Where to Go Ice Skating in DC This Winter
From an epic ice maze to open-air rinks near the monuments.
If there’s a quintessential winter activity, it is undoubtedly ice skating. After all, there are few more humbling experiences than taking a few spills on a frozen surface, and if you’re an expert, no better way to showcase your grace than by gliding your way around a rink. While there is something quaint about frozen pond skating, here in our nation’s capital, it can be a little difficult to find an iced-over body of water. But luckily, there are places aplenty that temporarily turn fountains and walkways into skating rinks for the winter season.
We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite places to go ice skating in DC, as well as a few fabulous food and drink options in the vicinity that can fuel (or re-fuel) after hitting the ice this winter.
The flashiest ice skating spot in the District is totally worth the trip this holiday season. The main destination at Enchant Christmas is a 90,000-square-foot maze decked out in twinkling lights. You can skate through the trail, following the winding path, then skate right off to find yourself a food or beverage vendor to keep you warm from the Enchant Village, which features holiday gifts and treats from local vendors and artisans, including favorites like Arepa Zone and Ben’s Chili Bowl. Tickets for the rink range from $29 to $39 based on time of day and skate rentals are $10.
One of the most beautiful ice rinks in the city is undoubtedly located in the NGA’s sculpture garden. With a backdrop of towering sculptures, skating in this rink is somewhat akin to gliding through a museum, and at night, a string of lights provides romantic mood lighting that makes this rink an ideal date spot. The Pavillion Cafe is always a good option for some light bites, and if that doesn’t quite do it for you, there are plenty of food trucks in the vicinity as well.
Note that tickets are sold for 45-minute sessions at the top of the hour, and are available every day. You can buy tickets on-site, which cost $10 for adults, and $9 for children, students, and those over 50. Skate rentals are $4.
The Southwest Waterfront is always buzzy—unexpectedly, this is especially true in the winter. With Christmas lights, trees, and even a pyramid of rum barrels decorated with Christmas wreaths, The Wharf Ice Rink is a special experience, overlooking the water and lit up by Edison lightbulbs overhead. The rink is open daily, and you can purchase tickets on-site at $12 for adults and $9 for kids 12 and under, plus skate rentals for $6. Post-skating snack options abound at the Wharf, and some favorites in the area include The Grill, Mi Vida, Kaliwa, and newly opened Du Jour. If you’re feeling a bit fancier and want to reward yourself for a job well done, check out Kevin Tien’s incomparable Moon Rabbit or the perennially popular fine dining scene at Del Mar or Officina.
If you’re looking to capitalize on size, check out the Pentagon Row outdoor ice skating rink, the very largest in the area at 6,840 square feet. The rink is open every day, and as an added bonus, group and private lessons are available for folks looking to up the ante and improve their skating skills. The rink area also features an outdoor stone fireplace for lounging during skating breaks. Purchase tickets and make reservations online; admission is $11 for adults and $10 for children, and skates cost $5. After skating, check out restaurants including Asia Bistro, Saigon Saigon, and Siné Irish Pub & Lounge.
For another waterfront ice skating experience open every day, head over to Georgetown where the famous fountain is replaced by an ice skating rink. This is certainly one of the buzzier options in the area, which comes as little surprise given the wealth of other attractions to be found in Georgetown. You can reserve tickets online, with prices starting at $9 for children, seniors, and members of the military, and $10 for adults. Skate rentals are $6. There’s also plenty of food to be had in the immediate vicinity, including Farmers Fishers Bakers and Nick’s Riverside Grill, as well as treats to be found further into Georgetown. If you’re looking for something sweet, be sure to check out Levain for the shop’s famous cookies, or Baked and Wired for the best cupcakes in town.
Downtown Silver Spring
Surrounded by great food and great shopping, this ice rink also features a great skating school for youngsters (and adults) interested in refining their skills. Reservations are required (and can be made online), and the rink is open daily. Tickets are $11 for adults and $10 for children and seniors; skate rentals are available for $5.
Rockville Ice Skating’s rink is open daily for public skating. After making an advance reservation (which can be made up to two weeks in advance), you’ll have 80 minutes of ice time, and lessons are also available for hockey, figure skating, and everything in between. Tickets are $11 for adults and $10 for children and seniors; skate rentals are $5.