Coloradans are always looking for ways to enjoy the winter season.
That’s especially true for the folks near West Alameda Avenue and South Wadsworth Boulevard, where the Rink at Belmar shines bright with twinkling trees and a lighted plaza. On break from ice skating, kids clutch paper cups of steaming cocoa. Others warm themselves with cocktails at nearby restaurants. Belmar’s outdoor skating season is a sight to see.
Belmar is one of the only Denver-area rinks consistently offering outdoor skating enthusiasts a place to play. In its third season, the rink is quickly gaining status.
“From last season, we’re up about 45% in the number of skaters, and that’s just November/December,” said Belmar marketing director M.C. Genova. “We’ve entertained about 17,000 skaters to date and we’re getting people from throughout the community, people from out of town and throughout the metro area.”
Last December, over 150 skaters donned tacky holiday sweaters in exchange for free rink admission. While grandma’s knitted reindeer sweater was finally put to use, the event doubled as a winter clothing drive for the Jeffco Action Center. Drawn also by a one-time, Return to the ’80s night and ongoing Date Skates, people are discovering Lakewood’s little ice rink.
The rink is part of the Belmar downtown district, a mixed-use redevelopment of Lakewood’s old Villa Italia mall. Opened in May 2004, the area includes office and living space as well as dining, shopping, a movie theater and a bowling alley. And according to Genova, the ice rink was always a part of the big plan.
“When developing Belmar, the goal was always to create community and one part of it was an ice rink,” she said. “It’s more than just shopping.”
Chains such as GUESS and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill are common, but unique Colorado companies are starting to make a showing. Just steps from the rink, locally-owned Chama bills itself as a “cocina Mexicana y tequileria.” And what a tequileria it is. With over 100 tequilas on the menu, it’s the perfect place to warm up after a sub-freezing skate.
The scene outside is frighteningly similar to a TV sitcom. Flirting teens skate hand-in-hand, older brothers guide little sisters, and adults of all ages huddle around the retro-fitted skate shack, a restored Airstream trailer.
“It’s a really great location, and a wonderful atmosphere,” said Genova. “It’s like a Rockefeller Center right here in Lakewood.”
It’s pretty tough to put Lakewood in line with New York, but Belmar’s tiny rink proves a whole lot of fun.
If You Go
The Rink at Belmar is located in the plaza on South Teller Street between West Alaska Drive and West Virginia Avenue. Currently open weekends through Feb. 28, the rink may remain open through March; check www.belmarcolorado.com for updates.
Skate rental: $3
Chama Cocina Mexicana y Tequileria, 425 S. Teller St., Lakewood, (303) 935-5170
Rachel Barbara enjoys writing about Colorado’s more active side.
From the Editors: We spent a heap of time making sure this story was accurate when it was published, but of course, things can change. Please confirm the details before setting out in our great Centennial State.