The Top 10 Most Impressive Outdoor Ice Rinks In The World
It’s November already and winter is just around the corner, so… you ready for some fun in the snow? While winter, with its low temperatures and sometimes gloomy days, might not be the most comfortable season for most people, winter sports are the activities that make it enjoyable for a great deal of people, no matter the walk of life, age or location.
One of the most appreciated and widespread winter sport that’s as well easily available to almost anyone is ice skating. That’s why there are so many locations throughout the globe that have built special designed spaces in which ice skating and everything related to it are at home.
In some countries, skating is done on artificial ice rinks like frozen lakes, but starting since the middle of the 19th century, artificial ice rinks have become prominent, especially in countries where natural conditions are not enough. Depending on their intended use, ice rinks can be outdoor or indoor and their size and shape vary a lot.
The sports practiced indoors are mostly ice hockey, curling, broomball, rink bandy and figure or speed skating because they have to have special conditions, but for amusement purposes, ice skating is best done outdoors.
So here we’re going to talk about the Top 10 Best Outdoor Ice Rinks In The World:
- 10. Fuji-Q Highland – Fujiyoshida, Japan
- 9. FlevOnice – Netherlands
- 8. McCormick Tribune Ice Rink – Chicago
- 7. Rideau Canal – Ottawa
- 6. Red Square Ice Rink – Moscow
- 5. Somerset House – London
- 4. Nathan Phillips Square – Toronto
- 3. Rockefeller Center – New York
- 2. Vienna Ice Dream – Vienna
- 1. Wollman Rink, New York
10. Fuji-Q Highland – Fujiyoshida, Japan
Fuji-Q Highland is an amusement park in Fujiyoshida, Japan, close to the base of Mount Fuji, which allures many tourists from all over the world with its fantastic roller-coasters and other themed attractions like the Haunted Hospital and the Hopeless Fortress.
The most interesting part is the winter park, which hosts the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Japan, with plenty of venues for professional and beginner skaters alike. There are a total of three rinks in the park, with the largest of the three having a total area of 3.8 acres and the main one being Crystal Lagoon Rink, where the official competitions take place.
9. FlevOnice – Netherlands
The Dutch people seem to be very enthusiastic about skating, so they’ve built themselves quite a few artificial rinks in Netherlands, with FlevOnice being the longest of them all covering a distance of 5 km. During winter time, the skaters can have fun along frozen rivers on lengths of up to 200 km, but FlevOnice is open for around 100 days a year, thus extending the fun time.
This ice rink welcomes skaters of all levels, including children for whom it’s got a Super Slide and a Doodle Course. With a track width of five meters and cooling elements that ensure there’s real ice on the floor, FlevOnice is Netherlands’ best place for fun or speed skating training.
8. McCormick Tribune Ice Rink – Chicago
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the Millenium Park in Chicago, Illinois, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is a multipurpose venue that serves as an ice skating rink during the winter months – from November to March – hosting up to 100,000 skaters during that period. It’s also hosting the Chicago Winter Dance Festival, with free skating instructions during the month of the festival.
The location was opened in 2004 and it’s the go to place for all kinds of events the whole time of year. When skating isn’t possible, it functions as the Park Grill Plaza, the largest outdoor dining space in the city of Chicago. Sometimes they even host open-air exhibitions or all kinds of various events.
7. Rideau Canal – Ottawa
Connecting Kingston and Ottawa in Canada, the Rideau Canal was built in 1832 as a safeguard in case of a war with the United States. It’s the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America and it got on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2007.
Part of it goes through the center of the capital, Ottawa, and during winter time it’s transformed in one of the largest outdoor ice skating rinks in the world, a 7.8 km long skateway with a total surface equal to that of 90 Olympic ice hockey rinks put together. Each year, the Rideau Canal hosts the Winterlude Festival, which brings together hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world.
6. Red Square Ice Rink – Moscow
Moscow’s legendary Red Square transforms each year into a veritable ice rink bedecked with dazzling lights, alluring tourists from all the corners of the globe into one of the best places in the world to go skating, with a scenery to astonish almost anyone.
The Red Square Ice Rink has enough room to host shows of Olympic figure skaters, ice hockey matches and many amateurs as well.
5. Somerset House – London
The renowned Somerset House hosts the most beautiful ice rink in London inside its impressive 18th century courtyard, making it one of the most famous outdoor ice rinks in the world.
After nightfall, the eponymous ice rink becomes home to the Club Nights which offer some of the finest clubs and festivals with exquisite cocktail sipping while skating as their main activity. They’ve even got a Skate School for those not sure if they can do both activities simultaneous and the house’s West Wing is transformed into the Christmas Arcade, offering seasonal food, drink and music.
4. Nathan Phillips Square – Toronto
Located in Toronto, Canada, the Nathan Phillips Square is the forecourt to the City Hall and the largest square in Canada, with around 1.5 million tourists visiting every year. On a usual basis, the square is host to various concerts, art displays and markets but during the winter, its reflecting pool transforms into a full ice rink.
The design of the reflecting pool includes three impressive arches that span across it to provide special illumination, making for an amazing night skating experience.
3. Rockefeller Center – New York
The Rockefeller Center in New York City is one of the most popular and widely known locations in the city, a declared National Historic Landmark since 1987, but also one of the most prominent ice rinks in the world.
The Rock Center Cafe and The Sea Grill nearby make for special places to get snacks and drinks and during Christmas there are various shows hosted there for the enjoyment of children and adults alike, with Santa, his elves and reindeer or Bloody Mary populating the place from time to time.
2. Vienna Ice Dream – Vienna
Between the months of January and March, the City Hall Square in Vienna becomes an enormous 7000 square meter ice rink, with a perfectly illuminated City Hall facade making for a special and beautiful setting.
Titled Vienna Ice Dream, the ice rink encompasses six ice curling lanes, both for beginners and professionals as well. On the sides there are outdoor stalls which offer culinary delicacies from all over the world and hot beverages to keep the participants warm.
1. Wollman Rink, New York
Funded by Kate Wollman and opened in 1949 in the Central Park, Manhattan, New York, the Wollman Rink – called the Trump Skating Rink since 2001 due to his sponsorship – is the number one outdoor ice rink on our list.
A skating rink between the months of October and April, it transforms into the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park during summer, but it functioned as a theater and outdoor concerts venue in the past as well. The setting of Central Park, with New York’s skyline in the background makes Wollman Rink the most amazing outdoor ice rink in the world right now.