Glide on an Ice Skating Trail in South Bend Indiana

If you are looking for a unique ice skating experience, check out the ice skating trail at Howard Park in South Bend, Indiana.

Howard Park has a 16,000-square-foot ice skating trail and pond making it a premiere winter destination in the South Bend region.

This is the best place for families to make the most of the cold-weather season if you want an alternative to an indoor ice skating rink.

ice pond at Howard Park

Skate on the Ice Pond at Howard Park

You can skate on the ice pond attached to the ice trail if you want a more traditional ice skating experience. This is a great place to start if you want an isolated skating area to keep an eye on younger kids or sharpen your ice skating skills.

This is also where groups can try broomball, a fun fusion of hockey and soccer but with street shoes instead of ice skates.

ice skating trail at Howard Park South Bend

The Ice Trail Experience

We LOVED our time ice skating on the ice trail! I think that it’s WAY better than skating on a traditional ice rink because it’s such a unique experience.

The diverse terrain of the ice trail really makes the experience more interesting while you skate.

The Howard Park ice trail features gentle, gradual slopes and soft curves that will even allow you to pick up a little speed along the way on parts of the trail.

ice skating trail South Bend Indiana

While you enjoy your time on the ice rink, you can also take in scenic views of the St. Joseph River nearby.

ice skating trail at Howard Park South Bend

There are hand rails available on both sides of the ice trail to help you feel more secure and build your confidence as you go.

ice skating trail South Bend

Speaking of confidence, yes that’s me with a little assistance for my first few laps. It had been a while since I’d been ice skating and I didn’t know what to expect on this ice trail.

The extra stability helped me feel more confident to do laps on my own without assistance afterward.

what size skate to wear chart

Skate Rentals at Howard Park Ice Skating

Skate rentals are included for free with your admission fee to ice skate.

All of the rental skates are men’s hockey skates and sizing. I’ve found that hockey skates have more stability for your ankle too. You’ll want your ice skate to fit snugly to give you the proper support.

We found the ice skate chart really helpful when we needed to share the size of our skates. Howard Park carries skate sizes ranging from children’s size 8 to men’s size 14.

ice skating trail at Howard Park South Bend

You Can Bring Your Own Skates

There is an admission fee to use the ice but you can get on the ice faster with your own skates and a season pass.

Unfortunately, skate sharpening is not available onsite. 

ice skating trail South Bend

Howard Park Ice Skating Trail Hours of Operation and Zamboni Schedule

For the most accurate ice skating hours of operation, check the Howard Park website.

The Zamboni will typically resurface the ice every 90 minutes (weather-dependent). Resurfacing the ice takes about 45 minutes to complete.

You’ll want to check the Zamboni schedule before you arrive if you don’t want to wait around to skate.

ice skating trail at Howard Park South Bend

Avoid the Crowds Midweek

If you want to avoid the crowds, consider skating during non-peak hours during the week. The best days are Tuesday-Thursday and Friday afternoons (for kids and families.)

kid on ice skating trail at Howard Park

Ice Skating Admission Prices

*Prices are accurate at the time of posting. Check the Howard Park website before you go.

  • $10 for adults (ages 15+)
  • $7 for youth (ages 3 – 14)

Save With a Season Pass

Season passes are available at Howard Park along with group rates. A Family Season Pass is the best value if you plan on visiting the skate trail multiple times during the winter season.

*The Family Season Pass is valid for 2 named adults living in the same household and up to 6 of their dependent children under the age of 18.

ice skating trail South Bend Indiana

Plan Ahead and Reserve Your Skating Time Online

If you want to guarantee your time on the ice, make sure that you reserve your skating time online.

ice skating trail South Bend

Warm Up By the Fire

There are multiple fire pits at Howard Park for guests to use. Non-skaters can watch and enjoy the fire pits without an admission fee.

fire pit near Ice Skating Trail in South Bend Indiana

The fire pits are great if you need a break from ice skating or if you have any non-skaters in your group.

fire pit at Howard Park

There is also plenty of seating within the community center if someone in your party prefers to stay indoors.

fire pit near Ice Skating Trail in South Bend Indiana

Several of the fire pit areas are within viewing range of the ice pond and ice trail too.

Concession at Howard Park

Food and Drink Options at Howard Park

You can warm up with a hot chocolate or specialty coffee or enjoy menu items from the snack bar at the “Chocolate Cafe To Go” concession stand by the South Bend Chocolate Company.

I highly recommend stopping by one of the other Chocolate Cafe locations if you have more time while you’re in South Bend.

There is also a full-service restaurant onsite, Howard Park Public House, at the west end of the event center that’s open year-round for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You can view their main menu and bar menu to get an idea of their options.

group skating on the ice pond at Howard Park

Take Advantage of Introductory Ice Skating Lessons at Howard

On Tuesday evenings the Ice Trail is closed to public skating for ice skating lessons offered to the public at no additional cost to the price of admission.

Class participants can choose a one-time drop-in class or a 3-week course that builds on skills each week Afterwards they are welcome to stay and practice their skills on the ice trail afterward.

These classes are very popular with limited capacities and you must be registered online in advance.

The classes last 30 minutes and are geared for pre-school-aged skaters and cover basic skills for ages 6 and up.

benches near ice skating area at Howard Park

Locker Rentals for Personal Belongings

You can leave your shoes in the unattended cubbies under the benches or you can rent a locker inside the event center if you want your personal items to be more secure.

We took a gamble, left our shoes under the bench, and had no issues.

ice skating trail South Bend

Enjoy the Colorful Lightshow

Next to the ice skating trail is an art installation with a color-changing light show.

During the summer months, the public park also has a water feature and a nearby venue that has events with live music.

Adventure mom and sons ice skating

Dress in Layers for Ice Skating

You’ll want to dress in layers to help you stay warm while you skate.

During our visit, it was really windy and I was so glad that I had a sweatshirt, coat, and hat. You can always remove layers if you get too warm.

Make sure that you wear taller socks if you plan on ice skating so that the top of the skate doesn’t rub against the lower parts of your leg.

ice skating trail South Bend Indiana

Special Events at Howard Park

Check the Howard Park website for more details on the following events:

  • Learn To Skate Classes
  • $5 Skate Night
  • DJ Skate Night
accessible playground at Howard Park

Accessible Playground at Howard Park

If kids need a break from ice skating there is a 13,000-square-foot accessible playground that’s contained within the surrounding ice trail.

ice pond at Howard Park

You Can Rent the Ice for a Private Event

During non-public skate hours, Howard Park offers private rink rental of the ice pond or ice trail. Contact the park to learn more about ice time and pricing.

ice skating trail at Howard Park South Bend

Where is Howard Park Ice Skating Located?

219 S St Louis Blvd, South Bend, IN 

(574) 299-4765

Parking at Howard

The ice skating rink has free parking along the street or you can use the Zion Church parking lot.

football stadium at the University of Notre Dame

Additional Adventures in South Bend, Indiana

South Bend is most known as the home of the University of Notre Dame. While there, stop by for a few pictures of the campus.

If you return in the summer, try white water rafting downtown.

Looking For More Unique Winter Adventures?

Check out my articles on the learn-to-luge experience and the ice skating trail in the woods in Muskegon, Michigan.

1 thought on “Glide on an Ice Skating Trail in South Bend Indiana”

  1. Hi Nendra,

    What an amazing share! I have always wanted to try ice-skating, but I am afraid I will fall down. To be honest, I am not a good or even decent skater, but the rest of my family is a pro. They are here this new year, and I am thinking about taking them skating. I really loved reading your article, and you gave me a fun activity to try with my family while they are still here. Thanks a lot for sharing about your experience, it was a great read.

Leave a Comment