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Ice Skating Returns to the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden on November 20

Washington's beloved wintry tradition returns before Thanksgiving.

Photograph courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

Believe it or not, outdoor ice skating is almost here. The picturesque open-air rink at the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden will reopen before Thanksgiving on November 20, weather permitting.

Starting then, skaters can glide about the rink—surrounded by museums, monuments, and art—every day of the week, from 11 AM to 9 PM on Sunday through Thursday and until 11 PM on Friday and Saturday (though expect the rink to close on December 25, January 1, and on days with extreme weather).

Like last year, admission costs $12 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 12, adults over age 60, service members, and students with an ID. Feel free to bring your own skates or rent a pair for $6; free lockers are available on a first come, first serve basis. And, of course, don’t forget those warm, wintry drinks, such as cocoa, hot cider, and pumpkin spice lattes, inside the Pavilion Café (which, fun fact, sells around 20,000 seasonal beverages each winter).

According to the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the beloved tradition of skating at the sculpture garden has been around since the 1970s, with the rink in its current form since 1999. To kick off the 2023-24 season, Team USA figure skaters will drop by on opening day for pop-up performances at 6 and 7 PM.

Should you feel inspired by the pros or simply want some pointers, the Washington Elite Skating School offers private and group lessons for all ages and abilities (more details here), and dedicated skaters can also buy a pass for the full season—set to last until March 3—for $250.

Photograph courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor