01/06/2015 05:44 pm ET Updated Dec 01, 2016

The World's Most Epic Ice Skating Rinks

Sure, you could go ice skating on the frozen pond near your house. But to make one of winter's best pastimes truly epic, head to one of these spectacular ice rinks. They are higher, bigger, more beautiful, more historic, and more scenic than any backyard pond. Want to try them out? Start planning your trip here.

1. Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa, Canada

Photo: Canal Rideau by: matt.boman flickr - Courtesy:

At 4.8 miles long, this ice skating rink, which takes over a frozen urban canal, is the largest in the world. The Rideau Canal is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site that runs through downtown Ottawa. Along the skating route are rest areas, where you can warm up with the toasty drinks and snacks.

2. Medeu Stadium, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Photo: Medeu Stadium by: Tore Khan flickr - Courtesy:

If you like your skating adventure to come with altitude, you can go no higher than the Madeo (or Madeu, depending on who you talk to) Stadium, the world's highest skating rink at 1,690m above sea level. Originally built as a competitive skating track in the outskirts of Kazakhstan's former capital, it doesn't hold many organized competitions any more, but it is a great place to take the family for a skating adventure in the mountains.

3. Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai, UAE

Photo: Dubai Mall Ice Rink by: jimmyweee flickr - Courtesy:

For ice skating with a touch of the bizarre, head to Dubai, one of the hottest places on the planet and perhaps one of the places you'd least expect to don a pair of ice skates. But the weather has never really acted as a deterrent for winter activities here (Dubai is home to a giant indoor skiing facility, after all), so you shouldn't be surprised to learn that Dubai Ice Rink has taken the sport indoors so it can be enjoyed year round, even when the mercury is topping 120 degrees outside.

4. Curry Village Ice Skating Rink, Yosemite National Park, CA

Photo: Curry Village by: MargaretNapier flickr - Courtesy:

Gaze upon views of famous peaks Half Dome and Glacier Point in Yosemite, one of the United States' most celebrated national parks, while you glide over ice in Curry Village. The tradition was started in 1928 when some locals decided to ice over an unused parking lot, and now the ice rink is a staple of the wintertime Village experience.

5. Eiffel Tower Ice Rink, Paris, France

Photo: Eiffel Tower by: ErasmusOfParis flickr - Courtesy:

Before you go all the way up the Eiffel Tower, take in the wintry views of the City of Lights from the first floor ice skating rink. The visit is free for anyone who has a ticket to go up the tower, but for a little extra cash, you can also warm up hot chocolate, mulled wine, and some light snacks at the 57-meter high outdoor bar. As if a trip up the Eiffel Tower wasn't romantic enough, this really puts it over the top.

6. Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, CA

Photo: Hotel del Coronado by: SD Dirk flickr - Courtesy:

You know what's better than ice skating in the cold? How about ice skating on a warm beach? Every year during San Diego's "cold" (read: 65-degree) holiday season, the famous Hotel Del Coronado puts up an ice skating rink out on the lawn next to the sand, probably much to the confusion of any birds heading south for the winter.

7. Lac de Joux, Switzerland 

Photo: Lac de Joux by: zmi66 - ZMIphoto flickr - Courtesy:

If you prefer to avoid bumping shoulders with other skaters or being plowed into by children just learning to skate (and not yet aware of how to brake), Lac de Joux could be your answer. This 5-square-mile lake in the Swiss Alps is enormous, and when it's frozen over, it becomes one of the most scenic (and remote) ice skating rinks in the world.

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