Philadelphia doesn’t often have a white Christmas. But if the elements won’t come to you, you can go to the elements.
Ice skating is a way to get some of that wintry magic in the holiday season and can be enjoyed indoors or out this time of year.
Skating is also excellent cardio exercise, and it’s fun to enjoy a sport that will soon be on TV during the Winter Olympics in Beijing Feb. 4-20.
Hours at many rinks are reduced due to COVID-19. Some rinks are not open to public skating this year and many require reservations, so it’s best to call ahead or look online.
Here are some of the best places where the ice is nice.
Blue Cross RiverRink
ℹ️ Outdoors (seasonal)
Skating is the closest we can get to walking on water, but it feels even more so when you’re gliding next to the Delaware River. This rink has been open every winter for 28 seasons and now is part of Winterfest. So after getting off the ice, you can relax with a snack in a cozy warming cabin — for a separate fee.
🕑 Open daily through March 6. Check the website for the schedule and to buy timed tickets, which are required. $5, skate rental $10. Masks required in indoor areas. 📍101 S. Columbus Blvd., 📞 215-925-7465, 🌐 showclix.com/event/blue-cross-riverrink-winterfest-2021
Class of 1923 Ice Skating Rink
ℹ️ Indoors (open during the academic year)
In 1968, to celebrate 45 years since their graduation, members of the University of Pennsylvania’s class of 1923 donated $3.2 million to help build an ice rink on campus. The rink opened in 1970 and is still a good place to enjoy skating. Call ahead, because sessions are canceled when visiting NHL teams practice at this rink and for other events.
Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink
ℹ️ Outdoors (seasonal)
The most scenic rink in Philly, the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink is a winter-only surface. On Dilworth Plaza, it’s a great place to take a spin under the shadow of City Hall. If you’re working in Center City, it’s also a good place to get a workout during your lunchtime.
🕑 Open daily through Feb. 27. Check the website for the schedule. Reservations are encouraged. $7, kids under 10 $5, skate rental $10. 📍 Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St., on the west side of City Hall. Masks are strongly encouraged outdoors and required in indoor areas, 📞 215-983-1291, 🌐 ticketsocket.rothmanrink.com
Wissahickon Skating Club
This rink in Chestnut Hill opened in 1956. It is owned by a figure skating club but also offers hockey and public sessions. It was renovated a few months before the pandemic began, but has long had smooth, excellent ice for skating.
🕑 12:45 p.m. Saturdays. Holiday skating hours: 12:30 p.m. Dec. 26-31. $7, $3 skate rental. Masks required. 📍 550 W. Willow Grove Ave., 📞 215-247-1759, 🌐 wissskating.com
This rink has four ice surfaces, so there’s nearly always figure skating, hockey, public sessions, or all of the above going on. A variety of games and competitions have been held here, including curling and speed skating nationals, figure skating regionals and sectionals, and hockey tournaments on many levels. Figure skater Gracie Gold, who competed in the 2014 Olympics, both trains and teaches here.
🕑 Noon Monday through Thursday; hours vary Friday through Sunday. Holiday skating hours: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26-30, 1 p.m. Dec. 31. $10, children under 4 free, skate rental $2. 12- or 20-pack passes and annual memberships also available. 📍 3100 Dutton Mill Rd., Aston, 📞 610-497-2200, 🌐 iceworks.net
Philadelphia Skating Club & Humane Society
The first skating club in the United States, the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society can trace its roots back to the 1770s, when the Humane Society part of the organization rescued people from drowning. The skating part began in 1849. In the early years, members skated on the Schuylkill and other frozen rivers and lakes. These days, the club has a beautiful rink in Ardmore that is geared toward figure skating but also has public sessions. Because hockey is not played there, the rink does not have any boards. It has a mirror on the far end, so skaters can see their patterns.
🕑 8 p.m. Fridays, 1:45 p.m. Sundays. Holiday skating hours: Skate with Santa 1:45 p.m. Dec. 12; 8 p.m. Dec. 17; 1:45 p.m. Dec. 19, 26, Jan. 2; 4:15 p.m. Dec. 27-30. $10, skate rental $5. Masks required. 📍 220 Holland Ave., Ardmore, 📞 610-642-8700, 🌐 pschs.org
Open since 1974, the Skatium is owned by Haverford Township and was named by a 12-year-old who won a township-wide naming contest. It offers a lot of hockey and figure skating but also public sessions several times a week. The weekly schedule is posted online.
🕑 Check online or call for schedule of public sessions. $8, $6 children, $3 seniors, skate rentals $2. Masks required. 📍 1018 Darby Rd., Havertown, 📞 610-853-2226, 🌐 haverfordtownship.org/Skatium.html
Flyers Training Center
This rink in Voorhees used to be known as the Flyers Skate Zone. The official training facility of Philly’s NHL team, it also offers public sessions. Voorhees residents can skate for free on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, and may bring three guests. Call ahead for the schedule, which can change, say, if Gritty’s team needs the ice.
Igloo Ice Rink
You may spot former Olympians at this New Jersey rink if you come here to skate. Coaches at this rink include Rocky Marval (U.S. pairs, 1992), Isabelle Brasseur (Canadian pairs, 1992 and 1994), and Penny Coomes (Great Britain, ice dance, 2010, 2014, 2018.) The 2021 junior women’s figure skating champion Isabeau Levito also trains here.
🕑 11:15 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Online registration required. $16, children, seniors, and military $10, skate rental free. Masks required. 📍 3033 Fostertown Rd., Mount Laurel, 📞 856-638-0801, 🌐 skateigloo.com