Skip to main content


Free skating to kick off Independence Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest 30th anniversary season


This Thanksgiving weekend there’s even more to be thankful for; skating admission and skate rentals on Opening Day will be free, thanks to founding sponsor Independence Blue Cross. More on the 30th Anniversary season including the annual star-studded Holiday Tree Lighting, s’mores, comforting wintry eats, exciting boardwalk games and rides, and of course spectacular fireworks along the Delaware River Waterfront below.

Free skating for all on Opening Day, courtesy of founding sponsor Independence Blue Cross, will mark the beginning of many exciting promotions and celebrations for the 30th Anniversary Season of Independence Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, officially kicking off on Black Friday, November 24.

For 30 seasons, Independence Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest has been Philadelphia’s favorite winter tradition on the Delaware River Waterfront, inviting visitors to indulge in flights of fancy under thousands of sparkling lights in a winter wonderland with spectacular views of the Delaware River. Cozy up in comforting warming cabins and around firepit stations, enjoy boardwalk rides and games for the young and young-at-heart, feast on delicious food and hot beverages, take in the beauty of the signature holiday tree, and, of course, ice skate on the NHL-sized rink. Winterfest is a top destination for anyone looking to rekindle family traditions.

Throughout this milestone season, numerous exciting promotions and events will be announced. To reserve free skating tickets on Opening Day, order them at Reserving your tickets in advance for this promotion is highly recommended, as space will fill up quickly. Orders for Opening Day will be capped at 4 tickets per transaction.

“Winterfest has been bringing people together for 30 years, and everyone at Independence Blue Cross is proud to be a part of this milestone celebration as a founding sponsor,” said Gregory E. Deavens, Independence Blue Cross president and CEO. “As we celebrate our own anniversary — 85 years as Philadelphia’s hometown health insurer — we salute the team at the Independence Blue Cross RiverRink for helping neighbors and visitors alike stay active while creating lasting memories. We are delighted to provide free skating and skate rentals for all on opening day as our way of saying thank you to the community.”

Inside the Lodge, FCM’s Black Iron BBQ will be serving up signature comfort food items such as the pulled pork sandwich and loaded mac and cheese “tots.” Chickie’s & Pete’s returns, slinging cheesesteaks, boneless wings, Crabfries®, and more. A revamped cocktail menu also awaits with warm, festive drinks to raise your holiday spirits. Outside, Skelly’s Amusements will be keeping it warm with hot cocoa, fried Oreos, funnel cakes, and so much more.

Boardwalk games and rides are back. Visitors will be able to cozy up with a few extra layers and see all the sparkling lights from 60 feet above with a ride on the Ferris wheel ($5). Cabin rentals are available for 90-minute increments ($78 for a single — 8 people; $125 for a double — 12 to 15 people). For the third year in a row, firepits can be reserved in advance to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for all ages ($30 for 90 minutes). If you’re looking for a larger space, the Rinkside Lounge accommodates 40 guests, offers private access on and off the rink, and is adorned in rustic décor. Cabin, firepits, and the Rinkside Lounge can be reserved here.

Admission into Independence Blue Cross RiverRink remains free and open to the public. Advanced timed ticketing will be offered for ice skating ($5 skating and $12 skate rental) as well as on site, though ordering tickets in advance is recommended. Independence Blue Cross cardholders will receive free skate admission for themselves and three guests all season long with proof of Independence Blue Cross card, making it even easier for family and friends to share in festive fun. Tickets can be reserved here.

“Free skating is just the beginning of what’s on offer for this exciting milestone season that promises to be one of the most action-packed seasons yet. Our time-honored relationship with Independence Blue Cross is something we value tremendously — we are so proud to come together once again this year to be a part of so many of the most memorable holiday season traditions for Philadelphian’s and visitors alike,” said DRWC President, Joe Forkin.

The Holiday Tree Lighting Powered by PECO will be on Friday, December 1, with performances beginning at 6 p.m. Details about the star-studded, live-broadcast event on NBC10 to follow.

The anniversary season and winter festivities continue just a quick stroll down the Delaware River Trail at Cherry Street Pier which is celebrating its 5th anniversary season. Cherry Street Pier is a one-stop-shop for locally made holiday gifts and holiday markets. The resident artists will be featured in our holiday gift guide at, making the Pier the most picturesque destination in town for purchasing gifts, strolling, dining, taking in art and culture, and ringing in the New Year. Holiday Markets will take place at Cherry Street Pier every Saturday from November 25 through December 23. The can’t-miss Tuba Christmas will also make its return to the Pier with a performance on December 17 from 2-3 p.m. Annual New Year’s Eve parties at Cherry Street Pier will return on Sunday, December 31 with a Family Party from 5pm to 7pm followed by a late-night bash from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the adults. For the full list of ever-growing events and exhibitions at Cherry Street Pier, visit

Independence Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest sponsors

Winter Programming is made possible by Independence Blue Cross, PECO, Maker’s Mark and Hornitos, Baileys, Liberty Coca-Cola, Visit Philadelphia, and NBC10 and Telemundo62.