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 are the rinks that generally come back year after year, and most offer skating lessons and birthday parties, too. Note that a few rinks from seasons past (Redondo, San Pedro, Culver City) are not returning this year.
There is nothing quite like skating in the balmy sunshine, steps from Santa Monica Beach.
ICE at Santa Monica
1324 Fifth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.496.9880 or 310.260.1199
November 1, 2017–January 15, 2018
Mon-Thu: 2pm-10pm (during school break 10am-10pm)
Fri: 2pm–Midnight (during school break 10am-Midnight)
Admission & Skate rental $15
Locker Rental $10 (w/ $5 refund upon key return)
Now in its 11th season, 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. The annual Grand Opening Celebration, with a show by elite skaters and free skating all night, is on November 8. Group and private skating lessons are offered through the Randy Gardner School of Skating, and an event tent is available for birthday parties.
Irvine Spectrum Center. Photo by Allen Ling
Spectrum Ice Rink
71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
November 3, 2017–January 7, 2018
(see website for hours)
Adults & Children $20 (including skate rental), or $18 (bring your own skates); Toddlers $16 (includes skate rental; see website for sizes); Helmets $5
Ice scooters $5
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. Check the rink's website for specific session times; admission is for one session, between ice cleanings. Parties are available, and season passes (no black-out dates) cost $199; for more information call 949.748.8280.
The Lakes at Thousand Oaks Ice Rink
2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
November 9, 2017 - January 28, 2018
Mon-Thu 12pm-9pm, Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-9pm (check website for holiday hours)
Admission $15 per person (includes skate rental)
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).
Even Snoopy loves skating in Pershing Square. Photo courtesy of Downtown on Ice
Downtown on Ice
532 South Olive Street
November 16, 2017—January 15, 2018
Christmas & New Year 1pm-9:30pm
(Times above subject to change)
Other special holiday and vacation hours are on the website.
Admission $9 per one-hour session; Skate rental $4
The annual Downtown on Ice outdoor holiday skating rink has been an LA institution for 17 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, and an annual skate date for Snoopy and world champion pair skater Tai Babilonia.
Extended skating hours 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.
Photo courtesy of Woodland Hills Ice (now Holiday Ice Westfield Topanga)
Holiday Ice Westfield Topanga
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Canoga Park, CA 91303
November 17, 2017 - January 14, 2018
(check website for hours)
Adults $19; Kids (skate size 4 and under) $14; skate rental included
Woodland Hills Ice was taken over by the LA Kings last year, as one of their Holiday Ice projects. Visitors to the shopping center can take a break from holiday shopping and experience the wonder of skating in the San Fernando Valley.
Holiday Ice at The Pike Outlets
95 S. Pine Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802
November 17, 2017 - January 8, 2018
(check website for hours)
Adults $16; Toddlers (toddler shoe size 4 and under) $10; skate rental included
The LA Kings opened another holiday rink last season, at this waterfront entertainment district offering restaurants, a theater, and a Ferris wheel.
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LA Kings Holiday Ice Rink offers great holiday photo ops with that giant, sparkling tree in the middle.
LA Kings Holiday Ice
800 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
November 25, 2017 - December 21, 2017
(see website for hours)
Adults $20; Kids (6 and under) $15; 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.
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.
RELATED: CHILL at the Queen Mary—An Icy Holiday Tradition
Chill on the ice. Photo courtesy of The Queen Mary
CHILL at the Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802
December 13, 2017 - January 7, 2018
Adults (ages 9+) $30 and up; Children (8 and younger) $19 and up
The Queen Mary down in Long Beach presents its own icy paradise, including a real ice skating rink with a vintage cruise liner for a backdrop, ice tubing, and, new this year, an Ice Adventure Park and a tribute to the Christmas traditions of Germany, Switzerland, China, Russia, Holland, and the North Pole, featuring live entertainment, food, music, and storytelling (see our full review of last year's CHILL). Note that there is no a la carte pricing; skating only comes with the whole event ticket. Buying tickets in advance online is the cheapest way to go. Once inside, kids can skate as long as they like and ride the ice tubes as often as they like. Official Queen Mary parking costs $20, so it's definitely worth looking for other parking options or public transport.
Photo courtesy of The Rink in Downtown Burbank
The Rink in Downtown Burbank
150 N. 3rd St.
Burbank, CA 91502
December 14, 2017 - January 7, 2018
Sun-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11:30pm
$10; Skate rental $6
Downtown Burbank brings back its outdoor skating rink for the second year, adjacent to City Hall at Third Street and Orange Grove. The 4,100 square foot rink accommodates up to 165 skaters per session and promises themed entertainment, twinkling lights, and joyful music. Little ones can rent skating seals to lean on ($8), which are also great for holiday snaps! Skating classes hosted by Pickwick Ice are offered Saturday mornings as well as a Learn to Curl class by Hollywood Curling. Free parking is available at structures throughout Downtown Burbank.
Other rinks pop up around the city - sometimes for as briefly as a day - so keep an eye on our events calendar to catch all the fun!
Originally published November 6, 2011