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Ready, Set, Skate!

Eight spots in and around Boston to take to the ice

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public ice skating in Boston, Walter Brown Arena

Walter Brown Arena has free admission for BU students and FitRec Center members. Skate rental is free, but students are encouraged to bring their own as numbers are limited. Photos by Brooks Canaday

It’s been one of those freakish winters, with the thermostat above average nearly every day and the city getting less than eight inches of snow. While none of Boston’s ponds or rivers have yet frozen over, there are still plenty of places where you can lace up a pair of skates and take to the ice. And best of all, skating won’t break your wallet (like skiing will), and it’s a great way to beat cabin fever—without lift lines. So check out some of these Boston-area rinks.

Frog Pond
Boston Common

When the cold weather sets in, this wading pool is converted into a giant sheet of ice, making it Boston’s most popular skating site. (Despite the unusually balmy temperatures, it’s open for business). Located in the center of America’s oldest public park, this 16,000-square-foot rink in the heart of downtown is just steps away from some of the city’s most famous attractions, including the State House, Beacon Hill, and Quincy Market. Be prepared for crowds, particularly on weekends.

Admission is $5 per person, children 13 and under free. Skate rental is $9, $5 for children 13 and under. Lockers are $2. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 617-635-2120 for more information.

Getting there: Take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street and walk across the Boston Common.

Walter Brown Arena
285 Babcock St., Boston

If you don’t feel like venturing far from home, head up Commonwealth Avenue to Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena. Named in honor of the original owner of the Boston Celtics and former president of the Boston Bruins, the arena is home to the BU women’s ice hockey team. It also hosted the men’s ice hockey team from 1971 until Agganis Arena opened in 2005.

Admission is free and open to BU students and FitRec Center members. Skate rental is free, but the number of skates available during open recreational skating hours is limited, and students are encouraged to bring their own. Hours vary; check the website before you go. Call 617-358-3740 for more information.

Getting there: Take the MBTA Green Line B trolley to Babcock Street and turn right onto Babcock.

Charles Hotel Skating Rink
One Bennett St., Cambridge

At 2,900 square feet, this Harvard Square rink is smaller than most, but draws fewer crowds. Another bonus? Burdick’s, a French-inspired café famous for its rich hot chocolate, is just up the street.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12; skate rental is $5 for adults, $3 for children. Lockers are not available, but the staff will store small items at no charge. Hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 617-864-1200 for more information.

Getting there: By subway, take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street and then the Red Line to Harvard Square. Walk down Brattle Street and turn right onto Bennett Street. The Charles Hotel is on your left, at the corner of Bennett and Elliott. By foot, walk across the BU Bridge to Cambridge. Take a left onto the pedestrian walkway skirting the Charles along Memorial Drive until you reach the Harvard campus. Take a right on John F. Kennedy Street and then a left onto Elliott Street. The Charles Hotel is on your left at the corner of Bennett and Elliott.

Kelly Outdoor Rink
One Marbury Terrace, Jamaica Plain

This modest little slip of ice—6,500 square feet—tends to be less crowded than the Frog Pond, and is only a few blocks from the eclectic shops and restaurants that line Jamaica Plain’s Centre Street, one of Boston’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Admission is free. Skate rental is $2 for adults, $1 for children. Hours are noon to 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday and 1 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Call 617-727-7000 for more information.

Getting there: Take the MBTA Orange Line to Stony Brook Station and walk across the street.

public ice skating

Kendall Square Community Skating Rink
300 Athenaeum St., Cambridge

This rink is set in the bustling business district of Kendall Square. Skate for a few hours, grab dinner at the Cambridge Brewing Co., and then take in the latest Oscar contender at the Kendall Square Cinema.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, $1 for children 13 and under. Skate rental is $8 for adults, students, and seniors, $5 for children 13 and under. Lockers are $1. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday, but open until 8 p.m. if no private event is scheduled, noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and holidays. Call 617-492-0941 for more information.

Getting there: Take the MBTA Green Line to Park Street and then the Red Line to Kendall Square. Cross Main Street and Broadway and head up Third Street. After two blocks, turn left onto Athenaeum Street. The rink is on your left.

Larz Anderson Park
23 Newton St., Brookline

Surrounded by towering trees, open fields, and sweeping slopes (perfect for sledding), this recently upgraded rink is in Brookline’s largest park and has a heated pavilion and snack bar.

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children; Brookline residents: $5 for adults, $4 for children. Skate rental is $6. Lockers are not available. Hours are 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday and Thursday, 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 617-739-7518 for more information.

Getting there: Take the MBTA Green Line C trolley to Cleveland Circle. Change to the 51 bus and get off at the corner of Newton and Lee Streets for a five-minute walk. Take a left on Newton Street, then bear left onto Goddard Avenue. The park is on your right.

Reilly Memorial Rink
355 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton

If the weather is nasty, this is another indoor option, overlooking the reservoir by Boston College. Cleveland Circle shops and restaurants are a glide away.

Admission is free. Skate rental is $5, available only Friday through Sunday. Lockers are not available. Hours are 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hours may vary according to school schedules. Call 617-277-7822 for more information.

Getting there: Take the MBTA Green Line C trolley to Cleveland Circle. Turn right out of the station and walk a few minutes up Chestnut Hill Avenue. The rink is on the left.

Steriti Memorial Rink
561 Commercial St., Boston

Perched on the edge of Boston Harbor in the North End, this indoor skating rink provides great views of the waterfront. If multiple spins around the ice work up your appetite, the North End, Boston’s famous hub for Italian eateries and pastry shops, is a short uphill walk away.

Admission is free, and skate rental is $5. Hours are 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 1:30 to 4:50 p.m. Tuesday, 1:30 to 2:30 and 7 to 8:50 p.m. Friday, 2 to 3:50 p.m. and 7 to 9:50 p.m. Saturday, and 2 to 4:50 p.m. Sunday. Call 617-523-9327 for more information.

Getting there: Take the MBTA Green Line to North Station. Turn left out of the station onto Causeway Street and walk a few blocks. Cross North Washington Street and continue down Commercial Street. The rink is on your left.

Grace Ko contributed to this story.

This story was originally published on January 27, 2010; it has been updated to reflect current information as of February 2012.

2 Comments

2 Comments on Ready, Set, Skate!

  • Anonymous on 01.27.2010 at 10:42 am

    Ice-nine?

  • Anonymous on 01.27.2010 at 10:14 pm

    frog pond's lousy ice

    For those who are relatively good ice skaters, i would advise you not to skate at the Frog Pond. This is because the ice conditions are terrible, if your good enough to do jumps and spins you won’t be able to do them there. They will tell you once you have paid for admission to the place, no you can’t do that here. Oh by the way, they will not give your money back either once you decide it’s not worth your time to skate in circles the rest of the session. On top of that the people that work there are rude and obnoxious. Avoid this place like the plague!!!!!!!!!! Walter Brown is the best choice, unfortunately it will be closing for renovations March 15th. Steriti Rink in the North End is a good second choice, but bring your i-pod, there music is awful. No need to worry about the music at Walter Brown, especially the Friday night and Sunday afternoon session. I bring in the music for all to skate to. From rap to pop. to techno to alternative, i do my best to rock Walter Brown. See you on the ice!!!

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