Union Square holiday ice rink returns

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and San Francisco is opening up the season with its iconic Union Square Ice Rink. 

The ice skating rink opened to the public Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., and a festive celebration begins at 5 p.m. for the season-opening. This season marks the 15th anniversary of the Union Square Ice Rink.

Robert Keith, general manager of Willy Bietak Productions, the company that sets up the ice rink, spoke with KTVU over Wednesday's opening. 


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Keith shares that San Francisco's Union Square Ice Rink consistently ranks in the top five ice skating rinks in the country. 

The rink closes on Jan. 15, 2024 for the season. It also remains cashless, so attendees should purchase tickets through their website.

"We do a lot of ice rinks, but this one is most definitely different from all the rest, when you look on the top ten ice rinks in the United States, Union Square is always in the top five, it's the people that does it, being right there in the heart of San Francisco, the community comes out and celebrates the holidays," Keith said.

Stores, restaurants and hotels surround the ice rink. It remains a tradition for several Bay Area residents and is decorated with a nearby Christmas tree and Chanukah menorah. 

This year for its 15th anniversary, there will be special acts and events to mark the milestone, including "Drag Queens on Ice" Nov. 7 and "Silent Skate" Nov. 14th.  On New Year's Day, the Polar Bear Skate is scheduled at 2 p.m. A program for new skaters is also available through a partnership with healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente.

"Almost something every day… Simba Saturdays, Flashback Fridays," said Keith. "It's gonna be an exciting year."