Dilworth Park’s ice rink opens: Five things to know about the city center’s new attraction

D Park Ice

The first part of Dilworth Plaza’s transformation consisted of fountains, a cafe and new glass entrances to the subways. That happened in September, when Dilworth Plaza officially became Dilworth Park. Later, a lawn with a few chairs were added. Today, finally, we got the last piece: the ice skating rink.

What used to be wasted, dirty concrete (sorry, skateboarders) is now a slab of ice that Philadelphia wants to be its version of Rockefeller Center. And the hundred or so people who came for the opening and free skating session today at noon were pleased with the ice of the new Dilworth.

Stacey Jackson, a nurse’s assistant in Center City, finished her work shift late Friday morning and came straight to the rink. She had recently taken her grandchildren skating at the Laura Sims Skate House in West Philly but wanted to try it outside. She remembered how her father used to take her skating at the old Penn Center rink on JFK Boulevard almost every Saturday when she was growing up 30-plus years ago. This new outdoor skating rink brought back old memories.

“I’m cold,” Stacey Jackson said, “but I’m coming out here because of him.”

Skating woman

Behind her a few city employees prepared to rent skates. They had decided to spend their lunch break skating.

The majority of skaters on Friday were children and teenagers. But they weren’t the only ones having a blast. Rich Sachs, who admitted to not being much of a skater, said he came to Dilworth’s skating rink because he wanted to celebrate something new for Philadelphia. And celebrate he did:

Interested in making a trip to the Dilworth Park skating rink? Here’s some information you might want to know:

Is the ice good?

Hell yeah. This isn’t the underwhelming pop-up rink at the Piazza in Northern Liberties that you could barely skate on. It’s real ice, slick and sturdy. Urbanengineers explains how this rink works.

How about the rental skates?

They’re in mint condition. Some of them are brand new and if they’re not, they appeared to be lightly used. Probably get a size a slight bit larger than you’d normally consider because the skates are rigid and tough to pull on.

How big is the rink?

120 feet by 60 feet. In terms that make sense? It takes about 20-30 seconds to skate one lap around if you’re skating a leisurely pace/not falling every five steps.

Do I need to be a good skater?

Nope. There were plenty of novice skaters on Friday, like people literally hugging the rail every step of the way. And if you are good, there’s enough space for you to maneuver around the rest of us plebes.

When is it open?

It’ll be open every day from now until February 22. The hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. It’s even open with special hours on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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