Downtown Santa Monica is preparing for a glittering winter paradise with the return of ICE at Santa Monica this weekend and Winterlit later in November.
Opening this Saturday Nov. 1, the outdoor ice-skating arena has transformed the corner of 5th Street and Arizona Ave into 8,000 square feet of winter-themed entertainment and celebrations, including skating lessons, hockey camps, and holiday events.
“A great location to celebrate the holidays, ICE at Santa Monica is the perfect place to hang out with friends and family, throw a party in a private event cabana, enjoy a first date, propose to the love of your life or sign up for skate lessons,” explained Kevin Herrera, Senior Communication Manager with Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM).
The premier outdoor skating destination is preparing for an action-packed winter line-up of events, the first being a party on Thursday.
“The rink will celebrate with a grand opening celebration open to the public on November 6 from 6 pm to 10 pm that will be headlined by a glittering performance from the California Gold Synchronized Skating team,” Herrera said.
Officers and mentors of the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) will also be in attendance with their youth members to participate in this community bonding experience.
“Guests, family, and friends can engage in a cookie decorating station, an interactive wintry-themed photo-booth, and mobile screen-printing activations,” Herrera added, and skating on the first night is free.
Tasty wintery treats from some of Santa Monica’s favorite restaurants will be on hand with a DJ spinning live from the icy venue.
Operated by DTSM, the rink is open to all ages “looking to have an icy blast.” The cost to skate is $15 and includes skate rental and unlimited skating for the entire day of purchase.
“At ICE you can come in the morning, skate for a few hours, grab lunch or shop and then come back later in the day or evening,” Herrera said. “We’ve found that a lot of folks like to make a day of it.”
The cabanas that line the perimeter of the rink have been designed for private events, birthday parties, and holiday gatherings, and for those looking for a bit of skill on the ice, lessons are available through former Olympic skater Randy Gardner’s School of Skating.
“Most skaters that participate are beginners and it’s their first time on the ice,” explained Gardner. “Being outside makes it a comfortable and enjoyable experience. I think most are thrilled with being able to move around the rink and feel the flow and speed that skating provides.”
DTSM has also teamed up with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings hockey program to provide hockey lessons for skaters of all skill sets. For four Sundays in December and January, experienced coaches and staff will be on the ice with skaters, teaching the same skills and techniques that the Kings used to win the Stanley Cup.
In conjunction with ICE, DTSM is presenting Winterlit starting Thursday Nov. 20, with snow falling every Thursday evening at Third Street Promenade and Wilshire, along with kids winter crafts, live entertainment, karaoke and seasonal celebrations.
The annual holiday event will include Menorah lightings, music, a free movie night with hot chocolate and plenty of pictures with Santa, according to the organizers.
“We have some cool, community-driven, family-friendly events in store,” Herrera promised.
Santa is on schedule to make several appearances and there two tree-lightings planned.
“One of our core responsibilities … is fostering a thriving, welcoming community that embraces our diversity,” Herrera said. “These free events bring the community together to have fun and enjoy their downtown.”
ICE is open from Nov. 1 to Jan. 19. For more information go to: downtownsm.com/ice or call 310.260.1199.
ICE Hours of Operation: Monday-Thursday: 2-10 pm, Friday: 2 pm-midnight, Saturday: 11 am-midnight, Sunday: 11 am-10 pm.
Ice Skating Lessons: Randy Gardner’s School of Skating, 20-minute lesson: $45 per person/$60 for two people.
Los Angeles Kings Hockey Lessons: Classes offered Sundays (Dec. 28, Jan. 4, 11, 18). Beginner: $25 per person, Intermediate: $25 per person.