Annual outdoor holiday ice rink returns to San Francisco Union Square

J.R. Stone Image
Thursday, November 2, 2023
Annual outdoor holiday ice rink returns to SF Union Square
The holiday ice skating rink is now open in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The holiday ice skating rink is now open in San Francisco.

San Francisco's only outdoor ice rink opened on Wednesday, just a day after Halloween. In past years we've seen the rink near the Ferry Building and SF City Hall but this year the rink will again be solely located in Union Square.

"Yesterday there were cobwebs in the windows of Macy's. Today there's Christmas trees," said Robert Keith who is operations manager for Willy Bietak Productions.

"Is it Christmas time already?" we asked Claudia Nodal.

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"It's after Halloween. it's time to start playing the Mariah Carey song, yes," Nodal said.

The annual Union Square holiday ice rink is open and the kids seem pretty serious about showing off their skills.

"What are you doing out there?" we asked a young Walden McNeil, who responded by saying, "Ice skating!"

Yes, Walden is all business when it comes to San Francisco's only outdoor ice skating rink.

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"It's hard. I use the side. It didn't hurt, but I did fall down," said Walden.

Organizers say the opening of the rink, which featured figure skater Angela Wang and those from the San Francisco Ice Theatre, signaled the start of the holiday shopping season.

"The stores like it because thousands and thousands of people will come here in the next 12 weeks -- thousands upon thousands," Keith said.

The perfect excuse for Claudia and Kiana to enjoy now before the crowds get larger.

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"It's my first time ice skating!" said Kiana Hernandez.

"And you're still standing?" we asked.

"Yeah, I'm still standing having fun!" Kiana said.

"I'm holding her hand. I recommend holding onto the rail. Also, we have helpers -- skate helpers," Nodal said.

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If you do want to come out and ice skate at Union Square, you do have to reserve your spot. There are only a few exceptions to that. Those involve certain days near Christmas, where there will be early ice times, allowing for more ice sessions. You can book a session here.

You can also enter a lottery for a free ice skating lesson. November's lottery is already closed but December and January are open.

You can also check here for events at the rink, including 'Simba Saturdays' presented by Disney's 'The Lion King.'

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