Skip to Content
Admission is always free Directions
The Gallery is closed today

Release Date: October 30, 2008

Ice-Skating Rink in National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Opens November 15, Weather Permitting, for Tenth Season; Free Hot Chocolate for Skaters on Opening Weekend; Childrens' Placemats Available

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden's 2008-2009 ice-skating season will begin on November 15 and continue through mid-March, weather permitting. The ice rink, located on the National Mall at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, is a popular recreational destination that has attracted thousands of visitors since it reopened as part of the Gallery's Sculpture Garden in 1999. The rink's design allows skaters to enjoy the park-like setting with views of the large-scale sculptures by renowned artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, and others, as well as the grand architecture of surrounding museums and monuments, for a truly unique Washington, DC experience.

During the opening weekend of November 15 and 16, visitors who purchase time on the ice or rent skates or a locker will receive a coupon for a free cup of hot chocolate from the Pavilion Café. To entertain the young and the young-at-heart, free crayons and placemats to color depicting Julius Caesar Ibbetson's watercolor, Skaters on the Serpentine in Hyde Park (1786), are available at the cash registers inside the Café throughout the winter season.

Ice-Skating Rink Hours and Fees

The hours for the ice-skating rink are as follows:
Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

During the evening, when the Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed to the public, access to the ice-skating rink and Pavilion Café is restricted to the entrances at Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive near 9th Street.

The skating fees for a two-hour session (beginning on the hour) are as follows:
$7.00 for adults
$6.00 for seniors age 50 and over
children age 12 and under
students with school ID

The skate rental fee is $3.00 (ID required as a deposit) and the rental fee for a locker to secure one's belongings is $.50 ($5.00 deposit required). Season tickets are available for $195. For general information and announcements about openings and closings, or to make skating reservations, call (202) 289-3360 or visit More details are available at

Groups and Tours at the Sculpture Garden and in the Gallery

Pavilion Café reservations and discounts on ice rink admission and fees are available for groups of ten or more by calling (202) 289-3360 or visiting To arrange a special guided tour of the Gallery's permanent collection for 20 or more adults before or after a visit to the ice rink, call (202) 842-6247 at least three weeks (or up to four months) in advance. Information about other Gallery programs, exhibitions, restaurants, and Shops, is available at (202) 737-4215 or

Pavilion Café

The Pavilion Café offers a panoramic view of the Sculpture Garden and ice rink and a variety of food and beverages for visitors of all ages. Selections include freshly made wraps, sandwiches, gourmet pizzas, salads, and a variety of desserts. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, wine, and beer are available. Visitors may dine inside the Café or outside on the patios.

Café hours during the skating season are as follows:
Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Ice Rink Information

The skating surface, which measures approximately 135 feet long and 90 feet wide, can accommodate more than 200 skaters at one time.

A state-of-the-art music system provides uniform sound to skaters, diners, and spectators without distracting other visitors to the Sculpture Garden. At night, lights encircling the rink illuminate the ice, adding to the skating experience and contributing to the festive atmosphere. Sixteen banners on poles that surround the ice-skating rink represent a cross-section of the broad range of portraiture in the Gallery's collection in the East and West Buildings.

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at Follow the Gallery on Facebook at, Twitter at, and Instagram at

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.
For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Press Release

Questions from members of the media may be directed to the Department of Communications at (202) 842-6353 or [email protected]

The public may call (202) 737-4215 or visit for more information about the National Gallery of Art.