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Enjoy Ice Skating at Public Outdoor Rinks this Winter

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2023-11-20 18:50:00

This winter, enjoy a classic outdoor activity in Upstate New York: ice skating. Big cities and small towns alike offer open-air ice skating as weather permits throughout the season, so there are plenty of places to get out on the ice, no matter where in New York you happen to be.

In the Capital Region, the picturesque Empire State Plaza Ice Rink  is beloved for its outdoor skating in the heart of downtown Albany  and is open throughout the winter starting in December, with rentals and classes available. Or, go a bit further south and visit the Hudson Valley’s  largest open-air ice rink at Bear Mountain Ice Rink  in Tomkins Cove, where you can also rent skates or have a lesson, or just enjoy an open skate.

In Central New York, downtown Syracuse  is home to the outdoor Clinton Square Ice Rink. Surrounded by historic architecture, it’s a pretty and popular spot to enjoy some outdoor skating, as well as the shopping and dining opportunities nearby. In the Finger Lakes, Corning’s Nasser Civic Center  offers a unique indoor-outdoor experience, with a roof over the rink but no walls, so you can take in the surrounding views during open skate hours.

If you’re in Western New York, Buffalo  offers three different outdoor ice skating locations. Canalside  at the Buffalo Waterfront offers outdoor skating five days a week; Buffalo RiverWorks  offers open-air open skate hours at select times when the rink is available; and Buffalo’s original outdoor ice rink, the Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza, offers free ice skating on various days and times throughout the winter. Meanwhile, Rochester offers outdoor public skating at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park Ice Rink.

In the Adirondacks, you can skate on Olympic ice at  Lake Placid’s James C. Sheffield Speed Skating Oval  at the Lake Placid Olympic Center, one of the sites that hosted competitors at the 1980 Winter Games. The newly-renovated outdoor oval is now open for public skating at select times throughout the winter weeks, and there are indoor skating rinks at the center as well. The smaller towns of Old Forge  and Wilmington (near Whiteface Mountain) both operate their own small, outdoor community rinks, and the town of Long Lake is home to the Geiger Arena and Mt. Sabbatis Sledding Hill, with both indoor and skating, sledding, and a warming hut where snacks and drinks are available for purchase.

Of course, this is only a short list of ice skating opportunities  available throughout the state. Wherever you go, make sure to check with the ice rink ahead of time to find out hours and schedules, rates, safety regulations, and whether you need reservations for rentals or lessons. And of course, never skate on a frozen body of water unless the ice is thick enough to be safe! With those few tips in mind, you’ll be ready to lace up your skates and glide right through Upstate New York’s winter months.


Empire State Plaza ice rink photo credit Empire State Plaza Events
Bear Mountain Ice Rink photo credit NY State Parks & Historic Sites
Clinton Square photo credit Chris Sinclair
Canalside skating photo credit Buffalo Waterfront
Speed skating oval photo credit Lake Placid Legacy Sites

posted at: 2023-11-20 18:50:00, last updated: 2024-02-10 16:24:13

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