Gliding across the crystalline ice, romance, freedom, hope and joy are all elements to be experienced on the whispery thin blades of a pair of ice skates. Ice-skating is a timeless pastime that offers the perfect mix of exhilaration, nostalgia and fun, often with the promise of a mug of something sweet and hot at the end of the day.
Forget about ice-skating inside and enjoy the crisp winter air as it invigorates and refreshes. There is no need to worry about looking incompetent; outdoor ice skating rinks welcome everyone from novices to the pros. This winter, the world is an ice rink, so why not start planning now? With a little planning it is possible to get cheap tickets to almost anywhere. Here are some of the best outdoor ice-skating spots in the world.
Rockefeller Center, New York
One of the most famous and well-loved ice skating rinks has got to be Rockefeller Center in New York City. This iconic venue has been featured in dozens of movies and inspires awe as the skater glides beneath the towering skyscrapers and twinkling lights of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The rink is open from October to April, but the best skating is in the evenings during the holiday season. The Rockefeller Center can get crowded during the height of the season, so a good alternative is the Wollman Rink in Central Park.
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Many people claim that spring is the best time to visit Paris, but they have obviously never tried ice-skating at the Eiffel Tower. The rink, which is nestled on the first floor observation deck, lodged between two of the tower’s massive steel legs, is small but perfectly formed. Only about 80 skaters are allowed on the ice at any given time, making it a quaint and personal experience. The rink is open between December and February every year.
Somerset House, London
Some compare ice-skating at Somerset House in London to that at the Rockefeller Center, but it is very much its own experience. Situated in the heart of the city, Somerset House is an 18th century neoclassical home converted into a popular music and art venue. The beautiful architecture and the 40ft Tiffany Christmas tree provide the perfect backdrop to a truly memorable evening of ice-skating. The rink is open between November and January each year. If the lines are too long here, the Tower of London also offers a fascinating ice-skating experience.
Yosemite National Park, California
Though most people might think of hiking and camping when California’s Yosemite National Park is mentioned, it has a rich history of some of the most beautiful outdoor ice-skating in the United States. In fact, ice-skating has been a winter tradition there since the 1930s, so why not skate away the day in the majestic shadows of El Capitan and the mighty Half Dome? The rink is open from November to March each year.
Every year, Berlin’s Potsdamer Plats is transformed into a real-life winter wonderland where visitors can enjoy skating on a 130ft long ice rink. In addition, the public square also features an Alpine ski hut, a 230ft ski slope and lots of other winter attractions. Anyone who is not keen on ice-skating might enjoy sliding down the slope in a huge rubber tire. The rink and slope are open from October to January annually.