Monday, November 20, 2017

Everything You Need to Know about Ice Skating in Boston

Winter in Boston is a long period of cabin-fever inducing hibernation, if you don't find a way to get outdoors. So it is no surprise that many Bostonians take an interest in winter sports. We grow up playing hockey, obsessing over the Bruins, and eagerly waiting weather cold enough for snow for skiing and freezing temperatures for the much romanticized outdoor ice skating.

Skating at Frog Pond by Sally Caldwell Fisher
Lydia Marie Child's famous Thanksgiving Day Poem published in 1844, "Over The River and Through the Wood" about visiting her grandparents house near Tufts University in Medford celebrates playing outdoors in the snow even as the wind "stings the toes and bites the nose".

And there's no more quintessentially Boston place to let the wind sting your toes and bite your nose than ice skating at Frog Pond in Boston Common. In fact, Bostonians have been skating on Frog Pond since 1848, a few years after Child's poem was published!

The oft painted idyllic scene of skaters at Frog Pond is in reality though, a daunting and chaotic place for young inexperienced skaters.

Even if your children are too young to skate, you and they can still enjoy the sport. These family-friendly spectator events all feature ice skating.

For Boston children who are ready to skate (recommended ages 4 and up) there are plenty of opportunities to learn before heading out to the Frog Pond rink.

Best Learn to Figure Skate Programs: Boston Common Skating School’s or The Skating Academy’s programs at the Steriti Rink are indoors, protecting you from inclement weather. Downside: These are the most expensive lessons, but for a child who just wants to be able to learn to have fun and is not aspiring to learn more complicated moves, it can be a short term investment. 

Best Priced Figure Skate Program: If your little one doesn’t have their own skates, Community Ice Skating at Kendall is your best price. For $24 per 40 min lesson with rentals you can’t beat it. Downside: if the weather is bad (raining, too warm or extremely cold, the rink is outdoors!)

Best Program for Would Be Hockey Players: South Boston or Charlestown Youth Hockey League’s Learn to Skate programs are  specifically for aspiring hockey players and at an avg cost of <$11 per lesson (~$16 with rentals) for a 14 week season, you can’t beat the cost either. Check out this great article about Coach Teddy Cunniff who runs the SBYHL's program.

No. of Lessons, Days available
Duration of Lesson
Equipment Provided
Cost and Fees
Per Lesson Cost W & W/Out rentals
How to Register
Community Ice Skating
Kendall Square, Cambridge
5 wks, Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun starting Dec 7th

40 mins
Skate and helmet rental complimentary
$24 per lesson with or without rentals
Book online here
Boston Common Skating School
Steriti Rink, North End
AND Sunday classes only at O’Neill Rink in Charlestown
5 wks, Tues, Sat or Sun, Session 1 of 3 starts Nov 17th
40 min lesson + 10 min free skate
Skate rentals $5
$125 + $20 membership fee, $45 off for signing up early for 2 sessions and $10 off on each add’l kid

1st child, $29 per lesson for 1 session, $22.50 w/ early registration for 2+ sessions, add’l children $27 for 1 session and $21 w/ early registration for 2+ sessions (+$5 per lesson for skate rentals)

Print and mail check and form found here

The Skating Club of Boston Skating Academy
Steriti Rink, North End
7 wks, Sat 10AM Session 1 of 2  starts Nov 18th

25 min lesson + 25 min practice

Skate rentals $5
$22 per lesson, +$5 per lesson with skate rentals
Register online here
The Skating Club of Boston Skating Academy

Frog Pond,
Boston Common
6 wks, Sat or Sun 8:30 am
30 min lesson + 60 min practice

Skate rentals
$25 per lesson, +$6 per lesson for for skate rentals
Register online here
South Boston Youth Hockey Learn to Skate for ages 5-8

Francis Murphy Rink, South Boston
14  Sundays, Nov 5th – March 11th at 4pm
50 mins
Must have own hockey helmet, skate rentals for $5
$150 for the season
~$11 per lesson, +$5 per lesson for skate rentals
Must download form and bring to rink

Charlestown Youth Hockey Learn to Skate, Ages 4+

BU Fitness and Recreation Center
O’Neil Rink, Charlestown

Walter Brown Arena, 285 Babcock St
14 Saturdays starting Nov 7th, 12 noon

6 Saturdays,
various sessions
50 mins

50 mins
Must have own hockey helmet, skate rentals for $5

Skate rentals
$150 for the season

$110/ $90 for FitRec members
~$11 per lesson, +$5 per lesson for skate rentals

$18/$15 per lesson,
+$5 per lesson for skate rentals

Register online here

Register online here

Families outside of the downtown area have other options as well. Check out:

Should you buy or rent skates?

Jackie Mercurio, Director at the Boston Common Skating School recommends you rent skates for your child's first session of ice skating. While the rental skates won't fit as well, it is a good idea to get a sense for whether your child enjoys skating before investing in skates.

The pros of owning skates include; no cost to rent skates, no time waiting in line for rentals, and having a pair of skates that fit/lace properly. The pros of renting skates include; no need to worry about sharpening skates, no storing sports equipment in your home or needing to carry skates to/from rink, and no concerns about outgrowing them.

If purchasing skates, invest wisely. A cheap pair of ice skates may be ok for a beginner but they don't hold up well over time. Buying better quality used skates is a good way to save money and make sure you get a good product as well. Check Craigslist and local parent groups like GardenMoms and NEWMA for used skates. Or take a trip to a Play It Again sports store in the suburbs for a secondhand pair. Also, be sure to have new skates sharpened and for beginners once or twice per season should be fine. Fore more frequent/advanced skaters they will need to be sharpened more frequently.

Where to Skate

Once your child is comfortable skating there are tons of options for skating both indoors and outdoors. Here are some nearby options.

Downtown/Back Bay: 
  • Frog Pond, Boston Common See website for hours. Skater under (4’10”) skate free. $6 admission for anyone taller. Skate rentals $12 for adults, $6 for kids. $4 for lockers.
  • Boston Winter Skating Path at Government Center See website for hours.
  • Boston University See website for open skate hours, $5 admission and $5 for skate rentals
South Boston: 
 North End:
  • Steriti Rink See website for open skate hours. Skate rentals $5
 Just Across the Charles River (Cambridge):
  • MIT Johnson’s Rink: See website for open skate hours. Temporary day pass to use recreation facilities is $15, $5 youth skate rentals, $7 adults.
  • Kendall Square: Admission $1 for children, $3 for students/seniors, $8 for students/adults. Skate rentals $5 for kids, $8 for adults. $1 lockers.
For more Department of Conservation and Recreation Rinks See:

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Skating Season Boston Families!

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