Seattle gets cold in the winter, but not typically cold enough for snow to fall or the local lakes to freeze over. However, Seattleites can still fill their Winter Wonderland fix by visiting one of the area's local ice rinks. Some of them are open year-round, so you can enjoy this cold-weather excursion even in July. But if you're visiting in winter, then there are even more seasonal options available.
The most popular seasonal rink is right in the center of the city at the Seattle Center, next to nearby attractions such as the Space Needle and multiple museums. However, you can avoid the biggest crowds by heading out to the nearby suburbs, such as Tacoma to the south or just across the lake in Bellevue.
Kent Valley Ice Center
Kent Valley Ice Center is more than a holiday rink as it's available all year round. If you don’t know how to ice skate, you can learn everything from basics for all ages up to advanced adult lessons. The rink is also home to the Kent Valley Hockey Association and you can take hockey lessons, too. If you're skating in December, you can expect special holiday events throughout the month for an extra festive spirit.
Beginning in January 2021 and until further notice, skaters must buy advance tickets with a specified time slot in order to skate at the Kent Valley Ice Center.
Winterfest Ice Rink
The Winterfest Ice Rink is not open for the 2020–2021 winter season.
Although Winterfest Ice Rink is just one small part of the Seattle Center’s Winterfest, it is possibly the most popular seasonal ice skating rink in the city. The rink is set up at Fisher Pavilion, typically from Thanksgiving until the New Year, and your admission price includes the rental. If after skating you're not ready for the holiday magic to end, you can continue to explore the Seattle Center and the Winterfest activites happening throughout the entire season, including light displays, live entertainment, and visits from Santa. Grab a cup of steaming hot chocolate to keep warm while you walk around and enjoy the festivities.
Frozen Fountain Ice Skating Rink
The Frozen Fountain Ice Skating Rink is not open for the 2020–2021 winter season.
The Frozen Fountain Ice Skating Rink at Tacoma's Point Ruston is a fun and festive holiday destination. This rink, which opens in the winter months, features plenty of live music and fun events throughout the skating season. One of the perks of the Frozen Fountain is its location right in the heart of Point Ruston, so it's easy to make a day of skating; going to see a movie; and doing lunch, dinner, or a drink as well. Skate rentals are available at the rink.
Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink
The Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink is not open for the 2020–2021 winter season.
Located in Bellevue’s Downtown Park, this ice skating rink is the only open-air ice skating rink in the region (the others are all enclosed). The Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink is also the only one in the city that's open every day throughout the holiday season, including Christmas and New Year's.
There are typically special events including free skating lessons, family skate events, and Stroller Skate Thursdays. Food and beverages are available, too, to complete the experience. Pair it with a visit to Snowflake Lane outside of the nearby Bellevue Collection for a truly magical afternoon and evening out, where you can experience the magic of snowfall every night (thanks to snowmaking machines).
Sprinker Recreation Center
As of January 2021, the Sprinkler Recreation Center is open for private lessons and club members, but it is closed to the general public until further notice.
Just to the south of Tacoma is Sprinker, a year-round athletic center that offers all kinds of spaces for different sports, including a nationally recognized ice skating rink with an NHL regulation surface. The rink offers lessons and team activities, but is also open to the public to come in and skate during public skate times. Discounts are available for seniors, kids, and other discounted events, and skate rentals are available if you don't have your own. During the holidays, there are special skate times and events, so don't think that because this center isn't a seasonal pop-up that it doesn't have a festive atmosphere.
Sno-King Ice Arenas – Renton and Kirkland
As of January 2021, all Sno-King Ice Arenas are closed until further notice.
With not one but three locations, Sno-King Ice Arenas aim to serve up fun for skaters of all stripes. The rinks are open to the public, have broomball leagues, hockey teams, and figure skating. Don’t know how to skate? Everyone from toddlers up to adults can take lessons here too. The closest one to downtown Seattle is in the suburb of Renton, but there are also locations in Kirkland in Snoqualmie.