There is an open, outdoor ice skating rink in downtown Denver that is free to use. Skate rentals are only $2. It is located in Skyline Park in Denver and is sponsored by Southwest Airlines. The rink is open daily until February 14th. Go to www.Southwestrink.com for more details.
If you don’t know how to skate well, they have little plastic helpers that you can use that help you balance. The rink was busy when we visited on a sunny Saturday afternoon. There are places for parents to sit and watch. Also, on the side of the ice, there are areas for the skaters to sit and take a break, without having to take off your skates. The best part is that it is located directly across from the Christkindle Market, making it a fun filled outdoor winter activity.
The Christkindl Market is German marketplace that is set up outside on the streets near the ice skating rink (just off of the 16th Street Mall). Most of the shops are family owned businesses (selling their crafts and food products). Everyone is really friendly and answers all of your questions with patience. The shops vary in the type of things that they sell. They sell unique crafts like matryoshka nesting dolls, alpaca wool products (such as clothing items and stuffed animals for the kids), and glass ornaments. You can also find candles, wood carvings that move (for example, one of bears boxing, of chickens pecking the ground, and even a parrot eating food), funky hats and gloves, and different types of delicious German food like schnitzel, spaetzle, goulash, brats, Bavarian pretzels, etc.
There is also a beer hall tent where you can go and warm up and eat food that you purchased. There was a friendly and festive atmosphere inside the tent (with many adults drinking beer). There was also live music and dancing. It is set up like a mini Octoberfest with long, narrow picnic tables. On the day I attended, they were also handing out free hot cocoa, lighted necklaces, and mini candy canes at the Market.
This is the type of day that can easily become an annual holiday tradition. The Market is open daily until December 23rd, and please visit www.denverchristkindlmarket.com for more details.