To a recent NYC transplant, the prospect of ice-skating in Los Angeles begs skepticism — there's something unorthodox about being able to skate in shorts and a T-shirt. My last skating experience took place at Rockefeller Center, where my date and I waited for two hours in order to skate for a total of 15 minutes. By the end of the first hour my nose was running like bad pantyhose and my enthusiasm had worn just as thin. There's only so many LED Christmas trees and looky-loo tourists a girl can stand. Plus it was so cold you had to wear TWO pairs of gloves!

Not so at L.A.'s Downtown on Ice; While Pershing Square is admittedly smaller than Rockefeller Center, there is no line and skating sessions are a generous hour-long. Plus the price, which hasn't changed in 11 years, is recessionista-friendly at $6 for tickets and $2 for skates. And it really is warm enough to wear shorts. Eat your heart out Rockefeller Center.

The rink holds free concerts and events depending on the day of week, ranging from the vocal stylings of a U2 cover band (the night I was there), to a reenactment of High School Musical to a King's youth hockey clinic to a Spaceland-sponsored indie-rock showcase every Thursday.

As one staffer put it, “From Beverly Hills to South Central, people are skating.” Downtown on Ice makes for a super low-key and refreshing destination for anyone experiencing post-holiday party burnout. The panoramic views of Downtown Los Angeles will melt the heart of even the most hardened East Coast skate snob, as skating underneath the skyline is an awe-inspiring experience. No matter what your ability level (and trust me, mine is REALLY low) doing something as out of the ordinary as skating in 72-degree weather is bound to make you forget about the embarrassing thing you drunkenly said to your boss at the holiday mixer — and you'll burn off the calories from Grandma's Peppermint Bark in the process!

Cheaper than a ticket to NYC or a holiday movie, Downtown on Ice is a savvy place to bring your New Year's honey, or to meet one for that matter. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so. Brian Allen, the rink manager, confirms that people get engaged at the rink all the time — this Christmas Eve a man got down on one knee and proposed on the ice, to a woman he had met at a Downtown on Ice event three years to the day. It makes sense that ice-skating is the ideal activity in which to make a new friend; when you're not a Kristy Yamaguchi or even a Tonya Harding, it helps to have someone, anyone, to grab on to.

Downtown on Ice @Pershing Square

532 South Olive St. Los Angeles, CA 90013

November 20, 2008 through January 19, 2009

Tickets: $6 – Skates: $2 – Skating in booty-shorts: Priceless

Special discount parking rates apply to rink visitors.

LA Weekly