The Best Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in the US, from East to West

November 8th, 2022

There’s an ever-growing sense of anticipation for ice skating in the winter since it means gliding over large bodies of water where you normally couldn’t. Across the US, there are many outdoor ice skating rinks that open seasonally and year-round. So, ditch the friction, both on ice and in your life, at these skating arenas in the USA.

The Rink at the Rockefeller Center – New York City, New York

people ice skating at the rockefeller center new york

High on the list of essential New York winter activities is The Rink at the Rockefeller Center. Every year, roughly 150.000 visitors join in the beloved tradition of ice skating under the golden statue of Prometheus.

Skating isn’t the only thing that people do here. In fact, so many happy couples popped the question under the dazzling Christmas lights, that you can even arrange a marriage proposal event at this skating rink. Fun fact: The idea of this attraction came in the midst of the Great Depression in 1936. Originally intended as a temporary feature, its popularity secured its spot in the Rockefeller Center, and in the hearts and minds of people around the world.

Practical information:
  • Entrance fee: $11 – $73 for general admission
  • Lessons: Available, for a fee
  • Skates rental: Available, or bring your own skates

While you’re here, get yourself a New York Explorer Pass, to save up to 40% on entrance fees to other attractions of the city! Or go luxe, and stay at some of NYC’s high-end hotels for a change.

The Sculpture Garden – Washington DC

the frozen fountain at the national gallery of art washington dc

Skating at the National Gallery of Art in DC is more rewarding because of the Sculpture Garden. Take a spin on ice, and enjoy the many great works from Louise Bourgeois, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, etc.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Sculpture Garden is decorated with twinkling lights in preparation for Christmas, which provides visitors with a unique experience. This outdoor ice rink will take you into your own winter wonderland.

Practical information:
  • Entrance fee: $12 for general admission
  • Lessons: Available, for a fee
  • Skates rental: Available, or bring your own skates

What’s the best after-skate activity, you ask? Check out this intimate private tour of the gallery, and have your most burning questions about the artworks answered.

Sugar Mountain Resort – Sugar Mountain, North Carolina

woman and child ice skating under a mountain in the winter

Further to the southwest of New York, you will find the picturesque Sugar Mountain Resort. Its outdoor rink overlooks the mighty Blue Ridge mountain range.

Sugar Mountain’s ice skating rink, with its endless rows of pine trees, is a must-see attraction in the US. Best of all, waiting for you at this location is Sugar Bear, a cuddly resident who loves to give all visitors a big hug. Sugar Mountain ice skating rink is open from December through March, weather permitting.

Practical information:
  • Entrance fee: Starting at $22 for general admission
  • Lessons: Available, for a fee
  • Skates rental: Available, or bring your own skates

McCormick Tribune Plaza, Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois

people ice skating at the mccormick tribune plaza chicago

Every winter, the McCormick Tribune Plaza in Millennium Park transforms itself into one of Chicago’s largest outdoor ice skating rinks. Completely free to the public, this venue gives you a full view of the Chicago skyline and the Chicago Christmas Tree. There are also free ice skating lessons on most Saturdays, where you can learn anything from beginner to advanced techniques. You can bring your own skates, or go hassle-free and rent it from the park – it’s that easy.

Practical information:
  • Entrance fee: Free, online registration required
  • Lessons: Available for free
  • Skates rental: Available, or bring your own skates

Wondering what to do after you skate? Support the local businesses by attending the many Christmas markets of the area. Or, check out these markets in their native land, Germany!

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park Ice Rink – Ashland, Nebraska

a child playing ice hockey on a frozen pond in the winter

Located inside the Mahoney State Park is a one-of-a-kind ice rink. Its open-air, pavilion appearance opens your view to the marvelous Nebraskan nature.

Attached to a children’s playground, this rink offers fun outdoor activities for families in the winter. Here, moms and dads can grab a hot chocolate or coffee while their kids play, or better yet, join them in the fun. Afterwards, take a hike through the Midwestern scenery, whose beauty comes alive in the Nebraskan winter.

Practical information:
  • Entrance fee: $11 for general admission, inclusive of equipment rental
  • Lessons: N/A
  • Skates rental: Available, or bring your own skates

The Ice Rink – Las Vegas, Nevada

people skating at the ice rink in las vegas strip

Las Vegas is famous for its blinding casinos and scorching heat. But what you probably don’t know is that it’s also home to one of the most spectacular ice skating rinks in the US. Named succinctly “The Ice Rink”, this venue sits atop the Las Vegas Strip, and is a delight for visitors of the glamorous city.
In the middle of the rink is a toasty fire pit that adds to the festive atmosphere and winter fun. The best part? You don’t have to arrange your own activities, as there are special events happening throughout the season. For example, enjoy a movie night under the stars with Date Skate, or go wild with the Marquee Night Circus party.

Practical information:
  • Entrance fee: $30 for general admission
  • Lessons: N/A
  • Skates rental: Available, or bring your own skates

Don’t be afraid to splurge in Sin City. Book a helicopter tour over the Las Vegas Strip, and enjoy the entertainment capital of the world from above.

Nancy Lake Canoe Loop – Big Lake, Alaska

two people ice skating on a frozen lake in the winter

Why limit yourself to one rink? Why not have 13? That’s exactly what the Nancy Lake Loop offers you. This outdoor rink is part of nature in the Big Lake region of Alaska, which oversees many lakes and ponds that are frozen solid in the cold season.
Skate away into the mystical Alaskan winter landscape, and take in all of its wilderness. We suggest bringing some gear for the most fierce battle of pond hockey you will ever have. Or, bring a +1 for a truly romantic and unforgettable experience.

Practical information:
  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Lessons: N/A
  • Skates rental: Not available, so bring your own skates

There’s much to see in Alaska. Explore more of this state through this guided winter valley and forest hike in Anchorage, just an hour away from Big Lake!

Ready to glide away? If so, chill out this winter with our top outdoor ice skating rinks and explore the great nature of the US – You won’t regret it!

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