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 delightful (or humbling) experiences than making a few laps on a frozen surface, perhaps while taking a few spills. While you may be able to find a quaint frozen pond in more northerly latitudes, here in our nation’s capital, we have iconic riverside rinks and spaces decked out in holiday lights that transform into skating rinks for the winter. So to help you find the best place to lace up your skates, we’ve rounded up a few of the best ice skating rinks in DC, as well as a few food and drink options in the vicinity for refueling after hitting the ice this winter.
Operated by nonprofit organization Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, this indoor ice skating rink uses a portion of all revenues to help support the organization’s Kids on Ice programming, which provides ice sports instruction to DC youth. You can buy tickets online for $12 for adults and $10 for children. Skate rentals are $5. When you’re done, head over to Bluejacket for a beverage or Albi for an all-out feast of Middle Eastern fare.
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 Enchant experience start at $23 for children and $32 for adults, and access to the skating rink is an additional $15 for children and $18 for adults (skates are included).
One of the most beautiful ice rinks in the city is undoubtedly located in the National Gallery of Art’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 as well. The Pavillion Cafe is always a good option for some light bites (including, of course, hot cocoa), and if that doesn’t quite do it for you, there are plenty of food trucks in the vicinity as well. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for children 12 and under, military service members, and students. Skate rentals are $6.
If you’re looking to capitalize on size, check out the Pentagon Row outdoor ice skating rink, which is the 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 $6. After skating, check out restaurants including Asia Bistro, Saigon Saigon, and Zen Bistro & Wine Bar.
Rockville’s ice skating 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.
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.
Head over to Georgetown where the famous fountain is replaced by an ice skating rink every winter. 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 $7. There’s also plenty of food to be had in the immediate vicinity, including Farmers Fishers Bakers and Fiola Mare, 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.
With Christmas lights, trees, and even a pyramid of rum barrels decorated with wreaths, The Wharf Ice Rink is a magical experience. The rink is open daily, and you can purchase tickets on-site at $13 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under, plus skate rentals for $7. Post-skating snack options abound at The Wharf, and some favorites in the area include The Grill, Mi Vida, Kaliwa, and newly opened food and beverage options at The Pendry. 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 sushi hot spot Nara-Ya.