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Ice Skating Lessons in Washington DC

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We have been going to the Washington Harbor Ice Rink for the last two years. It usually opens in mid-November and works through mid-March. A big advantage of this ice rink is that it’s located in Georgetown. There are many places to eat and to shop in the area.

You can bring your own skates or rent the skates at the ice rink for $7. Normally, they have plenty of skates of various sizes. However, if you come during a very busy time on the weekend, you might not be able to get the skates of your size. Something to keep in mind.

You can buy admission tickets online or at the ice rink itself. I recommend paying online because then you don’t need to wait in line. The link to admission tickets is here. The ticket price is $10 for adults and $9 for kids/seniors/military plus tax. Each skating session is 90 minutes, so make sure to check the exact times.


In DC, weather changes frequently and on warmer days the skating experience is not much fun. The ice starts melting and there is a lot of water in the ice rink, as well as around. From my experience, the sweet spot for the ice rink is around 40-45F: it’s pleasant to skate in such a weather, yet the ice doesn’t melt. If it warms up to 50F or above, be ready for a lot of saggy ice and water all around. If you happen to fall, you’ll get all soaked.

Good time to go

The ice rink gets quite crowded on weekends. If you are a novice yourself, or with kids who are beginners, it’s not the best time to go. It becomes difficult to hold on to the railing, with a lot of people standing around. On weekdays, there are usually fewer people and much more space to practice. For people who are good skaters, it really doesn’t matter when to go. There is usually plenty of space for skating all around the ice rink.

Ice skating lessons for kids

The Washington Harbor Ice Rink offers group and individual ice skating lessons. Please keep in mind that you still have to buy admission tickets, even if you paid for the lesson. Also, sometimes they have special promotions, like 10% off lessons. If you’ve signed up for lessons before, you’ll get these special offers.

The lessons are delivered not by the skating rink staff, but by a separate company, the Fireworks Skating Academy. This is important because sometimes the rink staff won’t know who your coach is. You’ll have to look at the rink and find her. The coaches all wear dark pink jackets which say “coach”, so you can spot them easily. At the lesson time or a few minutes in advance, your kid will need stand by the railing at the entrance to the rink.

Here is the link where you can sign up for the lessons. We usually try to sign up about a week in advance, after checking the weather. Once you sign up, you receive a confirmation, but you still need to wait until the coach is assigned. Usually this information is emailed the day before. Sometimes, they’ll email you saying the time you had selected is unavailable and check if another slot would work.

On different weeks, you might end up having a different coach. My daughter has had 3 coaches so far- Amy, Angela and Ashley. All are very similar and good with kids. With either one, you’re in good hands.

In terms of group vs. private lessons, I would recommend private. Group lesson is $30 and essentially the kid ends up standing in a large group doing a lot on his/her own. Private lessons are $50, but you get much more value. Your kid gets full attention of the coach for 30 minutes and learns lots of different motions. They teach moving forward and backward, spinning, getting up etc.

In case you don’t want to pay for the lessons, you can still introduce your kid to skating. One option is to try moving around the rink while holding on to the railing. This is a little tricky when there are a lot of people at the rink. Another option is to rent a penguin for $10. These are very helpful for kids. They can hold on to them and keep their balance. The penguins are way too small for adults, so you should only be getting them for your kids.

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