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.
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.
The Walnut Creek Downtown Business Association fosters community engagement and the vitality of local merchants through a variety of programs, events, and general support. Popular events held throughout the year include wine walks, sidewalk sales, and fine-arts festivals.
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.