Just because L.A. on average enjoys 329 days of sunshine a year doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate winter. We simply do it in our own style, and with a lot less heavy clothing. The temporary rinks that emerge this time of year offer all the fun of icy weather with none of the hassle. They’re festive, too. Yes, there are year-round skating havens like the Culver Ice Arena and the Pasadena Ice Skating Center. But why not tour the season’s coolest transitory venues
A 7,000-square-foot arena on the north side of the Westfield Promenade shopping mall, Woodland Hills Ice is the largest of the San Fernando Valley’s open-air rinks. It’s also one of the city’s most pleasant. There’s ample parking, the skates are well maintained, and helmets and plastic walkers are available for those little (or big) participants who are still wobbly on blades. Extensive snacking options include pizza, candy, and hot chocolate, while the surrounding picnic tables offer a hangout for nonskating chaperons. There’s even karaoke. » Open Nov. 1-Feb. 17, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills.
Where else can you attempt a salchow within walking distance of the beach? The temporary terrain at ICE—a substantial rink of 8,000 square feet—is rough, making it particularly difficult for beginners to hug the rail. The staffers are among the friendliest anywhere, lending a helping hand to the fallen. The minirink for diminutive beginners is an added attraction, and once you’ve rented your skates, you can coast on them as long as you like. » Open Nov. 1-Jan. 20, 1324 5th St., Santa Monica.
NEED FOR SPEED
An inexpensive experience-for-the-people, Downtown on Ice (with a bargain-basement admission fee of $8) has been setting up in Pershing Square for 16 years. It’s tough competing with the glitzy LA Kings Holiday Ice, though, which is now in its fifth year at L.A. Live. Under the glow of a 65-foot-high artificial Christmas tree adorned with more than 100,000 LED lights, the massive 130-by-80-foot expanse is the city’s largest pop-up rink. Not to mention incredibly popular: Lines for the 90-minute skating sessions are long, so purchase a “Supper & Skate” package ($20-$40 per person) in advance and you can skip the wait. » Downtown on Ice: Open Nov. 14-Jan. 20, downtown. LA Kings Holiday Ice: Open Nov. 29-Jan. 1, downtown.
Practice your figure eights and camel spins at The Rink, a micro-arena (only 4,100 square feet) that’s debuting in downtown Burbank in the shadow of City Hall. A mere ten bucks buys you a 90-minute session (not including skate rental)—just enough time to summon your inner Brian Boitano while you seek a respite from the aisles at nearby Ikea. » Open Nov. 22-Jan. 5, 275 E. Olive Ave., Burbank.
ICE ICE BABY
At Chill, adjacent to Long Beach’s Queen Mary, a kingdom with larger-than-life ice sculptures inspired by The Nutcracker includes a replica of the great ship itself. You can slide down a 100-foot run in an inner tube, while “Bobby the Seal” plastic sleds allow parents to pull newbies around. The surrounding holiday village includes a gift shop, plenty of food, and Christmas decor. For another multilayered winter fantasy, head east to Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink at Disneyland. Themed like Disney’s animated film Frozen, it includes a Christmas village with carolers and performances of The Nutcracker by the Anaheim Ballet. » Chill: Open Nov. 22-Jan. 5, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach. Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink: Open Nov. 14-Jan. 11, 1580 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim.