In such a mild, warm climate as San Diego's, where you can pretty much do any outdoor activity year round, ice skating isn't something we typically engage in like we would, say, surfing. It's largely a circumstance of geography and climate - we don't freeze our butts off in the winter, so we don't indulge in some of the benefits of winter like frozen lakes and ponds. When you grow up with that, ice skating - and ice hockey by extension - is part of your upbringing.
But that's not to say ice skating in San Diego is a foreign activity native to the Midwest and Northeast - we still like to see how other parts of the country fare in the winter, so we do make attempts to indulge in these things. It might be a part of life in other parts of the country, but to us, ice skating is somewhat of a novelty.
In any event, there are actually several permanent ice skating rinks in San Diego County and, during the winter holiday season, there sprout a few outdoor ice rinks, to get yourself into the winter wonderland holiday spirit. Now, if ice skating indoors in San Diego is a bit out of place, just think how odd it must be to ice skate outside in 70 degree weather. Only in San Diego.
Here is my list of local San Diego ice skating rinks, including the seasonal outdoor rinks.
By far the most unique indoor ice skating rink in San Diego, the UTC Ice Sports Center is actually part of the Westfield UTC mall
in La Jolla. Unique when the facility opened as part of the mall in 1977, it still is unique by San Diego standards. Located within the mall's food court, the UTC ice rink is a great diversion for shoppers, whether you're having a bite and watching the skaters, or you're trying your hand at skating in-between shopping.
Along with public skating, the UTC Ice Sports Center is extremely popular with the serious ice skaters, as well as with recreational youth and adult hockey leagues, and even broomball, where you play hockey with "brooms," a ball and no skates on the ice.
General admission for open ice skating is $15 per person, including skates, with youth, student and senior rates available.
As part of Ray and Joan Kroc Salvation Army Community Center in San Diego's Rolando neighborhood, the Kroc Center Ice Arena
is the only ice arena centrally located in the heart of San Diego. A year round, NHL regulation sized ice surface, Kroc Center Ice offers public ice skating sessions, learn to skate classes, learn to play hockey classes, drop in hockey, youth in-house hockey, and adult hockey leagues.
Even more important, the Kroc ice arena brings ice skating and hockey to a part of the public that might not otherwise be exposed to ice skating fun - inner city youth. Offering an impressive array of classes and leagues at very reasonable rates, the Kroc ice arena is considered one of the best in San Diego.
With eight public ice skating sessions each week, admission is a low $10 including skate rental for most sessions, along with weekly specials like $5 Wednesday Night skating, $7 Sundays skating.
San Diego Ice Arena, located in Mira Mesa, is one of the oldest ice skating rinks in San Diego, in operation for over 34 years. Along with its well-regarded ice hockey and figure skating programs, the facility is a favorite place for birthday parties and its public skating sessions, especially on Friday nights, when it's a favorite among area teens.
The San Diego Ice Arena's pro shop is one of the the largest and most complete is the area for ice hockey and figure skating. The pro shop is a fully equipped service center with trained professionals, from repairs and sharpening to rockering and skate customization.
Public skating admission is $12 and includes skate rental.
Iceoplex in Escondido
is San Diego's only dual rink ice skating facility. The facility, which is where skaters and hockey players in the North County participate, also has a fitness and aquatics center a fully equipped gym, indoor heated 25-meter lap pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna. Along with the full slate of skating classes, figure skating instruction, and ice hockey leagues, the Iceoplex also occasionally offers lessons in the sport of curling - you know, the one where they use brooms and a large stone that slides down the ice.
Public skating rates are $10 and includes skate rental.
In the winter, the concrete plaza of Horton Square downtown freezes up and becomes an ice skating rink, Sycuan's Fantasy on Ice. The ice rink, in the midst of Westfield Horton Plaza shopping mall
, has become a holiday tradition for San Diegans, lending a bit of New York City's Rockefeller Plaza essence to downtown San Diego. Typically open from mid-November through the first week of January, the downtown ice rink admission proceeds help benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego.
Skating admission is $14 per person and includes skate rental.
It's probably one of the most spectacular - and unexpected - settings for an ice skating rink anywhere. Come on, who would expect to see an ice rink on the beach in Coronado, much less in the midst of the majestic Hotel Del Coronado
. But that is indeed the setting for Skating by the Sea. The Del is celebrating the eighth anniversary of Skating by the Sea, a unique Southern California experience – outdoor ice-skating overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The oceanfront Windsor Lawn is transformed into a spectacular ice rink with skating sessions offered daily beginning the day before Thanksgiving and operating through the first week of January. A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of San Diego.
Matinee (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) two-hour skating admission is $20 for adults and includes skate rental. Three-hour skating sessions are $25 for adults.
It claims to be Southern California's largest outdoor ice skating rink, and why would we doubt that? Located in the sprawling Viejas Outlet Shopping Center
in Alpine, the ice skating rink is a nice diversion for those needing a respite from shopping for name brand bargains at the outlet, or taking in some outdoor stimulation from the overstimulation of the Viejas casino across the street.
Skating admission for a 90-minute session is $12 for adults and includes skate rental. The Viejas ice rink is open from mid-November through the day after Christmas.