Lace up your ice skates. Thanks to The Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink at City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon for sponsoring this roundup of places to skate in the Bay Area this winter.
Growing up in the Midwest, ice skating was an everyday winter activity. I could simply walk down the street and skate for hours at a makeshift rink in the neighborhood park. The activity looks much different for my children, but it’s equally magical. There is something so thrilling about gliding on ice. A variety of both temporary and permanent Bay Area rinks are located throughout the Bay Area, making ice skating more accessible than ever–and without the freezing Midwest temperatures!
East Bay Ice Skating Rinks
Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink (Bishop Ranch City Center, San Ramon)
November 17, 2021, through January 2, rain or shine. The seasonal rink at Bishop Ranch City Center kicks off with a grand opening ceremony on November 17 at 5:30 pm with music, performances, and remarks from Kristi Yamaguchi herself. Kids can use fun skate aids to gain confidence and improve skating skills. Check out their family skate Monday through Friday from noon to 1:30 pm.
Location: Bishop Ranch City Center, 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road San Ramon, CA
The Little Ice Rink at Alameda Point
Dec. 8, 2021, to Jan. 17, 2022. Alameda’s traditional indoor/outdoor seasonal ice rink is back and in a brand new location with views of the SF skyline at Alameda Point. Alameda’s Little Ice Rink is teaming up with Off the Grid means that they’ll have ample food trucks and treats.
Location: Alameda Point at 1951 Monarch Street, Alameda, CA
Website for tickets and details >
Five Palms Ice Rink at the Claremont (Berkeley)
Dec. 24, 2021, to Mar. 31, 2022. The Berkeley Hills’ answer to outdoor skating, the ice rink at the Claremont will have drinks, snacks, and pizza to warm you up. The rink is uncovered, the adjacent dining area is tented.
Location: Claremont Hotel & Spa; a Fairmont Hotel, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley
Website for details >
Oakland Ice Center (Oakland)
Open year-round. Oakland Ice is our (510) permanent indoor rink that offers public skate with the classic cling-to-the-wall experience. Oakland residents can receive a 10% discount on general admission with proof of residence. Families can rent skate aids for tentative kids to gain balance on the ice.
Location: Oakland Ice Center, 519 18th Street, Oakland, CA
Ice at The Veranda (Concord)
Nov. 5, 2021 – Feb. 14, 2022. Strap on skates and take a spin on the ice this holiday season at The Veranda in Concord. Tickets may be purchased online in advance or on-site, on a first-come/first-served basis. Tickets are for 75 Minutes of skating time.
Location: The Veranda, 2001-2003 Diamond Blvd., Concord, CA
Sharks Ice (Fremont)
Open year-round. Solar4America Ice at Fremont (colloquially still known as Sharks Ice) is the sister rink to Oakland Ice and is a permanent fixture for recreational skating and competitive training. The indoor rink also offers public skate sessions for up to 40 individuals during the 2021 winter season.
Location: Solar4America Ice at Fremont, 44388 Old Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont, CA
Walnut Creek on Ice
Dec. 10, 2021, through Jan. 9, 2022. Walnut Creek on Ice, a partially enclosed ice rink in the heart of Downtown Walnut Creek at Civic Park, welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities to skate daily for a shorter skate season than usual, but we’re so happy to have them back! Look for Santa nearby.
Location: 1365 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek, CA at the corner of Civic Drive and Broadway
San Francisco Ice Rinks
Yerba Buena Ice Skating + Bowling Center (San Francisco)
Open year-round. Yerba Buena’s Ice Rink is adjacent to the bowling alley and close to the Children’s Creativity Museum and other SF treasures. Public skating is offered daily at this time.
Location: 750 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA
More details about available programs >
Safeway Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square (San Francisco)
November 3, 2021, until January 17, 2022. This glorious, temporary, under-the-tree experience is typically overcrowded and often sold out. Book early if you want to catch special events at the rink, including Learn to Skate Days, Flashback Fridays, Drag Queens on Ice, Silent Skate, and more.
Location: 333 Post St, San Francisco, CA
Plan for skating with kids like a pro!
Tykes on ice can be hard, but being prepared doesn’t have to be.
- Purchase tickets in advance. Rinks may have limited capacity to allow for social distancing on the rink and strongly recommend purchasing in advance so your family is guaranteed time on the ice.
- Understand COVID-19 protocols. Ice rinks may have mask requirements, a vaccination policy, or require skaters to follow specific COVID-19 protocols during the 2021 holiday season. Contact the location in advance so you’re prepared.
- Read the fine print. Make sure you learn the ice rink’s policy on rain and refunds before making plans.
- Cover little hands. I’ve learned that wearing a pair of knit or ski gloves can keep little hands warm and somewhat dry while also protecting from hard ice during any falls.
- Protect ankles. We wear longer athletic socks to protect our ankles in rental skates, footie socks would be uncomfortable.
- Layer up. We also dress in layers so it’s easy to discard if wet, or too warm. Ski pants are totally acceptable if you really want to get in the winter spirit.
- Change right away. We like to bring an extra pair of pants for post-skate change since my California child likes to play in the “snow” ie. ice sludge on the side of the rink.
- Consider a helmet. If your little one has never hit the ice, encourage them to wear a helmet while skating. It may bring you and your child peace of mind.
- Refuel. Many ice rinks are located near restaurants so you can grab a snack or warm drink after your family time on the ice.
Find more to do in our East Bay Holiday Activities Guide.
Thanks again to The Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink at City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon for sponsoring this roundup of places to skate in the Bay Area this winter.