I’ve recently had my mind on ice skating (in fact, just this morning I posted at Pop Discourse about the lack of buzz over the impending national figure skating championships), and similarly, Laurel has been asking to hit the ice. Fortunately, my talented friend Melissa Massello (founder of the excellent budget lifestyle resource Shoestring Magazine) stepped right up with advice on local, affordable rink time. Thanks, Melissa!
“Growing up in the Boston area, and through my undergrad years at UNH, I was a competitive singles and synchronized figure skater, so whenever New Year's resolutions to get back in shape inevitably roll around, I always head to the rink (my preferred physical torture of choice).
As an adult, however, I'm hesitant to spend the ridiculous prime time ice fees that I spent (or, racked up for my poor mom) in my youth, which can range anywhere from $12 to $30 per 45 minutes of "freestyle" time, which allows for a limited number of people on the ice - usually less than 20 - compared to public skating, where they'll allow up to 100 people on the ice at a time.
Luckily, after college I began volunteering as a coach for group skating lessons at the chain of Massachusetts ice skating rinks owned by the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation, so when I need a freestyle or fitness fix, I know exactly where to find the bargains while avoiding the crowds. In addition to rinks all across Massachusetts, there are many spanning the city and immediate suburbs that offer weekday open ice or public skating for an hour, and the rinks offering time between 9 to 5 - while most people are at work - are great for serious skaters or moms with young kids who might cringe at big crowds. My favorite rink of all is the Steriti Rink on Commercial Street in the North End.
Monday through Friday until March, they offer open ice time from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., never with more than a dozen people. It costs $3 per person for the hour (when they remember to collect money, that is), the ice is in great shape, and the Steriti rink has the most beautiful views of the Charlestown and Zakim bridges, the Navy Yard and its slew of sailboats, and Boston Harbor. Plus, the Steriti Rink also has indoor bocce ball courts, so you can see all the smiling old men from the neighborhood playing bocce (or petanque, for the French) each time you circle that end of the rink. For a low-cost date night with the hubby, you can also join the crowds on Friday nights from 6:30 to 7:30 for the same price, then hit up one of the North End's famous pizza joints, like Pizzeria Regina or Nebo, both of which are only three blocks away, or head to the Frog Pond on Boston Common, also owned by the DCR, if you're willing to brace for the weather.”