Glide onto These Great Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

By Erica Wacker

Central Park Ice Skating Loop in Maple Grove
Central Park Ice Loop in Maple Grove / Courtesy of Minneapolis Northwest Tourism

Whether you want to practice your Flying V or polish your toe pick, Minnesota’s outdoor ice skating rinks are the perfect surface for winter fun.

Found in every corner of the state, ice rinks form on frozen lakes, ponds and even rivers as soon as the ice is thick enough, with refrigerated rinks popping up around Thanksgiving or even earlier. In addition to skating, most of the rinks on this list have skates available for rent, as well as warming houses and/or other perks like concessions and special events. So channel your inner Neal Broten or Kristy Yamaguchi and head out to these ice rinks across the state.

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Roseville Oval ice rink lit up for the holidays
The Roseville Oval lit up for the holidays

When it comes to ice skating, few places do it better than the Twin Cities. Both St. Paul and Minneapolis host free ice rinks beneath their shimmering downtown skylines (Wells Fargo WinterSkate and WinterSkate in Loring Park, respectively), and countless neighboring cities have their own impressive rinks.

You can skate North America’s largest outdoor refrigerated rink in Roseville, or head to Maple Grove to carve your way across one of the country’s only refrigerated ice skating trails. If frozen lakes are more your style, head to Edina, Buffalo, or one of three lakes in Minneapolis (Lake of the Isles, Nokomis and Powderhorn).

New this year, an ice rink outside Mall of America in Bloomington will be open starting Dec. 8.

More Twin Cities Rink Info 

Minneapolis

WHERE: Loring Park
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Nov. 23-early March
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Free
EXTRAS: Extended hours for Holidazzle
 

St. Paul

WHERE: Landmark Center
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Nov. 17-Feb. 3
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: $4 (Free for Wells Fargo cardholders)
EXTRAS: Free lessons on select dates
 

Roseville

WHERE: Guidant John Rose Oval
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Nov. 9-March
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey, speed skating
PRICE: $6 (get coupon for $1 off)
SKATE RENTALS: Yes
EXTRAS: Ovalumination, New Year's Party and other special events
 

Maple Grove

WHERE: Central Park
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Nov. 23-March
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Yes
EXTRAS: Warming pavilion with concessions
 

St. Louis Park

WHERE: The ROC
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Nov. 9-March 17
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: $4 adults/$3.50 youth & seniors
SKATE RENTALS: $3
EXTRAS: Fire pit, spectator seating, special events
 

Edina

WHERE: Centennial Lakes Park
SURFACE: Lake
WHEN: Mid-December to mid-February
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, ice sledding
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: $6
EXTRAS: Pavilion, concessions, fireplaces
 

Buffalo

WHERE: Buffalo Lake
SURFACE: Lake
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Yes
EXTRAS: Warming house
 

Bloomington

WHERE: Mall of America
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Dec. 8-Feb. 18
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: $5 (fee goes to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities)
 


Central Minnesota

Noon Kiwanis skating party on Lake Alice, Fergus Falls
Lake Alice in Fergus Falls opens for skating with a big party on the ice

In Fergus Falls, the local Noon Kiwanis club hosts an annual Winter Karnival to kick off the skating season on Lake Alice (Jan. 20 this year), complete with frozen lake golfing, horse-drawn carriage rides, snow coloring and roasting marshmallows. The lake is plowed for both a skating rink and a track around the lake, and remains open for as long as conditions allow.

In St. Cloud, Lake George is the place to skate, or head to Blackberry Ridge Golf Club in nearby Sartell, where you can fuel up before or after your skate at the club’s Grill 19. Other places to skate in this region include Alexandria, Pine River, Hutchinson, New York Mills and the Brainerd Lakes area, which features rinks on Gull Lake for guests staying at Cragun’s Resort or Grand View Lodge.

More Central Minnesota Rink Info 

Fergus Falls

WHERE: Lake Alice
SURFACE: Lake
WHEN: Jan. 20-weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
EXTRAS: Winter Karnival (Jan. 20)
 

St. Cloud

WHERE: Lake George
SURFACE: Lake
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Free
EXTRAS: Warming shelter
 

Sartell

WHERE: Blackberry Ridge Golf Club
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Yes
EXTRAS: Bar and grill
 

Alexandria

 WHERE: Noonan Park
 SURFACE: Pond
 WHEN: Weather permitting
 ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
 PRICE: Free
 SKATE RENTALS: None
 EXTRAS: Warming house
 

Pine River

 WHERE: Barclay Avenue near the post office
 SURFACE: Manmade
 WHEN: Weather permitting
 ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
 PRICE: Free
 SKATE RENTALS: Free
 EXTRAS: Warming house
 

Nisswa

 WHERE: Nisswa Park
 SURFACE: Manmade
 WHEN: Weather permitting
 ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
 PRICE: Free
 SKATE RENTALS: Free
 EXTRAS: Warming house with concessions
 

 

Southern Minnesota

Ice skating on Lake Winona
Ice skating on Lake Winona

The towering bluffs of southeast Minnesota make a beautiful backdrop for skating in Winona, a year-round destination for outdoor recreation. But lakes aren’t the only bodies of water that freeze in the winter. The Straight River, a 55-mile tributary of the Mississippi, has hockey and skating near downtown Owatonna, or you can skate on an inlet of the Des Moines River in southwest Jackson.

Several outdoor skating rinks can be found in Albert LeaMankato and Rochester, where you can skate on a frozen running track. Or head to Fairmont for the Southern Minnesota Pond Hockey Championship and skate under the lights before the tournament begins on Jan. 18.

More Southern Rink Info 

Winona

WHERE: Lake Lodge Recreation Center
SURFACE: Lake
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, broomball
PRICE: $10
SKATE RENTALS: Yes
EXTRAS: Fire pit, concessions, snowshoes, broomball equipment
 

Owatonna

WHERE: Morehouse Park
SURFACE: River
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Yes
EXTRAS: Warming house, concessions, skis, Saturday night bonfires
 

Fairmont

WHERE: Sisseton Lake
SURFACE: Lake
WHEN: Jan. 18, 2019
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Free
EXTRAS: Southern Minnesota Pond Hockey Championship (Jan. 19-20)
 

Jackson

WHERE: Des Moines River
SURFACE: River
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
EXTRAS: Warming house
 

Rochester

WHERE: Soldiers Field Park
SURFACE: Running track
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Yes (Saturdays only)
 

 

Northeast Minnesota

Ice skating rink in Ranier
Community ice skating rink & sledding hill in Ranier, near International Falls

You can’t skate on Lake Superior, but you can get pretty close at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. After the Bentleyville Festival of Lights wraps up, the park transforms into an ice skating rink in early January, with hot chocolate and live music on Friday nights. Further up the North Shore, outdoor rinks can be found in Knife River, Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Tofte and Grand Marais.

Ever wish you could ice skate in a national park? Now you can, with a new rink and sledding hill open on Lake Kabetogama, one of the entry points to Voyageurs National Park. Elsewhere in this area, just south of the Canadian border, you’ll find rinks in International Falls and Ranier.

Further south in the hockey-loving Iron Range, there are rinks in Biwabik (minutes from the Giants Ridge ski resort), Hibbing and Virginia. While on the Range, pay a visit to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth. Or head to Grand Rapids for your choice of four outdoor rinks, including a covered one at the IRA Civic Center.

More Northeast Rink Info 

Duluth

WHERE: Bayfront Festival Park
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Jan. 2 -weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating,
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Yes
EXTRAS: Sleds, snowshoes and snow-sculpting tools
 

Kabetogama

WHERE: Lake Kabetogama
SURFACE: Lake
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
EXTRAS: Sledding hill
 

Ranier

WHERE: Ranier City Park
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Free
EXTRAS: Warming house, sledding hill, fire pit, kids event with Mickey & Minnie Mouse (February)
 

Grand Rapids

WHERE: IRA Civic Center
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weekends, weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
 

 

Northwest

Hockey Day Minnesota in Stillwater 2017
Watch the state's best skaters at Hockey Day Minnesota / Photo by Spencer Barrett

Home to Hockey Day Minnesota in 2019 (Jan. 17-19), Bemidji is no stranger to fun on the ice. In addition to the city’s four indoor ice arenas, there are two outdoor skating destinations, not to mention the huge rink being built next to Lake Bemidji for Hockey Day.

Warroad, whose nickname is “Hockeytown USA,” has a free outdoor rink behind its two indoor ice arenas. Duck inside both buildings for a look at the town’s impressive hockey history. Further south, Detroit Lakes’ Peoples Park is another skating destination in this region.

More Northwest Rink Info 

Bemidji

WHERE: City Park, Nymore Park
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
EXTRAS: Warming houses
 

Warroad

WHERE: Olympic Arena
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
 

Roseau

WHERE: Malung Community Center
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
EXTRAS: Warming house
 

Badger

WHERE: Ross Community Rink
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weather permitting (typically late November-February)
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: None
EXTRAS: Warming house, Hockey Day event (January)
 

Detroit Lakes

WHERE: Peoples Park
SURFACE: Manmade
WHEN: Weather permitting
ACTIVITIES: Ice skating, hockey
PRICE: Free
SKATE RENTALS: Free
EXTRAS: Warming house
 


Find more winter fun with these seasonal travel ideas, and search for cozy places to stay in our extensive lodging directory.