Zurich has so many fun ice skating options, including permanent sport rinks, temporary seasonal rinks, and even frozen lakes if it gets cold enough. My kids love spending their winter evenings chasing friends around the rink, stopping occasionally for hot chocolate and candy. Here’s the low down on the best options for kids in Zurich.
First, a few of our favorite places to skate. Then below that some general info about ice skating in Switzerland: rentals, facilities, lessons, etc. See also a full list of ice skating rinks in the Zurich area.
This enormous ice rink is our favorite in Zurich. They always have music playing and during most of the season, there is a big Christmas tree in the middle of the rink. At night, they light up the rink with shooting stars and colored lights. It’s surrounded by forest, so you feel far from the city even though it only a few minutes up the hill. There are three rinks, one for the public, one for lessons, and one for hockey. This means the different interests don’t have to share rinks and everyone has plenty of room to skate.
The rink is generally open from beginning of October to end of February. Opening times are from 9:00 to 22:30, Sundays 9:00 to 17:45. Sometimes the rink is closed to the public on Wednesday evenings from 17:45 to 19:15 for training. Address: Adlisbergstrasse 36, 8044 Zürich
Zurich City has two other sport ice rinks, Oerlikon and Heuried. However, Heuried is closed for renovation until fall 2017 and during this time, Oerlikon is only open to sport teams not the public. See Zurich city website for details.
Bellevue Christmas Market
This ice rink is part of the Bellevue Christmas Market, a lovely setting right in front of the Zurich Opera house. The rink is only up from mid November through mid December, the Christmas market is running, so don’t delay. They rent skates, toddler skates, and ice walkers. The rink is generally open from 9:00 till the market closes. Location: Sechseläutenplatz, next to the Zurich Opera House. There is a parking garage directly under the plaza.
I love the post from Mom In Zurich about ice skating at this rink. Check it out for more pics and tips.
photo from http://wienachtsdorf.ch
This ice rink clearly has the best view. You can see the whole city from up here and even the distant alps on a clear day. This temporary rink is open from mid November to mid December. Use of the rink is free, you only need to pay to rent skates. Skate rental is limited to 2 hours. Ice walkers are also available to rent.
This lake near Zurich doesn’t freeze over often, but when it does, it’s a huge party! We’ve seen it freeze over twice since 2005. When it does freeze, local authorities check the ice depth and quality to ensure public safety. Mostly people walk around on the ice, pulling kids on sleds. The have machines that clear a track around the lake for skating and walking, but the ice is still a little rough. That makes skating a little trickier but also more fun. Located in Hausen am Albis southwest of Zurich. See my Frozen Türlersee post for more details.
Swiss National Museum – “Live on Ice”
In the courtyard behind the Swiss National Museum (across the Hauptbahnhof), you’ll find a little ice rink hosted by “Live on Ice” surrounded by cosy bars and cafes. It runs from the end of November to beginning of January. The rink is free to use, you just pay for rentals which are limited to 2 hours. The rink is very small and crowded. It’s more of a novelty than a real skating experience. Probably best for small children. It’s generally open every afternoon, longer on weekends. After a construction break, this ice rink will be back in 2016. Location: Museumstrasse 2, 8001 Zürich
In 2015, Europalle also hosted a seasonal ice rink at Gustav-Gull-Platz. We’ll see if they do it again this year.
This ice rink boasts a roof, so you can skate in the rain. It’s open on the sides, so it can get cold and windy. But you won’t be wet. It also has chair-style ice walkers so you can push toddlers around. It’s a smaller rink, with part of it cordoned off for classes and hockey. See website for details.
Weihermattstrasse 60, 8902 Urdorf
Mo-Fr 12:00 to 16:30, Friday also 19:30 to 21:00
Sa 10:30-16:30, Su 12:30-16:30
Equipment & Rentals
All rinks, even temporary ones, offer skate rentals for both children and adults. Many rinks also provide helmets free of charge. You’ll need to leave an ID with the desk as a deposit.
Most rinks offer toddler skate attachments, which are sometimes called Rutscherli, shown below. This two blade skate simply buckles over a normal shoe. I find it best to have the child wear warm winter boots that have some ankle support. But the shoe cannot be too bulky or the straps won’t buckle. The child won’t be able to skate very well with these, but they can stomp around on the ice.
Most rinks rent “ice walkers”, aka “Rutschhilfe,” for children and beginners. The skater simply holds the handles for support and pushes the ice walker around on the ice. Most rinks have a penguin or polar bear version as shown below.
The ice walkers can be quite heavy, so many have a rope attached so an adult can pull the child, which I used most of the time with my kids.
Some rinks rent a chair version, which is very helpful for small children that tire quickly or even for toddlers that aren’t skating at all and just want a ride.
Note: remember the number of your ice walker. If you leave it unattended, it will likely be swiped by another skater. Just skate over to that kid and tell them your number and they usually give it right back without complaint.
Skating Terms in German
- ice rink = Eisbahn, Eislaufbahn or Kunsteisbahn
- figureskating = Eiskunstlaufen
- I would like to rent ice skates. = Ich möchte Schlittschuhe mieten.
- We are going ice skating. = Wir gehen schlittschuhlaufen.
- locker = das Schliessfach
Most sport rinks have lockers. Some are coin operated, but sometimes you need to bring your own lock, like at the Dolder. The temporary rinks, like at Bellevue and ETH, usually do not have lockers.
Most rinks have an adjacent cafe where you can get snacks and drinks, sometimes simple meals. Most rinks allow picnic food, but only in designated areas.
All city skate rinks have offer lessons and host skating clubs. Best to book way in advance.
Zurich Sportamt (city sport department) also offers weekly ice skating lessons from October through March as very affordable prices. See website for current offers.