Ice skating in the desert
For those seeking a change from the beaches of Dubai, there are several ice skating opportunities located around the city. From learn-to-skate programs, to figure skating lessons, to ice hockey matches, Dubai’s rinks offer day and evening sessions. There are also evening disco parties, where participants of any age can let loose and groove while they skate. All the rinks listed below have public skate sessions, but it is best to check the day’s schedule to avoid disappointment.
What to bring
The skating rinks in Dubai are all indoors, and the ice is mechanically frozen from below. A little preparation will ensure a pleasant experience. All of the ice rinks mentioned in this article provide ice skate rentals on site, but be sure to bring a jacket and gloves, as life can get chilly on ice.
Close proximity to the ice as one skates means that long jeans or trousers, a warm shirt and perhaps a jumper, are necessary. It is advisable to also bring gloves or mittens. Children should wear a helmet. A bike helmet will suffice, and some rinks will rent helmets.
Tel: 04 448 5111
Timing: 10AM-10PM, Sunday to Wednesday
11:15AM-12AM, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Pricing: 60 Dirhams (adult) 25 Dirhams (children less than 100 cm tall)
Rentals: 5 Dirhams
Located near the Souk in Dubai Mall, the Dubai Ice Rink is in close proximity to cafes, shops, and entertainment centres, such as KidZania and the Sega Republic indoor theme park. The venue has over 300 spectator seats near the ice, as well as a store that sells skating and ice hockey merchandise.
Offering a variety of public skate sessions in the daytime and a rocking Disco session every night of the week, this Olympic-sized ice rink is a family friendly venue – and it’s totally cool! It is easy to see why the Dubai Ice Rink is popular with both Dubai residents and tourists. Where else can you skate, have lunch, shop, and then watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters?
Home to the Dubai Ice Rink Skating Academy (DIRSA), Dubai Ice Rink caters to a range of skating abilities, and offers group lessons as well as private coaching sessions. Aptly named skating aids, called “Penguin Pals,” are available for rent.
There is also a newly added stable of Snowmen for less confident skaters to use as they slip and slide across the ice.
Public skate sessions last for one hour and forty-five minutes. Lockers and skates are available to rent, and it is worthwhile to check the skate session timings, which can vary. The Dubai Ice Rink caters to birthday parties and also holds special events, such as foam parties and ladies-only skate sessions.
Tel: 04 209 1234
Timing: Varies, check the posted schedule
Pricing: Sunday to Wednesday – 40 Dirhams
Thursday – 45 Dirhams
Disco Nights (Thursday & Friday) – 60 Dirhams
Across the Dubai Creek, in the commercial area known as Deira, is the Galleria Ice Rink. One of the first ice rinks in Dubai, it is part of the Hyatt Regency Dubai hotel, and has been a favourite with the skating community for over thirty years!
The Galleria Ice Rink is in an older (but beautiful) area of Dubai, and is close to Dubai International Airport.
The Galleria Ice Rink provides skate coaching, Disco nights, and public skate sessions at reasonable rates. It is smaller than the Dubai Ice Rink at Dubai Mall, but still a great option. Monthly and annual memberships are also on offer, which is perfect for the aspiring figure skater!
Tel: 04 284 5555
Timing: Varies, contact mall for timing
Iceless ice skating? Improbable, but remember that Dubai is a city that makes the impossible possible! The Arabian Centre has a synthetic ice rink that is less cold and less slippery than traditional rinks, making it a good choice for youngsters just learning to balance on skates. Located near Midriff, which is on the outskirts of Dubai, the Arabian Centre is open from 10AM to 11:30PM Sunday to Thursday, and from 10AM to 12:30AM Fridays and Saturdays.
Tel: 04 337 1234
Timing: 9AM-11PM daily (call ahead for the day’s schedule)
Pricing: 25 Dirhams for 2-hour skate session, including skate rental.
Al Nasr Leisureland, located behind the American Hospital in Bur Dubai, is home to one of the older ice skating venues in town. It is also the practice rink for the Dubai Mighty Camels, the UAE’s homegrown men’s ice hockey league. Finding time on the rink may be tricky, as the Mighty Camels train frequently, but then again, you may be able to watch a game!
The rink is housed in a larger entertainment complex that includes a bowling alley, swimming pool, and tennis and squash courts. Being a bit older, the rink may not have the flash factor associated with Dubai Ice Rink. However, it is a budget friendly option, and great for children. Skating lessons are available, and every Tuesday is ladies’ day (sorry, men)!
What to look for in an ice skating rink
When choosing an ice skating venue, have a close look at the ice. Is it smooth? Does the staff at the rink groom the ice regularly? A large ice skating rink used by figure skaters and ice hockey players will have a Zamboni to clean and smooth the ice after each skate session.
Some indoor play and amusement centers offer small rinks for their young guests, but the ice can be pitted and overused, making skating more dangerous. Make sure to visually check the ice and ensure that rental skates fit properly (snug, but not tight enough to cut off circulation). Then, enjoy skating!