Seth Walsh and Erin Hinson have been asking people, “What’s your favorite thing to do in Cincinnati?” Whatever the answer is, they do. This is one of their adventures.
When, as the song says, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” that means it’s time to head to Fountain Square for ice skating and #UnlockCincinnati.
Erin: A coworker of mine recommended this. It was one of those things that we knew about but had never done, like Carew Tower. When we finally went, a line was wrapped around the U.S. Bank Ice Rink. (Technically, the first time we went, the line was so long that we left.)
Don’t fret: It was worth the wait: Just remember to bundle up! We recommend that you wait at Via Vite for the line to die down, go on a weeknight, or go early on Friday or Saturday.
Seth: The ice skating rink at Fountain Square opened Oct. 30 this year and runs through Feb. 15. It’s a staple of the Downtown holiday season. Hours vary during that time, but until Jan. 4 the rink is open 9 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
It costs only $6 for admission into the rink and another $4 to rent skates. I highly recommend that you keep in mind how cold ice is and dress appropriately. (I say this from experience.)
Parking for the rink can be found in any of the surrounding underground garages. They are usually very affordable, assuming there is no other big event going on Downtown.
Erin: With all of the hustle and bustle at the intersection of Vine and Fifth streets, I’ve always found it peaceful to see people gliding across the ice while people honk at each other and street vendors surround the square with the smell of pizza, falafel or grilled cheese with a hint of honey.
Turns out, this peaceful feeling has captured the hearts of many who come to this city. Fountain Square has been the heart of Cincinnati for over a century, as evidenced by the beautiful fountain dedicated there in 1871.
While my skating may not be nearly as beautiful as the setting, I got to watch the most graceful candidates and flinch in solidarity with those wiping out: “I’ll be down there with you soon.”
Seth: I’ve discovered that there are two seasons for the ice rink: too hot or too cold. Either it’s way too nice outside to be skating on an ice rink, or it is freezing cold outside and all you can do to stay warm is skate faster (and try not to fall).
I’ve always loved ice skating. Growing up in Michigan, I have done it more than my fair share of times. I love the location of this rink, though. You are literally skating in the heart of Cincinnati, surrounded by gorgeous architecture and people mingling on their way around the city.
Despite growing up in Michigan, I do find myself often inappropriately dressed for the rink. That means when it’s hot outside, I’m wearing a thick jacket and I have sweat pouring down my face as I skate. Or if it’s too cold, I’m not wearing ear warmers. I never can seem to win.
Why go: Ice skating at Fountain Square is a staple of the Downtown holiday season. People come in from around the region to experience this ice rink. Because of the setting, you can enjoy beautiful architecture and feel like you are in the heart of the city as you skate, and it’s perfect both for fun or a romantic date.
Ice skating at Fountain Square
Address: Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown
Price: $10 ($6 for admission and $4 for rentals)
Parking: Underground garages
Time commitment: 1-2 hours
Pair it with: Holtman’s Donuts
We invite you to follow this journey in real time online at www.unlockcincinnati.org, on Twitter (@UnlockThe513, @SethTWalsh and @erinhinson2), Instagram (@sethtwalsh and @erinhinson2) and Facebook, or by following #UnlockCincinnati. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.