Winter has arrived and one of the best things to do in Ontario in the winter is to get outdoors and go skating.
And whether you’re a beginner or experienced skater, or just looking for some winter fun, there are plenty of great places to go outdoor skating in Hamilton.
We’ve rounded up some of the best outdoor rinks in Hamilton, including city-maintained outdoor rinks, community rinks, as well as other public rinks and of course, some of the prettiest natural ice surfaces in the region!
Just remember that outdoor ice rinks, including city-maintained ones, are weather dependent and if the temperature remains above zero for a few days, the rinks may have to temporarily close.
Best Outdoor Skating in Hamilton
On the map below are the best spots to go outdoor skating in Hamilton.
Light blue spots are city-maintained rinks, dark blue are community rinks and green spots are the conservation areas and natural ice surfaces, like Princess Point.
Click on the map to zoom in to see specific locations.
Outdoor Skating in Hamilton: City Rinks
Rinks maintained by the city are open daily from mid-December until the end of February or early March, depending on the weather. Staff are on site patrolling and maintaining the ice until 10pm, lights will be shut off at 11pm.
If the rinks are required to close due to weather, signs will be posted online, as well as at the park.
The following outdoor skating rinks in Hamilton are maintained regularly by a Zamboni, meaning that the ice is fairly smooth and consistent, perfect for family skating.
In downtown Hamilton across from Tim Hortons’ field, this is a small but great spot to skate.
There’s music playing and the ice pad has a couple of islands to skate around, making for fun day or evening out.
Parking is available at the Rec Centre next door and washrooms are available inside the Rec Centre during opening hours.
Dundas Driving Park
Located in the heart of Dundas, this outdoor skating rink is a favourite with families. There’s plenty of parking and also a concession stand, perfect for a snack break after skating.
Waterdown Memorial Park
Another great spot for outdoor skating in Hamilton is at Waterdown Memorial Park.
The 230m loop is climate controlled, so it’s open even on milder days when other outdoor rinks in Hamilton may be closed.
Washrooms are on site and there is an indoor area to change skates.
Freelton Community Park
Located just off Hwy 6, the ice rink at Freelton Community Park is a good option for those living outside the city centre.
The outdoor ice rink is also refrigerated, which means that it’s able to open earlier than other community rinks, and to stay open if there are milder days.
There’s also a concession stand and indoor skate change area.
Community Skating Rinks in Hamilton
In addition to the city maintained skating rinks, there are also some great community rinks that offer opportunities for outdoor skating in Hamilton.
These community rinks are maintained by volunteers from the local neighbourhood who dedicate their time to keep rinks open for everyone to use.
They aren’t maintained with a Zamboni, so the ice will not be as smooth as indoor skating arenas or the outdoor rinks that are maintained by the City of Hamilton, so there may be bumps, soft spots or other imperfections in the ice.
However these rinks are often less busy, making it perfect for families and for those learning to skate, but there is no skate or equipment rentals available at community rinks.
As with city maintained rinks, the community rinks are weather-dependent and may be closed due to warm weather. They are open daily; lights shut off at 11pm.
There are currently around 25 community rinks open in Hamilton, although many more are still looking for volunteers to be able to open.
Located in the city centre, the Gage Park ice skating rink is one of the most popular community rinks in Hamilton.
Located at the base of the escarpment in Gage Park by Lawrence Road, this outdoor rink is set over a baseball diamond and the player benches are convenient for putting skates on and off.
It’s smaller than some of the other outdoor skating rinks in Hamilton, but it’s perfect for families.
And as a community rink, there are no skate or helmet rentals available.
Other great community rinks to try are Victoria Park near Dundurn St, or Bruce Park and Templemead Park on the mountain.
Other Great Spots for Outdoor Skating in Hamilton
The Hamilton Waterfront Rink is a popular spot year-round, offering roller skating in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
Next to the Williams Pub on the Hamilton Harbour, the outdoor skating rink at Pier 8 has skate and helmet rentals, or you can bring your own.
And when you’re done skating, head inside to Williams for a hot drink to warm you up!
Open daily, weather depending of course, from 10am to 10pm.
Information on skate rental pricing and current weather conditions can be found here.
For a classic Canadian winter experience, head to Princess Point. It usually freezes over by the end of January and is perfect for outdoor skating in Hamilton.
As this is a natural spot to skate, it’s not maintained. Many people bring their own shovel and clear a spot to skate, but chances are (unless there’s fresh snow) you can head down and find a spot that’s already cleared.
Or don’t worry about clearing a spot and just skate anywhere!
My guys love to start skating on a clear patch, then take off across the ice and skate to the other side through the snow. This only works if there is a light covering of snow on the ice, but it makes for a fun experience!
You won’t find any skate rentals here, so make sure you bring your own skates!
Pro Tip: Bring a milk crate or a small folding chair to sit on while you put your skates on and off.
Outdoor Skating at Hamilton Conservation Areas
There is an entrance fee to the Hamilton Conservation Areas, but the two that we’ve listed below offer outdoor skating when weather conditions allow. Information on entrance fees can be found here.
Valens is actually a lake in the summer and when it freezes over in the winter, skating is possible.
Unfortunately, the ice skating trail loop is no longer available, but skating is still possible on the reservoir.
As it is a frozen pond, be sure to check ice conditions first to ensure it’s safe! Signs will be posted or you can check the ice status here.
Valens is part of the Hamilton Conservation Authority, and while there is an entrance fee, there is plenty to do there in the winter.
Besides outdoor skating, there are trails to snowshoe or ski on, and winter camping is also possible!
Fifty Point, towards the Niagara end of the Hamilton region, also offers ice skating in the winter.
As with Valens, skating at Fifty Point is only possible once the ice has frozen and is safe to go on. Check ice conditions before going!
Skate and helmet rentals are not available here, so be sure to bring your own.
Outdoor Rinks Near Hamilton
Spencer Smith Park
The Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond at Spencer Smith Park is popular year-round.
In the spring, summer and fall it is a reflective pond and in winter, it becomes a popular outdoor skating rink in Burlington.
Free skating is available daily from 10am to 10pm. Skate rentals are available Friday evenings, and all day Saturday and Sunday, as well as during school breaks.
Grimsby’s Outdoor Rink, known as the “Frieze Box”, is another great year-round skating rink.
Located at the Peach King Centre, it offers ice skating in winter and is open for lacrosse, ball hockey and other activities.
Unlike some of the other outdoor rinks in Hamilton, Grimsby’s Outdoor Rink has a set schedule.
There are specific time slots for public skating where no sticks or hockey is permitted, as well as open skate and shinny. Private rentals are also available.
The online schedule can be found here.
Indoor Places to Go Ice Skating in Hamilton
If the weather isn’t cooperating for the maintenance of outdoor rinks, or you just prefer to skate indoors, there are also some great places to go indoor ice skating in Hamilton.
Keep in mind, there will usually be a fee for admission, althought there are some free public skates at various city arenas.
Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena
Located near Upper James, the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena is a great spot for indoor skating. With two arenas, there are plenty of times for public skating.
The figure skating arena has a section with no boards, which makes it easy for kids to get on and off the ice, or is a great spot for kids to sit and rest, while still being able to see the skaters on the ice.
Inch Park Arena and Bill Friday Lawfield Arena are other good options on the Hamilton Mountain, while Stoney Creek Arena and Valley Park Arena are great options in Stoney Creek. There’s also Rosedale Arena and Pat Quinn Parkdale Arena in the east end and Coronation Arena in the west end of the city.
A full list of arenas offering public skating in Hamilton, as well as the times for drop-in skating, can be found on the City’s recreation website.
Conclusion: Outdoor Skating in Hamilton
Hamilton is home to some great outdoor skating rinks, both maintained and natural.
Whether you’re looking for a classic Canadian experience on a pond or something more modern at one of the city-maintained rinks, there’s sure to be something that meets your needs!
Be sure to check ice conditions before going and enjoy!