An Afternoon at the Midtown Ice Skating Rink
By Becky Warren
My 12-year old niece, Jada, was spending the weekend with me and I had no idea what activities “tweens” find cool and acceptable. So I mentioned the Midtown Outdoor Ice Skating Rink and she was all over it – she loves ice skating and she’s good at it. So far, so good…I did lose coolness points on the “tween-scale” on the way to the ice skating rink, as she was totally embarrassed with my singing loudly to the soundtrack of “Mama Mia” in the car – but once she saw the ice skating rink, all was forgiven.
Jada is great on the ice so my original plan was to watch her from the sidelines – that is a safe place to maintain my “cool aunt” status. However, she knows me too well and as we got up in line to purchase the tickets she said “You are going ice skating with me – right?” Well no, actually, I don’t really want to become a major spectacle, but after her insistence, I relented and put on some skates.
Good news for me is that I didn’t fall and I enjoyed much more than I thought I would.
The rink works well for very slow skaters like me or faster, experienced skaters like my niece. The lights are beautiful and they play some classic 80s and 90s music which is always a plus. Even for the timid, the rink is not too scary. There are also conveniently located benches on the rink’s edges to sit down and rest your ankles along the rink.
One tip – I recommend skating right after the zamboni machine cleans the ice. It really does make a huge difference. When we first went out there, the ice was choppy and in some places a little too watery. It’s much easier and more fun to skate when the ice is even and smooth.
So… check out the Midtown Ice Skating Rink – it’s a great location and makes for a nice afternoon.
- Located: 1050 20th Street, Sacramento (between J Street and K Street)
- Admission: $8 for adults; $5 for children (12 and under); $2 for skate rental
- Open Until January 18, 2010; 10 AM – 10 PM Daily
Children and tween-friendly restaurants that also have great grub and drinks for adults:
Peet’s Coffee & Tea: Warm up with a hot chocolate or mocha (they actually have both non-fat milk and sugar-free chocolate if you want a less caloric drink). Peet’s is located next to the rink and makes for great theater to watch the skaters slip, fall and spin around the ice.
Paesano’s: After skating, my niece and I walked over to Paesano’s for dinner. Its kid friendly and the thought of pizza and pasta are nice ways to warm you up. We had their delicious polenta fries with marinara and gorgonzola sauces — the fries are unique and delicious and are well complemented by their tangy and sweet sauces.
Original Pete’s: I always forget about this restaurant but its right across the street from the Ice Skating Rink and its warm and toasty inside. You can watch football while eating a barbecue chicken pizza (my favorite).
Jack’s Urban Eats: I love their build-your-own-salad but their roasted chicken, cheesy garlic bread and macaroni and cheese are always a mouth-watering temptation.
Zocalo Restaurant: Chips, salsa, bean dip – what more do you need? I admit that I order the same thing every time I’m at this restaurant – vegetarian tostadas. They are spicy, with good texture and a good crunch.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Know of any other great weekend, holiday-themed outings with kids or a hot date? Let us know at girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com