An outdoor ice rink in a city

Fun on ice—are you up for it?

Winter vacations over the holidays are a high point of the year for lots of us. We love getting together to enjoy good times and long-standing traditions. For some, it’s an exhausting season, for others a time to relax. What if we said “so long” to tradition this year and went looking for some cold-weather adventure? Get out caps, scarves, mittens, skates, and head to our many fine outdoor skating rinks to revel in winter and the holiday spirit!

Unexpected discoveries in the hearts of major cities

In many parts of the world, winter means the return of cold, slippery surfaces. The sounds of outdoor skaters can be heard in the hearts of large cities around the world, where rinks and warming huts are adorned with garlands and lights and the scent of pine and hot drinks wafts through the air, creating the festive mood we love this time of year. With their happy holiday spirit, ice rinks can be great places to meet up—they represent everything we like about traveling.

Skate in our own “back yard”…

When you think about ice skating close to home, Old Quebec naturally comes to mind, with its low-key atmosphere and brightly lighted windows that give it the look of a North Pole village. Nearby Place d’Youville beckons to skaters—and who can refuse! Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, boasts the world’s largest outdoor rink in the form of the Rideau Canal. Skaters can glide uninterrupted for almost 8 km along its wide, frozen expanse, with plenty of opportunities to stop for a rest or bracing refreshments served up by local merchants. Farther west, in the Rockies, Lake Louise awaits, a superb natural rink surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

   …and at bucket-list biggies

Our neighbors to the south are no slouches when it comes to great skating spots. Chicago’s celebrated Millennium Park is one example, where winter enthusiasts kick up their heels alongside cool contemporary sculpture. In the Big Apple, don your skates in Central Park and experience the city’s magic at its finest, amid a backdrop of skyscrapers. No holiday trip to New York is complete without a stop at Rockefeller Center, the pinnacle of urban enchantment where skaters twirl beneath the majestic tree towering above the ice. (If you go, be sure to pack some patience because you won’t be the only one in the crowd.)  

Or skate your way around the world—here’s how!

North America isn’t the only place to enjoy skimming over the ice. Outdoor rinks are found all throughout Europe, often in places where you can soak up the local history while gliding and spinning. Vienna, Budapest, Amsterdam, London, and Berlin all offer rinks to show off your skating skills!  

Plan ahead with Blue Cross travel insurance

Skating outdoors is a great way to enjoy winter, and there are a host of great places to indulge. Before you head on your skating adventure, be sure you have travel insurance. Once you cross the border, having insurance coverage for unanticipated surprises is a must—and this is true even when you visit another province. Medical expenses incurred outside your province of residence are not fully covered by the provincial health insurance plan. That’s why Blue Cross travel insurance is such a smart idea. You’ll be well prepared for the unexpected, able to fully enjoy your chances to skate at some of the world’s most memorable rinks.