Explore Washington D.C.

Chillin’ Out at D.C. Ice Rinks

Skaters lace up for frozen fun with on-site perks and iconic views.

This time of year, loyal (and vocal) fans regularly pour into downtown’s Verizon Center to cheer on puck-pushing superstar Alex Ovechkin and his crew. The Washington Capitals, D.C.’s National Hockey League team since 1974, practice in free sessions open to the public at Arlington, Virginia’s Kettler Capitals Iceplex, which also has a team store that sells everything fans need to “Rock the Red.” Eager to try out your own on-ice moves? Several picturesque outdoor rinks offer frozen fun.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (©Brooke Sabin)

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

D.C.’s longtime, go-to skating spot has a rink with a view: museums, monuments and modern art. Skaters whiz past works like Alexander Calder’s “Cheval Rouge” and Roy Lichtenstein’s “House 1,” with its cartoon colors and disorienting perspective (careful!). An on-site pavilion provides sightlines on the action and a cozy refueling station with peppermint hot chocolate, mulled wine and whiskey-spiked Irish coffee plus soups and toasted sandwiches. 7th St. and Constitution Ave. NW, 202.216.9397

Skate session $8.50, under 13 and over 50 $7.50; skate rental $3

Washington Harbour
Washington Harbour (©Brooke Sabin)

Washington Harbour

Flanking the Potomac River in Georgetown, this rink measures nearly 12,000 square feet, making it the largest in the area (and besting New York City’s Rockefeller Center rink). Here adults have ample room to glide, while pint-sized skaters steady themselves behind plastic penguins with handle-bar “ears.” Restaurants on three sides mean lots of ways to warm up. One of the most popular? The blazing patio fire troughs at Farmers Fishers Bakers. On Saturday nights, a DJ spins tunes. 3050 K St. NW, 202.706.7666

Skate session $10, children, seniors, military $9; skate rental $6

Canal Park
Canal Park (Courtesy the park)

Canal Park

In southeast’s newly hip Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, this figure-eight design of ice paths takes inspiration from the frozen canals of northern Europe. Real-time images of skaters show up on a translucent cube on the pavilion roof, which also makes a good viewing perch. The adjoining Il Parco restaurant satisfies appetites with hearty pizzas and pasta. 202 M St. SE, 202.465.7012

Skate Session $9, children, seniors, military $8; skate rental $5 

Just outside the city, find enticing ice at Virginia’s Pentagon Row, Tysons Corner Center and Reston Town Center as well as Maryland’s Silver Spring and Rockville Town Square.