The Rink at Royal Oak opened once again in the downtown on Nov. 17. It will stay open until Feb. 19, 2024.

The Rink at Royal Oak opened once again in the downtown on Nov. 17. It will stay open until Feb. 19, 2024.

Photo provided by the city of Royal Oak

Royal Oak ice rink returns through February

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published December 4, 2023


ROYAL OAK — It’s time for skaters in Royal Oak and neighboring cities to lace up their skates and hit the ice, as The Rink at Royal Oak is back for a second year.

The Rink at Royal Oak opened for the season on Nov. 17 and will run through Feb. 19, 2024.

Jon Witz, who brought the rink idea to the city last year, is excited to have The Rink at Royal Oak back for a second time.

“There’s tremendous excitement for coming back this year,” he said. “I definitely think the rink should be an annual tradition or experience, so to speak. It’s been very well received by local residents and folks from around the region. It draws people from outside of Royal Oak to the downtown in colder months, you know, when some of those businesses would love that traffic and impact, and it’s just a great way to invade a park space that would be otherwise inhabited.”

According to Witz, the rink brought in 17,000 skaters and drew 35,000 people to the park over three months last winter.

To improve upon the rink this year, Witz said they’ve added heated kiosks to provide more heat and areas for skaters to change. He also stated they leveled the deck space to the rink, as that was a complaint they heard last year.

“There were some ups and downs with the terrain and getting from the deck area to the rink,” he said. “I would say just the access is easier. And then we opened up the area by moving the skate house and the concessions to the northwest of the area, which opened up the rink to Third Street and Lockhart’s and The Rock on 3rd, and just visually we’ve opened it up to more street space than we did last year.”

“We had some complaints about the quality of the rental skates last year, so we ensured that the skates that we were getting were either new or 1-year-old skates, and there’s just been really great reviews on the skates that we have,” he continued.

City Manager Paul Brake said that the ice rink brings in a number of visitors to Royal Oak who otherwise would not come to Centennial Commons. He also was happy to see the improvements made to the rink this year.

“With the skate rental, it’s much more an integrated offering whereas before the different huts and stands and things like that kind of appeared to be an afterthought,” he said. “Now it’s much more attractive, where it almost appears as if it is something that would be there year-round.”

“This is a popular location; I look directly out my window out there and it’s popular for skaters during the day as well as into the evening,” he continued.

Witz stated he learned a lot from that first year of organizing the ice rink. While he did one previously at Campus Martius, it only was for three days.

“Producing a rink for a full season for the first time, which we did last year, we were naturally going to try and, you know, and make the experience better, and we’ve heard from patrons that they feel that we’ve done that,” he said.

The rink also has a special toy drive going on Dec. 8-10 where toys will be collected for the Bottomless Toy Chest, a Troy-based nonprofit that provides toys for hospitalized pediatric oncology patients. Those who make a donation will receive hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting kit coupons.

The rink’s hours from now until Dec. 31 are noon to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

For more information on the rink and specials such as free skate days and rentals, visit