BEST PLACE TO ICE SKATE Minneapolis 2004 - Parade
The Milwaukee Road Depot is elegant in its atmosphere and architecture, and rinks like Edina's Braemar will give you a bracing draught of hockey skating at its purest. But to paraphrase the old saw about giving tasks you want done right to your busiest employee: If you want a great place to skate, go to where all the skaters are. The three rinks at Parade, one of the gems in the Minneapolis parks system, hum with constant activity. One rink will find the Minnesota Wild practicing, another might host a birthday party, and a third, smaller ice surface (dubbed the "studio" rink) could headquarter figure skating pros refining their pupils' camel spins or a gaggle of wee wingers practicing their puck-handling moves. While Parade doesn't have the uninterrupted stretches of weekend public skating that the Depot offers, its admission prices are kinder on the wallet--$3 for adults; skate rentals are $2. And, for the price of a round of drinks at a fancy downtown watering hole, you can rent a rink for an hour. Just make sure to reserve in advance, and call ahead: Parade's ice-time cancellations list changes more than the weather report for a typical Minnesota March.