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Best Ice Skating Rinks in Moscow

Ice skating Moscow

First winter lights are already hoisted on the trees, and New Year sales are soon to come. Although we enjoy choosing Christmas presents for significant other, there is another big expectation from winter. Outdoor skating is what we all breathlessly wait for! Warm gloves, a woolen scarf and a pair of white skates-this is an exciting winter image! Now Moscow is only a couple of weeks ahead of ice skating season.

Unlike Siberian cities, the capital can’t boast a large quantity of snow. A proper snow layer will be there in January, and it will melt out before March. Russians may not be listening to Greta Thunberg’s speeches but we do witness the effects of global warming here in Moscow. Luckily, technologies made it easy for everyone to slide and skate even when it’s 0 oC outside. Even if you have never stood on skates, you will be charmed by atmosphere of celebrations and join in an ice dance. The previous year, there were 23 ice rinks open in city parks, let’s see what the coming winter prepares for us. Here is the list of the most popular ice rinks in Moscow:

GUM rink at the Red Square

The most beautiful ice rink to open is GUM rink at the Red Square. It’s covered with artificial ice which is cleaned every several hours. Popular songs can be heard from the loudspeakers, Christmas booth are 200 meters away, and sparkling GUM is right in front of your eyes. “C’est tres magnifique”, as our French friends would say. If you are a fan of winter sports, you can be extra happy because every week the GUM rink offers ice skating lessons led by famous figure skaters and hockey players.

Practical things to know:

  • The entrance fee is higher than the average, especially on weekends.
  • The rink is open from 10 am to 11.30 pm but after each 1hr session, they do ice cleaning for 30 min.
  • You will need to leave a deposit (2000 rub) or a driver’s license if you rent ice skates.                                                                               

    Ice skating at VDNKh

VDNKh
Be it summer or winter in Moscow, a general rule is to visit the former Soviet VDNKh park. On the Christmas holidays, there will be evening shows and animation for kids. This year the park celebrates its 80th birthday, and to mark this special date, the park is going to host the biggest skating rink of the country. Technically, there will be 3 ice rinks. First, a small rink for pre-school kids, second, a large rink, 16 thousand sq.km, for the general public, and finally, a romantic “Alley of lovers” built around the fountain “Stone Flower”. Single or not, you won’t feel lonely in a crowd of people making rounds and rounds along the decorated trees. To feel the New Year atmosphere from different epochs, you can check three thematic zones in the
park.

When entering the park, you will cross 1950-s epoch. Aren’t you curious to see how New Year was celebrated 70 years ago? You will be invited to dance in a carnival and listen to a traditional bass band. Closer to a space rocket and a re-opened pavilion “Cosmos” there will be a 1960-s area. As you can guess, every street performance and thematic placard there will be about the Solar system, galaxies and cosmos exploration. The main topic will be presented right in the large skating rink. It will be a reflection of a New Year holiday for children in 1970-80s. Tourists and locals can enjoy naïve and kind children songs and occasionally spot a penguin and a snowman from Soviet cartoons doing arabesque or a sit spin.

Practical things to know:

  • The VDNKh rinks are closed on Mondays.
  • The rest of the days they function from 11am to 11pm.
  • There are rental services and kiosks with food and drinks in the park.

Sokolniki Park ice rinks

sokolniki

Sokolniki park is for adventurous souls who are ready to travel for 30 minutes out of the city center. It has a huge territory and can be called the green lungs of Moscow. Squirrels and rare birds live in far corners if Sokolniki in quiet nature. Similar to the VDNKh, Sokolniki offers three separate ice skating rinks. Sokolniki biggest rink “Giant” is open for everyone, and it’s easy to find: it’s the first park to the entrance. The smallest skating rink is on contrary a challenge to find, and you can figure it out by its name- “In the Forest”. Our advice is to follow the Google maps, they will save you from getting lost in a Russian forest. Both rinks have free entrance, budget travelers may appreciate it. However, free entrance has its downsides: the skating rinks that don’t demand a fee are covered with natural ice and by the evening the ice is far from smooth. Our advice is to be there before the afternoon when the ice is still
fresh.

Whenever if want to train difficult elements of figure skating, you might want to choose the third rink, called “Lod”. It’s in the middle of Sokolniki park, close to Museum of Winter Decoration. “Lod” has artificial ice and is fully equipped.

Practical things to know:

  • There are several cafes in the park, you won’t be hungry.
  • “Giant” and the rink “In the forest” work only at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius.
  • The rinks work from 9 am to 12 am. You can rent the equipment every day from 10 am to 10 pm.
  • A entry ticket to “Lod” costs up to 400 RUB, and it includes skates for rent.
  • On busy days, there might be not enough lockers, dress thoughtfully.

 

Ice Rink in Gorky Park

Park Gorkogo

Gorky Park is another trendy area that cannot be skipped by Moscow visitors. Gorky Park has undeniably deserved a name of “a winter wonderland”. Every year organizers surprise Muskovits with a new concept for an ice-skating rink. Last year it was “A factory of happy people”, the name may sound a bit antiutopian but let’s put aside philosophy for a while, it’s time to have fun! This year’s concept is yet to be announced. We believe it will be something as original as always.

On November, 22 the Ice Rink invites everyone to participate in a grand opening party. You can bring kids and hockey fans – there will be additional rinks open for them. This skating rink is without any doubt the trendiest one with invited DJs, live concerts and collaboration with Russian designers.

Practical things to know:

  • The rink is open Tu to Su from 10 am to 3 pm and from 5pm to 11pm.
  • The fee varies from 350 Rub to 650 Rub and depends on time and day of the week.
  • You can order a private skating lesson for 1500 RUB/ hour.
  • Cafes, restaurants, rental services, lockers and even more- the Park is in its prime.

Winter in Moscow is always fun! And if you never tried ice skating before- it is the right place to start! Plan your trip today with Moscow Urban Adventures!

by Natalia Motorina, a local travel writer