When not hosting the 10th-largest adult hockey league in the United States, The Gardens Ice House opens its three full-size rinks and one mini rink for public skating sessions seven days a week. Upon arrival, revelers visit the rental desk to select hockey or figure skates, or one of each in attempts to perfect the elusive salchow-wall-check combo. A kindly staff of zamboni jockeys keeps the spacious, glass-lined rinks slick and mirroresque. After skating up appetites, speedsters can grab bites to eat and start conversations with a coffee machine at The Gardens’ Ice Breaker Cafe.
With a rink defined by bright, citrus-colored walls and carnival-inspired artwork, Temple Hills Skating Palace isn’t shy about showing off its many forms of onsite amusement. The center’s main attraction is the glossy skating-rink floor, where guests can sharpen their skills during public skate or spend time with peers in specialized skating sessions for teens or adults. Most nights, the resident DJs soundtrack the skating experience with hip-hop and R & B jams, though they’ve also been know to spin gospel, top 40, and classic oldies tracks for special occasions—including the time that Billy finally asked Suzie to share a couples skate even though she was way out of his league as a fourth-grade honor student who also skipped kindergarten.
Temple Hills Skating Palace also offers more than just skating. Outside the bounds of the rink, the onsite arcade lights up the space with driving-simulation games, classic joystick units, and free-throw-inspired Pop-A-Shot machines. The more guests play, the more tickets and prizes they can earn; the more prizes that they win, the more likely they are to celebrate with a quick bite at the snack bar or a quick phone call to the friends who doubted their Whac-A-Mole prowess.
Wheels screech to a halt for photo ops in front of Lanham Skating Center's focal point: a mural of a red carpet illuminated by blazing flashbulbs. Skaters carry their celebrity strut into the music-filled rink, where they zoom to their hearts' content wearing skates they rented or stole from a '50s-era waitress. They can also star in Learn to Skate classes or birthday parties in a private room stocked with ice cream and soda. Visitors consume similar noshes at the snack bar before returning to rolling.
Since 1973, skaters have been sailing effortlessly across Fairfax Ice Arena’s spacious, icy surface during public skate sessions, figure skating–lessons, and hockey leagues for all ages. At the family-owned arena, a staff of dedicated skating coaches guides students while calling upon experience from the St. Petersburg State Ballet on Ice, Disney on Ice, and the lesser-known On Golden Pond on Ice. The arena is open throughout the year, hosting a full hockey and figure skating–pro shop in addition to its Arena Café.
SkateQuest offers wintery fun throughout the year, enabling hockey players, figure skaters, and recreational skaters to enjoy sliding across frozen frontiers in any season. Public skating sessions on Friday evenings (7:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.), Saturday afternoons (1:10 p.m.–3 p.m.), Sunday afternoons (3:10 p.m.–5:10 p.m.), and Wednesday and Friday mornings (11:10 a.m.–12:40 p.m.) allow water walkers to scathe the chilled surface during times when the rink is not reserved for hockey or ice-fishing practices. In addition to the well maintained, twin-sheet of solid cloud tears, SkateQuest houses a newly remodeled pro shop stocked with professional hockey and figure skating accouterments. In between skating sessions, patrons may enjoy a sandwich, coffee, or calzone from the SkateQuest Café.
Home to concerts, movies, and chili cook-offs throughout the warmer months, The Harris Pavilion keeps the fun going all winter long as it transforms into an outdoor ice rink. Starting in mid-November, the rink welcomes the community for daily public-skate sessions; its close proximity to the Historic Manassas Train Station provides easy access to both out-of-towners and zambonis on the run. Lighting and music ensure a safe, lively atmosphere for skaters all ages, and a two-minute walk in any direction yields a host of shopping and snacking options for skaters who need a break or a brief warm-up.