Winter is here and most people believe there is not much left to do outside in D.C. It is when we often retire to indoors, and by doing so, escape the freezing winds from the north. Yes, there is a certain beauty of sharing our homes’ warmth with those we love, but deep down we still feel like something is missing, don’t we?
That is, until occasional stares through the steamy windows with sighs and longing remind us of a certain outdoor sport particular to exactly this time of the year: Ice-skating.
Let’s now lace up and no longer confine all our spare time to within walls. As we start discovering many options on ice around, the capital city will transform into a winter wonderland.
The iconic Watergate Hotel’s phenomenal rooftop bar Top of The Gate, one of the best of its sort in town, closes for the same reason why many of us stay indoors during winters, yet only to become something else that is even more terrific: A “rooftop ice rink” with majestic views from the city skyline.
Imagine an opportunity to glide around a bar full of snacks and cocktails while enjoying 360-degree views of the Kennedy Center, the Potomac River, the Key and Arlington bridges, and the Washington Monument.
You could travel out here with your partner for the perfect date or, if you have children, bring along the little ones for the most unusual ice-skating experience.
Entry fee is $20 for adults and $10 for kids. Consider spending about twice as much per person to add food and drinks.
Only next to the Top of The Gate with all the winter fun it offers across town is none other than The Wharf Ice Rink. At the Transit Pier outside The Anthem, one of the greatest concert venues in the area, it is right by the Potomac River and offers beautiful views from on the water and the monuments.
Here, you can have access to a well maintained sports facility with all the equipment you may need available for rent at all sizes and one of the city’s liveliest dining settings with great variety of food and drink options. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for children.
The Wharf has indubitably become a jewel to D.C.’s dining and sports landscape by the waterfront but there has been somewhere else that combines the perfect trio, long before there was any Wharf or even the District itself: Georgetown.
As the city’s oldest neighborhood, it has always been a major attraction for all. With The Washington Harbour, a luxury development of both shops and residences, featuring a great ice rink right by the river, it has only become even more so.
Transformed from a picturesque fountain, The Washington Harbour Ice Rink is the city’s largest outdoor ice-skating venue with a total area of 11,800 square feet. Other than single-day admission for $10 per adult and $9 per child, you can join a four-week instructional session every Saturday for $125 and take your skating to the next level here.
The National Mall
But perhaps what you want from your ice-skating experience is to be found neither on the terrace of an expensive hotel nor by the waterfront but right at the heart of the city, in a lush garden full of inspirational artwork.
For the likeminded, there is not a better option than the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden where a giant fountain awaits its visitors as an ice rink every winter.
Here, you can enjoy being so close to the city’s most significant attractions and glide at your own pace during two 45-minute sessions for under $10 every time you feel like it till mid-March. Season passes with unlimited benefits are available for $195.