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SF Bay Area Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks 2021: 10 Best Each Holiday Season

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: November 4, 2021

Every November, these SF Bay Area outdoor ice skating rinks open their doors for the holiday season. My list of the top 10 include those in San Francisco, the East Bay, North Bay, and the San Jose area.

SF Bay Area Outdoor Ice Skating RinksThe outdoor ice skating rink at Union Square just before it opened that morning.

Due to local regulations, some of these ice rinks will not open in 2021, but are hoping to open again in 2022.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. Union Square Ice Skating

Address: Union Square in Downtown San Francisco

Dates: 11/3, 2021 - 1/17, 2022

Holiday Hours: 10 am to 11:00 pm

Price: $19 including rentals

Union Square Ice Skating is one of the most known, and most loved, of all the SF Bay Area outdoor ice skating rinks in the Bay Area. The Ice Breaker Ceremony starts at 9:30 am on November 3rd and skating ends on January 17. Not only is there general skating, but you can also take lessons, and see the Macy's Tree with its lights shining bright throughout the holidays.

Some of the special events that you can enjoy include the Drag Queens on Ice, and the always amazing Polar Bear Skate: San Francisco Edition. Make sure to check dates and times in advance so you won't miss out on the fun!

>> Visit their site for tickets and additional details

>> What else you can see and do in Union Square

2. Embarcadero Ice Skating (Canceled for 2021)

Note: They decided in late fall to cancel their ice skating rink for 2021, but plan to be back again in 2022.

Address: Justin Herman Plaza, next to Four Embarcadero Center across from the Ferry Building

Dates: Canceled for 2021

Holiday Hours: Sunday - Thursday 10 am - 9:30 pm; Friday & Saturday 10 am - 11:30 pm

Price: Adults: $12; Children (7 and under): $7; Skate rental: $5

Of all the SF Bay Area outdoor ice skating rinks to go skating in this winter, the Embarcadero Ice Skating rink is one of the most beautiful. Located just across from the historic Ferry Building, you will be able to see the SF Bay and enjoy some of the best views you can imagine while visiting this rink.

Due to the popularity of this rink, skating sessions last only 90 minutes and start on the hour each day. This rink is also the largest of all the rinks in the Bay Area so you will be sure to enjoy yourself as you can skate without being worried about not having enough room during your session.

>> More on their website

>> More things to do this November in SF

>> More things to do this December in SF

3. Civic Center Ice Skating Rink (No Rink in 2021)

Address: Civic Center, near City Hall

Dates: TBD, Not sure if this one will happen in 2022

Holiday Hours: Noon to 10pm

Price: $15-$20

2019 will be the second year of this new skating rink in the Civic Center. To make the holidays special this year, they will be creating a Winter Themed Park near City Hall.

The Winter Park in the Civic Center will include a 6,000 square foot holiday ice skating rink, a skating track, and lighted trees all around the plaza.

>> Visit their site for tickets and more details

4. Winter Ice Rink in Downtown Sunnyvale

Address: Redwood Square, 250 S. Murphy Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Dates: Opens November 19th, Closes on January 2, 2022

This holiday-themed ice rink under the redwood trees is presented by CityLine Sunnyvale, in partnership with Google and the City of Sunnyvale. Proceeds will go to Sunnyvale Community Services, which is dedicated to preventing homelessness and hunger in the local community.

The rink will be located in Redwood Square and will host a number of special events throughout the holiday season.

Tickets are $5 - $15 one hour, general admission. Rental of figure or hockey skates is included in the cost of admission.

Tickets can be purchased visiting the rink ticket window at the intersection of Murphy Ave and McKinley Ave in downtown Sunnyvale.

>> Visit their site for more details

5. San Jose Downtown Ice

Address: 120 South Market Street, San Jose

Dates: Friday, 11/19 - Thursday, 1/9

Price: $19 for general admission which includes skates

If you are south of San Francisco, one of the other SF Bay Area outdoor ice skating rinks you may want to try is the San Jose Downtown Ice rink. Situated across the plaza from Cesar Chavez Park, this circular rink is surrounded by 32 palm trees that are lit up for the holiday season.

One of the benefits of the San Jose Downtown Ice rink is that it is actually two rinks in one since there is an inner rink, for the slower skaters, and an outer rink for the skaters that really know their stuff and want to cruise at a higher speed. There are no in and out privileges so make sure to plan ahead regarding using the bathroom and food needs.

>> More on their site

6. Santa Clara Ice at Central Park

Address: 969 Kiely Boulevard, Santa Clara

Dates: TBD

Holiday Hours: Times vary depending on day and date. Please visit the website for information.

Price: Adults (Ages 13 and older) $15 - $22; Children (Ages 4 -12) $10 - $15 Children under 4 are free

The beautiful city of Santa Clara is located about 1 hour south of San Francisco and is home to Santa Clara Ice at Central Park. The rink is open for general skating, group classes including their beginner 1 and 2 level classes, and private lessons for any level.

7. Winter Lodge in Palo Alto

Address: 3009 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

Dates: Reopens October 11

Holiday Hours: Times vary depending on day and date. Please visit the website for information.

Price: $16 for all ages; $5 for skates

The Winter Lodge in Palo Alto has the longest skating season of any skating rinks in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not only is it open most of the year, but it is also one of the best outdoor skating rinks in the USA according to Outdoor Magazine, so if you love skating, it definitely needs to be added to your list.

The Winter Lodge skates rain or shine so you can be sure that they will be open as much as possible during your skating season. The rink is open from 8 am to 10 pm, depending on day and date, and is closed for most holidays so make sure to check the website in advance of your trip to it.

>> See more details on their site

8. NorCal Ice (formerly Marin on Ice)

Address: 5800 Northgate Drive, San Rafael

Dates: TBD

Holiday Hours: Monday - Friday 2 pm - 9 pm; Saturday & Sunday 11 am - 10 pm

Price: All ages are $15. This includes unlimited skate time and skate rental

NorCal Ice is Marin's only outdoor ice rink and a can't miss if you are north of San Francisco. This is one of the larger SF Bay Area outdoor ice skating rinks at over 6,400 square feet. It is located at the Oaktree Plaza at Northgate Mall in San Rafael, so you can do your holiday shopping as well as enjoying your day skating in the beautiful North Bay.

>> Additional details

9. San Mateo on Ice

Address: Central Park at 50 East, Fifth Avenue San Mateo

Dates: Saturday, November 13th, 2021 to January 9th, 2022

Holiday Hours: Time vary depending on date and day. Please visit the website for information.

Price: $18 all ages includes skate rental; $15 active military, fire and police (bring I.D.), $5 same day re-entry fee

This is one of the SF Bay Area outdoor ice skating rinks that offers more than 9,000 square feet of ice to skate on. The San Mateo on Ice rink entry fee includes unlimited skate times so you can skate all day long if you want. However, there is no in and out privileges unless you purchase the $15 ticket or you purchase a separate same day re-entry ticket which costs $5.

Since this is one of the largest SF Bay Area outdoor skating rinks, and it is made out of real ice, you will have lots of space to skate and also feel like you are in a real winter wonderland. Depending on the weather, the skating rink may be closed, so make sure to check ahead and plan accordingly.

>> Find tickets at a discount on select dates on Groupon

>> More here on their site

10. Boardwalk Holiday Ice

Address: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk at 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz

Dates: TBD

Price: $14.95 all ages includes skates

During the holiday season, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is home to a 40 foot by 60 foot ice rink made of real ice. One of the reasons to visit the Boardwalk Holiday Ice rink is that the whole area will be lit with holiday lights and lots of holiday decorations will be set for all to see and enjoy.

Skate sessions are only 1 hour so you will have plenty of time to check out the other attractions on the boardwalk like its arcade, restaurants, and rides. If it gets chilly, you can go indoor and play miniature gold, laser tag, or some of the other many attractions available to you at the boardwalk. It's one of the best SF Bay Area outdoor ice skating rinks because there are so many other fun things to do around it too!

>> Visit their site for more info

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