Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks Offer Festive Family Fun

Have some traditional holiday fun with your family at one of the Seattle area's seasonal outdoor skating rinks.

The Franciscan Polar Plaza in Tacoma is currently open; Bellevue's Ice Arena and the Winterfest Ice Rink open this Friday, Nov. 29. Bundle up your kids, lace up their skates and get in the holiday spirit. Top it off with some steaming hot chocolate and this outing is a sure winner with little ones.

Here's the lowdown on the seasonal skating rinks, as well as a few helpful parent tips:

Franciscan Polar Plaza

This popular covered, open-air ice rink returns to the heart of downtown Tacoma with more hours, events and fun this year. Check the Polar Plaza website to learn about theme nights, live music performances and art activities throughout the season.


Parent tips: There are special double-bladed skates available so that children have an easier time on the ice. Get an admission and skate rental four pack for $29.99 at select Costco stores or at And, a bonus, skaters can show their receipts to receive 50 percent off admission to Tacoma Art Museum.

Details: The Franciscan Polar Plaza is open Nov. 22 through Jan. 12. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children; skate rental is $2. The plaza is located at 1701 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma.

Chaplins Bellevue Subaru Ice Arena

Bellevue's Ice Arena is part of the Bellevue Magic Season package of fun, with such noted events as Snowflake Lane and the Garden d'Lights. It is the region's largest open-air holiday ice skating rink, with an additional 350 square feet added this year. Special events for families include Stroller Skating on Thursdays and Family Skate Day on Dec. 15, with free treats and a chance to skate with the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team.


Parent tips: There is a new admission discount this year for kids 6 and younger ($8 including skate rental). As well, if you are a Bank of America cardholder you can skate free on Mondays. Advance purchase of a 10 skate admission pass (includes skate rentals) for $75 offers a big savings for adults. Mondays and Saturdays are the busiest days of the week, as are the 6 to 9 p.m. time slots. Bring cash for the concession stand.

Details: The Chaplins Bellevue Subaru Ice Arena is open Nov. 29 through Jan. 12. Admission is $12 including skate rentals or $8 for kids ages 6 and younger. Personal skates are allowed for a $9 admission. The arena is located at Bellevue Downtown Park, 10201 N.E. Fourth St. in Bellevue.

Winterfest Ice Rink

Year after year, Seattle Center is transformed into a wonderland of sparkling lights, child-sized diversions and spirited entertainment. A big part of this local family tradition is the Winterfest Ice Rink. Yet within a hop, skip and a jump, there are tons of kid-friendly events to discover at Seattle Center after you skate.


Parent tips: Admission to the ice arena is cash only. Warm those little fingers with a hot cocoa from Starbucks, in the Seattle Center Armory, after your skating adventure. Visit on a Saturday and you can also watch ice sculpting, the model trains and lively music performances inside the Armory, where it's warm.

Details: The Winterfest Ice Rink is open Nov. 29 through Jan. 5. Admission, which includes skate rental, is $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and $2 for children ages 5 and younger. The rink is located at Fisher Pavilion, 305 Harrison St. in Seattle.

Here is a list of ice arenas that are open year-round, most of which have extended winter hours and special holiday season events.

  • Highland Ice Arena – 18005 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline; 206-546-2431.

Is it your child's first time? Read our story Ice Skating: Tips for a Successful First Outing with Kids for helpful tips for newbies.

Photos courtesy the Franciscan Polar Plaza website, Seattle Center website and Bellevue Magic Season website. Front image courtesy of the Franciscan Polar Plaza.

About the Author

Taryn Zier