Ice Skating in the Desert

Ice-skating in the desert? Well yes, in a shopping mall that is. Actually there are quite a few places in Riyadh and around the country where they have small ice-skating rinks inside the children’s entertainment areas.
The problem is (if you’re a Finnish woman craving to do some figure-skating moves) they don’t allow women to skate. UPDATE 2017: Royal mall ice skating rink allows women and the Snow City in Othaim Mall allows women in.
We Finns have always been an Ice-loving nation. Be it figure skating, curling or ice-hockey, we have mastered it. This year Finland won the Ice hockey WORLD Championships. We beat countries like RUSSIA, U.S.A and CANADA. And we are only 5 million people. But the sweetest victory was winning against SWEDEN in the final. I just HAD to say that. Oh and did I mention it was 6-1.
One of my Finnish friends here has the same “calling” to find a place to go ice-skating. She managed to find a rink where they allowed her to skate in an abaya but that was in the more relaxed Jeddah. That’s one more reason I will add to my long “why we should move to Jeddah”-list.
So you can imagine the EXCITEMENT when I randomly found this NHL-sized (well almost) ice-skating rink in Riyadh and best yet it allows women:

No need for abayas!

Wait how can this be even possible? Wouldn’t the infamous religious police have a say to uncovered women twirling around making obviously flirty movements?
Well the answer is of course, the rink can be closed off from view. That means you have to rent the whole place out for yourself, if you happen to be a woman that is.

So for any crazies out there who would share the passion of ice-skating in the desert, this place is in the upper floor of the ChinaMart next to the Carrefour. It costs 700 SAR per hour to rent including the skate rental. I think I will be there soon practicing my “Camel Spins” and “Mohawk Turns”.


P.S: Royal Mall has an ice skating rink and they allow women as well.


If you hear of other rinks that allow women to skate please let us know!


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  • NoorOctober 4, 2011 - 1:48 am

    Ahh I love ice-skating in Dubai they have nice ones mixed as well.ReplyCancel

  • Sadiya MerchantOctober 4, 2011 - 6:02 am

    d only ice skating ive ever done is in my imagination n don wanna brag bt i think im pretty awesome :D
    700 an hr sounds pretty steep, bt hey its gonna feel euphoric fr sure- so hav fun :)ReplyCancel

  • Tara Umm Omar...October 4, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    There is also one inside Royal Mall on King Fahd Road that is women only.ReplyCancel

  • ♥●• İzdiher •●♥October 4, 2011 - 11:51 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

  • ♥●• İzdiher •●♥October 4, 2011 - 12:00 pm

    Hey,this is a fun thing to do.ReplyCancel

  • Cinnamon SnowOctober 4, 2011 - 3:05 pm

    Hey, flying yourself to Sharjah might be cheaper :D They have 2 or 3 place and then there is Dubai a short trip away :DReplyCancel

  • LaylahOctober 4, 2011 - 10:17 pm

    Thanks Tara!!!Will check that out too.
    Cinnamon Snow-I’m soon going to Dubai so I can get my skates on there as well but yes you’re right it might just be cheaper!ReplyCancel

  • DentographerOctober 4, 2011 - 11:34 pm

    ive always longed to learn inline skating.

    i grew up and i managed to learn it,never master it…i remember looking for videos to learn how to skate backwards and all the aggressive inline moves…still didnt learn them till now.

    sadly,being born in saudi arabia dictate many many things from you,inline skating is one of them,you can only imagine how the already crazy drivers in saudi go crazy and intentionaly swivel the car to your direction just to “scare” you while you skate.

    i still miss it…i remember back in 2002 i was in cairo and i went for a long ride on my skates..somthing like 12 kilos,even though cairo traffic is alot more was 2 am in the morning and people always drove away and cheered thinking i am a westerner and fooling with me will get them arrested.

    i tried ice skating also in cairo,was so much fun,i thought maybe if i master ice skating ill master inline..but no time,and no money,i was still a student.

    i still have my brand new k2 nemsis aggressive skates my fiancé,now my wife got me back in 2002….and my only practice is staring at it everytime i go to the storage unit.

    p.s. are you really that good? wow!ReplyCancel

  • LaylahOctober 6, 2011 - 12:26 am

    Dentographer-No im not great at all I was just joking :)
    You could try restart your skating hobby at DQ!ReplyCancel

  • lldi VancsuraOctober 7, 2011 - 6:19 am

    Wooow that’s nice, But could be expensive to rent the whole place! uhhhhh! Somewhere they give you somewhere they take it. But you have chance (and have to have purse)ReplyCancel

  • LaylahOctober 7, 2011 - 10:59 pm

    Hi Ildi always nice to hear from you!
    Yes its expensive and would need a generous purse (or husband) LOLReplyCancel

  • wyolincolnNovember 2, 2011 - 3:37 pm

    My wife and I will soon be moving to Jeddah from Minnesota (the self proclaimed home of hockey in the US). Anyway, my wife and I are both goalies, we want to continue playing and I am trying to find out what the options are in Jeddah… Any resources you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Congrats on finding a place to skate!!!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 30, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    There is an ice-rink for the ladies in Riyadh. It’s in Royal Mall (a small and quite mall on King Fahd Rd, I believe?). They have two ice rinks; one for men and children and the other is just for ladies. I love going there with my daughter (I stumbled across it by pure accident…). It’s like 20 SAR per hour (but you can get a good deal if you buy credit in advance). Operating hours are from 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM (I think), and you can use their skates for free. It’s best to go during week days as it gets pretty full on weekends.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahDecember 4, 2011 - 12:11 am

    Thank you for this awesome information :))Cant wait to check it out!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousFebruary 9, 2012 - 9:59 am

    I'm going to try and go tonight inshAllah. When I just moved to Saudi this Summer, I was wounded to hear there were no cinemas, and other similar amenities that are actually made enjoyable for women in Riyadh. So when my friends informed me of the skating rink, I was over the moon! CAN'T WAIT FOR THE WOBBLING, GLIDING, AND FALLING!ReplyCancel

  • george khouryApril 2, 2013 - 3:12 pm

    Hello everyone,
    My name is George, I recently came to Riyadh from Lebanon. I’m an ice skating fan and i do practice some jumps and spins on ice. I’m very happy about your conversation about ice skating in Riyadh because i share you same ideas and concern. I also would like to introduce to you another kind of skating very close to ice skating and which can be practiced when it’s difficult having access to ice rinks. It’s called inline figure skating and you can visit this page on facebook to have an idea about it: or (inline artistic and figure skating).
    This sport can be practiced in small halls or basketball courts, tennis, in your compound, in front of your house, etc and preferably indoor. If you’re interested just send me your feedback on the page.
    I hope this will be interesting to you and hope you like it,
    Best regards from Riyadh,
    George :)ReplyCancel

  • Summer Is Here, What To Do? | Blue AbayaMay 23, 2014 - 10:03 pm

    […] Cool off Ice Skating Ice skating rinks I’m aware of: Royal Mall (also for females), Othaim Mall exit 15, Hayat Mall, ChinaMart Mall upstairs (can be reserved for private functions as well) read more here: Ice skating in the desert […]ReplyCancel

    • AmyJanuary 3, 2016 - 9:01 am

      Wondering if you have any contact information for renting the ice rink? We would like to try to rent ice weekly for children’s lessons. Any help is greatly appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • Riyadh To Do Guide » Blue AbayaNovember 25, 2017 - 10:19 pm

    […] Granada, Riyadh gallery, Panorama) have huge entertainment areas for children. Some even have ice skating rinks (Royal mall, Panorama, Hayat mall Othaim mall) and roller […]ReplyCancel

  • Deborah SchwebiusJune 1, 2019 - 2:29 pm

    Wondering if any lady’s groups have thought about renting the rink for an hour and splitting the costs… desperately wanting to skate… got back into it while living in Abu Dhabi… was going every other day (bought a membership)… so miss itReplyCancel

    • Justine CrayeSeptember 9, 2019 - 12:42 pm

      Hi Deborah

      I have been trying to organise something like this, but I can’t find a rink. I think the one mentioned in the article is closed permanently. If you find a rink that can be rented out, let us know!ReplyCancel

  • David LeslieOctober 9, 2020 - 10:07 am

    Hi Laura, great blog and as a Canadian I enjoyed the bit about ice skating and hockey. I have played with many talented Fins over the years. I am moving to Riyadh and wanted to check whether you are aware of any ice hockey being played in the city. I have been playing in Dubai and hoping to continue the sport in Riyadh. Grateful for any advice / contacts on this.ReplyCancel

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