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Where to go ice skating outdoors in the D.C. area

Ice skaters take to the rink at the Wharf’s Transit Pier in 2017. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

There’s a chill in the air, which means it’s time to lace up a pair of skates and glide over the ice. Here’s where to go skating outside in the D.C. area this winter, featuring ice rinks located in bustling shopping districts and scenic spots like a historic town, a quiet park and on the National Mall.


The Wharf

The Wharf Ice Rink, located on the development’s Transit Pier, opened this week. Skate with a waterfront view and string lights overhead, and then get s’mores and hot apple cider from a vintage Airstream trailer at Camp Wharf on the weekends. Open Wednesday-Sunday through Feb. 28. $9-$12 (adult), $9 (child). Skate rentals are $6.

National Gallery of Art

Skate with priceless art as a backdrop at this ice rink in the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden. It’s a beloved Washington tradition, as is warming up with hot cocoa afterward at NGA’s Pavilion Cafe. Open daily through March 6 (closed Christmas and New Year’s Day). $9-$10 (adult), $9 (child). Skate rentals are $5.

Washington Harbour

In the winter, this fountain overlooking the Potomac and waterfront restaurants transforms into D.C.’s largest outdoor ice rink. It’s a great place for kids, thanks to $10 penguin ice skating aid rentals for wobbly little skaters. Open daily through March 13. $9-$10 (adult), $9 (child). Skate rentals are $7. Advance reservations are encouraged.

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At 6,840 square feet, the ice rink at Westpost (formerly known as Pentagon Row) clocks in as the largest outdoor rink in Northern Virginia and the second largest in Virginia. It even has its own outdoor dual-sided stone fireplace. Open daily through mid-March. $10-$11 (adult), $10 (child). Skate rentals are $5. Advance reservations required.

Reston Town Center

The ice rink at Reston Town Center has been going strong for more than 30 years. The covered, lit-up pavilion is right in the middle of such shopping options as an Apple store and Anthropologie and restaurants like Ted’s Bulletin. Open daily through mid-March. $9-$10 (adult), $9 (child). Skate rentals are $7. Advance reservations recommended.

Old Town Manassas

The quaint Harris Pavilion in Old Town Manassas is straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. After skating, stroll through the historic streets packed with restaurants (or over to Grounds Central Station for hot chocolate with whipped cream on top). Open daily through February. $9 (adult), $8 (child). Skate rentals are $6. Advance reservations recommended.


Rockville Town Square

This is a generously sized rink, clocking in at 7,200 square feet. After burning some calories, walk through Rockville Town Square to Amai Crepe for hot chocolate and Nutella banana crepes. Open daily through mid-March. $10-$11 (adult), $10 (child). Skate rentals are $5. Advance reservations required.

Quiet Waters Park

For ice skating in a less-commercial, more serene setting, head to Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. This public park with trails and playgrounds is also home to a handsome outdoor ice rink, which reopened after being closed in 2020. Open Wednesday-Monday; open daily during holiday school breaks (closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day). $6-$7 (adult); $6 (child). Skate rentals are $3. $6 per car to enter the park (cash or check only).

Color Burst Park

Glowing snowflake ornaments hover over the illuminated Color Burst Ice Rink in downtown Columbia’s newish Merriweather District development. For an extra-festive outing, follow up your skating session with a visit to the Symphony of Lights holiday light show at the adjacent Merriweather Post Pavilion. Open daily through Feb. 28. $14 (includes entry and skate rental). Advance reservations encouraged.