only pop-up outdoor rink that comes to the peninsula for the holidays, San Mateo delivers on space with 9,000 square feet for you to zoom around on skates in Central Park. This makes it the largest rink in the Bay Area, with skates included in admission. No in-and-out privileges allowed.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Holiday Ice, $12 admission
Where else can you skate on real ice alongside the beach? The boardwalk introduces this feature as they transform their usual beachside fun into a winter wonderland. Admission includes skate rental, and don’t forget to enjoy their other winter-themed games and movies on your visit.
San Jose Downtown Ice, $17 adults or $10 children 10-under, military, seniors
This open air rink is situated among string-lit palm trees and underneath the stars for a frosty west coast vibe. There are no lockers at this location, so dress for the occasion and bring just your A-game!
Winter Lodge, $11 admission and $5 skate rental
Since 1956, this destination has been coming to Palo Alto every holiday season throughout Spring. Created with the wintry feel of a ski lodge, you’ll find fireplaces, cozy benches, pine needles, and string lights that altogether will make you feel like you’re living in a snow globe.
The Little Ice Rink, $17 admission or $13 children 8 and under
This quaint ice rink is ideal for beginners and is a fantastic opportunity to skate on an island without traveling far. Weekly performances on ice occur every Friday at 7:45 PM for some live entertainment.