38° Good Afternoon
38° Good Afternoon

Skate dates, and all the fun that follows

Amanda Goldman, 24, of Smithtown, and her boyfriend,

Amanda Goldman, 24, of Smithtown, and her boyfriend, Eddie Chlanda, 29, of Central Islip, skate at The Rinx on The Harbor in Port Jefferson. (Dec. 19, 2011) Credit: Heather Walsh

Ice skating and winter go hand in hand. This year, extend your fun on the ice with activities near local skating rinks. Whether you're looking for family-friendly entertainment or a romantic night out, you can always stretch your afternoon skate date into an evening to remember.

Romantic date night by the harbor

WHERE Port Jefferson Village Center at Harborfront Park, 101-A East Broadway

INFO 631-403-4357,

ADMISSION $9.50-$10.50 ($8-$11 younger than 12); $5 skate rental

In Port Jefferson, the outdoor rink by the water is a scenic spot to go skating.

"It's a perfect date spot," says Anna Macukas, 26, of Centereach, who was on the ice last week with her fiance, Dan Fruhauf, 24, of Port Jefferson, to celebrate the anniversary of their engagement.

The rink is cozy, with a handful of benches outside and within the adjacent village center. Public skating sessions are held daily through mid-March.

WHAT'S NEARBY Before or after a skate, couples can dine by the waterfront at Wave Seafood Kitchen inside Danfords Hotel & Marina (631-928-5200). If you just want drinks, visit Schafer's on dueling piano nights (8-11 on Fridays and Saturdays), where two pianists play while singing pop and rock tunes on an elevated stage (631-473-8300).

Family-friendly skate

WHERE Christopher Morley Park, 500 Searingtown Rd., Roslyn

INFO 516-571-8123 or

ADMISSION $7 for Nassau County residents who have a Leisure Pass ($5 ages 4-17). Nonresidents pay $20 ($14 kids); $5 skate rental

Situated outside, among trees and a pond, the outdoor, nearly NHL-size rink at Christopher Morley Park is a crowd-pleaser for all ages. The kiddies can sing along to festive music (think "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch") while adults look on from park benches. When it gets too cold, head into a nearby building, where there's a brick fireplace, and vending machines for snacks and hot drinks.

"As a kid, I skated here my whole life," says Lisa Gattulli, 46, formerly of Roslyn Heights, who was recently visiting from Costa Rica with her 5-year-old daughter, Milagros Rodriguez. She was drawn to the "family-friendly" atmosphere. There's a nearby playground that's a good diversion when kids get tired of skating.

WHAT'S NEARBY When you've had your fill of fun outdoors, kids may get a kick out of eating at the two-story Landmark Diner (1027 Northern Blvd., 516-627-4830). The not-so-standard fare has a children's menu for ages 12 and younger -- which includes a scoop of ice cream, cookie and chocolate pudding or Jell-O. Bonus: Booths on the first floor are equipped with digital jukeboxes, so you can select songs, play games and browse the Internet while you wait.

Skating and shopping

WHERE Cantiague Park Ice Skating Rink, 480 W. John St., Hicksville

INFO 516-571-7058,

ADMISSION $7 for Nassau County residents who have a Leisure Pass ($5 ages 4-17). Nonresidents pay $20 ($14 kids); $5 skate rental

When it's too cold to skate outside, the indoor rink at Cantiague Park is a good alternative. The rink is large enough to accommodate a crowd and the stadium bleachers, dome ceiling and glass enclosures give off the vibe of a hockey rink. Groove with friends to songs pumped through overhead speakers, but keep valuables with you, as there are no public lockers.

Lyndsey Sonkin, 23, of Woodbury, found it to be a good destination for a recent afternoon date with her friend Ethan Dreyfuss, 24, of Massapequa. "You have a place to sit and an area to hang out with friends," she says.

WHAT'S NEARBY When you're done skating, head to Route 107/ Broadway and work your way through a row of interesting Indian shops and restaurants, such as Royal Bukhara Grill, where you can get inexpensive snacks like Potli samosa -- crisp patties stuffed with peas and potatoes ($3.25 for 2 pieces). In terms of shopping, Aainaa is stocked with glittering Indian jewelry (101 Broadway, 516-822-5304).

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