Where Is the World’s Best Destination for Ice Skating?
There’s nothing like the feeling you get from flying across a frozen surface. Here are our ice picks.
Freedom. Power. Romance. Hope. Joy. They’re all found on the whisper-thin blade of a skate as it propels you across the ice in a timeless pastime. Even if you don’t know a triple salchow from a toe loop, you know the exhilaration and the happily flushed cheeks that accompany ice skating outdoors on a crisp winter day, with the promise of a steaming mug of something ahead. If you want to skip the crowds at the smaller, touristy rinks, try these hot spots for a cold-weather wonder.
Stretching nearly five miles through Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, the Rideau Canal Skateway is the world’s longest naturally frozen skating rink. Start at the Parliament Buildings and end at the kids’ outdoor art gallery at Dows Lake. Along the way, families will find heated chalets for lacing up skates, sipping hot chocolate and snacking on beaver tails—pastries topped with cinnamon and sugar.
The ice skating in Gorky Park (a great spot for young singles) isn’t just the opening scene of a 1983 film: It’s a real phenomenon that happens every winter, when the Russian walkways become an expansive labyrinth of frozen fun. So attached are Muscovites to their ice skating, they deliberately ice-over the pathways and, on weekends, add an ice disco—complete with music and lights—to the famous park.
And for those seeking more solitude along with a seemingly endless expanse of ice, Austria’s Lake Weissensee has 6.5 square kilometres of slick, reliable ice each winter. There’s a special academy here just for figure skating and speed skating, plus trails and marathons also just for skating.
You Tell Us
Of course, you may prefer smaller, more intimate and historic rinks for the chance of pirouetting with the past or bumping into a future date, such as at London’s Somerset House or New York’s Rockefeller Center. So tell us, where’s the world’s best destination for ice skating?