Winter Fun-derland

Evaluating seasonal ice skating venues

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Winter Fun-derland

Beautiful views of the figure-8 shaped ice skating rink in Canal Park.

Beautiful views of the figure-8 shaped ice skating rink in Canal Park.

Camille Blakemore

Beautiful views of the figure-8 shaped ice skating rink in Canal Park.

Camille Blakemore

Camille Blakemore

Beautiful views of the figure-8 shaped ice skating rink in Canal Park.

Camille Blakemore, Reporter

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Looking for a fun way to get out and exercise in the winter months? Ice skating is a great way to hang out with your friends while burning off a little of that holiday weight! While there are a few indoor rinks that operate year round, a large array of outdoor venues spring to life from November to March. They serve as a place to revel in the holiday spirit and enjoy the outdoors in a season which tends to drive people into hibernation.

Located in the heart of our nation’s capital, ice skating at the National Gallery can be a wonderful experience. DC is beautiful during the winter time- albeit chilly. It is so beautiful, in fact that the breathtaking views are often clouded by your own breath in the frigid air. Whether it is snow dusting the monuments or a crisp winter breeze whisking past the Capitol- this is truly a quintessential DC experience. Admission for students with ID is $8 with $4 skate rental. For your admission cost, you get two 45” back to back sessions (separated by a period for the Zamboni) on the Sculpture Garden rink. The Pavilion Café is located on site with an array of deli-style delicious food as well as a good variety of hot drinks to help you warm up after a skating session. They serve many hot drinks such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and cider. It even has specialty seasonal drinks such as pumpkin spice lattes. Unfortunately, if the federal government is shut down, so is this rink.

The Wharf Ice Rink is located on Transit Pier across from the Anthem. It is $12 to skate, plus $6 rentals, note this venue is cash free! As it is located over the water, beautiful views and boat watching opportunities are a given. With lots of nearby restaurants and old-fashioned Edison lights strung above, this would be the perfect setting for a winter date or a night out with friends.

Camille Blakemore
Reston Relaxin’: McLean sophomore Rylee Schaar enjoys skating at Reston Town Center.

Reston Town Center is a perennial McLean favorite. The cost for an unlimited session is $10 to skate, and $6 skate rental. This rink is especially nice as it has shops and restaurants aplenty surrounding it. The Town Center is decorated beautifully for the holidays, with one big Christmas tree and other trees wrapped in sparkly white lights, giving it a magical glow. On the plus side, there are minimal disruptions from the Zamboni. One negative aspect is that it gets crowded, especially as the rink size is very limited. 

Canal Park Ice, in southwest D.C., is near the Capitol and Nationals Park. One benefit of the location is the many nearby shops and restaurants, always available if you need a break. With 2 hour skating for $9 and $5 for rental, the price point is about average. The rink, however, is not. A unique figure-eight shape defines this venue, with skinnier sides and a larger, more open center. Though the figure-eight shape was as promised, it was a bit of a disappointment that the skating occurred in a traditional circular fashion, with some skaters doing tricks in the center. One perk was that the rink was not very crowded, and left plenty of space for each patron. The ambiance was also through the (open air) roof, with twinkle lights hung everywhere and top hits blaring through the frigid air. 

Overall, with a reasonable price, an interestingly-shaped rink, uncongested skating, a welcoming, music-filled atmosphere, and an assortment of nearby retailers and food options, Canal Park Ice seems to be the most qualified destination for your ice skating adventures. Rest assured, though, that no matter the venue, ice skating is sure to bring you rosy cheeks and memories that will last for years. 

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