Slip and slide! It's that time of year again, when a batch of holiday skating rinks pops up around the Sound for kids' and families' skating fun. Some rinks are real ice, some are synthetic, some are outdoor, some are indoor; all help families get into the holiday skating spirit.
To get started ice skating, take a gander at our 8 pro tips for teaching kids to ice skate.
1. Magic Season Ice Arena, Bellevue
After a one-year move to a different location, Bellevue's Magic Season ice arena is back in Downtown Park. (The park was getting a makeover; check out its absolutely epic new Inspiration Playgournd.) Magic Season is the largest holiday ice skating rink around, with decent real ice. There is a viewing tent with benches, and a concession area selling hot drinks and snacks onsite, but the nearest restrooms are at the playground nearby.
Schedule: Daily, Nov. 24–Jan. 15, with hours varying each week. Skating is even open on Christmas!
Prices: $14 for adults, $10 for children, includes skate rentals; discount if you have your own skates. On Mondays, Alaska Airlines Visa sponsors free skate sessions: Show a card and get two free passes. Also, free lessons are included with admission on select weekday evenings. Check website for more lesson options.
Stroller Skate Thursdays: Skate and push a stroller around the ice skating rink on select Thursdays, view the schedule for times.
2. Winterfest Ice Rink, Seattle Center
The small Winterfest ice skating rink in inside Seattle Center's Fisher Pavilion is an indoor rink and a Seattle holiday tradition. It it can also be crowded — try a weekday morning. In addition to skating, Winterfest offers five weeks of mostly free special events, concerts and activities. The Armory hosts the expansive Winterfest Train & Village display, which is well worth close study. Winterfest also includes a variety of free performances from late November through the end of December, including children's groups performing, magicians and the one-of-a-kind Nanda, Acrobaticalist Ninja Theater (performing Friday, Dec. 29 at 12:30 p.m.). The Armory offers a wide variety of meal and snack options (vendors include Skillet, Pie and Eltana Bagel). Winter
Schedule: Daily, Nov. 24–Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 25). Check online for each day's hours, including special hours Dec. 24 (closing at 4 p.m.) and Dec. 31 (open until 11:30 p.m.)
Prices: $8 for adults and $6 for children includes skate rental. A limited number of walkers are available for toddlers.
3. Frozen Fountain Ice Rink at Point Ruston, Tacoma
A new rink has popped up this year in Tacoma, replacing the popular Polar Plaza that set up shop in downtown Tacoma's Tollefson Plaza for the last several years. The new rink is bigger and ready for skaters to get their glide on. Point Ruston shops are open for concessions and holiday shopping.
Schedule: Open now through Jan. 1, check online for daily hours. Note the rink is closed for Thanksgiving day (Nov. 23) but open on Christmas.
Prices: $12.50 for adults ($10 if you bring your own skates), $9 per child, with or without skates. Buy tickets at the rink.
4. Redmond Town Center skating rink, Redmond
No actual ice is necessary at Redmond Town Center's nifty synthetic skating rink (so it's not as cold when your bum lands on the ice, err, surface!). Skaters may not be able to perfect their Hamill Camels on this surface, but it works great for a fun afternoon skate. The rink is outdoors but covered. There's also a holiday horse carousel ($4 cash or check only suggested donation), and a holiday mini train ($4) that takes tots around the grounds. Other special events include the Redmond Lights Fest at Redmond City Hall and Redmond Town Center on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 2, including a luminary walk between the two locations.
Schedule: Daily Nov. 24–Jan. 1 (closed Christmas). Check online for daily hours.
Price: $7 per session includes skate rental (or bring your own). Ages 3 and older. On "Wintery Wednesdays," enjoy two-for-one skating rink admission.
The city of Snoqualmie once again hosts its synthetic holiday rink, located on King Street next to Railroad Park. And bonus this year: it's FREE! The syntethic surface has received some tepid reviews in past years, but for the price of free, give it a spin. The opening coincides with Snoqualmie's holiday tree lighting on Saturday, Nov. 25.
Schedule: The rink is open Saturday and Sunday only, Nov. 25–Dec. 17. Check online for hours.
Price: Free, skates included!
The holiday rinks don't stay around forever, and we can hardly ever hope for pond ice skating in our relatively balmy Pacific Northwest winters, but families can still try out their skating skills at indoor ice rinks, open in any weather and every season. Here's a selection:
Lynnwood Ice Center, Lynnwood
An active ice skating rink north of Seattle, Lynwood is an excellent rink that feels a cut above some of the more worn rinks around. There's a warm lobby and viewing area, snack shop, and pro shop, and birthday party rooms. It offers a good Basic Skills program, as well as walkers for toddlers. There is also a hockey program. Skate rental stock spans toddler sizes up to men's size 14.
Highland Ice Arena, Shoreline
This third-generation family-owned arena (it had the first Zamboni in the region) Highland has seen generations of skaters wobble on its ice skating rink. Highland does not rent walkers — they encourage even small children to try skating. Highland offers hockey programs, figure skating and lessons in addition to public skate sessions. It has a skate shop on site and does offer birthday party tables; no rooms, though. Deals: Family skate sessions, and free skate session on holidays. Check website for updates.
Sno-King Ice Arena, Kirkland
Formerly the Kingsgate Ice Arena, Sno-King Kirkland offers public ice skate sessions, hockey, learn-to-skate programs and fun-sounding broomball where participants do not need to know how to skate. Walkers can be rented; look for group discounts.
Xfinity Community Ice Rink, Everett
Centrally located in downtown Everett, the community ice skating rink is just one of the facilities at Xfinity (formerly Comcast) Arena, which hosts Silvertips hockey games, concerts and more. Street parking can be tricky, but there are plenty of garages. In addition to frequent public skating sessions, junior hockey and learn-to-skate programs are available. Look for Cheap Skate sessions and discounted "Lunch Break Skate" sessions offered weekdays.
Sno-King Ice Arena, Renton
Located in the Renton Highlands, Sno-King Ice Arena is a year-round, indoor ice skating facility that offers two separate ice surfaces. In addition to public skating hours, they host broomball, figure-skating, hockey, lesson series and summer camps. There is a café and game room for family members who don’t want to skate. There is also a skate shop on site. Walkers can be rented.
This Tacoma ice rink boasts an "Excellence on Ice" designation from PSA and has an NHL regulation ice surface. Look for Cheap Skate sessions.
Editor's note: Writer Gemma Alexander and ParentMap staff Elisa Murray and Nancy Chaney all contributed to this article, which was originally published in 2012 and updated for 2017.