Skaters at the Pasea on Ice at the Pasea Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, California.
(Courtesy of Pasea Hotel & Spa)
IRVINE, Calif.—They may not be as resplendent as New York’s Rink at Rockefeller Center, but ice skating rinks and winter festivals are bringing plenty of holiday cheer and family fun to Orange County, with many remaining open well into the New Year.
Bundle up and visit one of our top picks:
Winter Fest OC
is taking place at the OC Fair and Events Center on select dates now through Jan. 7. The festive winter wonderland boasts an outdoor ice-skating trail, ice-tubing slide, and a real snow play area with snowball throwing zones, sledding for tots, and a brightly lit snow carousel.
Adults can choose to sip on seasonal cocktails in a holiday lounge and peruse a holiday market for gifts by local artisans. For an enhanced experience, VIP cabanas and cozy igloos complete with fire pits for roasting s’mores are available.
Listed as one of the “12 Beautiful Ice Skating Rinks Around the World” by Forbes magazine, Pasea on Ice is being held at Pasea Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach now through Jan. 1.
With the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop, Pasea on Ice
is the only oceanfront ice rink where observers and skaters alike can come together to enjoy a variety of holiday food and beverage options, live entertainment, or reserve a rink-side fire pit complete with s’mores kits. While skates are included with admission, guests are welcome to bring their own ice skates.
Maintained by the world’s smallest custom Zamboni, more than 30,000 skaters take to the ice at the OC Chill Ice Rink
at the Irvine Spectrum Center. With plenty of shopping and restaurants surrounding the rink, the attraction has become so popular that the Spectrum now offers season passes.
Maybe it’s the romance of skating under the stars, but to date, at least a dozen couples have become engaged on the ice rink over the last 14 years.
Located in the Giant Wheel Court, OC Chill is being held now through Jan. 16, with extended evening ice rink hours through December.
Lighting of the Bay at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort.<br/>(Courtesy of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina)
The Newport Dunes’ inaugural Fire & Ice Festival
’s ice rink is only outscored by the stunning views of more than 50 floating holiday light displays in the bay.
Newport Beach resident Gina Schwichtenberg, who took her granddaughter to see the light display, told The Epoch Times she was pleasantly surprised to see the rink offering sturdy skate aids for kids of all ages in need of a little help balancing.
“It was all so festive with all the lights and music,” Ms. Schwichtenberg said. “We had so much fun watching the little ones with their ice walkers, you can’t help but have a big smile on your face watching all the kids and adults on the ice. Since we don’t get a lot of ice skating time here in sunny SoCal, I thought the ice walkers were a clever idea.”
After skating, kids are invited to write a letter to Santa and drop it in a special North Pole mailbox. The weekly entertainment schedule includes both live entertainment and DJs, as well as Friday and Saturday evening fire dancing performances by Wild Fire Art Collective.
Complete with drinks and snacks served from a rink side igloo, the event is dog-friendly, and visitors can purchase s’mores kits to roast marshmallows over one of several fire pits or take photos in the inflatable holiday garden through Jan. 1.
San Juan Capistrano
The Outpost at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano is home to Winterscape
Holiday Festival, a winter wonderland complete with ice skating, ice curling, and Zorb ball rides in giant inflatable human hamster balls.
With live music Friday through Sunday, holiday revelers can also enjoy a plethora of activities including family-friendly games and activities, food trucks, holiday movie nights, a full bar and lounge, and pictures with Santa Claus through Dec. 23.
Now in its the third consecutive year, the City of Santa Ana is hosting its Santa Ana Winter Village
, which takes place through Dec. 31 at the Orange County Civic Center “Plaza of the Flags.”
“Winter Village is a special community event that brings together residents, neighbors and visitors to celebrate the holiday season,” said Mayor Valerie Amezcua in an advisory. “We are proud to offer this fun outdoor activity for the third year and hope it brings holiday joy to many local families and groups.”
With a world-class outdoor ice-skating rink open daily, Winter Village also offers live entertainment, holiday shopping, food trucks, and family-friendly events throughout the week, including a daily festive holiday light show and weekend story time with Mrs. Claus.