Where to find the 5 best ice rinks in Moscow and St. Petersburg
1. Gorky Park
Gorky park. Source: RIA Novosti
One of Europe's largest artificial ice rinks, every year, it has a new theme and slogan.
This year, the #katoknapyat rink (#катокнапять, or “A-grade skating rink”) appeared in Gorky Park with the short but upbeat slogan of “Imagine!&rdquo
The rink, which covers an area of 18,000 sq. m has become a fantasy land; its surface gleams with colorful patterns, while the basin of the fountain holds an installation consisting of 400 light boxes. This is how visual design turns ordinary skating into an art performance.
Traditionally, skating tracks pass through the park’s Central Square and along the adjacent paths.
This year, a new track has appeared – near the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, which is located in the park. A food court offering Georgian dishes and Mediterranean cuisine is located nearby. There is also a figure skating school, featuring the "First Time on the Ice” course.
Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; lunch break – 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Tickets: adults – 200-300 rubles ($2.8-4.25) (Tues.-Thurs.), 200-500 (Fri.), 300-500 (weekends and holidays); children 3-12 – 150 rubles, (children 6-14 – 150-200 rubles, Tues.-Thurs.), (children 6-14 – 200-250 rubles, Fri., weekends and holidays). Rental: ice skates – free (deposit – 1,000 rubles)
VDNKh rink is the biggest in Russia. Source: Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
The VDNKh rink has made it into Russia's Book of Records for the second year in a row. Not only is it the largest in the city, but also apparently in the entire world. In shape, the rink resembles a giant key.
Up to 4,500 people can skate there at the same time, and 20,000 can enter the ice every day. In addition to the mandatory hockey box and children's playground, there is also the "Lovers' Path" and the "Air Bridge" – the perfect place for selfies. Every day, at 5 p.m., the rink turns into a giant media screen which shows various scenes until midnight.
Tues.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-11 p.m., lunch break – 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets: adults – 350-450 rubles ($5-6.4) (Tues.-Thurs.), 450-550 (Fri., weekends and holidays); children – 150-200 rubles (Tues.-Thurs.), 200-250 (Fri., weekends and holidays).
Ice skates, protective gear – free (deposit – 1,000 rubles)
3. Sokolniki Park
People rest in Sokolniki Park, Moscow. Source: Evgenyi Samarin/RIA Novosti
The capital's first musical rink is located in the park's Festival Square. If you are interested in dancing, especially on ice – this is the place for you: The rink's main decoration is a huge spinning disco ball.
On weekends, dance parties are held here and even the rental points turn into music boxes – with backlit, vinyl records and groovy tunes.
Daily, 10 a.m.-midnight
Price: Tickets: adults – 250 rubles ($2.8) (weekdays), 350 (Fri., weekends and holidays); children over 7 – 150 rubles (weekdays), 350 rubles (Fri., weekends and holidays), 3-6-year-olds – free.
Ice skates – 200 rubles for 2 hours (deposit – 2,000 rubles, or 500 rubles + I.D.)
4. GUM Skating Rink
Children skate at the opening of a skating rink in Red Square. Source: AP
The most popular rink with tourists is located right on Red Square. Here you can combine tourism with leisure by taking to the ice while admiring the Kremlin, the Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral. And at the same time you can pick up souvenirs at the nearby GUM Christmas fair.
In addition, Russian hockey star Lev Yashin is running training sessions in the rink this year. Traditionally, the first three run on weekdays and two on weekends, except for Christmas holidays, are free.
You can also welcome in the New Year in the rink; the festive session will begin at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 and will end at 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 1.
Daily, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tickets: adults – 400 rubles ($5.7) (weekdays), 500 (weekends and holidays); children – 200 (weekdays), 300 (weekends and holidays)
Ice skates – 150-300 rubles (deposit – 2,000 rubles), protective gear and helmet – free when renting skates.
5. Laplandia Park
Laplandia Park. Source: Press photo
Remember how Gerda was carried by a reindeer in Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen? To find yourself inside a fairy tale in St. Petersburg, all you have to do is make a trip out to Laplandia Park on Krestovsky Island.
In addition to a skating rink, the park hosts a reindeer farm, where visitors can feed its inhabitants with moss and have their photograph taken with them. You can also try your luck in the Ice Maze, and take a ride on a snow tube down the Ice Hill.
Daily, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, Saturday – from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tickets: adults – 400 rubles ($5.7), children – 300.
Ice skates – 300 rubles, children – 200.