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Nov 16

5 Reasons Ice Skating is an Athens’ Favorite Winter Activity

Posted on November 16, 2022 at 1:17 PM by Ivy Ramage

Thinking back to any classic holiday movie, what first sets the scene? Falling snowflakes? Twinkling lights? A frozen pond with lazy figure eights etched across the surface? Here in Georgia, we may not get the first option very often (and our excitement quickly turns to the dread of driving when we do), but that magical frozen lake is well within our grasp right here in Athens. When fall hits, it’s almost time to start installing the rink in Akins Ford Arena at The Classic Center for UGA hockey games and our famous Athens on Ice, public ice skating that begins on November 25. Read on to find out why Athens on Ice public ice skating is the most magical experience around town.

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  1. It’s a Magical Winter Experience

Georgia winters may not entirely replicate the snow-filled landscapes we see in movies, but there is something undeniably charming when the air turns crisp and cozy sweaters come out. When it’s time to consider opting for a hot chocolate in the afternoon instead of another coffee, it’s also time to head over to The Classic Center and strap on the ice skates. Since the first part of the season is indoors, it doesn’t matter if it’s chilly in the morning or toasty by the afternoon – the rink is always cold! So, break out your scarf and immerse yourself in our little winter wonderland.


  1. Yet Another Way to Be Connected to UGA

Athens is all about love for UGA, which clearly shows itself in the form of rooting for the Bulldogs’ football team every fall, but did you know Akins Ford Arena at The Classic Center is also home to UGA’s very own hockey team – the UGA Ice Dawgs? The ice-skating season shares a rink with the hockey team, so you’re skating where the players practice and compete. The team also helps install the rink, which typically takes 5-6 days. This process includes bringing all the seating bleachers, putting down two layers of protective tarp and foam, connecting metal piping and hoses that stretch over the 200 -foot ice rink, and installing sponsor boards, glass, and protective netting. How does that much water stay frozen? Glycol cycles through the piping and hose system that connects back to our 53-foot mobile chiller plant. The UGA Ice Dawgs usually volunteer on some of the larger labor pieces of the process, like element layout and board/glass installation, as well as helping to sharpen over 300 ice skates.


  1. You’re Supporting Local Causes

Another way Athens on Ice is distinctly unique is the friendly faces checking you in and handing you your skates. They are actually all volunteers, and you are helping to support various local causes whenever you step onto the rink. Not-for-profits, school groups, and community organizations can volunteer to work sessions at our skate counter and earn $1 per paid skater. If you have a group interested in volunteering, email to learn more.


  1. Parking is Attached

The attached parking deck is one of the most convenient things about The Classic Center! No more frantically trying to squeeze into a street parking spot and refilling the meter. There are several deck entrances, but we recommend walking out of Level 2 after you’ve parked (there are elevators if your car isn’t on that level) because that puts you just a crosswalk away from the closest building entrance to Akins Ford Arena. Just walk across Foundry Street, up the Atrium stairs, and directly across the hall. You don’t even have to cross the crosswalk for outdoor skating sessions. Simply follow the sidewalk from the parking lot to the 440 Foundry Pavilion on the same street.

If you want to complete the local wintry experience before or after your skate session, take the parking deck elevator up to Level 5 to be on street level with downtown Athens! A short stroll will give you access to some of the best restaurants, bars, coffee, and hot chocolate Athens offers. The deck is open 24 hours, except before UGA Football Gamedays, and is well-lit, so it’s still plenty bright when your cheeks are rosy from the chill of the rink, and you head home after your skating session is done.


  1. Mobile Ticketing Makes it Easy! is the most in-depth source of information about all things ice skating, and you want to keep an eye on it throughout the year. However, to always be in the know, follow The Classic Center on Facebook and Instagram. Not only will you know the second tickets go on sale, but if there are any specials, themes, or giveaways (you heard that right, giveaways!) announced, social media will be the first place you find out.

Keep an eye out for an email titled "Your Mobile Tickets Have Arrived!" and click the blue link to your tickets. Again, mark The Classic Center as a contact so that any communications go straight to your primary inbox. Next, save your tickets to your Google Pay or Apple Wallet. If you’re unsure how see The Classic Center’s FAQ page for help. You can also access your mobile tickets by logging into My Account directly on your computer or phone.

And voilà! Your tickets are now within easy access on your phone. All you have to do is show your mobile device to the friendly volunteers at the door when you arrive. Pro-tip – because there are so many excited folks trying to download their tickets as they arrive, access yours ahead of time to avoid slower network speeds!

Don’t forget –Athens on Ice tickets must be purchased in advance! If you have any questions, email our friendly ticketing specialist at

Buy your tickets today!

Blog written by Destiny Cornelison