Located in downtown St. Paul is Rice Park. And at the triangular portion of Rice Park, the Landmark Plaza, is a small outdoor skating rink, run by Wells Fargo. Now it might be strange to have a skating rink that is run by a giant bank, but just across the street from the park is the Wells Fargo building.
The rink is free and if you have your a Wells Fargo debit card you also get a free skate rental. We were in Minnesota for the Christmas holiday and unfortunately had left our skates at home in Utah, but fortunately we had our debit cards with us so we got free skate rentals as well. I dislike paying for skates when I own my own, so I was glad about that. We were skating with Meagan’s two brothers and her little sister. Everyone was able to get skates at no cost because we had enough cards between us. If you do not have a Wells Fargo card skate rental will cost you $4.
The skates were not the best, but that was to be expected. I love skating, skating of all kinds, but none of us are particularly skilled at ice skating, so we normally use hockey skates. One of Meagan’s brothers was given figure skates though, so be aware that their skate stock is limited. Figure skates can be more difficult to use because they have less ankle support and the toe picks can catch.
You pick up rental skates in the warming hut. The hut has rows of benches for you to sit on to put on your skates and it is considerably warmer than the outside, but it gets pretty crowded pretty fast from what I saw. Of course I don’t got to a skating rink to sit inside a warming hut so I didn’t see too much of it.
The rink is small but as it was quite cold and snowing, it was not overly crowded. The fact that it was snowing didn’t bother us; it was not very wet snow. The ice was rough and I take it they do not zamboni it regularly. Despite being rough it did not give us too much trouble and was still enjoyable.
|Meagan and me at the rink.|
Part of the charm of this rink was that it is overlooked by a the Landmark Center, a building that looks a little bit like Hogwarts. This building gives it a nice feel even though it is smack in the middle of the city.
|Yellow Van on the rink’s boards in front of Landmark Center|
Rice Park is also home to a number of statues of Peanuts characters which were fun to see.
|Yellow Van with with Lucy and Schroder|
|Yellow Van with Charlie Brown and Snoopy|
St. Paul is a large city, so traffic and parking issues should always be allowed for. That being said after circling for a few minutes we were able to find metered parking on the street without too much difficulty. Getting in and out of the spot was a little tight but it all worked out fine.
If you can go for free because you have your own skates or a Wells Fargo card, it is a nice little skating rink and fun to do. Particularly if you are in downtown St. Paul for some other reason.
Ice Skating at Rice Park will be open this year (2016), until February 7th. To learn more visit this link