In the interests of full disclosure, I should warn you that the chances of seeing me on skates is less than that of catching Lauren at Christmas Mass, but that doesn't mean I'm a total Scrooge. While I'm not a fan of skating per se, I do enjoy the associated experiences: watching others skate and fall on their asses, having a cup of hot chocolate, and retiring afterwards to warm up with some adult beverages.
So it was with great joy that I read yesterday that the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is to open today, after some technical difficulties. This is Washington, DC's best known skating rink, beloved of those looking for an iconic place to enjoy the winter season, and by college freshmen looking to score on the first date.
But by no means is this your only opportunity to find out how cold and hard ice is when you fall on it. The DC area enjoys several other skating opportunities:
- Pershing Park - Tucked into a hidden corner of Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th ST NW, is a small rink near the memorial to Gen. Pershing, of World War I fame. It is entirely possible to walk by this spot and never see it; it's very well hidden. Pershing Park offers a quieter, less intense spot to skate versus the Sculpture Garden. Great for going with small kids, and for fathers that have no business being up on skates. Unfortunately, Pershing Park is closed for now, but we'll update you as we hear about it.
- Ft. Dupont Ice Arena - For a true local experience, the Ice Arena at Ft. Dupont Park offers public skating at selected times on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This is well off the tourist path, and you will have to take a bus from the closest Metro Stop, but if you just really need to get a skating fix, this may be the place for you. And you will see a part of town that just about no tourists go to. Ever.
- Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating - Tucked into the mixed-use Pentagon Row development is a small but popular skating rink. Among it's many attractions is the very close proximity to a Starbucks. So close, it would even be theoretically possible to duck in and get a coffee before your kids even knew you weren't watching them. Take the Blue or Yellow line to Pentagon City, walk through the Pentagon City food court, through the parking garage, outside and the Pentagon Row development is across the street.
- Kettler Capitals IcePlex - Built as an innovate partnership between the Washington Capitals and Arlington, VA, the IcePlex is the Caps practice rink and open for public events and skating at other times. It is, I kid you not, built on top of a parking garage near Ballston Mall. Take the Orange Line to Ballston, take a right at the top of the elevator, left onto Stuart, walk two blocks and go into the Mall (entrance on Wilson Boulevard). The rink is on the eighth floor of the garage.
I hope folks enjoy their skating. Don't worry about the guy holding a cup of hot chocolate laughing at you. He's just an ass.