Outdoor ice skating in the Capital Region

Washington Park Lake - Frozen.JPG

Al fresco skating: Get it while it's cold!

Owen emailed recently:

I think a post on all the places in the region to ice skate would be a good idea.

We agree -- it is a good idea. So we put together a list.

It turns out there a bunch of places in the Capital Region that you can skate outside (alas, still no skating at the ESP). If you've got other suggestions, pass them along...

Albany

Swinburne Ice Rink
Swinburne Park
Clinton and Manning Avenue (map)
It's covered by a pavilion, but pretty much open air.
$1 for adults, .50 cents for kids). You can rent skates anytime for $2.
Monday through Thursday 3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.
Friday 3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 10:00 P.M.
Saturday 12:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 10:00 P.M
Sunday 12:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.

Buckingham Pond (map)
The city periodically checks the ice on Buckingham Pond to see if it's safe to skate. As long as there is no sign prohibiting it, you're welcome to do some figure 8s or get together a pick-up hockey game. (And if you'd like to shovel -- you'll win points in the neighborhood.) There are only one or two lights, so skating after dark can be an adventure.

Washington Park Lake
Washington Park, behind the Lake House (map)
The person we talked at DGS today said the city clears a section of the lake at Washington Park and checks the ice to make sure it's safe for skating. As long as you don't see a sign prohibiting skating, go for it. There are lights on the pond but we checked with the city and skating is only allowed until sundown.

Colonie

The Crossings Pond
580 Albany Shaker Road
Colonie (map)
Hours vary at the crossings pond. It usually opens for skating at noon and closes between 5 and 8. Leave your hockey sticks home though, this pond is for skating only. To be sure, you may want to call 438-5587 before you go.

Cohoes

Van Schaick Pond
Van Schaick Avenue, Cohoes (map)
The RPI hockey team practiced here for fun earlier this winter. As with a lot of these places, it's skate at your own risk.

Grafton

Long Pond at Grafton
Grafton Lakes State Park (map)
Long Pond in Grafton Lakes State Park is open for skating from 8AM until 5PM every day. The pond gets cleared every Friday, so if it snows during the week, you may be out of luck.

Schenectady

Iroquois Lake
Schenectady Central Park (map)
Prison inmates clear the lake of snow and the city checks it to see if the ice is safe. There are lights that stay on until after 11PM daily. Skating is free but check the flag pole in front of the park's admin building: green flag means ice is safe, red means stay off. There are benches near the ice but no bathrooms, nor warming hut.

Saratoga

Spa State Park (map)
Saratoga Spa State Park has two outdoor rinks. The one just off the Avenue of Pines is usually used for hockey. It has a warming hut and lights. We checked with park officials and apparently there's no official closing time for this rink... so you can skate or play hockey until the lights go off at no charge. The other rink is smaller and there's no hockey allowed. It's further in the park, near the Victoria Pool. No lights here, but you can skate for free all day.

Comments

Elm Avenue Park, Bethlehem. Outdoor rink with nice warming hut. Free. http://www.townofbethlehem.org/pages/parks/parkElm.asp (bottom of page)

East Greenbush, for the first time in years, has been maintaining a rink on Hampton Manor Lake. In fact they were out clearing the snow just a little while ago.

Do they not offer free skating at the plaza anymore? I used to love going there a few years back.

@AJP: The ESP skating rink fell victim of state budget cuts.

Thanks!

Is Swineburne park the only locations where you can rent skates?

There's also free skating at the Schodack Island State Park on 9J in Castleton. Weekdays from 10-4 and Fridays from 10-8.

There is skating at the YMCA in Bethlehem. During the week open skate is usually in the middle of the day, but on the weekends there is skating in the afternoons.

The schedule is on their website along with pricing and they have rentals.

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