Perusing Target the other day, I couldn’t help but notice they’ve already put out the swimsuits and summer clothes. Usually, my general reaction to swimsuits is something like impending dread. But this time, bundled in my several layers of fleece and Smartwool socks, I took it as a hopeful sign that the cold and winter will actually end in the near future.
I even googled it. The official beginning of spring is March 20th. So close.
But before winter wraps up completely, in true Minnesotan fashion, you might still want to enjoy in a bit more wintertime excitement before we’re instead grumbling about the sticky heat, suffocating humidity, and the weird tan lines of summer.
So before the ice melts and the snow disappears, grab a friend and revel in one of the classic and quintessential winter pastimes: ice skating.
The Wells Fargo Minneapolis WinterSkate at Loring Park is the epitome of wintertime in Minnesota. You’ll feel waves of childhood nostalgia coming over you as WinterSkate recreates the familiar feeling of your neighborhood outdoor ice rink but this time you’ll enjoy skating under the beautiful Minneapolis skyline. WinterSkate is completely free and you can even borrow a pair of complimentary ice skates on a first-come, first-serve basis. And if you need a break from the cold or a rest from performing all your triple-axels, simply relax in their warming house right next to the rink.
Head out to Loring Park before the rink closes March 4th and be sure to check out their website for times and their calendar of special events which includes movies, skating lessons, and skating with drag queens.
Ice Skating Rinks Around Town
Granted, ice rinks are generally cold all the time, (you know, ice) but if you’re all about the cold and rugged outdoor ice rink experience there are a few free rink options for you that are still open until March 1st.
Lake of the Isles
The rink at Lake of the Isles is open for both skating and hockey. Lake of the Isles provides a warming room where you can borrow free skates on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rink times are Monday-Friday from 3-9pm, Saturday from 9am-9pm, and Sunday from 10am-6pm.
The McRae Park rink hosts broomball and hockey if you’d like to add a little competition to your skating fun. The warming house and rinks are open Monday-Friday 3pm-9pm, Saturday 10am-9pm, and Sunday from noon-6pm. Call ahead if you’d like to reserve a rink for broomball or hockey.
With both a free ice skating rink and hockey rink, you can practice and perfect your Winter Olympic skills. You can also borrow free ice skates and warm up in the warming house which is open Monday-Friday 3pm-9pm, Saturday 10am-9pm, and Sunday from noon-6pm.
Van Cleve Park
The trifecta of skating gloriousness, Van Cleve Park has an ice skating rink, broomball rink, and hockey rink. And just like the other locations in the Minneapolis Parks system, Van Cleve also provides a warming house and offers free skates. The rinks and warming house are open Monday-Friday 3pm-9pm, Saturday 10am-9pm, and Sunday from noon-6pm. Call ahead to reserve a broomball or hockey rink.
For only a couple bucks, these indoor rinks will let you enjoy skating without the threat of frostbite and keep your winter fun going well into the warmer months.
Parade Ice Garden
Perfect for ice skating, hockey, and figure skating, the Parade Ice Garden rink is open until June 1st. Join in on the open skate hours which run Monday-Friday from 11:30am-1pm. It’s only $3 for adults and kids under 5 are free with skate rentals at only $2. You can also sign up for an hour lesson to learn some figure skating moves for $10.
Roseville Ice Arena
Open year-round, you can come during the open skate hours for $6 admission and $4 skate rental. The Roseville Ice Arena also offers hours for open hockey, open figure skating, and even skatercise. Skate times and events change weekly so be sure to check out their website for details.