If you’ve spent most of the holiday season just preparing for the holiday season, worry not: One of the best holiday events in California—the public ice rinks—don’t end until New Year’s Day or well after. Thanks to the sunshine, these outdoor rinks offer the chance to glide around a rink beachside, downtown, or next to the mountains.
Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado
This hotel on San Diego County’s Coronado Island already has plenty of ambience, thanks to the Queen Anne architecture and the Marilyn Monroe history. But this now-traditional rink is idyllic on its own, right next to the beach—and you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy it. Grab a hot cocoa and plan to stay into the evening (most evenings, it’s open until 9 or 10 p.m.) to see the hotel’s white holiday lights. Open through January 1.
This new covered rink in the Boardwalk’s new Main Plaza lets you combine some beachside ice skating with traditional Santa Cruz boardwalk fun: Plenty of the boardwalk’s games, rides, and arcades are still open this time of year. Open through January 7; reservations for one-hour sessions are recommended.
Pershing Square Holiday Ice Skating Rink
The seasonal rink in this downtown L.A. park—just blocks from The Broad and The Grammy Museum—is open every day, but has festive themes on select days: DJ HowLy spins records on Thursday nights, while Wednesdays are Aladdin Nights (with purple rink lighting and music from the original Broadway cast recording). Come on New Year’s Day in your wildest beach attire for the rink’s Polar Bear Skate. Open until January 15; check the schedule for times.
The Rink in Downtown Burbank
Not far from Warner Bros. Studio Tour, this rink tucked behind City Hall reminds you that Burbank has a charmingly walkable downtown with restaurants and shops—including the nearby Burbank Town Center. Come on Saturdays for regular skating lessons, or curling lessons on Sundays. Open until January 7.
Union Square Holiday Ice Rink
Set in the heart of downtown San Francisco, this rink has been running for 10 years, and has been dubbed one of the best ice rinks in the U.S. If you missed December’s traditional Drag Queens on Ice event, come on New Year’s Day wearing beachwear for the Polar Bear skate, or on January 12 for the all-’80s-music Flashback Friday. Open until January 15.
Mammoth Ice Rink
The rink in town of Mammoth Lakes is a classic outdoor rink, with lovely views of the White Mountains and Sherwin Range, as well as the all-important snack bar. It’s open until 10 p.m. most nights for a starry après-ski activity. Weather permitting, stays open through February.
Yosemite National Park rinks
Yosemite in winter boasts two good outdoor rinks: the Half Dome Village Ice Skating Rink (formerly known as the Curry Village Ice Rink) and the Ice Rink at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. The Half Dome Village rink (which dates back to 1928) has views of the famed mountain and the warmth of a fire pit, while the Tenaya Lodge rink is next to a sledding hill and is surrounded by the Sierra National Forest. Best of all, both typically stay open until late March.