LA's Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks from Downtown to Thousand Oaks
One thing Angelenos love doing during the winter months is pretending that it’s winter, and the most fun way we do it is by turning parking lots and other open spaces into outdoor skating rinks for the holidays. Whether your family is trying skating for the first time, or you've got budding athletes looking for a change of scenery from indoor skating lessons, nothing says Southern California quite like the sight of kids and families in tank tops and mittens gliding merrily in the sunshine.
Our best Mom Tip? Be sure to bring along a change of clothes; Southland ice rinks on a sunny day have more in common with a Slip 'n' Slide than with a frozen mountain lake, and falling with a splash is only funny when you know there are dry clothes waiting.
These rinks generally come back year after year - and most offer skating lessons and birthday parties, too:
ICE at Santa Monica
1324 Fifth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
November 2, 2012–January 21, 2013
Mon-Thu: 2pm-10pm (during school break 10am-10pm)
Fri: 2pm–Midnight (during school break 10am-Midnight)
Admission & Skate rental $12
Locker Rental $10 (w/ $5 refund upon key return)
The seasonal ice skating rink, ICE at Santa Monica, has become a regular part of the beach city's scene, setting up in a parking lot on the corner of 5th and Arizona, just steps from Third Street Promenade. Skate rentals are included with the price of admission, and hot dogs, cocoa, and other treats are available rinkside.
Skating lessons are offered most days, and an event tent is available for birthday parties.
Woodland Hills Ice
6100 Topanga Canyon
Westfield Shoppingtown Promenade
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
November 8, 2012 - January 27, 2013
Mon-Thu (non holiday): 1pm-10pm
Fri (non holiday): 1pm-Midnight
Sat & Holidays: 9am-Midnight
Adults $10/session; Children (4-12) $7/session; Students & Seniors $8/session; All-day pass $12; Skate rental $5
Woodland Hills Ice opens for business each autumn, setting up 7000 festive square feet of outdoor skating rink at Westfield Shoppingtown Promenade throughout the chilly(ish) months. The rink is the San Fernando Valley's only outdoor, open-air ice rink, where families can skate and get a tan by day, or enjoy skating under the sunset and stars by night.
Birthday parties and lessons are available, as are frequent skater cards. The ice closes only during very heavy rain.
Spectrum Ice Rink
71 Fortune Drive
November 1, 2012 - February 18, 2013
Adults $14; Children $12 Skate rental $3; Helmets free
The Spectrum's seasonal ice rink is open for business in Giant Wheel Court, welcoming OC families who want to glide across the ice in the SoCal sunshine and give new meaning to Orange Slushy. Parties are available, and season passes cost $129; for more information call 949.748.8280.
Downtown on Ice
532 South Olive St,
November 16, 2012—January 14, 2013
Christmas & New Year 12pm-10pm
MLK Day 11am-10pm
(Times above subject to change)
The annual Downtown on Ice outdoor holiday skating rink has been an LA institution for many years. Families glide under sun and stars, enjoying free concerts on many days (see schedule). Other events at the ice rink include youth programs with shows for kids on Saturdays.
Extended skating hours of 10am to 10pm daily apply during school vacation time. Underground parking is available, and discounts are given with skating validation. Discounts are also available on city buses. Parties are an option here, too.
LA Kings Holiday Ice
800 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
November 24, 2012—January 2, 2013
Mon-Fri 5pm-11:30pm (ice cleaning break 7:30pm-8pm)
Sat-Sun 3pm-11:30pm (ice cleaning break 7:30pm-8pm)
After December 16, all days are weekend schedule.
Adults $13; Kids (under 5) $6; skate rental included
Downtown's other seasonal ice rink has grown up to become real competition for the Pershing Square rink. Once tiny and brief - more to look at than partake in - the rink at LA Live is now one of the largest in LA, adorned by a giant, family photo-worthy Christmas tree in the center. The ice quality is surprisingly good, and the setting is festive and fun. One thing to be aware of, though, is that each evening from 6pm-6:30pm the ice is cleared for red carpet presentations of major donations to the Children's Hospital.
Note that although the address is listed as Olympic Blvd., the rink faces onto Chick Hearn; closest parking is Lot W, entrance B, on Chick Hearn (price varies from $10-$20 depending upon Staples/Nokia Plaza events). Some of the restaurants at LA Live offer Supper and Skate specials.
The Lakes Holiday Ice Rink
2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
November 16, 2012 - January 14, 2013 (subject to change)
Admission $9 per person
Skate rental $3 figure skates, $4 hockey skates
Thousand Oaks' rink sets up at The Lakes next to the Civic Arts Plaza. Ventura County families can hit the ice every 90 minutes (then, for the full winter effect, take a 30 minute cocoa break while the zamboni does its job).
CHILL Skating Rink
930 Hilgard Avenue
LA, CA 90024
November 16, 2012 - January 3, 2013
$10 (includes skate rental)
The outdoor pool at the W Hotel, which normally goes by the name "WET," changes its name to "CHILL" for the holiday season, transforming into an outdoor skating rink, surrounded by Christmas trees, twinkling lights, and faux snow. The "ice" is actually an eco-friendly plastic, so no worries about sunshine melting it back into a swimming pool. Lessons and performances are available, too; check with the rink for schedules.
New this year, Culver City's downtown shopping district has a holiday ice rink to call its own. Parking in the Ince public lot across the street is free for the first two hours.
Beverly Hills Holiday Ice Rink
455 North Rexford Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
December 1, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Sun-Thu 12n-9pm; Fri-Sat 12n-10pm
Adults $15; Children (under 12) $11
Downtown Beverly Hills gets in on the ice action this year, with its first seasonal ice rink set up in front of City Hall. Charges are per one hour session. Parking is available at 450 N. Crescent Drive; the first two hours are free with validation. The rink is closed on Christmas day.
The Queen Mary down in Long Beach presents its own icy paradise this year, including a real ice skating rink, ice tubing, and a magical ice kingdom of sculptures and decorations (see our full review). Each attraction has its own admission price, but all include admission to the ship. Note that official Queen Mary parking costs $20; it's definitely worth looking for street parking.
Other rinks pop up around the city - sometimes for as briefly as a day (yes, Malibu, we're looking at you!) - so keep an eye on our events calendar to catch all the fun!
Originally published November 6, 2011