Ice skating is one of the oldest and most popular traditions of the holiday season, and a good option for any cold-weather occasion. Those looking for a cool way to spend time with family and friends, or perhaps a unique way to impress a date, cannot go wrong with skating around the ice. There are a variety of ice skating rinks in the Omaha area, and each have their own flair and style. Some locations offer urban excitement while others offer the peace of nature. Specified people can skate for free in one location. Other locations donate a portion of proceeds to charity. All of them offer a fun time during the holiday season.
*Dates and times may change due to seasonal events, maintenance, or other reasons. Check websites and/or call ahead before heading out.
10th Street and Capitol Avenue
Admission: $10 (includes skate rental)
The ice skating rink in the Capitol District pulls double duty as a provider of entertainment and charity. A portion of the proceeds from the ice rink is donated to Food Bank for the Heartland as part of the “Shine the Light on Hunger” campaign. There are also collection bins at the rink for non-perishable food items. Downtown Omaha provides a beautiful backdrop to this outdoor rink, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for those looking to have a good time skating while supporting a charitable cause at the same time.
6171 Grover St.
Admission: $4 children (12 and under),
$6 adults (13-55), $5 seniors (56+)
Skate rental: $2
Grover Ice is a privately owned ice rink located in central Omaha. They are open year round and have a little something for everyone. Want to skate uninterrupted for an hour or two? Want to learn how to skate? Need a unique party or event location? Broomball? League hockey? Grover Ice has you covered.
Mahoney State Park
28500 West Park Highway, Ashland
Admission: $2 adults, $3 children
Skate rental: $3
The activity center and ice skating pavilion at Mahoney State Park allows for fun and entertainment even in the brutal cold of winter. The unique ice skating rink is technically outside, but is covered by a large roof. A massive indoor playground is connected to the rink and features tubes, slides, net bridges, and more. While Mahoney State Park probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind for winter activities, the ice skating pavilion and activity center are great spots to escape the winter blues.
Motto McLean Ice Arena
5015 S. 45th St.
Admission: $4 ages 6 and older, free for ages 5 and under with paid adult
Skate rental: $1
Located at Hitchcock Park, Motto McLean Ice Arena has a variety of events. They have a basic public skate as well as family skate on Sundays ($12 for a family of four) and freestyle skate for figure skaters to practice their skills ($7 per hour). They have drop-in hockey games as well as “stick and puck,” where players can simply skate around the ice with a stick and a puck. A fun event for preschoolers is “Bobby skate,” where kids can learn to skate while holding on to Bobby, a plastic seal. Rounding out their wide variety of events, McLean Ice Arena also hosts birthday parties. Schedules for these events can be found online.
7300 Q St.
Skate rental: $4
Ralston Arena is one of the newest venues in the city of Omaha. Ice skating is open to the public throughout the year, but there is no better time to go than the holiday season. Their drop-in hockey games allow players of all skill levels to experience competitive (but not too serious) games of hockey. The Ralston Skating Academy offers certified lessons to all ages. With a selection of activities and a modern venue, Ralston Arena is a no-brainer location for skating fun.
UNMC Ice Rink
42nd and Emile Streets
Admission: $5 general public
Skate rental: Included in admission
Although it is a medical facility, the University of Nebraska Medical Center has an ice skating rink. Skating is free to students and employees of affiliated colleges—UNL, UNMC, UNO, and Clarkson College—as well as Nebraska Medicine, and Ronald McDonald House employees and house guests (must present valid ID badge), making it a cheap day out. This location opens at 11 a.m. for those who want to get some time on the ice before the sun goes down.
This article was printed in the November/December 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.