It’s that magical time of year in Los Angeles when the temperature drops from a perfect 78 degrees to a bone-chilling 76. But instead of huddling under the covers until spring, go out and brave the rough weather for a day of family fun. ICE, an outdoor ice skating rink in Santa Monica, is the perfect place to embrace the season, so introduce your kids to this winter wonderland just a few blocks from the Pacific and watch them take to the ice like ducks to water.
In all seriousness, though there may be a gentle breeze off the ocean, you can probably leave the parkas and knit caps at home, because ICE at Santa Monica is not your typical skating experience. The annual pop-up rink offers families the unique experience of skating and getting a tan at the same time. Bietak Productions’ specially designed system prevents the ice rink from turning into a swimming pool in the LA sun, and skate rental is included with admission. Breathe in the fresh ocean air as your blades hit the ice and you glide across the 8,000-square-foot rink, keeping pace with your smiling kids. Show off your best moves and laugh along with them as you inevitably wobble and grab hands to steady each other. Need a refresher? Don’t sweat it: The Randy Gardner School of Skating offers lessons to skaters of all ages and skill levels. You’ll be doing axels, flips, and Salchows in no time, or at least getting around the rink without falling down. Once you do, reward yourself with a cup of hot cocoa from the ICE Bites Cafe, a convenient spot to catch your breath before returning to the ice for an encore performance.
The rink’s open every day through January 19, but consider dropping by on Thursday evenings, when the winter fun continues about a block away with the Winterlit celebration. If you still can’t believe you were ice skating at the beach, wait until it starts snowing on the Third Street Promenade.