When it's winter and the holidays, San Franciscans' thoughts turn to ice. And ice skating. Luckily we have rinks right here to glide on, including a couple that pop up in the city center just for the holidays.
Besides being the biggest outdoor rink in San Francisco, the holiday rink at Embarcadero Center is set in a wide-open plaza with views of the stately Ferry Building and the waterfront. No wonder this wintertime rink is so popular.
At Justin Herman Plaza, adjacent to 4 Embarcadero Center.
Hours: Open Nov. 7, 2012–Jan. 6, 2013. Sunday - Thursday: 10 am-10 pm. Friday & Saturday: 10 am-11:30 pm.
Weekdays (Monday through 6 pm on Friday): $9.50 for adults; $6 for seniors and children ages 10 & under.
Weekends (Friday at 6 pm through Sunday night): $10 adults; $6.50 seniors and kids ages 10 & under.
Skate rental $3.50
Info: http://www.embarcaderocenter.com or (415) 837-1931.
An oasis in a shopping maze, this rink gives you the option of skating til you drop in Union Square. While you’re at it, admire the Macy’s Christmas tree hovering nearby. Part of the ticket proceeds benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. An "Icebreaker" session for singles is on Nov. 29 at 8 pm; mistletoe headbands will be given to the first 100 singles who arrive wearing their favorite ugly holiday sweater.
At Geary and Powell streets.
Hours: Open daily Nov. 7, 2012-Jan. 21, 2013, at 10 am-11:30 pm. Closes at 9:30 pm on Dec. 31.
$10 for adults; $6 for children ages 8 & under.
Skate (ice or hockey) rental $5.
Info: (415)781-2688 or http://unionsquareicerink.com.
Outdoor rinks too cold for you? Head inside, to Yerba Buena’s heated rink. The ice skating center, perched on the roof of Moscone Convention Center, is San Francisco's only rink that's open all year. Public skating, lessons, and special programs and sessions for adults, seniors, hockey players and figure skaters are all here--with added public skating sessions during late December.
On the rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens, 750 Folsom St.
Hours: Open daily year-round (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day); hours vary.
Admission: $9 for adults; $8 students; $7 for ages 6-12; $6 seniors.
Skate rental $3.
Info: (415) 820-3521 or http://skatebowl.com/Ice_Center/Public/Public_Skating/Info.htm.
More than 8,000 square feet of ice, encircled by palm trees? No, not in Hawaii, but in Silicon Valley. This seasonal outdoor rink in downtown San Jose is open daily, until as late as midnight. Kristi Yamaguchi is a sponsor of the rink, so the ice should be fit for champions.
At 120 S. Market St., San Jose.
Hours: Open daily Nov. 16, 2012-Jan. 13, 2013; hours vary.
Admission (includes skate rental): $15 for people ages 11 and above; $13 for ages 10 and under.
Info: (408) 291-0525 or http://sjdowntown.com/downtownice/.
After twirling on the outdoor rink, you can warm your toes at the fireplaces at Winter Lodge. The facility has plenty of open skate sessions and offers skating and hockey lessons, too.
At 3009 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto 94306.
Hours: Open from late September 24, 2012-April 13, 2013. Closed Thanksgiving; Dec. 24 & 25; Dec. 31 at 5 pm; Jan. 1; and March 31.
Admission: $9; discounted multiple-admission cards are available.
Skate rental $4.
Info: 650) 493-4566 or http://winterlodge.com/.