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Pacers' ice skating rink is now open outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse — here's what you need to know
It is open daily from Nov. 19 - Jan. 21 for 90-minute sessions on the ice at Bicentennial Unity Plaza in downtown Indianapolis.
A new winter attraction in downtown Indianapolis officially opens on Sunday.
On top of the outdoor basketball court at Bicentennial Unity Plaza, which opened on August 24, is now thick ice for the next two months.
It’s the Elevance Health Rink, which will be open daily to the public for 90-minute sessions of ice skating and fun.
“We want to bring people here,” said Lori Miser, the vice president of engineering and construction at Pacers Sports & Entertainment. “We want them to enjoy it. It’s a gorgeous space and people haven't been able to ice skate outside in downtown Indianapolis for I think 50 years. It’s been a long time.”
What: It’s Year 1 for ice skating on a rink larger than at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Including skate rental, it’s $15 per person to participate (another $2 for primetime hours: Fridays and Saturdays after 5pm). You may bring your own skates, but there’s no savings on skate rental.
For the kiddos: Skate aids are $10 to rent.
And for the adults: Wine and beer are available.
Advance tickets are encouraged, but walk-ups are welcome. There’s no minimum age to skate. (2 & under are free.)
Where: Just north of Gainbridge Fieldhouse between Pennsylvania and Delaware St. There’s a concessions stand with hot dogs, pretzels, snacks, coffee and hot chocolate.
When: Nov. 19 through Jan. 21, 2024. Hours are dependent on the day.
Mon-Wed: See the ticket portal for availability on specific dates. This is also when private events are possible by emailing Kim Case.
Thursday 3:30 p.m — 9 p.m.
Friday 3:30 p.m. — 11 p.m.
Saturday: 11:30 a.m. — 11 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. — 9 p.m.
How: The plaza was made possible by a $28.47 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc — the final piece to more than $400 million spent on upgrades to and around Gainbridge Fieldhouse. It’s a gathering place, an attraction at the center of the city and just outside the home for the Indiana Pacers and Fever.
After a few weeks of skating, I’d like to see the Pacers host some kind of pre-game events out there for fans. There’s also a giant Christmas tree (see it in the middle of the photo below), which I’m sure will become a family photo for many.
This is a huge and unique undertaking for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. A lot of hands were on deck, first to create it and then to bring it to life.
“It’s been amazing,” Miser said. “We make ice inside for Disney on Ice, but this was a totally different experience. We had to build a little stage to put the rink on and it’s been a learning process the whole time. But it’s been really fun.
“It took a lot of people. And again, it was so new that everybody has to pitch in and figure it out. Especially my team. I oversee the engineering group that’s what they’re known for — figuring it out and getting it done.”
And so they did.
I took part in a sneak preview on Friday and enjoyed my experience. It’s been a while since I’ve ice skated — going back to the days at the old Pepsi Coliseum (now Indiana Farmers Coliseum).
Just give me some warm hot chocolate and I’m good to go.