The Bay Area’s largest temporary outdoor ice rink plays host to a wide collection of former East Coasters and Midwesterners over the holiday season, as recent transplants gather on the ice, longing for the frozen wintery ponds of home. What they get instead is a very San Francisco skate, although no less fun for its palm tree backdrop, tourist-heavy Embarcadero crowds and proximity to the Ferry Building’s gourmet treats. Customers can rent skates for $4 and join a 90-minute public skate session at the low price of $10 per adult and $6 per child age seven and under. Skaters can spin and fall and laugh to the pumped-in holiday tunes, then grab a bite from a nearby food truck (Sundays only). The Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center runs from early November to early January, seven days a week.
Open for over 38 years, Paradise Skate Roller Rink invites skaters to roll around its Hawaiian-themed decorations. Brightly colored palm trees adorn the painted walls, adding ambiance as skaters don rental quad or inline skates. A snack bar offers beer, wine, and sodas alongside hot dogs, personal pizzas, nachos, and burritos, which patrons can dine on as they watch one of several flat-screen televisions or events such as roller derby.
Vacaville Ice Sports sends skaters spinning, coasting, and pirouetting across a pair of NHL-size rinks. Each day of the week, the facility swings open its doors for open-skating sessions, and, when the ice isn't getting its hard-to-reach itches scratched by public blades, the arena buzzes with hockey leagues, birthday parties, and learn-to-skate classes. An on-site arcade and free WiFi keep mitten-free fingers busy in between ice-based orbits, and the center's snack bar ensures legs remain fully fueled for additional spins around the polar sheets.
There isn’t just one way to skate around the rink at Cal Skate. In the midday, open skate welcomes folks of all ages and couples and adults can spark romance or freestyle under the glowing lights during the evening. The center is also home to the Resurrection Roller Girls, who dare both adults and youths to tap into their inner warriors at age-appropriate derby-training sessions. For birthday parties, the staff can set up a party room for you and your guests, complete with snacks and free gifts, and the DJ will play your birthday song request—as long as it’s not “The Song that Never Ends.”
Serendipity Salon’s staff welcomes clients into a relaxing environment with complimentary tea and snacks. Stylists use sulfate-free Enjoy Professional Hair Care products that are safe for use on color-treated hair, and aestheticians use Caniglia MD Skincare products for facials and body treatments. Deep-tissue and hot-stone massages allow therapists to relax muscles within the confines of a warm, dimly lit private treatment room filled with soft music and the trickling of a nearby fountain. The salon’s team of nail technicians uses OPI and Essie nail polishes and Spa Blends products, which contain shea butter, vitamins, and plant extracts. They also carry hand-poured candles by Archipelago Botanicals, which combine essential oils with waxes and lead-free wicks and come in a variety of earthy colors, scents, and sizes. The largest candle is 4”x10” and burns up to 200 hours, or roughly the length of a Hollywood marriage.
Silver Creek Sportsplex is a 240,000-square-foot facility that hosts kid- and adult-friendly leagues, camps, and classes for a range of activities, including indoor soccer, roller hockey, and flag football. The massive complex encourages healthy lifestyles with programs and services in its full service Club One fitness center and spa.
During Open Play sessions, children 12 years and younger can climb and crawl through the facility's bright, inflatable obstacle courses and venture through play zones. Waiting parents can bring personal laptops to surf the web on free WiFi access, or sign up for a whole host of sports and activities for themselves.
After a long day at play, kids can join their parents and recount harrowing stories from the front lines of tickle wars during meals at the facility's in-house restaurant, High Five at the Plex (food and drink not included).