Skating under the Desert Sun: Embracing Tucson’s Ice Rinks

The sunny city of Tucson, Arizona is not the first place you’d think of when it comes to ice skating. However, as the holiday season approaches, Tucson transforms itself into a winter wonderland, complete with a bustling outdoor ice rink. This guide aims to provide you with everything you need to know about ice skating in Tucson.

Tucson’s Outdoor Ice Rink: A Unique Attraction

Every year, the city of Tucson, in partnership with Pima Pain Center and Rio Nuevo, sets up an outdoor ice skating rink in front of the Tucson Convention Center. Despite Tucson’s desert climate, the city manages to maintain the ice rink, providing residents and visitors with a unique winter experience.

The outdoor ice rink, also known as Tucson Holiday Ice, first opened its doors in 2019. Since then, it has quickly become a much-anticipated holiday tradition. Lane Mandle, the chief of staff for Tucson’s city manager, stated in 2019, “This would be a fun experience for Tucsonans because we don’t have a public sheet of ice; we don’t have any place to skate.”

Hence, Tucson Holiday Ice fills a void in the city’s recreational options, offering a platform for creating unforgettable holiday memories.

Tucson Holiday Ice

Tickets, Timing, and Location

The ice rink operates from late November to early January, providing ample opportunities for everyone to try their hand at skating. You can purchase tickets online, and the price includes a pair of skates. Children’s skates start at size 8, while adult men’s skates go up to size 15.

For the 90-minute skating session, adults pay $20, and children under 12 years pay $14. The first session each day offers a discounted price of $12 for adults and $8 for children. Skate assists are available for an extra $5.

The rink is located at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. You can find more details on the event page.

What to Expect

Tucson’s outdoor ice rink offers a quintessential winter experience right in the heart of the desert. However, it’s worth noting that the ice can sometimes get a bit slushy due to the afternoon temperatures. It’s also recommended to bring socks and gloves for a comfortable skating experience.

While the venue can get crowded, especially during peak hours, the experience of ice skating under the Arizona sun is well worth it. Plus, parking is readily available in the nearby TCC lots.

Reviews and Feedback

Most visitors enjoy the experience of ice skating in Tucson. Here’s a review from a Chicago transplant:

“As a Chicago transplant, this offered a wonderfully nostalgic opportunity. Alas, on this Wednesday before Thanksgiving, with afternoon temps in the mid-60s, the ice was slushy, the entrance line was long, and the ice rink was jam-packed… so much so you could barely move without soon bumping into someone. Cost for the opening time slot is only $12 and after that, it’s $20 – a reasonable price for desert ice and for 90 min! Parking is readily available in the surrounding TCC lots too.”

Although the warm ice and dense crowd levels were a concern, the reviewer appreciated the nostalgic opportunity and reasonable pricing.

Ice Skating Etiquette and Tips

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, here are some tips and guidelines to follow:

  • Always wear socks and gloves for comfort and safety.
  • Be mindful of other skaters and maintain a safe distance.
  • If you’re a beginner, consider renting a skate assist.
  • Follow all the rules and guidelines provided by the rink staff.

Private Use and Special Sessions

For those interested in a more exclusive ice skating experience, the Tucson Holiday Ice rink also offers private use during off-hours. Private sessions are priced at $700 for a 90-minute session. You can call 520-791-4101 (option 1) weekdays between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for more information or to book a session.


Ice skating in Tucson offers a unique holiday experience unlike any other. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, don’t miss the opportunity to skate under the Arizona sun. So, lace up your skates, hit the ice, and create unforgettable memories this winter season!

Additional Information

For more information, including up-to-date hours and ticket prices, visit the Tucson Holiday Ice event page.

Remember, the ice skating rink is just one of the many attractions Tucson offers. From local markets to holiday lights at the Botanical Gardens, Tucson has something to offer everyone this holiday season.

Written by Alexander