Kettler Capitals Iceplex627 N Glebe Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203
Bottom Line: Great open indoor space for little ones/non-skaters. Fun to people watch and catch a Capitals practice. 4/5 stars
If you have little ones who aren’t ready to ice skate, the Kettler Capitals Iceplex may not strike you as an ideal indoor destination, but you’d be surprised how much this indoor space has to offer for the non-skating crowd.
Located on the top level of the Ballston Mall, you can park for $1 for up to 3 hours and enter the facility free of charge.
Inside you’ll find two separate ice rinks. Even when there is no public skate session going on, there is usually someone or something happening on the ice. I went with my three year old one morning and went upstairs, where there are large glass windows overlooking one of the rinks.
From here, we watched figure skaters practice from the warm side of the glass. Up in this area, there are large windows that overlook the rink and comfortable tables and chairs to lounge in.
This picture was taken over Christmas break of last year, during a crowded public skate session:
You can also go through a door and enter the (cold) rink area to watch from the upper level.
This area also features tables and chairs. My little guy had a great time racing up and down this area.
There is something fun about just running around, especially when there are large windows to look out.
On the other side of the building is another rink.
This rink is used by the Capitals as their practice ice. They were not practicing the day we went, but their practices are free and open to the public. You can find information about the Capitals practice schedule on their website. Generally speaking they follow this schedule:
Non-game day: 10:30 a.m. on ice
Game day: 10 a.m. on ice
Day after game: 11 a.m. on ice
The Capitals game schedule can also be found online.
A couple of years ago, we did happen to visit when they were practicing. It was a lot of fun to watch and see the players up close.
Even when practice is not in session, it is a lot of fun to run around the bleachers.
The third area of the iceplex that is big fun for little kids is the empty, undeveloped space upstairs between the two rinks. Part of the upstairs is carpeted and nice, but behind the pro shop there is a large open area with a concrete floor.
There’s really nothing special about this space except that it is a large, unoccupied area to run around in.
When you have little kids needing to burn off some steam on winter day, this empty space can be just the ticket. My kids have fun racing back and forth, playing tag, rolling balls, cars, etc. There is a sign posted prohibiting certain activities:
But I’ve never had anyone tell me my kids can’t run around up there.
Other features of the iceplex include: bathrooms, a snack bar, and an arcade area in the lower level of the first rink.
You can also take the elevator down to the mall level — we like to go down to eat at Noodles & Co. or Chick-Fil-A.
Visiting the rink piqued the interest of my older kids and led us to take some lessons last winter. Even if you aren’t trying to develop a future Dorothy Hammil or Scott Hamilton or Alex Ovechkin, I think you’ll find the iceplex to be a fun, albeit different, play space for little kids.
Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.