Learn to skate, play hockey, learn about art: which skating rink to choose

Learn to skate, play hockey, learn about art: which skating rink to choose
Graffiti or avant-garde? Rock music or Venetian romance? Team games or shows? Moscow skating rinks have programmes to suit any taste. Those who don't feel like going to a park will be able to skate locally, as every courtyard should have a skating rink.

Moscow is entering a new ice season: skating rinks in Gorky Park and VDNKh are already open, and the other ice rinks opened officially on 26 November. The new season began with festive shows and performances by athletes, as well as concerts, hockey matches and figure skating workshops. Moscow will have a total of 1,445 skating rinks by winter, including 187 with artificial ice.

All the information about hours of operation, busy times and technical breaks will be available at the City Window online broadcasting service.

Three CCTV cameras broadcast the skating rink in Gorky Park, and two show the one at VDNKh. One camera each will stream feeds of the ice rinks in Tagansky and Goncharovsky parks.

Gorky Park

The ice rink in Gorky Park  was one of the first to open, back on 17 November. Its main theme is street art, from stickers and stencils to mural paintings and graphics. Artists have also decorated the skate rental pavilions and counters with impressive installations.

Apart from graffiti, artists apply popular drawings: stickers that will cover the interior of the rental pavilions. The drawings will even decorate the surface under the 3,500 sq m ice rink.


A frozen eight-metre fountain has been placed in the centre of the street art skating rink. It is iridescent in various colours day and night, and looks like a real fountain. The ice itself glows and is illuminated in the evening with 33,000 LED lamps. The alleyway near the Garage Modern Art Museum has been turned into a 60-metre light tunnel of shimmering arches.

Every Thursday night, discos will be organised at the skating rink, with the DJ set in the middle of the ice. On weekends, instructors will hold warmup exercises and training for all visitors. Snacks and hot tea will be served at the food court, where people can keep their skates on.

The 18,000 sq m skating rink in Gorky Park is one of Europe’s largest artificial ice arenas, which can accommodate up to 4,000 skaters at a time. Skates can be rented at any of the five pavilions; the fifth one is for those who brought their own skates or want to pay with the Troika card. This year, there will be no deposit for rented skates. The timetable  and the rates are available on the park’s website.

Northern lights magic at VDNKh

Light trees, illuminated Christmas trees and light animal figures have turned the skating rink at the nation’s main exhibition centre into a fairy forest. A six-metre composition shines in all the colours of the northern lights. A spiral Christmas tree with a snow owl and the inscription “2017 – the Year of Ecology” has popped up next to the People’s Friendship fountain. Behind it, a Northern Lights bridge runs over the skating rink, and the Magical Forest installation decorates the centre of the ice rink.

Dancing workshops will be organised here on Fridays, and team games along with competitions, active contests and quests will take place on Saturdays, followed by morning skating exercises on Sundays. The most interesting programmes have been prepared for New Year and Christmas, Student Day, St Valentine’s Day and the Defender of the Fatherland Day. Enticing and memorable shows, interactive and sporting events, contests and prizes, as well as meetings with celebrities, will take place on these special occasions.

The skating rink will be open until the end of the winter season, 5 March 2017. The ice covers an area of over 20,000 sq m, and 67,300 sq m with the entire infrastructure. The VDNKh skating rink can accommodate 4,500 people at once.

There is a separate children’s skating rink with a café and a baby changing room. On weekends, cartoon characters are there to help the youngest skaters take their first steps on ice and entertain them with various contests. A figure skating school for children aged 4–12 will also be operating here.

Both adults and children will have the opportunity to take a paid lesson, “First Steps on Ice.” There is no deposit for renting skates this year, only the rental fee needs to be paid. Skates can also be sharpened for an extra charge. The opening hours and fees are available on the website.

Rock on ice in Sokolniki

The Lyod (ice) skating rink will open today at 7 p.m. with figure skating celebrities, Olympic champions Maksim Shabalin and Oksana Domnina, a gig by Hindi-rock band On-The-Go and DJ sets by Dj Nejtrino. Music and dance will be the theme of the season here: the ice rink will be turned into a rock arena decorated with a two-metre tall guitar. Theme parties at Lyod, including Elvis Presley Day, Nirvana Day and others, will “rock” the park throughout the winter.

Lyod covers an area of 5,300 sq m. Part of its surface has special lines for those learning to dance rock-n-roll. Six projectors will add colour to the ice and people’s clothing. On weekends, entertainers and musical bands will entertain skaters.

Children over four and adults can learn to stand on skates, keep their balance, glide and regroup during falls. The timetable and fees are available on the website.

Venetian fairy-tale in the Hermitage Garden

The skating rink in the Hermitage Garden promises to become the most romantic site. On the opening day, 26 November, it will host a Venetian mini-carnival with gondolas, masks and Italian-style entertainment. The Cinderella performance of the Ice Miniatures Theatre will be the pinnacle of the season. It will feature acrobatic elements and original choreography, starring Olympic champions Natalia Bestemyanova and Andrei Bukin, as well as renowned Russian coach Igor Bobrin.

As usual, the garden will have two skating rinks: one artificial and one of natural ice. The artificial rink will have an area of 900 sq. m., while the natural one will be 4,000 sq. m. large. The territory will be fenced off with passageways, alleys, beautiful trees, street lamps all along the perimeter and vintage benches.

The opening times and fees are available on the park’s website.

Avant-garde in Red Square

The GUM-skating rink and fair will open in the main square of the capital city on 29 November and will run until 28 February. This year, they will be decorated in an avant-garde style. Chalets will be painted in the style of Wassily Kandinsky and Marc Chagall. Christmas baubles, felt boots and knitted mittens, matryoshka dolls and jewelry boxes as well as Orenburg and Pavlov Posad headscarves will be on sale at the fair.

Lovers of Russian cuisine will enjoy pancakes with caviar and pies, tea, mead and sbiten (tea with honey and spices). European Christmas will be represented by mulled wine, Vienna waffles and roasted chestnuts. On weekends, world hockey champion Alexei Yashin will hold free workshops. Click here to book a session.

Ice rinks in other parks

Forty-five skating rinks will open in 30 parks: 24 artificial and 21 natural ice rinks. In total, this equals 107,000 sq. m. of ice. Natural skating rinks will open as soon as subzero temperatures set in. The largest ice skating area will be in the Sokolniki alleyways, totalling 7.4 sq. m.

All the skating rinks will offer skate rental and skate sharpening services, and include changing rooms and heated cafes. They will also have 12 figure skating schools (four of them free) and seven hockey schools (five of them free). Free ice skating will be available at 18 skating rinks in parks (12 with artificial and six with natural ice).

The venues with artificial ice celebrate the start of the new season today, 26 November. Tagansky Park invites visitors to take part in free figure skating and hockey lessons, and Krasnaya Presnya offers exercises with Olympic champions, an ice show and figure skating workshops. A cover-band and a DJ will also perform here.

The Izmailovsky Park entertainment programme features such bands as Nebo Popolam,Villa Grinch and Braska, DASviDos, Dzhete (jeter) and Porto Moris. The programme also features a dance and light show of the Svetlitsa theatre. The Bauman Garden DJ set will also feature competitions with prizes and workshops in extreme photography. Vorontsovsky, Babushkinsky, Lianozovsky, Filyovsky, 50-letiya Ortyabrya and 850-letiya Moskvy parks will host ice shows. The Artyom Borovik Park will have short-track and hockey demonstrations. In Goncharovsky Park, figure skater Anastasia Grebyonkina will hold an ice-skating workshop, while Vorontsovsky Park will offer a Sneg (snow) light show.

Skating-rinks in courtyards

District councils have been made responsible for skating rinks in courtyards, which they are supposed to prepare every winter. The quality of the ice must be safe for adults and children to skate on. If an ice rink has not been prepared correctly or has been frozen improperly, residents should file complaints with a respective District Council.

District Council details can be found here. They are accountable to the Association of Administrative and Technical Inspection Offices of Moscow: tel. +7 (499) 264-96-81.