Whether your family is hitting the rink for the very first time or your kids have already taken several ice skating lessons, gliding on one of the outdoor ice skating rinks around Boston can be a fun, affordable way for families to get outside and stay active in the wintertime. Read on for some of our favorite rinks in the Boston area, with offerings like gorgeous city views and snack bars where you can warm up with a cup of hot cocoa.
We recommend checking the rinks' official websites to verify the public skating hours haven't changed or been affected by the weather.
Ice Skating at Boston Common Frog Pond is a winter tradition. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
1. Boston Common Frog Pond—Boston
Set in the heart of Boston Common, the Frog Pond is packed with energy and rimmed by trees and some of Boston's most iconic buildings. Skate rentals and sharpening available. There’s a café for snacking and hot cocoa is available at the rental station.
2. Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink—Brookline
Located in stately, pastoral, 64-acre Larz Anderson Park, the Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink offers a snack bar, therapeutic skating, skating lessons, season passes, skate rentals and sharpening. When there’s snow on the ground, there's also nearby sledding.
3. Kelly Outdoor Skating Rink—Jamaica Plain
Some might say that the best thing here is the price, while others appreciate the family and neighborhood atmosphere. Neighborhood children practice skating to the sound of Motown and soul music pulsing out of the speakers. Low cost skate rentals are available. Note that the 100’ by 65’ rink can get crowded at times. Lessons are offered on Saturdays. This rink is run by the DCR; visit its website for a complete list of DCR indoor and outdoor skating rinks.
The Kendall Square rink has a distinctive shape that invites socializing, and a snack bar. Photo courtesy of Kendall Square
4. Kendall Square Community Outdoor Ice Skating—East Cambridge
Tucked right off of Third Street in Kendall Square, the Kendall Square Community Skating Rink has a modern feel with its amoeba-shaped rink and well-groomed ice. Locker rentals, skate rentals, skate sharpening, season passes, and a snack bar are all available.
5. Winter Skate at Patriot Place—Foxborough
The 60-by-140-foot, refrigerated ice surface is designed specifically for recreational skating, non-contact hockey and figure skating. The rink features an observation deck for non-skaters. It is large enough to accommodate beginners and experts alike. On-site skate rentals, concessions and bathrooms are available, and parking is free.
6. MarketStreet Rink—Lynnfield
This 50-by-100-foot rink is nestled in the middle of an upscale shopping center that includes Whole Foods, J. Crew, J.P. Licks (for the best cocoa), and more. The rink plays holiday music and is illuminated by snowflake lights at night.
7. The Providence Rink at Alex and Ani City Center—Providence
Worth the drive? Yes! Plan a day trip to nearby Providence in the wintertime and make skating at the Providence Rink a highlight. Skate aids are available for little ones who are learning; and don't miss a spin on the bumper cars!
8. Featherland Ice Skating Rink—Sudbury
Located near Featherland Park's upper baseball field, this rink has no set hours of admission—which means as long as there's ice (and you've got skates), you can skate! Nighttime skaters will find lighting available. The rink opens to the public once weather temperatures are conducive to freezing, so if you're unsure if it's open, it's a good bet to call ahead.
A version of this article originally published December 2011.