Skating through winter: Chillest ice rinks for the holiday season

Isabella Alioto

Some may be looking to experience traditional winter wonderlands by visiting ice skating rinks in the Bay Area, as the holiday season approaches. The Bark traveled around Marin and San Francisco to participate in one of the season’s most anticipated activities. We glided everywhere from San Rafael to San Francisco in search of the best ice rinks in the Bay. Skating experiences were rated based on cost, location, and holiday atmosphere.

Embarcadero (4 stars)

Eager ice skaters line up in front of the Union Square ice rink for a day of skating. The Union Square ice rink has an entrance fee of $11 and a $6 fee to rent skates.
EAGER ICE SKATERS line up in front of the Union Square ice rink for a day of skating. The Union Square ice rink has an entrance fee of $11 and a $6 fee to rent skates.

The Embarcadero ice rink is one of the most popular in the city. There is a huge area outdoors reserved for this rink that gives it a more spacious feel, despite the dense crowds, and it is conveniently located just across the street from the ferry building. This is especially convenient for any high schoolers without a license making a trip to the city by ferry. Because it is located right by the water, there is an excellent view of the Bay Bridge, as well as parts of the city. The entrance fee is $10, with an additional $4 fee for skates.


Yerba Buena (2 stars)

The indoor Yerba Buena skating center is located in downtown San Francisco. While an indoor rink may be better for a chilly day, this year-round ice rink has less holiday spirit than the others, as neither the music nor the decorations are very festive. It is a popular place for families, so parents and young children crowd the rink, making it a less pleasant place to spend an afternoon with friends. However, in addition to the ice rink, there is a bowling alley in the same center, as well of a number of stores and restaurants in the nearby Metreon. Also, there are private rooms inside the ice rink area available to be rented out. The fee is $10 for anyone 13 or older with an additional $4 charge for skates.


Union Square (4.5 stars)

While the Union Square ice rink is crowded with skaters, the whole locale is decorated festively and the rink definitely adds to the excitement for this holiday season. A giant, decorated tree stands just to the side of the rink, which is surrounded with decorative wreaths hanging from the awnings and rink barriers. The rink is surrounded by local shopping and dining options, with the closest cafe being just outside the entrance. Unlike the Yerba Buena rink, which attracted more families, this rink is filled with more teens. Because the rink is outside, the ambiance is certainly a reminder of a not-so-far-off “white christmas”. However, the Union Square rink has the highest entrance rate at $11, with a $6 charge for skates.