Ice skaters in front of the St. Paul Landmark Center

Glide Onto These Great Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

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A friendly game of hockey at WinterSkate in St. Paul / Teresa Boardman
Family Fun // Winter Sports // Article

Glide Onto These Great Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

By Erica Wacker

Whether you want to practice your Flying V or polish your toe pick, Minnesota’s outdoor ice skating rinks are the perfect surface for winter fun.

Found in every corner of the state, ice rinks form on frozen lakes, ponds and even rivers as soon as the ice is thick enough with refrigerated rinks popping up around Thanksgiving or even earlier. In addition to skating, most of the rinks on this list have skates available for rent as well as warming houses and/or other perks like concessions and special events. Channel your inner Neal Broten or Kristy Yamaguchi and head out to these ice rinks across the state.

The Roseville Oval lit up for the holidays

The Roseville Oval lit up for the holidays

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

When it comes to ice skating, few places do it better than the Twin Cities. Both St. Paul and Minneapolis host free ice rinks beneath their shimmering downtown skylines (Wells Fargo WinterSkate and WinterSkate in Loring Park, respectively, are both on hiatus this year), and countless neighboring cities have their own impressive rinks.

You can skate North America’s largest outdoor refrigerated rink in Roseville, or head to Maple Grove to carve your way across one of the country’s only refrigerated ice skating trails. If frozen lakes are more your style, head to EdinaBuffalo, or one of three lakes in Minneapolis - Lake of the Isles, Nokomis and Powderhorn. Lace up at the Infinity Loop on Lake Minnetonka’s Wayzata Bay during the Wayzata Chilly Open in February and you can even watch a movie on a jumbo screen as you skate. It's endless fun!

Twin Cities Rink Information

Ice Skating on Lake Alice

Lake Alice in Fergus Falls opens for skating with a big party on the ice

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in Central Minnesota

In Fergus Falls, Lake Alice is plowed for both a skating rink and a track around the lake and remains open for as long as conditions allow. In St. Cloud, Lake George is the place to skate, or head to Blackberry Ridge Golf Club in nearby Sartell where you can warm up before or after your skate at the club’s Grill 19. Other places to skate in this region include AlexandriaPine RiverHutchinsonNew York Mills and the Brainerd Lakes area, which features rinks on Gull Lake for guests staying at Cragun’s Resort or Grand View Lodge.

Central Minnesota Rink Information

People ice skating on frozen Lake Winona

Rent skates or BYO to Lake Winona in southeast Minnesota / Visit Winona

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in Southern Minnesota

The towering bluffs of southeast Minnesota make a beautiful backdrop for skating in Winona, a year-round destination for outdoor recreation. But lakes aren’t the only bodies of water that freeze in the winter. The Straight River, a 55-mile tributary of the Mississippi, has hockey and skating near downtown Owatonna, or you can skate on an inlet of the Des Moines River in southwest Jackson.

Several outdoor skating rinks can be found in Albert LeaMankato and Rochester, where you can skate on a frozen running track. 

Southern Minnesota Rink Information

Ice skating at Ashley Park in Jackson

Kids and adults play pond hockey at Ashley Park in Jackson / Singvongsa Photography

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in Northeast Minnesota

You can’t skate on Lake Superior, but you can get pretty close at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. After the Bentleyville Festival of Lights wraps up, the park transforms into an ice skating rink in early January. Further up the North Shore, outdoor rinks can be found in Knife River, Two HarborsSilver BayTofte and Grand Marais.

Further south in the hockey-loving Iron Range, there are rinks in Biwabik (minutes from the Giants Ridge ski resort), Hibbing and Virginia. While on the Range, pay a visit to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth. Or head to Grand Rapids for your choice of four outdoor rinks, including a covered one at the IRA Civic Center.

Northeast Minnesota Rink Information

A pair of hikers walking along the Riverbend Skate Path

Riverbend Skate Path in Warroad

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in Northwest Minnesota

Bemidji is no stranger to fun on the ice. In addition to the city’s four indoor ice arenas, there are two outdoor skating destinations. Experience the ultimate #OnlyinMN ice skating in Warroad, where the Riverbend Skate Path, one of the longest ice skating trails in the United States. It connects to Doc Harbor Inn’s public skating rink as well as several private rinks to provide 5 miles of open skating for all to enjoy in Hockeytown USA. Further south, Detroit Lakes’ Peoples Park is another skating destination in this region.

Northwest Minnesota Rink Information

Erica Wacker

Erica Wacker is a Midwesterner through and through, growing up in Illinois, going to college in Wisconsin, and settling down in Minnesota. She loves to run, travel with her family, and go to concerts to relive her youth.