Where to Skate and Dine this Winter in DC

Published on December 19, 2018 - Updated on June 14, 2019

Hey Happy Active Family’s of DC!

Bundle up and hit the ice! Ice skating is such a fun way to get the whole family active outside. Even if you have little kids, most of these rinks offer something for the little ones to lean on, making it a fun activity for the whole family. Here’s a list of ice skating rinks in the area and places to grab a bite after everyone has worked up an appetite.

The Washington Harbour Ice Rink

Located right along the Potomac in the heart of Georgetown, this rink is one of the largest in the area. From November to March 1, you can rent skates and zoom around the fountain. Little kids can hold onto a penguin that glides along the ice for support. The rink has weekly skating events, including a cartoon skate on Saturdays from 10am to 12pm. Adult admission is $10.00 and child admission: $9.00. Seniors and Military can skate for $9.00. Skate rentals are $6. Check the website at https://www.thewashingtonharbour.com/ice-skating for hours, but the rink is generally open at noon on weekdays and 10am on the weekend. The rink also offers ‘Learn to Skate’ classes (check online for details).

If you want to grab lunch or dinner after you skate, there are multiple dining options encircling the skating rink, including Farmers Fishers Bakers and Nick’s Riverside Grill. Head to Ristorante Piccolo on 31st Street if you want delicious Italian food or enjoy yummy vegetarian tacos at Chaia on Grace Street.

Ice Skating at the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art

For a real Washington atmosphere, head down to the Mall between 7th and 9th Streets on Constitution Avenue to skate among the large-scale sculptures. Skating fees for two 45-minute sessions that begin on the hour are $9 for adults and children age 13 and over. Children 12 and under, adults age 50 and over, and students with a valid ID skate for $8. The skate rental fee is $4. The rink is open until March 10, weather permitting. Check the website for exact hours, but the rink generally opens at 10 am during the week and 11am on weekends. Classes are also available for a fee. The ice rink will be closed when it rains or when the temperature dips below 20°F. For more information, click here: https://www.nga.gov/visit/ice-rink.html.

For a bite to eat, the Pavilion Café is onsite, but it’s easy to head to other options downtown. You can find delicious Indian food at Rasika (633 D St, NW), or wander over to Penn Quarter to try one of the many options in that area, such as Jaleo (480 7th St NW) and Zaytinya (701 9th St NW). If pizza is your choice, we are big fans of Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza (610 9th St NW) and Pi Pizzeria (910 F St NW). If you want to grab something on the go, try Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G St NW).

It’s also an easy walk from the ice skating rink to view the National Christmas Tree at President’s Park.

Canal Park Ice Skating Rink

Located along the Capitol Riverfront, Canal Park offers a fun ice skating experience from November through February. During the week, the rink opens at noon and on the weekends it opens at 10am. Adults skate for $9 and children and seniors skate for $8. Skate rentals are $5. ‘Learn To Skate’ sessions are available throughout the skating season. For more information, check out the rink’s website at https://www.capitolriverfront.org/canal-park/ice-rink.

Dining options right by the rink include Wise Guys Pizza (202 M St SE) and Five Guys burgers (1100 New Jersey Ave, SE). A short walk away, you can enjoy southern food at Due South (301 Water St SE) or “creative global fare” at Chloe (1331 4th St SE). Ice skating at Canal Park is a great activity to combine with a visit to see the interactive art exhibit Light Yards at The Yards DC (https://www.theyardsdc.com/event/2018/12/light-yards-3/).

Wharf Ice Rink

Located at Transit Pier (960 Wharf St SW), the ice rink at the Wharf is a new addition to the roster of rinks in DC. Open from November through late February (weather permitting), admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children age 12 and under. A $2 discount is available for active military and senior citizens. Skate rentals are $6 and skate aid rentals are $5. The rink opens at noon during the week and 11am on the weekends. More information can be found here https://www.wharfdc.com/wharf-ice-rink/.

The Wharf also provides plenty of family-friendly and diverse dining options. You can grab quesadillas to go at Cantina Bambina (960 Wharf St SW) or enjoy burgers at Shake Shack (975 Wharf St SW). The Wharf is also the only spot in DC to try Afro-Caribbean cuisine at Kith and Kin (801 Wharf St SW). If you just want to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are also plenty of options, including District Doughnut (5 Market Sq SW) and Camp Wharf at the Firepit for S’mores (101 District Sq SW). All of the Wharf’s dining options can be found here: https://www.wharfdc.com/restaurants/.

Pentagon Row Ice Skating Rink

Located just outside the city in Arlington, VA (1201 S. Joyce St), the Pentagon Row’s ice skating rink includes a cozy spot to take a break at the dual-sided, rink-side fireplace. It opens at noon during the week and 10am on the weekends from October to March. Admission is $9 for adults and children age 13 and older; $8 for children age 12 and under; and $8 for seniors (age 55 and up). Skate rentals are $5. Group and private lessons are also available for a fee. If you don’t have a car, you can take the yellow/green line metro to Pentagon City. For more information, check out the website here: http://pentagonrowskating.com/index.html.

For food options, you can grab a burger at Basic Burger (1101 S. Joyce St) or enjoy traditional Lebanese cuisine at Lebanese Taverna (1101 S. Joyce St). All of Pentagon Row’s dining options can be found here: http://pentagonrow.com/eat-drink/.

Medstar Capitals Iceplex

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the Medstar Capital Iceplex in Ballston has public skate times when you can enjoy this world-class indoor skating facility. Check the website for the times and dates for the public skate sessions here: https://www.medstarcapitalsiceplex.com/page/show/2237857-public-skate. Admission for adults and children age 13 and older is $9 and for children age 12 and under, it is $8. Seniors age 55 and over skate for $6 and skate rentals are $5. All Public Skates are subject to a capacity limit and passes are sold 30 minutes before each session starts. Winter weekends are very busy so arrive early to make sure you get into a session.

Dining options in the Ballston neighborhood where the rink is located are plentiful. Enjoy Spanish food at Ser (1110 N. Glebe Road) or dine on some delicious Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken at El Pollo Rico (932 N. Kenmore St). If pizza and pasta is what you want, look no further than Rustico (4075 Wilson Blvd).

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more seasonal blog posts.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


The Team at Happy Active Family

Thoughtfully captured by:
Emily Coleman
Emily Coleman is a Jersey girl born and raised who caught the outdoor bug upon moving to Vermont to pursue a degree in Adventure Education and Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College. She spent most of her years before college deeply entrenched in the world of competitive cheerleading before discovering a passion for outdoor sports including mountain biking, white water kayaking, bikepacking, backpacking, slacklining, rock climbing, and skiing. Having been surrounded by children her entire life in her mother's daycare, she always had a strong affinity for kids. She moved to the mountains of Jackson Hole after graduating to coach for the local Kayak Club during the summers and nanny in the winters. Becoming a part of the Happy Active Family team felt like the perfect collision of her passion for building strong community bonds and encouraging an outdoor lifestyle.
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