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Ice Ice Baby: Get Your Skate On!

Time to show off that double lutz—the city’s skating rinks are up and running.

Embarcadero Center
After 20-plus years as the city’s largest outdoor rink—and our personal favorite, given its amazing views—the Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center is a wintertime ritual for many San Franciscans. It opens every day at 10 a.m., closing at 10 p.m. on school nights and 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. As is custom, Bing Crosby will serenade your gliding (or flailing). Prefer surf and sun to ice and cold? Come weekly for “Aloha Fridays,” when the rink’s winter wonderland decor goes tropical and Hawaiian Airlines offers a chance to win airfare for two to Hawaii.

$9 adults/$5 children ($9.50 adults/$6 children Friday night through Sunday). Skate rental $3.50. Through January 2, 2011. Justin Herman Plaza, adjacent to 4 Embarcadero Center, embarcaderocenter.com

Union Square
After you’ve bought the last-minute gifts and gawked at the puppies in the Macy’s windows, hit the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink. Beat the crowds by buying tickets in advance on their website, ditch your goods in a locker and choose your skates—sturdy hockey skates are our pick, even though they’re a dollar more. Just like the roller rinks of yore, this rink hosts a singles night—and unlike those of yore, there’s also an LGBT night. On December 4, you can do a midday skate to classical music provided by a children’s orchestra. Before you leave, show off your rosy cheeks in the rink’s photo booth—it’s free with admission, and the photos are emailed to you.

$9 adults/$4.50 children ($9.50 adults/$5.50 children Friday night through Sunday). Skate rental $4. Through January 17, 2011. Geary Street between Powell and Stockton, unionsquareicerink.com

Yerba Buena Center
The heated indoor rink at Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowiing Center is the place for wimpy Californians unaccustomed to the elements. Open daily year-round (including Christmas and New Year’s Day), Yerba Buena offers free skating every Wednesday from 7:30–9 p.m. If you’re lacing up for the first time, join the adults-only Thursday morning Coffee Club for a half-hour group lesson that includes skate rental, coffee, and doughnuts, all for $12. Should you prefer to watch rather than brave the ice yourself, plan to attend Yerba Buena’s Skating With the Stars December 10–11, when amateur skaters of all ages give it their best shot.

$8 age 13 and over/$6.25 under age 13. Skate rental $3. 750 Folsom St., 415-820-3521, skatebowl.com