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Fleet Skating Center -- 2 Kennedy Plaza; 331.5544

The key to surviving winter in Providence is learning to love it. Sure, it's really cold and damp outside, but it's also snowy and crisp and occasionally beautiful, and there's no better way to warm up on a weekend afternoon than careening around in circles at the Fleet Skating Center. Bundle up, grab some friends and head downtown - the rink is closer than the mall, and downtown Providence looks downright picturesque if you're still there after sundown. (The rink stays open until 10 p.m.) For atmosphere and kitschy romance, it far surpasses dinner and a movie.

Even if you're not an experienced skater, let go of the wall and try to pick up some momentum. Forget about finals and focus on your balance - it's more fun than a workout at the Bear's Lair, and after an hour or so, when you've sweated through a few layers of clothing, you'll be happy for the cold air. The rink fills up at peak hours, but it's spacious enough that with a little maneuvering, you can easily steer clear of the kamikaze kids practicing hockey stops.

Regular admission is $5, and if you don't have your own skates, you can rent skates for another $5. Take advantage of their special rates, though. On Wednesday evenings from 6-10 p.m., show your Brown ID and pay just $3 for admission and $4 for rentals - four hours of skating for less than the price of a movie. The rink also offers discounted sessions every weekday from noon-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

Skating season begins in November and lasts as long as the cold weather does; in some cases, that can be a very long time. Go early, though - by March, you'll have seen enough ice to last you a while.


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