Seasonal Ice Rinks on the Rollout

Wintry temps -- at least for SoCal -- are here, and so is our first outdoor rink.

There may be a colossal thermometer standing next to the freeway in Baker, but there's no enormous thermostat hidden somewhere in Los Angeles, one that can control distinct drops in temperature or a change in the wind.

And yet how else can one explain temperatures plummeting 20 degrees just a day after Halloween, the very day when the first outdoor holiday rink opened in Southern California? (Yes, "plummeting," though dramatic, works here, especially after a multi-week run of toastier-than-normal temps.)

The timing impresses, as does the fact that you can now ice skate, under the chilly blue sky, just a short walk from the beach, in downtown Santa Monica. ICE at Santa Monica debuted hours after the spooky holiday called it a wrap, and the twirlers and axel aces are now out, in mittens and scarves, doing loops.

The location? Arizona Avenue and 5th Street. The hours? Two o'clock in the afternoon to late-ish on weekdays and even later on Fridays and Saturdays. ("Even later"=midnight.)

The run? Right through to Jan. 18 next year. Could this be your exercise regimen for the next two-plus months? Some loops around the ice in Santa Monica, replacing your neighborhood walks?

Temperatures are making it feel as though winter is really and truly and verifiably on the way, no faking. And there's no faking the fact that a number of other seasonal rinks will roll out in the weeks to come, with Woodland Hills and Pershing Square coming down the pike in the days ahead. ("Days ahead"=Nov. 11 and 12, respectively.)

But the rink at the Irvine Spectrum Center didn't even need to wait for colder days to arrive; it started its brrr-filled run in early October, melding Halloween and Christmas in a very Jack-Skellington-ish way.


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Special happenings, extended skate days, holiday hours, and more are hallmarks of all the major Southern California seasonal ice rinks, so just eyeball the ice nearest you to make sure it is open on Thanksgiving or late into the wee smalls or if a special festival is on the horizon.

Mittens, though? Do we need them yet, even with these brisker temperatures? Some SoCalers skate in shorts, and even the occasional swimsuit, just be cheeky, but sporting a scarf on the ice is a cozy choice. Go for the whole wintry ensemble, we say, if the mercury drops below 70, which is practically arctic 'round these parts.

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