10 Best Cool Places to Ice Skate

  • Hôtel de Ville

    Hôtel de Ville in Paris, France

    Ice skating has long been a winter pastime all over the globe, and Paris is no exception. Each year, the city sets up a public outdoor rink in front of the stunning Paris City Hall. There's even a smaller rink dedicated to novice and very young skaters. The best part? It's free.

    Photo courtesy of Jean-Philippe Bourque

  • Somerset House

    Somerset House in London

    Londoners have their pick of several ice rinks, but the one at Somerset House is a perennial favorite. The outdoor rink, set in an eighteenth century courtyard, includes a Skate School and special Penguin Club for young skaters. If you can't make it to Somerset, head to the Natural History Museum, Hyde Park, Canary Wharf or Tower of London instead.

    Photo courtesy of Chris March

  • Rockefeller Center

    Rockefeller Center in New York City

    It doesn't get much more quintessentially winter than skating at Rockefeller Center in New York. With the country's most famous Christmas tree, Rockefeller Center's rink is one of the most popular winter attractions in the city. The rink only accommodates 150 skaters at a time, so time your visit during a weekday morning to get the most for your money.

    Photo courtesy of petercruise

  • Rathaus

    Rathaus in Vienna, Austria

    If you can handle the chilly weather, you'll find Vienna very charming in the winter months. The enormous Rathaus ice skating rink draws over half a million visitors each year – not surprising given the size of the rink and the impressive backdrop of the Vienna town hall.

    Photo courtesy of Boris Tylevich

  • Bonsecours Basin

    Bonsecours Basin in Montreal

    Montreal's Old Port and Bonsecours Basin enjoy some of the best views the city has to offer. Each winter, the basin is transformed into a giant skating rink, and you'll even have music to skate to as you choreograph your next great routine. If you get too cold, head to Montreal's extensive Underground City entertainment complex.

    Photo courtesy of Karl Baron

  • Boston Common

    Boston Common in Boston, MA

    Each winter, the Boston Common Frog Pond comes alive as families and couples hit the ice. While you'll have to pay a fee to skate here, the rink does provide rental services, a skating school and a snack hut selling hot chocolate and snacks. Skating is weather dependent, particularly early or late in the season, so call ahead.

    Photo courtesy of Alan Huett

  • Nathan Philips Square

    Nathan Philips Square in Toronto

    Take in the sights of downtown Toronto with a pair of skates strapped on at Nathan Phillips Square. Glide beneath the lit up Freedom Arches or stop to watch all the action from the roof terrace. Don't have your own skates? Don't worry. You can rent them right at the rink.

    Photo courtesy of Benson Kua

  • St. Gallen

    St. Gallen, Switzerland

    Switzerland seems made for winter sports, and the three frozen lakes, or Dreilinden, perched above the town of St. Gallen offer ice skating in a beautiful natural setting when the ice is thick enough. While you can't rent skates, you don't actually need them. Head out to slide around on your shoes.

    Photo courtesy of Kecko

  • Central Park

    Central Park, New York City

    Within New York's sprawling Central Park, you can take to the ice at the south end Wollman Rink or the north end Lasker Rink. Both offer rentals and lockers, as well as picturesque views of the surrounding skyscrapers. You'll also have much more room to maneuver than at Rockefeller's rink.

    Photo courtesy of Rambling Traveler

  • Rideau Canal

    Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada

    The Rideau Canal Skateway in downtown Ottawa stretches nearly five miles, making it the largest skating rink on the planet. If you get cold while skating that sizable distance, you can warm up at rest stops complete with fires and warming winter beverages along the way.

    Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tourism / Tourisme Ottawa

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