Getting your ice and snow fix in and around Atlanta

Ice skating is just one of many activities at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands.
Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

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Ice skating is just one of many activities at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands. Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

You don’t have to wait for snow to have a good time in the winter.

The weather outside is frightful. Well, maybe not, since this is Georgia after all. But that doesn’t give you an excuse to sit on the couch watching Hallmark movies until the Braves poke their heads out of the dugout and declare that spring is here.

So, put on a sweater, gloves and hat (a pom pom on top gets extra points), go outside, enjoy the crisp air and do a few laps around an ice rink or maybe go tubing. Yes, there are places for winter activities in metro Atlanta that are perfect for snow bunnies of all ages.

While the area has year-round rinks, several more rinks pop up during the winter season. Many mixed-use complexes have discovered that ice skating is a perfect activity for families, teens and date nights. Colony Square used to have an indoor rink back in the 1970s, and then turned the space into a food court. Today, after undergoing a $400 million redevelopment plan, the rink is back — and it’s outdoors.

“There is a lot of history with Colony Square and ice skating. [Olympic champion] JoJo Starbuck used to practice here. What’s old is new again,” says Lauren Ness, marketing manager. “In Georgia we don’t get the weather where you can skate on a pond so people can come out here and skate outdoors. It puts you in the festive spirit.” Next to the rink is a 62-foot tree adding to the joyful mood.

“It’s been real good,” she says. “The teens are coming after school and we’re seeing more date nights and couples coming to dinner, skating and then having a drink.”

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Park Tavern has had an ice skating rink under a tent overlooking Piedmont Park for 11 years. The 85-feet long and 40-feet wide rink has found favor with a wide audience. “Everyone gets the joy of skating,” says Paul Smith, who with his wife Angela, has owned Park Tavern for 25 years. “We get a lot of smaller children, and for the younger people, it’s the experience of learning something new and then getting good at it. That’s the challenge. Ice skating can be difficult at first and then it becomes second nature.”

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A talented skater practices her routine at the rink at Park Tavern. Courtesy of Park Tavern.

Credit: William Prickett

A talented skater practices her routine at the rink at Park Tavern. 
Courtesy of Park Tavern.

Credit: William Prickett

Combined ShapeCaption
A talented skater practices her routine at the rink at Park Tavern. Courtesy of Park Tavern.

Credit: William Prickett

Credit: William Prickett

The core group of skaters are in their 20s but Smith said there are more than a few who collect Social Security practicing their spins and double axels. Adding to the festivities is that the restaurant has two fire pits, three fireplaces and several holiday drink specials.

This is the second year that the rink’s theme is “A Miracle on 10th Street” featuring an abundance of festive and kitschy decor, complete with 10 distinct decorated areas for taking holiday selfies with friends.

The Rooftop at Ponce features a 3,500-square foot ice skating rink, where skaters can enjoy 50 minutes on the ice as well as unlimited gameplay at Skyline Park. Skaters will enjoy one of the city’s best skyline views as they whirl around the rink.

East of Atlanta, there are two family-owned outdoor rinks, called Ice Days Covington and Ice Days at Olde Town Conyers. The rink in Conyers opened about 23 years ago and Jim Gomez took it over nine years ago. “It’s become a holiday stable in Olde Town Conyers,” he says. “You see the same families coming and watching the kids grow up. It’s a holiday tradition.” The rink in Covington opened five years ago.

“I’m from California and I never skated on an outdoor rink, but I played hockey. Ice skating and hockey were two of my favorite things growing up,” he says. “I never was on an outdoor pond like so many of the Northeastern transplants. We get a lot of comments from people saying they never thought they’d skate outdoors again. Skating outdoors is fun and a unique experience that you can’t get elsewhere.”

For youngsters who don’t want to lace up the skates, head over to the Fernbank Museum for the Sock Skating Ring. Children wear only socks as they slide around the slippery “ice”. An inside tip is that fuzzy polyester socks yield the best slide while cotton socks are the least slippery.

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Snow tubing at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands features one of North America’s longest snow slides. Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

Snow tubing at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands features one of North America’s longest snow slides. 
Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

Combined ShapeCaption
Snow tubing at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands features one of North America’s longest snow slides. Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

For the second year now, Stone Mountain Park cancelled its Snow Christmas but Margaritaville Resorts at Lanier Islands has a variety of winter fun including snow tubing on Blizzard Mountain, featuring one of North America’s longest snow rides down a 575-foot-long, 8-story snow slide. In addition to ice skating, Snowball Alley offers the opportunity to have a good old-fashioned snowball fight or to make snow angels in the show.

Here are a few of the outdoor places to get a winter buzz.

Holiday rinks

Avalon on Ice. 3-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and holidays; noon-7 p.m. Sunday. $18 (includes skates); age 9 and younger, $14. Reservations suggested. 400 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. 770-765-2000, experienceavalon.com.

The Rink Powered by Pepsi at Park Tavern. 4:30-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 8:30 p.m.-midnight (ages 16 and up) Sunday-Saturday. $15 Monday-Thursday; $20 Friday, Saturday, Sunday. 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-249-0001, parktavern.com/ice-rink.

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Ice skating is a perfect way to spend the afternoon outdoors and exercising on the Roof at Ponce City Market. Courtesy of Slater Hospitality.

Credit: Lydia Sewell

Ice skating is a perfect way to spend the afternoon outdoors and exercising on the Roof at Ponce City Market. 
Courtesy of Slater Hospitality.

Credit: Lydia Sewell

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Ice skating is a perfect way to spend the afternoon outdoors and exercising on the Roof at Ponce City Market. Courtesy of Slater Hospitality.

Credit: Lydia Sewell

Credit: Lydia Sewell

The Roof at Ponce City Market. 3-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 3 p.m.-midnight Friday; 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. $15, plus admission to The Roof, for 50 minutes of skating, skate rentals and unlimited gameplay at Skyline Park. 675 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. 770-999-1530, poncecityroof.com.

Sock Skating Rink. Fernbank Museum. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free with general admission ($18-$20). 767 Clifton Road, Atlanta. 404-929-6300, fernbankmuseum.org.

Skate the Station. Atlantic Station. 4-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; Noon-8 p.m. Sunday; $15 (includes skate rental); season pass $60. 1380 Atlantic Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-410-4010, atlanticstation.com.

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At Ice Days in Olde Town Conyers, some young skaters might need a little help learning to skate. Courtesy of Ice Days.

Credit: Handout

At Ice Days in Olde Town Conyers, some young skaters might need a little help learning to skate. 
Courtesy of Ice Days.

Credit: Handout

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At Ice Days in Olde Town Conyers, some young skaters might need a little help learning to skate. Courtesy of Ice Days.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Olde Town on Ice. $13 (includes skates). Various times. 949 S. Main St., Conyers. 678-374-7655, icedays.com.

Ice Days at Legion Field. $13 (includes skates). Various times. 3173 Mill St, Covington. 678-374-7655, icedays.com.

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People of all ages enjoy skating at Ice Days in Covington. Courtesy of Ice Days.

Credit: Handout

People of all ages enjoy skating at Ice Days in Covington. 
Courtesy of Ice Days.

Credit: Handout

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People of all ages enjoy skating at Ice Days in Covington. Courtesy of Ice Days.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Have an Ice Day. Various hours. $10; $8, age 8 and younger. $4 skate rental. 5039 W. Broad St., Sugar Hill, 770-554-7506, haidrink.com.

Rinks open all year

Atlanta Ice House. 6 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday-Sunday. $11; $8 under age 10 and military; $4 skate rental. 2600 Prado Lane, Marietta. 404-800-2150, atlantaicehouse.com.

The Ice. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday; 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Two-hour public skate: age 3-5 years, $5; age 6-10, $7; age 11 and older, $9; age 55 and older (includes skate rental), $11. Skate rental, $4. 1345 Atlanta Highway, Cumming. 678-845-0103, theice.info.

Center Ice Arena. Various times. $10; age 5 and under, $7; age 3 and younger free. Skate rental, $5. 5750 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 404-549-8425, centericearena.org.

Atlanta IceForum. Various times. $12; age 5 and younger, $6. Skate rental, $6. 2300 Satellite Blvd., Duluth. 770-813-1010, iceforum.com.

The Cooler. 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.-10:15 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m.-3 p.m., 3:15 p.m.-5:15 p.m., 8:15 p.m.-10:15 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m.-5 p.m., Sunday. $10 (doesn’t include skates). 10800 Davis Drive, Alpharetta. 770-649-6600, coolerathletics.com.

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Go snow tubing at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands on one of North America’s longest snow slides. Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

Go snow tubing at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands on one of North America’s longest snow slides. 
Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

Combined ShapeCaption
Go snow tubing at Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands on one of North America’s longest snow slides. Courtesy of Melissa Hollingsworth.

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

Credit: Melissa Hollingsworth

Snow Fun

License to Chill Snow Island. Margaritaville at Lanier Islands. Various hours. Starts at $34.99. 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 470-323-3440, mararitavillaresorts.com/margaritaville-at-lanier-islands.com.