While Nashville is most certainly not considered a cold city, it's one of the best areas in the country for experiencing all four seasons. We have rainy springs, steamy summers, colorful falls, and cold, sometimes snowy winters.

As such, Nashvillians love to get out and experience the best that mother nature has to offer as the seasons change, and winter is no exception. Do the kids grow up learning to ski or play ice hockey on a frozen lake? No. But the city does offer excellent public programming with respect to ice skating. And yes, it does have something to do with Nashville's beloved, Stanley Cup finalist hockey team, The Predators

For many Nashvillians, ice skating is a time-honored recreation, and as The Predators ascend the ranks of the National Hockey League, many young residents look to the sport, and ice skating in general, as an outlet for their athletic talents. Regardless, the winter season brings a renewed focus on the activity as novices and pros alike take to the ice.

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A back view of a couple ice skating together on an open ice rink
Nashville locals have their choice of many ice rinks in the city.

Centennial Sportsplex - West End

For city-dwellers, the Centennial Sportsplex holds a revered position as the premier location for activities like tennis, swimming, and most importantly, ice skating. This year-round facility offers ice hockey leagues for adults and children as well as professional ice skating instruction from the Nashville Skating Academy

What makes the Sportsplex special though is their public skate offering. Because the facility is linked to the Metro Parks system, the ice rink hosts public free skates at an affordable rate. A day pass ranges from $6 to $7 and rentals are just $2 to $3. Residents of all ages and skillsets can enjoy the Sportsplex, and take it from me, both the private instruction and public free skates are well worth it. Most Nashville natives can attest to countless hours of field trips and birthday parties at this location, and it holds a sacred place in the hearts of many.

Opryland Skate - Donelson

Anything related to Opryland is sure to be opulent and entertaining. The Opryland Skate experience is no different, and compared to the culture of a sports facility, this seasonal skate is meant less for honing skills on the ice than getting the perfect Instagram shot or recreating that scene from Serendipity. This 9,000-square-foot rink offers “yuletide glides” at $20 per person (skate rental included). So pack your mittens and sweaters and fuzzy hats, and rest assured that hot chocolate will be available on the day.

The Christmas season is a big business at Opryland, so if skating is just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended), guests can investigate the myriad of opportunities for holiday cheer such as an interactive classic, holiday movies exhibit, ice tubing, or live musical performances.

Ford Ice Center - Bellevue and Antioch

Things get really serious at the Ford Ice Center. Why? Because this is the facility where the Nashville Predators relentlessly practice and hone their skills until the day they redeem their glory and claim the title of Stanley Cup champions.

There are two Ford Ice Centers located across the city from one another. One to the west in Bellevue and another to the southeast in Antioch. For residents in each suburb, the Ford Ice Center serves as the primary locale for all icebound activities and provides a local alternative to the Sportsplex in the heart of the city. 

The Ford Ice Center offers public skate sessions for $10 as well as beginner to advanced instruction on the ice. The center also hosts hockey leagues for all ages and figure skating classes for Nashville’s upcoming generation of winter athletes. I know what you’re thinking, “But what about curling?” At this time, curling instruction and competition is only offered at the Antioch location.

Winterfest - Murfreesboro

While Murfreesboro is not considered a part of the metro Nashville area, this southern municipality is certainly worth including in this roundup of ice-bound activities for Middle Tennessee residents this winter. The annual Winterfest brings a seasonal ice rink to residents looking for a special holiday experience. From Nov. 20 until Jan. 4, locals can enjoy an open ice rink with admission rates ranging from $12 to $15 (skate rental included).

This family-friendly space offers “skate buddies” or assistive devices for beginner skaters as well as opportunities for group reservations. It’s the perfect place for young ones to imagine themselves as Olympic figure skaters or ice hockey champions without the pressure of more professional skaters zipping across the ice around them.