PATRIARCHY POND - GORKY PARK - RED SQUARE - VDNH - HERMITAGE GARDEN - SOKOLNIKI
Moscow winters are perfect for ice skating. There are many ice skating rinks (or "katok's) in the city. Don't let the cold stop you, because even when it's cold, you can dress for it and the skating will keep you warm. Most places have a skate rental facility, so you don't need to have your own skates. It's a perfect way to enjoy the winter atmosphere and Russian culture. You'll be impressed by the skills of the Russians who take this sport very seriously. We like to try out new skating rinks with a group of friends every other week and combine it with a nice warm lunch afterwards. Even if you're not an experienced skater, now is the time to learn!
When the ice is thick enough they will prepare the pond for ice skating. Although this is definitely not the best quality "rink", it's one of our favorites in terms of atmosphere. We love to go here in the morning with some friends and enjoy the beautiful Patriarchy scenery. There is a small coffee stand and we like to combine it with a nice lunch in one of the many nearby restaurants. The access is for free but there is no skate rental here, so bring your own (very cheap at Sportsmaster)!
The ice rink at Gorky park has it all; great atmosphere, nice music, beautiful scenery, good size and food&drink stalls. What we really enjoye is the creative layout of the rink and the food stalls. Have a few beers on the rink and then go for dinner with your skates on in one of the attached restaurants that are completely transformed to "skate-proof dining". It can get really crowded here, so make sure you buy tickets online up front and if you can, try to avoid the peak times.
Open: Mon - Thu 10.00-15.00 &17.00-23.00, Fri - Sun 10.00-15.00 & 17.00-24.00
Red square lacks a bit of originality with its straightforward rink, but it's one you just have to "tick off" on your Moscow to do list. So go there, preferably early in the morning, skate a few rounds in your designated time slot and take your -must have- selfie on skates with the beautiful red square background. Check the time slots online, so you avoid waiting for cleaning or a next session.
Open: daily from 10.00- 23.30
The VDNH ice rink is the largest artificial skating rink of Europe with its 20.000m2. They also have a seperate childrens rink for young learners. For our taste it is a bit too much "Disney style", but if you like a bit of a spectacle you should check it out. It will be quite an experience with the colorful lights, the music, the fountain and the impressive VDNH architecture. Buy tickets online to avoid waiting. The English version of their website is not updated yet, so check the Russian site (with Google Chrome translate function) and note they have a break between 15.00-17.00.
Open: Tue-Fri 11.00-15.00 & 17.00-23.00 and weekends 10.00-15.00 & 15.00-23.00
Hermitage Garden has 2 ice rinks, one with natural ice and 1 with artificial ice. If you have young children we recommend you to go here as the park's facilities are perfect for children. On Sundays between 18.00-20.00 they will have "Ice ball parties" with music. And we always love the peaceful atmosphere in this downtown park.
Open: Mon. 14.00-23.00, Tue-Fri 12.00-23.00, weekends and holidays 10.00-23.00
Location: Karetniy ryad 3
We've never been to this skating rink ourselves, but if you live near Sokolniki park this is probably your best option. It's quite a large rink with its 5.300m2 of ice. They also offer shows on ice, so check their website for the schedule.
Open: daily from 10.00-24.00
Photo credits: Tournet, Marie-Claire, Gum, The Moscow Times, Sokolniki