Ice skating has been a quintessential winter activity since humans figured out that gliding over frozen water was both an effective means of getting around and also fun.
According to some light Googling, ice skating seems to have originated in Finland about 4,000 years ago (they have a lot of ice) and began to resemble its current metal-blades-on-boots iteration somewhere in the Netherlands in the 1300s.
Ice skating back then actually looked much the same as it does today, and this wholesome, family-friendly activity can be found at a handful of pop-up seasonal ice rinks around the city.
Here are three that offer a place to glide, as well as skate rental and hot and/or boozy beverages.
Fifty West Brewing Co.
Fifty West Brewing Company has added a quaint winter attraction to its list of ever-growing things to do at its Production Works brewery: an ice rink. It launched the idea in 2020 and, because it was so successful, has brought it back for a third year in a row.
The family-friendly rink is 80-feet-by-40-feet, and tickets ($10) include skate rental and one hour on the ice. Only a small number of people are allowed on the rink at one time, so Fifty West is using a timed reservation system at fiftywestbrew.com, with select in-person purchase options if crowds are light. Kids ages 4 and under can skate for free.
The brewery also has asked Santa to visit for photo ops from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 26 and Dec. 10; and 5-7 p.m. Dec. 4 and Dec. 18. Tickets to see the man in red include a digital and physical holiday photo and free kiddie hot chocolate. Through Feb. 27. $10 (includes skate rental). 7605 Wooster Pike, Columbia Township, fiftywestbrew.com.
Fountain Square's ice rink has returned this year and is open through Feb. 20. In addition to skate rental, Fountain Square has brought back it’s super-popular bumper cars, which will share the rink with traditional ice skating. Patrons can choose from two types of sessions — either a split rink, where one half is devoted to ice skating while the other half is taken up by bumper cars, or skating only.
Book a preferred time online ($15 for the split session and $10 for ice skating only). Bumper car riders can use the cars as many times as they want during their 90-minute session (a line will form to get on the ride). If you opt for a split-rink session, you can go between the cars and skating, but you cannot wear ice skates in the vehicle; all bumper car riders must wear flat, closed-toe shoes. Concessions will be available and a rink-side warming tent will feature snacks and drinks, including boozy beverages.Through Feb. 20. $10 skating; $15 bumper cars and skating. 520 Vine St., Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.
Housed underneath the colorful glass canopy at Summit Park, the Warm 98.5 Ice Rink offers two-hour skate sessions for $7 (skate rental included). Four on-site restaurants will be serving up meals, hot chocolate and DORA drinks. And skate aids (those contraptions that look like a street blockade) will be available to use for free. The rink is open through Jan. 8 and closed for holidays on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. 4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, summitparkblueash.com.
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