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Calgary’s Best Outdoor Skating Rinks

by Karen Ung

Skate at the best outdoor skating rinks in Calgary this winter.

It’s December, so that means outdoor skating season in Calgary! With so many great rinks to choose from, you could skate somewhere different every weekend! While we spend most of our time on a small, local rink, we love visiting the larger, city-maintained rinks for the experience. Christmas lights and fire pits (bring marshmallows and roasting sticks) make for a memorable skate. Bonus points if there’s a café or sledding hill nearby!

Here are Calgary’s best outdoor skating rinks and what we love about them! Admission to all of these rinks is FREE!

Calgary's Best Outdoor Skating Rinks

With the exception of Olympic Plaza, the city-maintained rinks are usually open from mid-December to February, weather permitting. Olympic Plaza is a refrigerated ice surface, so it is open from mid-November to mid-March, 6 am to 11 pm. Check rink conditions here

Bowness Park Lagoon

Bowness Park Lagoon has a beautiful rink and many amenities: skate shop, restaurant, cafe, Christmas lights, fire pits, and washrooms. There’s also a curling rink and skating track (connected to the pond – weather permitting). As this is natural ice, it can be a bit bumpy, but my kids have enjoyed skating here since they were 1.5 yrs old. Skating aids, strollers, and sleds are permitted on the ice so the whole family can get on the ice!

    • Address: 8900 48 Ave NW.
    • Hours: 5 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily, 5 a.m. – 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
    • Skate, ice bike, and cross country ski rentals are available at the boathouse.

Olympic Plaza

Ice skating at Olympic Plaza, Calgary

Located in the heart of downtown, Olympic Plaza is perfect for a date night or noon hour skate. There are skate rentals and washrooms onsite and many nearby options for dining and shopping. Did you know this is the site of the 1988 Winter Olympic medal presentation ceremonies? 

  • Address: 228 8 Ave SE
  • Hours: Olympic Plaza is open from mid-November to mid-March. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily.
  • Rentals available.

Prince's Island Lagoon (closed for winter 2021/2022)

Ice skating (with Mommy's help) at Prince's Island Park

Prince’s Island Lagoon is also located downtown, but is easier to access as you can park at Eau Claire Market or the public parking lot near the Calgary Curling Club. It’s also more family friendly as strollers and sleds are permitted on the ice. The nearest washrooms are below the River Café (seasonal) and in Eau Claire Market. Pretty lights at Christmas and lots of places to eat just a short walk away.

  • Address: 4th St & 1st Ave SW
  • Hours: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., daily (Closed for winter 2021/2022)

Carburn Park Pond

Carburn Park’s pond is in a lovely, natural setting near the Bow River. Washrooms are open year round and the rink is lit at night. Strollers and sleds welcome. After skating, walk or snowshoe around the ponds; it’s a pleasant 1.5 km loop with no elevation gain.

  • Address: 67 Riverview Dr SE
  • Hours: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily

Rosemont Rinks at Confederation Park

Rosemont Rinks at Confederation Park is maintained by volunteers and won the award for best outdoor rink in 2011. There are 2 rinks – 1 for skating and 1 for hockey – and a great sledding hill beside the rink. Sleds and strollers ok on the skating rink (but not on the hockey rink for your child’s safety!). For current conditions, please visit Rosemont Ice GuysBe sure to drive by the Lions’ Festival of Lights on the way there or back. It’s northwest Calgary’s best Christmas light display!

  • Address: 2807 10 St NW
  • Hours: Mid December until February, weather permitting. Please note that the rink is flooded every Monday and Thursday at 8 PM so you must stay off the ice Monday and Thursday nights!

Spruce Meadows (south of Calgary)

Skating with Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows

At Spruce Meadows, you can ice skate on a pretty pond with an island in the middle, warm up in the Founders Plaza with a cocoa and pastry (5-8 pm), then enjoy a 2-kilometre long Christmas lights drive (5-10 pm). For more information, visit Spruce Meadows.

  • Address: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW. Park in Lot 4 (Map).
  • Hours: The Skating Rink and Founders Plaza are closed for Winter 2021/2022. 
  • The Drive Through Christmas Lights Display is open from 5 pm – 10 pm on weekends and holidays in December. See Spruce Meadows for details.

More Rinks

Thomson Family Park Skating Rink, Calgary (early season)

Thomson Family Park has a city-maintained rink and playground.

  • Address: 1236 16 Ave SW
  • Hours: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily (parking is free after 6 pm)

Big Marlborough Park has a fire ring and toboggan hill near the rink, so don’t forget your sled!

  • Address: 6033 Madigan Dr NW
  • Hours: 5 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Prairie Winds Park has two rinks: The North rink (closed for winter 2019/2020) is for pleasure skating only, and the South rink (in tennis court) is for shinny hockey and pleasure skating.

  • Address: 223 Castleridge Blvd NE
  • Hours: 5 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily

Community rinks: The best thing about these smaller rinks is that they’re close to home. Pop the kids in a sled and go! To find one near you, check out Adopt-a-Rink (35 rinks) or your Community’s Page Listing.

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Playoutsidegal December 25, 2016 - 6:09 PM

Thanks so much for the detailed trip report, Steph n Todd! 🙂 Sounds like it's worth a visit!!! Free parking, playground, and coffee nearby are definite pluses. I haven't skated at Olympic Oval in a while because I don't want to pay for parking (I find Eau Claire easier as we can walk down from Crescent Heights).

StephnTodd BobeyPoulsen December 24, 2016 - 7:57 AM

Enjoyed Thomson Park ice rink this week with my 8, 6, & 4 yr olds. Ice is still very 'early season' right now (well, 2 days ago) but is fine and will improve. Wished we could have stayed late enough to see the lights turn on. At first glance it looks a little small but it's actually a great size. There were other kids and adults skating and I didn't feel anyone was was crowded. Good size for my littlest to make his way allllll the way from one side to the other with confidence but not so far he couldn't also get back. It's very comfortable, benches right at the edges, rubber walkway all around, parking right beside (free after 6Pm). And the great playground directly adjacent is a big bonus, the slide down the earth mound is very long as far as playground slides go and was super fast the other day. The Good Earth is a 1/2 block up the street too.

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