The Best Bay Area Rinks to Capture the Holiday Spirit in 2022
Although it has happened on rare occasions, we are unlikely to see snow showers in San Francisco this winter. But for many, the weather is cold enough to entice them to get outside and enjoy the holiday decorations while gliding around a skating rink. When followed by hot chocolate and good company, this has all the right ingredients for a great fall or winter outing.
With an abundance of pop-up holiday rinks, year-round indoor rinks, and even a few that offer you roller skates, it’s time to layer, slip, and slide all winter long. . Here are the best places to skate in the Bay Area.
Union Square Holiday Rink
The annual holiday skating rink, famous for its great atmosphere, window shopping and festive decor, will celebrate its 15th anniversary in the famous downtown square. Located in the heart of Union Square with its iconic Christmas tree and giant menorah, the Compact Ice Rink is a popular spot for tourists as well as locals. Special events planned for this year include an opening celebration (Wednesday, November 2), “Drag Queens on Ice” (December 1), silent disco and polar bear skates (December 8 and January 1), “Frozen” Wednesdays from the musical “Let it Go” and 80s-themed Flashback Fridays.
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, from Wednesday November 2 to January 16. $15 to $20, reservations obligatory; skate rental included with admission. Union Square, San Francisco 415-295-1588. www.unionsquareicerink.com
Embarcadero Center Vacation Rink
The largest and oldest outdoor rink in the Bay Area will be on hiatus this year. However, there are plans for a holiday and carnival lighting ceremony, as well as other festive events throughout the holiday season.
4 p.m. Nov. 18 Free. Embarcadero Plaza, across from the Ferry Building, SF www.embarcaderocenter.com
San FranDisco: Fulton Plaza Roller Rink
The large park outside City Hall will not be a skating rink in 2022, but the Civic Center Improvement Initiative installed a groovy outdoor ice rink just across the street as an alternative. It should be open until the end of the year with the potential for expansion.
From noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Until December 31. $5 – $15, reservations encouraged; skate rental not included. Fulton Plaza, Larkin and Fulton Streets, SF 415-781-4700. www.sfciviccenter.org
Marin’s ’70s-style roller rink — located inside a mall — switched to synthetic ice skating for the holiday season. Roller skating is set to return on January 11.
3.30pm-7pm Wednesday; 3.30pm-9.30pm from Thursday to Friday; 11am-9.30pm Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Until January 10. $13 to $16, skate rental included; reservations encouraged. 5800 Northgate Dr., San Rafael. 707-582-2883. www.skateescapemarin.com
Ice rink and winter village Merry Meritage Holiday
The luxury Napa Valley resort’s seasonal outdoor skating rink features VIP igloos and fire pits available for rental, s’more grills, a craft holiday market, Christmas tree lighting and more seasonal events.
4pm-10pm Monday-Friday and 11am-10pm Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 11-18 and Nov. 28-Dec. 16; 11am-10pm Monday-Sunday, Nov. 19-27 and Dec.-Jan. 17 8. Open from November 11 to January 8. $25 to $400, reservations obligatory. Meritage Resort, 875 Bordeaux Way, Napa. 866-370-6272. www.meritageresort.com/holiday-ice-rink
Santa Rosa Winter Lights: Skating in the Square
Wine Country’s drought-sensitive synthetic ice rink operates like a conventional ice rink, but without water or electricity.
4pm-8pm Thursday to Friday; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Saturday to Sunday. $8.50, reservations required. Square of the Old Palace of Justice, Santa Rosa. www.downtownsantarosa.org/winterlights
Snoopy’s House Ice Cream
Like stepping into a scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” this year-round indoor skating rink offers plenty of room to skate and features holiday decor, including lots of old-school garlands and a huge Christmas tree decorated.
The “Sparky’s Ice Spectacular” perk skating show, celebrating Charles Schulz100th anniversary and hosted by Scott Hamilton, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on November 26. Other Holiday Events include tree lighting with live performances and more. Families can enjoy the sweetness Parent & Puppy Practice introduction to skating. The Hot coffee for puppies offers a place to warm up with hot chocolate, as well as snacks served in a Snoopy-style dog bowl.
Holiday Rink Kristi Yamaguchi
At 6 p.m. on November 11, City Center Bishop Ranch presents the Opening Ceremony and “Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream” Skating Show.
12pm-9.30pm Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. from Saturday to Sunday. Open from Nov. 11 to January 8. $17 to $23, reservations advised. Downtown Bishop Ranch, 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon. 925-815-1902. www.citycenterbishopranch.com
Five palm ice cream
Glice’s seasonal outdoor skating rink, designed in Switzerland, on the lovely classic grounds of the Claremont Hotel Club in the hills of Oakland.
4-8 p.m. Friday; noon-8pm Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday. From Nov. 18 to Feb. 28. $12 to $24, includes skate rental. Claremont Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley. 888-560-4455. www.clarremont-hotel.com
Oakland Ice Center
Want to keep skating after Christmas? Indoor skating is available year-round at this rink, which is owned and operated by the parent company of the San Jose Sharks.
Open all year. For a schedule of special events, including broomball, hockey and freestyle sessions, see the website.
Ice cream on the veranda
Seasonal location of the outdoor mall outdoor skating rink. Individual and seasonal subscriptions available.
Walnut Creek on Ice
Seasonal outdoor skating rink offering cozy cabanas for rent during your skating session.
11am-8.30pm Monday to Thursday; 11.30am-11pm from Friday to Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. From December 9 to January 16. $20, includes skate rental; Reservations advised. Civic Park, 1365 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. 925-935-7669. www.walnutcreekonice.com
San Mateo on ice
The seasonal outdoor rink has provided five free community skates family days.
Open from November 11 to January 8. $18 to $21, reservations advised; skate rental included with admission. Central Park, 50 E. Fifth Avenue, San Mateo. 650-344-7465. www.onicerinks.com/san-mateo-on-ice
Nazareth San Mateo Ice Oasis
You can sign up for free public skates, figure skating lessons, and even ice hockey games at this year-round indoor rink.
Open since 1956, the outdoor rink has small-town charm and holiday decorations, including a lighted Christmas tree.
8am-10am Wednesday to Friday; 3-5 p.m. daily; 5.30pm-10pm Wednesday and Friday-Saturday. $17-$22, reservations obligatory. Until April 8. 3009 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 650-493-4566. www.winterlodge.com
Enchant San Jose
This Hallmark Channel-sponsored holiday rink and festival looks like it’s straight out of one of its Christmas movies, with VIP elf tours available, an illuminated maze with large-scale light sculptures and trees, a village filled with tiny artisan shops, a Tipsy Tree lounge, kids’ activities with Mrs. Claus, and ice skating amidst all the glitter.
WinterFest at Great America
Skate outside in front of the amusement park carousel on select dates.
Thursday-Saturday Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-23 and 29-31 Dec. Sunday to Friday, December 11 to 23; Monday-Monday, Dec. 26-Jan. 1. Open November 25. Until January 1. $17, reservations obligatory. California’s Great America, 4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara. 408-988-1776. www.cagreatamerica.com
Shark Ice Cream in San Jose
Year-round indoor skating at the official facility of the San Jose Sharks hockey team.
Gilroy Gardens Holiday at Night
Visit Santa Claus, see shows, ice skate under the stars, illuminated exhibits, and food and drink vendors throughout the park.
Weekend open 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 25 and 1 to 9 p.m. Nov. 26 and 27. $40 to $50. Hours vary, check website for program. Open from November 25 to December 30. Gilroy Gardens, 3050 Hecker Pass Highway. 408-840-7100. www.gilroygardens.org