With every holiday card, movie and song painting images of a snowy winter wonderland, it’s easy for a Californian to feel left out this time of year. But there is a part of the perfect holiday image that we can have: ice skating rinks provide opportunities to get into the holiday spirit without all the snow.
Winter Lodge (Palo Alto)
Winter Lodge is a convenient local skating center with one outdoor and one indoor rink, which are both fairly small. The rink caters mainly to families and recreational skaters, so inexperienced skaters should feel comfortable as long as they’re willing to skate around groups of wobbly children.
Apart from the two rinks, there isn’t much else to the lodge. Picnic benches surround the outdoor rink, and there is a large fireplace in the main lobby. There’s no food available, apart from a few vending machines and a hot chocolate dispenser. The best feature of Winter Lodge is its outdoor rink. Night skating is available Friday through Sunday, and skating under the stars is its claim to fame.
Ice Center (Vallco Shopping Mall)
The Ice Center has a medium-sized rink in the basement of the mall. Food is limited to vending machines, but it’s fairly convenient to get food from the mall itself. Lockers and a pro-shop are available, and disco skating (with music and a disco ball and lights) is a fun alternative. It is open for public skating all week, but also offers lessons and pick-up hockey games.
Logitech Center (San Jose)
As the official practicing home of the San Jose Sharks, this is definitely the best rink around for public skating. The facility has four NHL-sized rinks, all well-maintained. Food can be found at the snack bar or in the restaurant, and a wide variety of group rates and packages make this a great place to come with a large group of friends.
Although it isn’t located as conveniently located or priced as Winter Lodge, Logitech offers the best facilities and overall skating experience in the area. Special holiday hours, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., give plenty of opportunities to get a group together to enjoy a great skate.