Southern California isn’t known for snowy winters, but with a little Hollywood magic, we can still enjoy winter activities here in LA. Treat yourself to some icy fun at one of the ice skating rinks around the city. These family-friendly rinks offer more than just skates—from wintry food and drinks to ice tubing and meeting Santa, there’s something for everyone.
Downtown on Ice: LA doesn’t typically seem like much of a winter wonderland, until, that is, you create an ice skating rink right in the midst of Downtown skyscrapers and LA icons. Come glide and pretend there’s snow on the ground at Pershing Square’s outdoor holiday skating rink—one of the biggest in the city. Throughout the season, the square will play host to a plethora of free events, including a Snoopy skating showcase, a singles skate and a polar bear event, to name a few.
LA Kings Holiday Ice at Nokia Plaza LA Live: Skate around the dazzling Christmas tree that stands in the middle of this outdoor rink, and take in an LED holiday light show on the huge screens around the plaza. For the perfect date-night, book the Supper and Skating deal, which includes a prix-fixe dinner at a handful of LA Live restaurants, skate rentals and skating admission for only $30 per person.
ICE at Santa Monica: Located just minutes from the Pacific Ocean, ICE in downtown Santa Monica (1324 5th St at Arizona) is a full-service 8,000-square-foot outdoor rink. Watch broomball games, take up skating lessons (there are even LA Kings hockey clinics for kids), or host a party at the rink and get your own private cabana. For $15, rent skates and strut your stuff on the ice alongside children and adults. No need to pack snacks, there’s a concession stand on site, serving hot cocoa and kid-friendly bites. For the little ones, visit the Tot Spot, an enclosed rink for 6 and under. The rink is open from early November through Martin Luther King Day. Check the website for operating hours at other times.
Irvine Spectrum Center’s Holidays on Ice: If you’re in the OC and dreaming of a white Christmas, Holiday on Ice at the Irvine Spectrum Center is your answer. Located in Giant Wheel Court by Nordstrom and Macy’s, this tented rink offers the perfect time out from shopping. When renting skates, be sure to request a free helmet—recommended for adults and children alike. Following each 75min skating session, the rink is closed for resurfacing, so you’ll never have to skate on slush. Head to the adjacent ferris wheel during the 15 minutes the rink is closed for nonstop fun. Check the website for the full schedule and details.
Woodland Hills Ice: Recreational skating, professional skating exhibitions, group classes, private lessons and even birthday parties are all on offer at this outdoor rink—the only one of its kind in the SFV. Glide on more than 7,000 square feet of ice, located at the Westfield Promenade in Woodland Hills (6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd). Check the website for special events, including a grand opening party on Nov 15.
Downtown Disney Winter Village: Disneyland’s holiday celebrations spread outside the gates of the happiest place on earth with an ice skating rink around Downtown Disney’s Christmas tree. Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink and its surrounding shopping chalets pay homage to the new animated movie of the same name; expect plenty of icy, Norwegian flair and a little bit of hat hair—helmets are required to skate.
Chill at the Queen Mary: Cozy up—and make sure to bring your jacket—to the Queen Mary for Chill. It’s the time of year when the iconic ship is transformed into a Winter Wonderland, with an ice kingdom featuring frozen sculptures, a castle, an ice queen, a towering 100-foot ice slide for tubing and a 6,500-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink in front of the ship. It’s all housed in 9-degree temperatures to keep from melting. Slip on some skates and glide across the rink, made with real ice and decked out in string lights. Check the website for more details—there’s even a holiday village with visits from Santa Claus, gingerbread-house decorating, a Candy Lane maze and more.
The Rink in Downtown Burbank: Quench those clichés about the heat in the Valley with a 90 minute session in Downtown Burbank. Winter sports aren’t exactly a pastime in LA, so little ones—and those of us who look helpless on the ice—can rent Bobby the Seal, an adorable, plastic skating aid. The rink (Third St and Orange Grove Ave) is introducing themed nights this year, including Ugly Sweater Mondays, ’80s Night Wednesdays and Thursday Night Fever (8-10pm), as well as performances by the Los Angeles Ice Theater (Sat in Dec, 5:45pm).