Where to Go Ice Skating Near Austin This Winter

From romantic open-air rinks to iconic pop-ups decked out for the holidays.

Austin may not be the first place that springs to mind when it comes to below-zero temperatures, but look a little harder and there’s most certainly a Texan winter wonderland just waiting for your merry cheers. The holidays are when the Trail of Lights take over Zilker Park, the Armadillo Bazaar Outside is heaving with shoppers, and makeshift igloos pop up on rooftop bars and restaurants all over the city, making for cozy little date nights. And, of course, winter’s not winter without a spot of ice skating, and we definitely have that going on, too.

Our rinks aren’t exactly in the same league as Rockefeller Center, but we do have perks y’all didn’t realize you loved. Short lines, fair prices, friendly locals, and, best of all? No freezing your butt off while perfecting your spiral (‘tis the season for a light sweater). WHere are the best places to ice skate in and around the city, each primed and ready for your blades of glory.

This entertainment, arts, and recreational venue has magically found itself on everyone’s winter checklist this season. Why? Well, it could have something to do with the dazzling light display that covers the entire 64-acre property, the Artisan Walk with local vendors hawking one-of-a-kind gifts, or, of course, the spacious pop-up ice rink. In other words, it’s transformed into holiday heaven. The ice rink is open from November through January 4. Don’t forget to stop by at their beer garden afterward for a post-skate beverage (there are 50 beers and 40 wine varietals on tap).
Cost: Tickets run $10 per person, including skate rental ($5 on Mondays)
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

Chaparral Ice

West Anderson Lane & Cedar Park

Chaparral Ice is basically where the Michelle Kwans of Austin go to shine. The year-round ice rink boasts two locations, complete with figure skating classes, hockey games, memberships, and more, so serious enthusiasts need not wait for the holidays to get their frozen fix. Public skating, adults-only skate sessions, and curling happy hours (!!!) are also on hand, and you can even rent the whole place out for private events.
Cost: Tickets run $12 per person; skate rentals run $6 each
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (register and check the calendar here)

Eisbahn

Fredericksburg

For those looking to go all-out this year, make a day of it and drive west to Fredericksburg. The German-rooted small town is basically the Texas Christmas capital, decked out in every kind of holiday decor you can imagine. Aside from shopping on Main Street, marveling at their 30-foot tree and authentic German Christmas pyramid, and sipping on tasty Hill Country wine, revelers can pass the time with a good old-fashioned skatefest at Eisbahn (which translates to ‘ice rink’ in German) at Marketplatz. Every year since 2008, the rink has drawn visitors from all over Texas who visit with their jingle bells on. All of the families at Heritage School volunteer to work at Eisbahn, with proceeds donated to local charities. The rink is open from November till January 2.
Cost: Tickets run $15 per person, including skate rental ($10 on Tuesdays)
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (check the calendar here)

Another half-day trip worth considering is one to Marble Falls, which sits just an hour northeast of downtown. This adorable little town, also in the Hill Country, is like escaping to the North Pole at Christmas time (as long as you ignore the Walmart Superstores en route), with lots of fun events scheduled, a famous Walkway of Lights, and one of the prettiest ice rinks in central Texas. The Winter Ice Skating Rink is open-air and surrounded by beautiful nature. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 on the day, and the rink is open until January 1.
Cost: Tickets start at $10 per person, including skate rental
Hours: Open daily from 5 pm to 10 pm

The Pond Hockey Club isn’t so much a place to drop by for a casual skate, but more of a destination to actually hone your frosty chops. Students are instructed by passionate experts on a fabulous rink designed to resemble a nearby pond, capturing the magic of winter year-round. They have beginner lessons in both ice hockey and figure skating for kids and adults, and even a curling club, too. So if you or someone you know is looking to take to the ice seriously this year, consider your mission complete.
Cost: Lesson and league prices vary
Hours: Open daily; hours vary (register and check the calendar here)

James Wong is a contributor for Thrillist.