Find a rink near you
WRITTEN by CARISSA ANDREWS
NOTHING SCREAMS WINTER BLUES LIKE MONTHS ON END TRAPPED INDOORS. Up here in central Minnesota, we’re extremely lucky to have some phenomenal ice-skating rinks to entice us to get up and moving—and maybe even brave the outdoors. Here’s a look at what the Brainerd Lakes region has to offer:
Most people are aware of the Essentia Health Sports Center indoor ice rinks, but they are also open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. The cost to join in the fun is just $5 per person. They do not offer rental skates, so you’ll need to bring a pair. For more information, visit essentiahealthsportscenter.com or call 218.828.0945.
Other Brainerd/Baxter outdoor rinks include: Oscar Kristofferson Park, Loren Thompson Park, Bane Park, Mill Park, and of course, Gregory Park.
The Breezy Point Hockey Center offers open indoor skating to the public for $5 per skater. Open skate times vary, so call 218.562.5678 or visit breezypointsports.com/publicskating to see what’s available.
For resort guests, Breezy Point Resort offers a lighted outdoor skating rink right in front of Dockside on Pelican Lake. Cost is just $5 for a pair of skates. Contact the front desk for more details and rink availability at 800.432.3777.
The Hallett Center of Crosby, 470 Eighth Street Northeast, offers indoor skating and hockey. For $10 for adults or $5 for kids ages 3–17 (free if you’re younger than 3 or a member), you get not only access to their ice rink, but also their pool, sauna, and fitness room. Open skate hours vary, so check their Facebook page: Hallett Center of Crosby, or call 218.546.2616.
The Crosslake Community Center, 14126 Daggett Pine Road, offers free ice skating just west of their outdoor warming house. Be sure to bring your own skates. Visit cityofcrosslake.org or find Crosslake Community Center on Facebook for up-to-date open skate times or call 218.692.4271.
Feel like doing a little cross-country skiing before your ice-skating excursion? Hop on the Wolf Lake Trail, west of Deerwood, to find a quaint little rink hidden within the course. For more information on how to get there, call 218.546.8131 or find a map online at crowwing.us under Cross Country Ski Trails.
Nisswa City Park is a local treasure when it comes to outdoor ice skating. The park has not one, but two outdoor rinks that are free and open to the public. One is a full-size hockey rink with an underground chiller system, the other is a no-sticks and no-pucks rink—making it the perfect place for small kids and casual skaters. Need skates? No problem. They have just about every size available—and all for the affordable price of absolutely free. Their on-site warming house is set between the two and you can even get concessions inside during open skate hours. Call 218.963.3931 for the rink warming house or Nisswa Parks and Recreation at 218.963.0047 or follow on Facebook: Nisswa Parks & Rec.
The Pine River community skating rink, located behind the Pine River-Backus School, is open seven days a week from sunrise to 10 p.m. The rink is well lit during evening hours and has a warming house with plenty of skates for those who don’t have their own. For more information, call 218.587.2338 or check their Facebook page: Friends of the Pine River Ice Rink.
The Walker Area Community Center, 105 Tower Avenue, has a fabulous indoor ice arena, with skates available for rental for just $1 per pair and $5 to hop on the ice. Open skating hours vary throughout the season, so call 218.547.1853 to confirm availability, visit online at walkerareacommunitycenter.com or follow on Facebook: Walker Area Community Center.