Ice skating is one of the great joys of winter. Philly doesn’t have any frozen ponds to glide across, yet the city still has plenty of charming skating destinations. Dress warmly, head over to our favorite spots, and reward yourself with hot chocolate.
Image via Matt Stanley for DRWC
People come to Winterfest to skate, but they stay for everything else. Penn’s Landing, located on the Delaware River waterfront, is transformed into a seasonal wonderland that features all the proper amenities. Check it out and wander from an Olympic-size ice rink to a winter garden under twinkling lights, a chalet-inspired Lodge, and fire pits with mini winter cottages around them. There’s also food and drink from Garces Group and confections from Franklin Fountain.
Aside from ice skating, the Lodge is the gem of any trip to Winterfest. Rocking chairs, leather couches with winter-themed throws, wooden tables, mounted antlers, and candle-cluttered fireplace mantles make guests feel like they’ve just hit the slopes rather than the rink. Some warm treats from the onsite restaurant and bar that we recommend: the Cuban Chili Dog, topped with picadillo chili, cheddar, and espresso-flavored crema; or the Short-Gravy Fries, a poutine-like batch of french fries paired with braised short rib, jus gravy, and queso fresco.
Don’t forget to check back for info about Winterfest Brewfest, a weekend showcasing local and regional beer, and Sweetheart Skates on Valentine’s Day.
Admission: $3 to skate, $10 to rent skates
Image via mf0178
Now in its second year of operation, Rothman Rink is a unique way to experience the heart of the city. The backdrop for an afternoon or evening of skating is the visually-stunning City Hall, a distinct Philadelphia icon with soaring masonwork and elaborate ornamentation. Combining the orbed lights, twinkling trees, and bustle of the city; Rothman Rink exudes romantic, urban winter.
This rink is smaller than regulation-size, so be prepared for congested skating at certain times of the day. When you’re ready to unwind, the Rothman Cabin is steps from all the action. Enjoy Cuban burgers and warm drinks like hot chocolate and coffee. Or, stay in Center City and take advantage of the excellent dining options.
Admission: $5 to skate, $9 to rent skates
Image via penn_ice_rink
If you’re prefer a traditional indoor ice skating experience, the Penn Ice Rink at the Class of 1923 Arena has served the community for over 40 years. The home of the Drexel and UPenn hockey teams, this arena is located in University City and is a 10-minute walk from 30th Street Station. It features three different concession stands, serving up perennial favorites like sandwiches and pizza.
After you skate, take the opportunity to explore the neighborhood. Enjoy UPenn’s beautiful academic buildings, and stroll down the well-known Locust Walk. Or check out some of the area’s great eateries; we recommend White Dog Cafe, City Tap House, and Han Dynasty.
Admission: $5 to skate, rental skates included
Header image via Matt Stanley for DRWC