There’s something very nostalgic about ice-skating. It evokes the holiday spirit, cravings for mugs of hot cocoa held in gloved hands, and cheerful families bundled in heavy coats twirling (or more likely shuffling) around the ice.
Downtown Ice, located in the Circle of Palms between the Fairmont Hotel and San Jose Museum of Art, offers all the delights one expects from an ice skating experience with a touch of quintessential California.
Put on by the San Jose Downtown Association, Holiday Ice has been co-sponsored for the past five years by Olympic champion, Kristi Yamaguchi, in conjunction with Hawaiian Airlines. Set in the heart of the South Bay’s holiday attractions, Downtown Ice is the largest man-made ice rink in the Silicon Valley. The rink is open through January 11, 2015 and tickets range from $13 to $15. Discounts are available, with valid public transportation pass holders receiving $2 off. December 5th and 12th, and January 2nd and 9th are Aloha Fridays where everyone wearing Hawaiian clothing pays a $10 admission. We recommend checking the website for rink hours as they differ by day and are subject to change.
If you’ve never laced up and hit the ice before, there are some basic steps to ensure you make the most of your experience.
Some basics to remember before arriving include:
- Bring a small backpack so you can keep belongs with you while you skate as there are no storage lockers available
- Wear comfortable clothing, and consider bringing gloves
- Be sure to be ready to skate: there are no in and out privileges
- Bring a few pairs of socks, some thin and some thick, in the event you have to wear larger sized skates
- Although not required, it is advisable to wear a bike or ski helmet, so bring them along if you have them
In addition to Holiday Ice, Downtown San Jose also hosts the 35th annual Christmas in the Park held in the 2-acre Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Adults and children can stroll through a twinkling forest of trees decorated by local businesses, organizations, and schools while ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the 60 musical and animated holiday exhibits. Christmas in the Park also offers entertainment with variety of nightly performances, with a special appearance by Cirque Du Soleil’s Circus Dreams Holidaze.
The Winter Wonderland carnival lines the streets on Park Avenue between Market Street and Almaden Boulevard. Of course, no amusement park is complete without rides for the entire family, including a 60-foot high, lighted Ferris Wheel and old-fashioned carousel. Winter Wonderland also includes an open-air arcade brimming with games and entertainment.
This time of year, ‘tis truly the season in Downtown San Jose. All of these festive events make for a memorable outing, and many families have a tradition of visiting each year. If you’ve never been, we encourage you to slip on a pair of ice skates, hop on the carousel, enjoy the enchanted forest in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, play some arcade games, and get in the holiday spirit.