Ice skating isn't just for the Frog Pond, anymore. This winter, City Hall Plaza will be home to New England's first custom-designed outdoor skating path, according to the city.
As part of ongoing efforts to enhance City Hall Plaza, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the skating path and a "European-inspired holiday shopping market" will adorn the public space thanks to a partnership with the Boston Garden Development Corporation.
The city picked BGDC's bid earlier this year — the corporation is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, the owner and operator of TD Garden — and officially announced the signing of a three-year contract this week.
"This endeavor is the beginning of a joint venture that will help transform the plaza into a year-round destination, inviting the people of Boston to see the plaza come to life in new and exciting ways," Walsh said in a statement.
The previous bid included plans for a Ferris wheel. This week's announcement made no mention of any towering rides, but noted that the plaza will have different features for different seasons.
The skating path and market are expected to open after Thanksgiving. The path, which will be open to skaters of all ages, will be nearly 11,000 gross square feet and stay open through February 2017.
At the market, visitors can expect to "experience seasonal delicacies and interactive attractions in a celebratory winter atmosphere," according to a statement. A mix of local and international vendors along with food and beverage offerings in "individual chalets" will comprise the marketplace, which will continue through New Year's Day 2017.
"City Hall Plaza is the heart of the city, and we share Mayor Walsh's vision to provide a welcoming, enticing communal space that better serves the residents and visitors of Boston," said Charlie Jacobs, CEO for Delaware North's Boston Holdings, in a statement. "Our team is actively working to create an engaging winter experience for the plaza as well as unique activations for every season."
In the meantime, BGDC will be installing shaded picnic tables on City Hal Plaza to provide gathering spots for commuters and visitors in the coming weeks. Delaware North will also join Walsh and the Main Streets Foundation to sponsor the "Beer Garden on Bricks" programming in the future, a social event on the plaza that the city started this past summer.