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The Ultimate Guide to Christmas in Los Angeles: Where to go Ice Skating

Ice Skating?! Who doesn’t love ice skating?!

My childhood is full of memories of gliding across the frozen ice like an olympian.  I even took ice skating lessons at the local rink, had multiple bright-colored spandex ice skating “outfits” and my own pair of white figure skates. We would skate on makeshift backyard rinks made from a recipe of plywood, blue tarps, water and mother nature’s freezing cold weather. I have fond memories of putting on so many pairs of wool socks my feet needed skates two sizes bigger. I remember skating until my toes, nose and fingers were beyond numb. I get warm and fuzzies when I think about warming up afterwards with a cup of hot cocoa loaded in marshmallows.

I’m not shy about my love of the winter. You have to love winter when you grow up in Rochester, because winter is our longest and proudest season.  It pretty much lasts from October until May.  So if you don’t love winter sports, you will become a weird obese hermit that never leaves your house.

From a young age we are taught that cold, snow and ice can’t hold a good man down.  We trudge along and somewhere on the way fall madly, deeply in love with the freezing cold and all it entails.  When it barely drops below 50 in Los Angeles this time of year, I get super sadly nostalgic about my old Northeastern winters.  So, I love that even in Los Angeles there are opportunities to share my love of winter sports with my son (and get my own personal ‘fix’.)

There are so many places to go ice skating this holiday season, and thankfully it’s finally getting chillier so it doesn’t seem so odd. Because, let’s be honest…ice skating on a hot day is just wrong. Like taking a dip in a swimming pool when it’s cold and raining…yeah, you can do it…and yeah it can make for some fun memories…but it’s just a little, well, different. Different isn’t necessarily bad…but it doesn’t exactly evoke the nostalgia of a northeastern winter. Something gets a little lost in translation.

Last weekend we took Avery ice skating for the first time and it was GREAT! I thought at 2.5 he might not be old enough, but then I thought…eh, if he can walk, he can skate…and I was right! He did great! Luckily he has GIANT feet just like his mama, so the skates fit. But for toddlers with smaller feet, if you just bring a thick pair of socks or two, they should be able to fit the smallest size at most rinks. Also, most rinks have these awesome ‘new’ (not sure how long these have been around, but they were new to me, so we’ll call them ‘new’) skater-helpers. The rink we went to had little penguins that un-stable skaters can hold onto for balance. Gone are the days of clinging to the side of the rink for dear life and spending more time on your ass than on your feet. I mean, “back in my day”, you put on skates and you figured it out…there were no “helpers”, there were no shortcuts…you just bit it over and over and over and over and over until you figured it out!

Alas, we paid the extra $5 for the penguin. A however, was apparently too cool for it. He (of course) insisted on doing it ‘all by myself’. So I let him. But, apparently, “all by myself”, really meant clinging to mommy for dear life. Luckily I am a good skater, because he did everything in his power to take me down. I spent most of the time bent over trying to keep my toddler from biting it and guarding him from being run over by overly enthusiastic adults.

My back was killing me, I was sweating like a fat kid playing dodgeball, and not once did I get to glide fast enough to feel the wind against my face, yet it was perfection. A had the time of his life. He actually was able to skate by himself. And by skate, I mean shuffle his little feet from me to the wall over and over and over again. And a couple of times I was able to convince him to hold onto the penguin and glide along as I pushed us around the rink.

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It may be warmer than what’s natural for ice skating. The rinks aren’t homemade or giant frozen lakes. But, if you are craving the childlike wonder and joy of a Northeastern winter, I strongly suggest you check out some of the great rinks in Los Angeles. They are the perfect place for quality fresh air family fun, and also make for a fun romantic date night. I mean what’s sweeter than holding hands as you glide along the ice on a cool winter night? The colder you get, the more you have to snuggle up for warmth (wink wink).

Here’s a list of great places to unleash your inner Kristy Yamaguchi…

Holiday Ice Rink in Pershing Square
532 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: (213) 847-4970
open until January 18th

ICE at Santa Monica
1324 5th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 260-1199
open until January 18th

Woodland Hills Ice
6100 Topanga Canyon Boulevard
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone: (818) 854-4151
open until January 24th

The Rink in Downtown Burbank
Third St and Orange Grove
Burbank, California 91502
Phone: (818) 238-5180
open until January 3rd

LA Kings Holiday Ice at Nokia Plaza LA Live
800 W Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: (213) 763-5483
open until December 31st

OC Chill at Irvine Spectrum Center
71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: (949) 753-5180
open until February 15th

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa Festival of Lights
3649 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501
Phone: (951) 784-0300
open until January 2nd

Olaf’s FROZEN Ice Rink in Downtown Disney
1580 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
Phone: (714) 300-7800
open until January 3rd

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