The 10 Best Places to Go Ice Skating in San Francisco (Plus, a Bonus Option for Pint-Sized Skaters)

Get ready to unleash your inner Kristi Yamaguchi. It’s time to grab your mittens and book it to one of these 10 rinks (plus an ice-free skating option for your littlest ones) for an afternoon or night of gliding and twirling…or at the very least, a good ‘ole seasonal story for the ‘Gram. Whether you’re looking for a classic San Francisco experience (hello, Union Square holiday rink and Christmas tree) or something off the beaten path (like a Hallmark Channel winter wonderland), there’s something festive for everyone with this tried-and-true winter activity. So, check out our picks for the best ice skating in the San Francisco Bay Area and lace up those skates.

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1. Union Square Ice Rink (SF)

Skating on this beloved rink below the giant Union Square Christmas tree has to be one of the most festive SF holiday experiences. That also means plenty of crowds, so be sure to plan ahead. Tickets must be purchased in advance online—there aren’t any on-site ticket sales. Don’t miss Let It Go Wednesdays, when you’ll have the chance to skate around to the Frozen soundtrack. Looking for something more adult-friendly? Try the Polar Bear Skate on New Year’s Day, where everyone comes dressed in their most creative beach attire. 

333 Post St.;

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. through January 16

2. Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center (SF)

Open year-round, this indoor rink is for serious skaters, skating students and anyone looking to join a pickup hockey game. During the holidays, the center packs a schedule of extended public skating hours. Pro-tip: Afternoon sessions are the most popular and dinnertime sessions are the most chill. Don’t forget to bring some change for a hot chocolate or coffee from one of the center’s vending machines.

750 Folsom St.;

Open daily through January 1; check schedule online for public skating hours

3. Winter Lodge (Palo Alto)

An ice skating tradition since 1956, Palo Alto’s Winter Lodge offers the quaint, small-town charm perfect for getting into the holiday spirit. It’s even been rated one of the best rinks in the country by USA Today and Outside Magazine. Strung with cafe lights and dotted with Christmas trees, it’s the perfect spot for a nighttime skate. Plus, with lounge areas and a cozy fireplace, you’ll probably want to hang out for a while.

3009 Middlefield Rd.;

Open daily through April 8; check schedule online for public skating hours

4. Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink (San Ramon)

Channel your inner Kristi Yamaguchi at this outdoor rink that’s worth the drive to the far East Bay. Named for the Olympic Gold Medal winner, it’s surrounded by views of lush, rolling hills. Plus, you’re in for a post-skate gift shopping treat at this upscale center with a unique mix of beloved brands and new boutiques from Anthropologie to M by Maggie Rizer. Feeling peckish? City Center also has tons of food options, including Delarosa, Mendocino Farms, Roam Artisan Burgers, and Sprinkles cupcakes for the kiddos.

6000 Bollinger Canyon Rd.;

Open daily from noon to 9:30 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekends through January 8

5. Five Palms Ice (Berkeley)

Perched at the foot of the beautiful Berkeley Hills, the Claremont Hotel is the place to go for a posh ice skating experience surrounded by towering palms. The outdoor rink is engineered with synthetic ice by the Glice company in Switzerland that’s easier to skate on than normal ice—a bonus for beginners like us. And the kiddos will love the adorable animal-shaped gliders. Adjacent to the rink is a wood-fired pizza tent and vintage Airstream trailer serving up cocktails, plus Adirondack chairs with grand city views. Stick around for gingerbread house decorating in the outdoor bungalow on December 17 (reserve your spot now before the session sells out).

41 Tunnel Rd.;

Open Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays noon to 8 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. through February; open Christmas Eve and Day from noon to 6 p.m. and New Year’s Even and Day from noon to 7 p.m.

6. Winter Lights Skating on the Square (Santa Rosa)

Skate back in time on Santa Rosa’s historic Old Courthouse Square. Smack in the center of downtown, you’ll be surrounded by twinkling holiday lights and Christmas trees while you take a spin on the drought-conscious synthetic ice (engineered without using power or water!). The rink’s capacity is only 44 people so advance tickets are highly recommended.

Old Courthouse Square;

Open Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays noon to 8 p.m. through December 31

7. Merry Meritage Holiday Ice Rink & Winter Village (Napa)

Spend an entire day (or a whole weekend) at this super-luxe Napa Valley compound’s festive outdoor rink, artisan holiday market and winter village decorated with sparkling lights and Christmas trees. Adults can sip wine rink-side from one of Meritage’s on-site tasting rooms while the kiddos take a spin on the ice. You can also upgrade the experience by reserving a VIP igloo that includes a place to warm up, along with a bottle of bubbly, or book a fire pit for roasting s’mores and toasting your tootsies.

875 Bordeaux Way;

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. through January 8

8. Enchant San Jose Ice Skating (San Jose)

Head south to San Jose to skate out all of your holiday movie fantasies. The Hallmark Channel-sponsored ice rink, where you’ll glide through a dazzling Christmas tree forest, is the closest you’ll get to a magical winter wonderland in the Bay Area. The holiday extravaganza also includes an illuminated maze with lighted tunnels, large-scale sculptures and a 100-foot tall Christmas tree. Don’t miss the tiny village filled with artisan shops, a Tipsy Tree lounge and kids activities with Mrs. Claus.

1123 Coleman Ave.;

Open daily from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. through January 1; open until 11:30 p.m. December 22 to 25

9. Walnut Creek on Ice (Walnut Creek)

Making it a family affair? Rent a private cabana at this outdoor rink for more of a VIP experience—where you’ll have seating to put on your skates, a dedicated entrance to the ice and a cozy spot to warm up with hot cocoa and snacks. Because the rink is partially covered, it’s also a good bet rain or shine.

1365 Civic Dr.;

Open Mondays to Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. through January 16

10. Ice at the Veranda (Concord)

Strapped for time this holiday season? Check skating and shopping off your list at the same time with Ice at the Veranda. This shiny new shopping center in Concord (think World Market, Barnes & Noble, Sephora) is very popular with families, so be sure to reserve your tickets in advance. And save time for a sip or two at the wine bar right next to the rink. Note: There aren’t any lockers so travel light or leave your belongings tucked away in the car.

2001 - 2003 Diamond Blvd.;

Open Mondays to Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through February 14; check schedule for special holiday hours

11. Bay Area Discovery Museum Iceless Skating (Sausalito)

Rainy days, we’ve got you covered. The Bay Area Discovery Museum’s iceless skating rink is completely indoors. The temporary winter experience is a safe bet for your littlest ones who will have a blast sliding and spinning all over the glide-tastic surface in special, beginner-friendly “ice” skates without fear of falling. Bonus: Learn how to design a snowflake and make your own snow while you’re there. 

557 McReynolds Rd.;

Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

allison mccarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...