Now that you’ve turned your clocks back, can winter be far behind? Well, here in balmy Los Angeles, winter never truly makes an appearance other than a soggy, rainy day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the thrill of outdoor, winter sports thanks to modern technology. Seasonal, open-air ice skating rinks have become a winter fixture in many parts of the city and a whole lot of family fun, day and night.
Here’s a tip. If you’ve never skated outdoors, I highly recommend spending an afternoon under the warm SoCal sky with a sheet of ice under your feet. It’s positively surreal to be surrounded by lush green trees while skating in a tank top and sunglasses, getting a great tan. It makes for great selfies to send back to your east coast friends and family shivering in subzero temps! An evening skating under the stars is just as enchanting and more like a Winter Wonderland.
Plus, skating is a fantastic, calorie burning, butt, core and leg toning athletic endeavor, combining fun and fitness like no other sport. Ok, I may be partial, being a figure skater, but trust me, once you get the hang of stroking on the ice, it’s Zen like rhythm is quite addictive. And if you think you’ve got weak, wobbly ankles and just can’t skate, that may be due to renting skates that are too big. Try renting a pair one size smaller than your street shoe to start. Skates should fit snug on the foot, with no slipping in the heel with toes still able to wiggle. As for clothing, pants such as leggings for women and sweats for men make it much easier to maneuver on the ice than tight-fitting jeans. Evenings are cooler, so bring a light, loose-fitting jacket.
Here’s a list of rinks that are easily accessible from the Larchmont area.
Santa Monica Ice: My personal favorite for skating under the trees! Located on the corner of 5th and Arizona in Santa Monica, it’s two blocks form the Promenade and five blocks from the beach. You can make a day or evening of it by planning lunch or dinner and shopping or beach strolling around your skate. Fifteen dollars gets you an all day pass with in and out privileges so you can make a day of it. I don’t know of any other fitness offer that good! If you want to take your skating to the next level, Santa Monica Ice offers private lessons and classes for kids and adults as part of the Randy Gardner Skating School. It’s also a great place to host a party. They have tented cabanas that you can rent and bring your own food and drink (including the good stuff!) for an afternoon or evening.
Open: November 1 –January 18. Check their daily schedule and get information about the skating school and cabana rentals at www.downtownsm.com/ice
LA Kings Holiday Ice at LA Live: Located downtown in the center plaza at LA Live, this rink is sponsored by the LA Kings and directly across the street from Staples Center. Have dinner and a skate with their Supper and Skate deal, a bargain at $30/$35 a person which includes dinner options at LA Live restaurants and front of the line access to get on the ice. It gets crowded so it’s a great way to enjoy a night of skating downtown. You can even catch a game or concert before or after.
Open November 28-December 3. Check their daily schedule and dinner deal at www.lalive.com.
Holiday Ice Rink Downtown LA: Located amidst the skyscrapers of downtown LA in Pershing Square, Holiday Ice Rink is the longest running LA area outdoor rink that began its 18th season on November 12. They offer lots of sessions daily and have several special events including DJ skate nights. That will get the calories burning! Open November 12- January 18. Check their daily schedule and buy tickets in advance (highly recommended around holiday time) at www.holidayicerinkdowntownla.com
So get out your sunscreen and gloves and enjoy a bit of a winter wonderland under the endless California sky!