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.
Operated by Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, Sharks Ice skating centers professionally maintain solid-water rinks and facilities to accommodate a full range of activities. Each Friday night (7:30–9:30 p.m. in San Jose; 7:15–9:15 p.m. in Oakland) customers have full run of the centers' Olympic-sized rinks for public skating and fashionable displays of warm, Cosby-inspired outerwear. In addition to skating amenities, each Sharks Ice center features a full-service pro shop that sells NHL athletic apparel and other skate supplies and accessories. The centers also feature public snack bars and spacious public areas for socializing and frigid recitations of 18th-century Russian poetry. Sharks Ice San Jose also houses Stanley's Sports Bar, a full bar and restaurant overlooking the three rinks. Skate rental is included, but if you prefer to bring your own foot-blades, the general admission price without today's Groupon is $8, which still makes the Groupon the better deal. Hours are subject to change, so please call ahead to confirm.
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.”
Iceland Ice Skating Rink welcomed local skaters and hockey players for 70 years, until an arsonist’s match burned the facility to the ground in 2010. But, thanks to a committed community effort, volunteers got the facility back in operation in less than a year, clearing 1,000 cubic yards of debris, polishing and lacing 400 pairs of skates, and refreezing the rink’s icy surface. Today, the rink's instructors give back to the community that embraced them in their time of need, grooming aspiring figure skaters and teaching young hockey players to body-check dangerous-looking penguins.
Colorful lights glide across the glossy floor at The Rink alongside the spinning wheels of roller skates and roller blades. To set the pace, the DJ at The Rink spins upbeat hits, often selecting tunes from a specific era, such as dance pop from the 1980's or Russian turbo-folk from the 1880's. When not skating, guests can refuel with nachos, pizza, and popcorn at the snack bar, or embark on virtual adventures in the video arcade. Several of the games reward winners with tickets, which can be traded in at the prize counter for toys, bracelets, and novelties.
In an age where the timeless American roller rink, the old-timey bowling alley, and classic soda fountain are rapidly being ousted by multiplex digital theaters and soda fountains that only exist on the internet, Foothill Skate Inn is like the physical embodiment of nostalgia. Skaters still glide across its sprawling hardwood floor, their grins illuminated in the glow of mirror balls and their hair whipping about in the air-conditioned breeze. DJs take charge of the music, spinning an eclectic mix of pop hits and upbeat classics. Meanwhile, behind a snack bar, cheerful staffers pop fresh batches of popcorn and dole out hot dogs, nachos, and cotton candy.