“Lace up your skates and triple axel ’round the District at these ice skating rinks”
DC’s year-round temps are pretty moderate, but during the winter – when cold Canadian winds whistle down the Potomac and Anacostia rivers – Washingtonians bundle up for a day (or a night) on the ice. Public ice skating rinks can be found in multiple neighborhoods in DC, so check out the best places to hit the ice in the nation’s capital:
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Imagine this: Ice skating amid magnificent works of art and towering sculptures in a lush garden. The ice rink at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden is a quintessential winter experience in Washington, DC. It opens up in mid-November and lasts until mid-March, and it’s a scenic atmosphere is firmly planted on the National Mall.
The Scene: This rink has a romantic vibe. Maybe it’s the art. Maybe it’s the smaller, cozier rink. Maybe it’s the starry sky above. Maybe it’s the single string of lights surrounding the rink like glowing candles. It rates an A+ for creative date ideas. But you’ll see plenty of multi-generational families too, due to its central location.
Insider Info: Tickets are sold in two-hour sessions beginning on the hour. If you aren’t prepared to begin skating at the top of the hour, you could end up waiting a while to skate. This is especially true during crowded weekends. To make the most of your time, buy your ticket first and if time permits, take the opportunity to visit the works of art in the surrounding Sculpture Garden.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.;
Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Open Nov. 15, 2019 – March 15, 2020 (weather permitting).
Cost: $9 adults, $8 children/age 50+/students, $4 rentals
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004
This beloved winter festival makes its home in DC at the gorgeous Nationals Park throughout the holiday season. Not only is there an ice skating trail, but visitors will also find a large holiday market offering products from more than 60 vendors and plenty of Instagram-friendly settings.
The Scene: Enchant is an event for everyone. With so many things to see, do and eat, everyone from families and couples to groups of all ages will want to come to Southeast DC and explore the happening Capitol Riverfront.
Insider Info: Get in the holiday spirit and celebrate at this one-of-a-kind event in the nation’s capital. The ice-skating trail is adorned with festive lights and you can bring your own skates. And the best part? Ice skating is included with the price of admission.
Hours: From Nov. 22 – Dec. 12: Monday-Thursday, 4:30-10:30 p.m.;
Friday-Sunday, 4:30-11:30 p.m.; from Dec. 13-30: Monday-Sunday 4:30-11:30 p.m. Open Nov. 22 – Dec. 29, 2019.
Cost: Admission to Enchant ranges from $14.99 – $33.99 depending on your age and the time of day
Enchant Christmas at Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Most of the year, Washington Harbour in Georgetown greets visitors with spectacular waterworks: a dancing fountain surrounded by half a dozen restaurants. But when the cool temps settle in, the fountain transforms into prime ice skating real estate. After dark is when it’s most magical, with dozens of twinkling white snowflakes lighting up the rink.
The Scene: Since it’s open from mid-November until March, the ice rink is a bit of a novelty, attracting lots of people every single day, even Christmas Day. With classes offered for kids ages 3 and older, as well as for adults, you’ll see families with children. But it’s also a date night winner since it’s so easy to grab a drink or bite to eat at one of the surrounding restaurants.
Insider Info: This is the largest outdoor ice skating rink in DC and certain days of the week offer skating specials and themes: Two for Tuesday Skate (2 for 1 admission from 4-6 p.m.), College Night Skate Thursdays ($2 off admission with valid ID), Cartoon Skate Saturdays (fun morning skate from 10 a.m. to noon) and Rock the Rink Saturday nights (8-10 p.m.).
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 12-9 p.m.; Friday, 12-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.;
Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Open Nov. 15, 2019 – March 15, 2020.
Cost: $10 adults, $9 children/seniors/military, $6 rentals
Washington Harbour Ice Rink, 3050 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
The Wharf Ice Rink
Southwest is the place to be this winter – specifically the skating rink on The Wharf’s Transit Pier. Yes, with so many things to see and do at The Wharf you could spend a week here, but gliding across this riverfront ice rink underneath the evening glow of Edison bulbs is a can’t-miss winter experience.
The Scene: Foodies, families and friends. The Wharf has transformed the home to the nation’s longest continually operating open-air fish market into a year-round destination for visitors of all ages. With 20-plus restaurants and bars, shops from local artisans and global brands come on board, the destination remains fresh and inspired. The best thing to pair your ice-skating experience with is a concert at any of the three music venues!
Insider Info: The Wharf’s ice rink opens at the end of November and stays open until the end of February, weather permitting. Located just four blocks from the National Mall, The Wharf is accessible by Metro, a free shuttle bus and even water taxi. Local residents can enjoy a $2 discount on Mondays with a valid ID from the 20024 ZIP code.
Hours: Monday-Tuesday, 12-6 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 12-10 p.m.;
Friday-Saturday, 12-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11-9 p.m. Open Nov. 26, 2019 – late February 2020.
Cost: $12 adults, $10 age 65+/active military, $8 children, $6 rentals
The Wharf Ice Rink on Transit Pier, 960 Wharf Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
The Watergate Hotel’s Top of the Skate
Top of the Gate, one of the District’s most popular rooftop bars at The Watergate Hotel, transforms into Top of the Skate, a winter wonderland complete with 360-degree views of the city skyline and nearby Arlington, Va. Enjoy a unique skating experience on the rooftop’s synthetic rink, which has a skate-up bar serving seasonal cocktails both warm and cold (think spiced apple cider with bourbon, warmth-inducing Kentucky hug included) and an a la carte snack menu that adds to the cozy winter vibes.
The Scene: A younger crowd may venture here seeking the perfect cityscape Instagram, but Top of the Skate is open to skaters as young as five. Whether you’re seeking homey after-work drinks or searching for the perfect all-ages weekend activity, The Watergate Hotel is the place to be.
Insider Info: If you’re more into lounging than skating, Top of the Skate has fire pits and couches for the ultimate chill experience. Cap off your skating session with a luxury igloo experience (yes, luxury igloo) downstairs at The Next Whisky Bar, where 12-foot heated domes on the bar’s outdoor terrace are available to rent for parties of 2-8 people.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-10 p.m. Opens mid-November.
Cost: $20 adults, $10 children
The Watergate Hotel, 2650 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
Need to warm up after your time on the ice? Check out the best restaurants to get cozy in Washington, DC.