Want to ice skate in Atlanta? The weather in Atlanta is almost never typical skating weather, but throughout the holidays, you have a few outdoor public skating options. The metro area also has a number of indoor rinks, mostly in the suburbs, that offer daily public skating. Here is a look at some of the best options for ice skating in the Atlanta area. Lace 'em up, folks.
The rink at the center of downtown by CNN, Philips, and Georgia Aquarium is probably the most scenic of the options in the greater Atlanta area. Ice skate in the shadow of the Westin and Equitable buildings, and enjoy any number of downtown spots for dinner or drinks. The rink operates through January 27 and runs 90-minute sessions seven days per week. It's open Christmas Day and New Year's Day. $10 admission includes skate rental. If it's too warm, the park will cancel sessions and make notifications on its website or its Twitter account. Inside tip: If you have your own skates, bring them. This goes for all rinks.
500 10th St., Atlanta
The popular Park Tavern adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown hosts the Southwest Rink during the holidays. The rink is the smallest of the Atlanta-area options and can accommodate about 200 skaters at a time. Cost is $15 per session and also includes skate rentals. Skating season here runs through February 14. The rink is under a heated tent, and patrons can order food and watch from the other side of the boards.
10800 Davis Drive, Alpharetta
The Cooler is an indoor year-round, full-service sports facility with two hockey-sized rinks. This is also one of many good options for the northern arc. It's north of the city and OTP (outside the perimeter), right off Ga. 400, so it may be a good choice for those reluctant to make the trip downtown. The Cooler offers a lot more skating real estate, as well as rock-hard, Zamboni'ed ice, so if you really care about the skating, these indoor spots are for you. Downside: Public skating is not constant; the rinks are used for recreational hockey leagues, as well. But there's a public skate at least once daily. $8 per session and $3 for skate rental.
4800 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta
Affectionately called the MIC (pronounced "mick"), the Marietta Ice Center is another indoor sports facility offering public skating. It's located in the middle of Cobb County. Two-hour sessions are $8 with $3 skate rental. Public skates operate throughout the weekend, and weekdays are added when school is not in session.
2300 Satellite Blvd., Duluth
3061 George Busbee Parkway, Kennesaw
The Ice Forum has two locations -- one in Gwinnett and another in Kennesaw. Both rinks are open every day of the year and host public skating daily for $8 a session with a $3 rental fee. The bonus in Gwinnett is The Breakaway Grill, a restaurant that overlooks the rink, also open seven nights per week, so parents can have some dinner while the kids skate.
1345 Atlanta Highway, Cumming
This relatively new facility is in Cumming, Georgia, about 45 miles north of downtown and maybe 20 or so north of the I-285 loop. But it's a slick facility (get it?). $7 per two-hour session and $3 skate rentals (children younger than 5 skate for $5). It's one of the largest rinks around. Has a pro shop and concession stand, and there's a public skate session daily.
Mike Benzie has edited for major online media providers and several major news organizations in the Southeast, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He's also a transplanted northerner with his own hockey skates.