Experience the winter bucket list in Calgary and go ice skating at Bowness Park Lagoon. It’s the most scenic outdoor rink and you’ll have a blast!
We’ve been living in Calgary for several years but haven’t visited Bowness Park until we started a family. Bowness Park is the most family-friendly park in Calgary. There are playgrounds, picnic sites with barbeques, a lagoon for boating in summer and ice skating in winter.
And there’s much more.
Keep reading, and you’ll find out everything you need to know about skating at Bowness Park (and more amazing things to do in Calgary at the end). Or watch a quick recap below.
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Outdoor ice skating in Calgary: a breakdown of all options
Where’s Bowness Park?
Bowness Park is located in the northwest part of Calgary. It sits along the Bow River between Stoney Trail and 85 Street NW (across Baker Park). The lagoon for ice skating runs along the southern edge of Bowness Park.
For directions to Bowness Park, set up your GPS to 8900 48 Ave NW or click here for the map.
When is the best time to go ice skating at Bowness Park Lagoon?
The Bowness Park hours are 5 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily, however, the skating rink is open 10 am to 10 pm, and depending on weather, the lagoon is ice-covered from mid-December to mid-March.
It’s an extremely popular park year-round, so if you’d like to avoid the crowds, come to Bowness Park during the week or in the evening when the ice is lit with LED lights.
Ice skating at Bowness Park
The seating area at the lagoon has plenty of benches to put your skates on. It’s lined with rubber mats so you can easily walk in your skates to the lagoon. Take a break by the fire pit to warm up when you get cold.
You can skate on the huge lagoon or follow the 1km ice trail that goes through the trees and then loops back along Bow River.
There are no rubber mats or easy access from the lagoon to the ice trail. You need to take off your skates, walk to the ice trail, and then put them on again.
Despite this tiny issue, I highly recommend skating along Bow River; the views are unbeatable!
If you’re ready to try a new activity, Bowness is the best place to start. Calgary is the first Canadian city to offer ice biking from December 2020 (ice bikes are available to rent on Saturday and Sunday).
You can see why it’s one of Calgary’s best outdoor skating rinks.
The skating rink at Bowness is very big and scenic, with lots of services and also offers different activities such as ice bikes, cross-country skiing, BBQ, and dining.
Whether you have a family or not, I’m sure you’ll enjoy ice skating at Bowness Lagoon.
For more epic locations, check out ice skating at Olympic Plaza.
Skate rentals at Bowness Park
Bowness Park Skate Shop (operated by the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre) provides rentals of skates, ice bikes, skate-aid (stabilizer for small children), skate sharpening, helmets (free), and cross-country ski package (boots, skis, poles). They’re located at the Boathouse.
Safety information for ice skating at Bowness Park lagoon: helmets are not mandatory at outdoor ice rinks in Calgary but are strongly recommended.
What you need to know about skate rentals at Bowness Park:
- all skates available are hockey skates
- rental is for a maximum of 2 hours
- rentals operate on a first-come-first-serve basis, with no reservations
- winter rentals open December 23
- from December 23, they are open daily until January 2
- from January 6 till mid-March, the rental shop is open Friday afternoons, Saturdays, and Sundays
See their website for current pricing.
What else is at Bowness Park?
- Tea House – offers sandwiches, cupcakes, coffee, and hot chocolate. See the below picture for the menu and pricing.
- Seasons of Bowness Park – restaurant and grab & go offer dine-in or take-out options; click here for their menu
- Shinny Ice Rink
- Curling rink
- Fire Pits and BBQs – a great option for a picnic after the skating session
- Washrooms – open during winter
- Cross-country skiing
- NEW from 2022: 4 rinks for Crokicurl – a new outdoor game combining crokinol and curling
And if you’d like to visit Bowness Park in summer, there are:
- boat, canoe & kayak rental
- mini train ride
- wading pool
- lots of ducks for kids to admire
- movie in the park (check out the Bowness Association for upcoming events and programs)
I also loved stand-up paddleboarding on the Bowness Lagoon and on the narrow, shallow, and quiet channel. The channel is not open all the way for ice skating as it is in summer, maybe about 200 meters behind the restaurant but with the addition of the ice trail by the river, it’s a huge place for ice skating.
Essential details about ice skating at Bowness Lagoon
- Check out the skating conditions at Bowness Lagoon here before you head out
- The city floods the ice daily, so there are almost always great conditions
- The ice skates are available to rent from Friday to Sunday
- Rinks and ice trails are free to use
- Hockey sticks, toboggans or sleds are not allowed on the ice; strollers are allowed
- Surfaces are maintained and flooded during low usage hours
- Parking is limited and hard to find during the weekend, so you might have to circle around the parking lot for a bit (parking on the street before the entrance to Bowness Park is only for residents with permits)
Lace up and have fun ice skating at Bowness Park!
Winter activities in Calgary
- 40 Awesome things to do with kids in Calgary
- Cross country skiing in downtown Calgary
- 10 Best trails for cross country skiing in Calgary & beyond
- Discover 26 amazing wall murals in Calgary with our map
- Hot Chocolate Festival in Calgary
- Penguin walk at Calgary Zoo
- Zoolights in Calgary: 18 Best displays and tips for visiting
Winter day trips from Calgary
- 15 Best winter activities in Canmore
- Ice skating on frozen mountain lakes
- Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller
- Frozen winter wonderland in Johnston Canyon
- Hiking up the Sulphur Mountain in Banff
- Cross country ski trails in Banff
Did you try ice skating at Bowness Park lagoon? Let us know your experience in the comments.