By Corey McLaughlin

Photography by Justin Tsucalas

Illustrations by Alicia Corman

Winter Wonderland

The Best Places to Go Ice Skating Around Baltimore

Bundle up tight and glide your way around these local indoor and outdoor rinks.

By Corey McLaughlin

Photography by Justin Tsucalas

Illustrations by Alicia Corman


Cutting a Fine Figure

Pikesville native Ting Cui won a bronze medal in figure skating at the 2019 World Junior Championships and hopes to compete in the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Considering how far Ting Cui has already gone in her figure skating career as a decorated, nationally-ranked junior, and how far she still might go—her legitimate goal is a spot on the next U.S. Olympic team—the 2020 Towson High graduate won’t ever forget her roots with the Baltimore Figure Skating Club. Cui is in college at Middlebury in Vermont, but you can still occasionally find her at the Mt. Pleasant Ice Arena, BFSC’s home base, training or teaching group classes and passing on what she learned to the next generation.

How did you get started skating?

So, no one in my family figure skates. My parents just needed childcare. Summers are hot. Ice rinks are cold. My parents dropped my brother and me off at Reisterstown Sportsplex, and then I did Mt. Pleasant summer camps, which were tons of fun and went all day. We got introduced to all aspects of skating. Jumps and spins, of course, and off-ice classes too.

What do you like most about the sport?

My favorite part is the freedom to shape it however you want it to be. Skating is a combination of artistic and athletic, which is really cool. I like having power in my skating, but also being able to explore different lines and shapes on the ice and express myself.

What does The Baltimore Figure Skating Club mean to you?

It’s a place that holds core memories, you know? I remember one time we painted a dress all together as a group that was going to be given to a skater for a costume. They had a modeling coach come in once and teach us how to pose. It introduced us to a lot of interesting things and ways to explore the sport for ourselves. A lot of my friends growing up were also part of the club, and it has a long, rich history. It’s such a supportive community. They’ve been with me throughout all my years of competitive skating, giving me support and following my journey as well.

What would you tell someone trying to skate for the first time?

Be prepared to fall. Don’t be afraid of it. That’s how you’re going to learn. And if you do fall, aim for your butt because that’s the place that will hurt the least.


Want to Skate Like Cui? Here's Where:

Hit the Rinks


Inner Harbor Ice Rink

201 E. Pratt St., Baltimore

For three decades, an ice rink on the Inner Harbor has been a frequent wintertime feature and a place for families to create holiday memories, pictured. Thanks to $300,000 in funding from the Pearlstone and Meyerhoff family foundations, the harbor tradition returned last year and is slated to continue through at least January 2025. Lace-up a pair of skates and take in the lit-up city skyline, Christmas and Hanukkah decorations and music, and various festivals organized by the Waterfront Partnership.

Four Seasons Hotel

200 International Drive

The hotel’s sought-after pop-up Winter Village experience returns for another season. Take in unrivaled views of the harbor and city skyline from the fifth-floor terrace, complete with an 1,800-square-foot skating rink that takes center stage and is accented by semi-private cabanas, sleek fire pits, and festive food and drink.

Color Burst Ice Rink at the Merriweather District

6100 Merriweather Dr., Columbia

In the winter, the Merriweather District in Columbia turns into a wonderland of holiday cheer, twinkling lights, music, food—and ice skating. Single-use tickets for skating and season passes are available, as is free parking at Symphony Woods Garage.

The Avenue at White Marsh

8139 Honeygo Blvd. D, Nottingham

Through February, skate beneath the shopping plaza’s giant Christmas tree and then shop or check out a movie next door. You can save a couple of bucks with online reservations, too.

Quiet Waters Park Ice Rink

600 Quiet Waters Park Rd., Annapolis

The 340-acre Anne Arundel County park south of downtown Annapolis offers a pleasant skating atmosphere, weather permitting. The county updates its Facebook page every morning, noting if the rink is open or closed.


Glen Burnie Ice Rink

103 Crain Highway, Glen Burnie

Online reservations are recommended for renovated skating at the Glen Burnie Town Center, as the rink often sells out. Park for free in the Henry Hein Building garage. Find weather updates at the rink’s Facebook page.


Mt. Pleasant Ice Arena

6101 Hillen Road, Mt. Pleasant Park

Since it opened in the 1980s, the city-run facility has been known as the host of birthday parties, fundraisers, hockey games, figure skating, and more. The 30,000-square-foot facility offers public and freestyle hours and Learn to Skate programs. It’s also home to the Baltimore Figure Skating Club.

Mimi DiPietro Family Skating Center

200 S. Linwood Ave., Patterson Park

Patterson Park has an NHL-size rink that is home to many youth and amateur hockey programs. Open Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday’s two-hour open skating session also has dedicated Mommy and Me instruction.

Columbia Ice Rink

5876 Thunder Hill Rd., Columbia

Get your figure skating (or hockey) fix at this Columbia Association property, where various instructional sessions are offered. Call or check the rink’s website for a complete schedule, including public free skate availabilities.

Ice World

1300 Governor Ct., Abingdon

Off I-95 in Harford County, public skating is on the schedule at this twin-rink facility at least five days per week in January. On Friday and Saturday nights, enjoy a light show for a dollar more than standard admission.

Reisterstown Sportsplex

401 Mitchell Dr., Reisterstown

The Baltimore County-managed Sportsplex has public skating and instructional programs, and even drop-in “tots on ice” sessions for 2- to 5-year-olds, who can wear skates or sneakers (and helmets). The building is also home to the Worthington Valley Figure Skating Club, and local college, high school, and club hockey programs.


Piney Orchard Ice Arena

8781 Piney Orchard Pkwy., Odenton

The former practice facility for the NHL’s Washington Capitals is now known as a home for Maryland junior hockey. Piney Orchard also has Learn to Skate programs and public times. Online pre-registration is required.

The Gardens Ice House and Potomac Curling Club

13800-13810 Old Gunpowder Rd., Laurel

This facility is like a mall of skating. It features five rinks, including “pond” skating, a lot of hockey, and The Potomac Curling Club’s ice sheet is located adjacent. Pre-registration is required for public skating at the Ice House.

Talbot County Ice Rink and Chesapeake Curling Club

10028 Ocean Gateway, Easton

The Talbot County Community Center has a brand-new ice rink surface this year, after its 44-year-old cooling system busted in the fall of 2022 and was replaced. The center is also home to the Chesapeake Curling Club, which plays on three sheets of curling ice from December through April. Call or check online for drop-in skating times.




A visit to the National Capital Curling Center in Laurel, pictured above, is like experiencing a Winter Olympics broadcast of the peculiar, competitive (in a leisurely sort of way) broom-and-rock game brought fantastically to life. In a brightly lit and ice-cold “shed,” as Potomac Curling Club members call the playing area, rows of bull’s-eye-style targets frame each end of the huge rectangular ice sheet here, which has been specifically designed for sliding 42-pound granite stones—with handles. Attached to The Gardens Ice House, it’s one of the few curling venues in the Mid-Atlantic region. You can either watch in a warm lounge through a set of windows or step inside and try the sport yourself, even if for the first time.

If you choose the latter, you’ll be handed a lightweight broom and a pair of grippy rubber oversoles to help with your footwork. Next, friendly and more experienced curlers will offer tips amid the sounds and jargon of this centuries-old winter game with roots in Scotland. You’ll hear the “skip” (captain) of a four-person team shout “sweep!” (self-explanatory) or “up!” (stop sweeping) to teammates with brooms as a stone pushed and spun by another teammate “curls” toward its target nearly 150 feet away in the “house”—a trio of concentric blue, white, and red rings surrounding the “button” (bull’s-eye).

The Potomac Curling Club, which takes its name from its origins just outside Washington, D.C., in the 1960s, relocated more than 20 years ago to the dedicated facility in Laurel. The volunteer-run club includes roughly 350 members with a diversity of interests and jobs (doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, etc.) who all find common joy in this strangely satisfying game. They play and teach curling in men’s, women’s, doubles, and social leagues, as well as a variety of introductory and youth programming—and refreshingly don’t take their collective self all that seriously.

“Nobody is born with a curling broom in their hand. Some clubs are very competitive. We’re a lot more on the social side,” says Kevin White of Columbia, one of the club’s program coordinators and instructors.

That’s not to say you can’t learn as much about curling as you want. A women’s Olympic hopeful—for India— from Northern Virginia practices at the center and offered some guidance on a recent visit.

“It’s a lot more nuanced than it looks,” says Fred Hatem, 67, of Bel Air, a retired family court magistrate whose curling interest was piqued after watching the last Winter Olympics.

Much like shuffleboard, the delivery of the smooth stone down the ice is paramount, requiring steady coordination during a sliding one-knee crouch. Sweeping can slow, accelerate, or straighten the stone’s path. Typically, curling is played between two teams over eight “ends,” akin to innings in baseball. Every player throws two rocks per end, and games are scored like bocce. Afterward, “broomstacking” (socializing) is customary, much like golf’s 19th hole.

“I love it,” Hatem says, “and the atmosphere is so welcoming and pleasant.” —Corey McLaughlin

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