Lloyd Center is home to Portland proper's only ice rink. But the mall is due to get a $50 million makeover sometime after the holidays. This has caused hundreds of panicked petitioners to organize Web campaigns to save the rink from an uncertain future. So we figured it was high time to survey the options—all of them—by visiting rinks from Vancouver to Silverton to find our favorites.
879 W Main St., Silverton, 874-8100, oregongarden.org. $5 parking, $5 admission to Christmas village, $12 rink fee, $5 skate rental. Unlimited skating $45. Through Jan. 3.
What's better than a spin around an outdoor ice rink and a warm cup of cocoa? Sadly, Portland remains one of the few large northern American cities that doesn't have a seasonal ice rink in the mold of Rockefeller Center. So head down to Silverton, where the Oregon Garden sets up a little German Christmas village among the pines. Wander the trails and you'll come across sausage huts, jewelry kiosks, fire pits and a big beer tent with suds from Salem's Gilgamesh Brewing. For the first time this year, the Garden also rented a portable rink and racks of orange plastic skates, which sit under a circus-sized tent. The ice itself is about the size of a Plaid Pantry and very choppy—no Zamboni here. It's populated by little kids in camouflage and Ducks or Beavers gear, cutting between grown-ups as country-fried Christmas carols play from the speakers. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Lloyd Center Ice Rink
953 Lloyd Center, 288-6073, lloydcenterice.com. $11.50-$14.50 admission, $3.50 skate rental. Check website for public skate times.
Ice skating at the rink in the middle of Lloyd Center is like riding a cable car in San Francisco: It's not cheap, but you should do it at least once. This is the mall rink where Tonya Harding learned to skate, and any day of the week you might see a future Harding twirling on the ice, heading from a hardscrabble Oregon childhood to Olympic glory. But it isn't just kids who make use of the only ice rink within Portland's city limits. When we went for a skate on a Tuesday morning, a group of women in their 50s dominated the center of the rink, practicing a routine to ABBA's "Dancing Queen." A white-haired lady and a younger man skated arm in arm, and a middle-aged guy wearing headphones sprinted around in circles. My boyfriend, a hockey player from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, pronounced the ice "good and solid." When I crashed near the end of our visit, my knees agreed. At a minimum of $15, including skate rental, this isn't exactly a cheap day out with the kids. Still, it's extra fun to skate around the ice while teenagers, tourists and hobos look on. The best part? You can always visit Chicken Connection when you're done. The worst part? The rink may close for a major overhaul in mid-January for up to 10 months, though an employee told me, "This was supposed to happen last January, so I think it's still up in the air." LIZZY ACKER.
Winterhawks Skating Center
9250 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, Beaverton, 297-2521, winterhawksskatingcenter.com. $8 admission, $3 skate rental. Check website for public skate times.
This cavernous facility, where Portland's major junior team practices, has 15,000 square feet of floor space and a row of championship pennants hanging from the rafters. It feels like an '80s roller rink stuffed inside a high-school gym. Parents line the Plexiglas walls, staring at their kids kish-kishing, while tweens hold hands skating three abreast. There are preschoolers in helmets and parents snapping pictures. One middle-aged dude was channeling his inner Tonya Harding. TYLER HURST.
Sherwood Ice Arena
20407 SW Borchers Drive, Sherwood, 625-5757, sherwoodicearena.com. $7 adult admission, $3 skate rental. Check website for public skate times.
Remember when all it took to entertain you as a kid was a rink, a little music and some flashy lights, along with the possibility you'd hold your crush's hand during the partner skate? Return to the thrills of middle school at Sherwood's disco night, where they spin disco balls and pump up Top 40 jams. Public skate sessions are held throughout the week, but the mood lighting and DJ are available only on Fridays from 7:35 to 9:35 pm. The darkness also provides some anonymity to those wall clingers who spend more time on their tailbones than their skates. After a few wobbly laps, your Rollerblading experience from the '90s should kick right in. For this session, admission and skate rental for two costs $20. The arena offers a date-night special, which includes mini pizzas and medium drinks for an additional $5, but eating concession-stand food in a lobby that smells like a hamper of musty gym socks isn't advised. Instead, drink like an adult before you play like a kid by ordering pints at NW Growlers across the street. The combination of beer, blades and ice would surely get you grounded if your mom had anything to say about it. ANDI PREWITT.
Mountain View Ice Arena
14313 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, 360-896-8700, mtviewice.com. $9 admission, $3.50 skate rental. Check website for public skate times.
This is your all-purpose Vancouver rink, nestled on scenic Mill Plain Boulevard between a Papa Murphy's and City Bible Church. She's not much to look at, but through the nondescript strip-mall entrance, Mountain View has all the decoration a rink needs: a dusty case of trophies, fliers for a kids camp, vending machines and a Blades of Glory poster. In the bleachers on a Sunday, school kids sip Swiss Miss from the snack bar ($2.25, includes two cookies) while watching local tournament hockey games. The daily schedule is packed with speed-skating and hockey classes, freestyle skating and "sticktime." This is a safety-first, squeaky-clean family place, where moms can feed kids fries and watch TV in the dining area or send tired skaters to play the San Francisco Rush arcade game under the bleachers. ENID SPITZ.