There's no pond ice skating in the relatively balmy winters we have around here, but families can still try out their skating skills at indoor ice rinks, open in any weather and every season.
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.
Sprinker Recreation Center Ice Arena, Tacoma
This Tacoma ice rink boasts an "Excellence on Ice" designation from PSA and has an NHL regulation ice surface. Look for Cheap Skate sessions.
Three ways to save on ice skating lessons
1. Multi-week group lesson series are cheaper than private lessons for just learning how to skate. They are usually offered in two-month cycles and cost between $75 and $120 for beginners.
2. Buy used ice skates. Recreational ice skates can be purchased retail for about $60 for kids and $125 for adults. Hockey dad Paul Sewell recommends secondhand equipment. “When Tom first started playing hockey," he said, "I purchased his skates from Play It Again Sports. He was growing so fast, there was no point in buying new skates.”
3. Look for reduced fees and deals. Most rinks offer one weekly “Cheap Skate” session with discounted admission, discounts for young kids during select sessions, group discounts or punchcard discounts.
This article was originally written in 2012 and updated in 2016.