Sketched Dec. 6, 2019

Winter does not officially start until next weekend, but the seasonal rinks at Seattle Center and Bellevue Downtown Park are already open for icy fun.

During my recent visit, Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion was aptly decked out for the holidays. An artfully rendered “Winterfest” sign welcomed skaters onto the ice, and strings of lights covering the ceiling gave off starry-night vibes. A rollicking group of about 80 middle schoolers arrived and dominated the 90-foot rink. It seemed like the harder they fell, the harder they laughed! (Insider tip: The rink stays open for an hour after ticket sales stop at the official closing time. Rink manager Piper Hanson said that’s when people like to bring a date for a more leisurely skate. So if you want to skate among a sparser crowd, come out later.)

In Bellevue, huge banners with corporate logos hung above the fully sheltered, 150-foot rink. If there were any carols playing, I didn’t even register them. Let’s say it just didn’t feel as Christmas-y.

Nitpicking aside, skaters seemed to be having a blast at both locations. That makes me think Seattle might be more than ready for its own Rockefeller Center-style outdoor rink. Maybe around historical Pioneer Square, or near the renovated downtown waterfront?

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Seattle Center’s Winterfest Rink: Fisher Pavilion, 305 Harrison St., Seattle. General admission: $8 for adults ($6 for children ages 6-12, $2 for children ages 5 and under). Includes skate rental. Through Jan. 5. Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. More info at seattlecenter.com or call 206-684-7200.

Bellevue Downtown Park Rink:  10201 N.E. Fourth St., Bellevue. General admission, weekdays: $12 for adults ($10 for children 11 and under). Weekends: $15 for adults, $13 for children. Includes skate rental. Through Jan. 20. Hours vary. Check bellevueicerink.com for more information or call 425-452-6885.