Best Ice Skating in DC and the Washington DC Suburbs

When you’re looking for a winter activity that a family or group of friends can share, what could be better than a few hours sliding around on the ice (with plenty of warm drinks afterward, of course)?

There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when deciding on venue to go ice skating in DC, including timing, crowds, surrounding businesses, and whether lessons are offered.

Ice Skating DC

NOTE: Please check all locations before you arrive, as openings and closings are influx in 2021.

No matter what location you pick, it never hurts to call ahead; most long-term operations will accept reservations, and this will help ensure that there is rental gear and space on the ice for you when you arrive.

Time to dive into some of our favorite ice skating rinks in the DC area, both outdoor and indoor, so that visitors will know what to expect. Most are open mid-November through mid-March and welcome families, couples and Olympic dreamers for 45-minute session (or longer).

Keep an eye on the rain clouds, as outdoor rinks normally are open weather permitting. If it’s raining hard, no one wants to be out on the ice.

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in DC

Washington DC Christmas National Galley of art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
credit National Gallery

The National Gallery of Art- Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

  • Location: Constitution Ave NW &, 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20408 (inside of the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, multiple programs for all ages and training goals
  • Food/concessions Available: Next door to the rink is the iconic Sculpture Gallery Pavilion Café, a striking piece of architecture serving up light, gourmet lunch options and hot beverages for skaters. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating space here with peaceful views of the garden.

The National Mall location of this DC ice skating rink is ideal, as it sits among the amazing, enigmatic sculptures the National Gallery keeps on permanent outdoor display. Within walking distance are several more of the Smithsonian Institution’s free museums and galleries, and many famous monuments—plan to make a day of it.

The Wharf Ice Rink

  • Location: 970 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024 (On the waterfront of the Washington Channel)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? No, but staff are available to help beginner skaters (but they are not babysitters!)
  • Food/concessions Available: The DC wharf has gone way upscale in the past few years, and the surrounding blocks are full of fine dining and casual restaurants, often with an emphasis on the fresh seafood available at the waterfront. There are also several concession stands along the Wharf, with elevated takes on classic boardwalk fare.

You can’t beat the scenery surrounding this Washington, D.C. ice skating rink right on water. Locals recommend going at sunset or after dark, when string lights over the water make for a beautiful skating backdrop.

This is not a very large or elaborate set-up, but a fun and romantic way to spend an hour on date night. Grab reservations at one of the many District Wharf restaurants, or grab drinks to warm up after a little exercise on the ice.

Capital Riverfront Canal Park Ice Rink
credit Canal Park

Canal Park Outdoor Ice Skating

  • Location: 200 M St SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, weekend mornings for groups and hockey lessons by appointment
  • Food/concessions Available: Pizza and gelato are available on the premises, while the neighboring blocks offer a wider variety of casual dining options.

The Canal Park Outdoor Ice Skating rink is the perfect spot if you don’t want to be elbowing a crowd. This long-running rink is large enough to accommodate several parties and plenty of free skaters, and is serious about honoring reservations.

With frequent special events like holiday decorations and costumed mascot appearances, this is a great weekend option for kid groups, or for adults looking for a special activity or date night.

Located in a three-acre community park, it’s easy to hang out with family and friends before or after your skating session, enjoying a hot beverage or some local takeout from Capital Riverfront restaurants.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink

  • Location: 3050 K St NW, Washington, DC 20007 (in Georgetown on the river)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, all skill levels
  • Food/concessions Available: No concessions connected to the rink, but there are a number of Georgetown dining options in the buildings that circle it.

The annual Washington Harbour Ice Rink is a beautiful fountain-turned-rink in the middle of the bustling, picturesque Georgetown waterfront. Somehow, it manages to look quaint, but is actually bigger than New York’s famous Rockefeller Center ice rink.

This ice skating rink in DC was designed so that casual skaters who might be downtown to shop or have a drink can take to the ice with no delay—the rental shop even supplies cheap gloves and socks.

Ice Skating DC

Outdoor Ice Skating in Maryland

Silver Spring Outdoor Ice Skating Rink

  • Location: 8523 Fenton St, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (right in downtown Silver Spring, MD north of DC)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, regular group as well as private sessions
  • Food/concessions Available: Not at the rink itself, but there are a host of cafés, snack spots and great Silver Spring restaurants in the surrounding shopping center and around downtown.

Silver Spring’s relatively small, sheltered ice skating rink is located in Veterans’ Plaza, known for convenient parking that is free on nights and weekends. The center also includes tons of outdoor shopping, an IMAX theater, and an educational live theater, so groups can plan a full day around their skating experience.

Color Burst Ice Rink

  • Location: 6100 Merriweather Dr, Columbia, MD 21044 (Color Burst Park in Merriweather District)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes, included in your admission price.
  • Lessons on site? No.
  • Food/concessions Available: Pop-up food options are available throughout the skate season.

Drive north of DC to Columbia, MD, where you will find the Merriweather District decked out in festive décor. There are themed events all season long, along with music, food trucks, and the nearby Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

While food will be onsite, there are plenty of restaurants in Merriweather District to sit down for a meal or grab some takeaway.

Herbert Wells Ice Rink

  • Location: 5211 Campus Dr, College Park, MD 20740 (near University of Maryland)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, child-specific and general programs
  • Food/Concessions Available: Just a small stand offering popcorn and hot chocolate.

Herbert Wells Ice Rink is an inexpensive and Metro-accessible option that’s great for families, and with great deals and discounts for college students. Because it hosts the university’s hockey games, there is plenty of seating to relax and watch your family on the ice.

Be aware that this is a covered but open-air rink: outdoor winter gear is recommended for skaters.

Ice Skating DC

Outdoor Ice Skating in Virginia

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating

  • Location: Pentagon Row Shopping Center, 1201 S Joyce St, Arlington, VA 22202
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, weekend mornings and by appointment
  • Food/concessions Available: Not right at the rink, but coffee shops and bistros surround the plaza

The Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating rink in Virginia has grown into the second largest outdoor ice skating in Virginia, and it shows; the plaza-turned-rink feels spacious enough for any party.

Enjoy fun holiday decorations and special events, as well as a stone fireplace during breaks that can be a lifesaver on colder evenings. Make a day of it by grabbing lunch or dinner, and doing a little shopping before or after your ice skating session.

Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion

  • Location: Reston Town Center, 1818 Discovery St, Reston, VA 20190
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? No
  • Food/concessions Available: Not on site, but there are many Reston restaurant options just a block or two away.

The Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion is a small but beautifully lit and decorated rink in the middle of the expansive Reston Town Center shopping district. All-day passes mean that you can skate for a few hours, break for lunch, a movie or some window shopping, and then come back (although skates have to be rented again).

Ice Skating DC

DC Indoor Ice Skating Rinks Near Me

Fort Dupont Ice Arena

  • Location: 3779 Ely Pl SE, Washington, DC 20019 (North side of Fort Circle Park)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, focused on kids ages 5-18
  • Food/concessions Available: Small concession stand on site.

Fort Dupont Ice Arena is the only public indoor rink in Washington, D.C. It was nearly closed by the National Park Service, but is kept open by the donations of individuals and philanthropic organizations.

This DC ice rink’s focus is to provide lessons and opportunities to local youth, but they welcome casual visiting skaters as well. Since it is a little-known facility and not next to the Metro, expect open parking, fewer crowds and a vibrant community spirit when you are searching for ice skating in Washington, D.C.

Ice Skating DC

Indoor Ice Skating in Maryland

Wheaton Ice Arena

  • Location: 11717 Orebaugh Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902 (South corner of the Wheaton Regional Park)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, a variety of classes as well as camps for kids
  • Food/concessions Available: Snack bar and vending machines

Wheaton Ice Arena is a full NHL-sized ice skating rink with workout rooms, rentable party rooms and a Pro shop. It is about a 30-drive from DC, but a great find for any real skating enthusiast.

This suburban ice rink is inside Wheaton Regional Park, which includes over 500 acres of forested park land featuring beautiful sites for hiking, fishing, horseback riding and cookouts. A number of local restaurants will deliver right to your picnic spot.

Expect to have plenty of sport and nature fun to make for a full day out. If you are looking for sit down restaurants, just head south into downtown Silver spring or enjoy one of the many local restaurants on and near Georgia Avenue in Wheaton, MD.

The Gardens Ice House

  • Location: 13800 Old Gunpowder Rd, Laurel, MD 20707 (just off I-95)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, general learn-to-skate and more advanced hockey classes (and Zamboni classes!)
  • Food/concessions Available: Boasts a casual sit-down café offering a wide menu, including subs, wraps and breakfast sandwiches

While this might be a bit of a drive for Washingtonians, it is worth it for the largest rink of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic. You can expect a high-quality indoor arena open year-round that will make you feel like a professional skater or hockey star. The space features an Olympic ice rink and two NHL-sized indoor rinks, a seasonal outdoor rink, plus a specialized training rink and many more spaces for parties and games.

Ice Skating DC

Indoor Ice Skating in Virginia

Medstar Capitals Iceplex

  • Location: 627 N Glebe Rd, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203 (On top of the parking garage for Ballston Quarter shopping center)
  • Skate rentals available? Provided for Learn to Skate classes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, an extensive collection of classes for beginners, figure skaters and hockey players
  • Food/concessions Available: No, instead there is a Pro shop for skaters and Caps fans. Just below the rink is Ballston Quarter, with a large and innovative food court plus dozens of delicious local chain restaurants in Arlington, VA.

This eighth-floor location can boast two significant distinctions: it is the highest ice rink from street level in the United States, and the arena where the 2018 Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals, practice!

Medstar Capitals Iceplex is intended less for casual recreation and more for serious practice, though there are lap skating events open to the public, and plenty of classes that welcome beginners.

Mount Vernon RECenter

  • Location: 2017 Belle View Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22307 (Belle Haven area of Alexandria)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, all ages and abilities
  • Food/concessions Available: No significant concessions, best to plan a meal elsewhere

Mount Vernon RECenter is a Fairfax County, VA public ice rink that is open year-round. It is very popular for its friendly staff, in-depth lessons and affordable prices.

The same building houses many other facilities, from a toddler-friendly swimming pool, dance and Zumba lessons to a full gym. It is the perfect spot for the whole family to work out and have fun.

Ashburn Ice House

  • Location:  21595 Smith Switch Rd, Ashburn, VA 20147 (just north of Dulles Airport)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes, an active community with plenty of options for learning
  • Food/concessions Available: Features an attached restaurant serving pizza, cheesesteaks and many other snacks

Two large rinks are available here, giving plenty of room for serious trainers and recreational skaters alike. The Pro shop is consistently highly reviewed, as is the facility maintenance and overall customer service.

SkateQuest

  • Location: 1800 Michael Faraday Ct, Reston, VA 20190 (Off the Dulles Toll Road)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes—private lessons, group classes and camps
  • Food/concessions Available: A full service café with lots of options

Boasting both an NHL and Olympic-sized rink, this location welcomes guests with high-quality snacks, and a Pro shop staffed by knowledgeable skaters. A disco ball and DJ who accepts requests during free-skate complete the supremely visitor-friendly vibe.

Fairfax Ice Arena

  • Location: 3779 Pickett Road, Fairfax, VA 22031 (heart of the City of Fairfax, VA)
  • Skate rentals available? Yes
  • Lessons on site? Yes
  • Food/concessions Available: A popular snack shop with options like pizza, burgers, nachos and of course plenty of hot drinks

A well-loved neighborhood rink featuring an extensive Pro shop for those who want to buy their own skates and gear, this arena has a somewhat old-school roller rink feel, with classic rock playing, and lots of families and date-night couples skating around.

Staff are known for their friendliness and professionalism.

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