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Mexico City on Ice

Andrea Sachs

This time of the year, New York City's Rockefeller Plaza grabs all of the attention for its twinkling Christmas tree and ice skating. Yet, its rink is a tight squeeze and, with a crowd of skaters, can feel as claustrophobic as a clown car. Oddly, the rink that deserves heralding is in Mexico City. Yep, the city where an ice cube melts faster than Frosty in springtime boasts the world's largest ice skating rink -- a claim recently certified by the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records.

The 133-by-253-foot venue sits in the famous Zocalo plaza, one of the world's largest public plazas (might as well pile on the "ests") and site of many protests, festivities and historic attractions. By comparison, the Rock's rink measures 122-by-59 feet. In addition, the Manhattan rink costs $19; the South of the Border one is free.

Feliz Navidad from the Zocalo. (Marco Ugarte/AP)

For travelers spending the holidays far from the North Pole, Mexico's ice skating rink offers a bit of Ole Saint Nick: The site also features a 164-foot-tall tree with more than 1,000 ornaments and 210,000 lights, a Christmas village with two igloos (seems Santa has some Inuit in him) and two snow-covered ramps primed for sleds and toboggans.

Because of its popularity, the Zocalo rink, like Rockefeller's, can require hours-long wait. But at least you'll catch a tan -- not hypothermia -- in line.

By Andrea Sachs |  December 16, 2008; 7:32 AM ET  | Category:  Andrea Sachs , Winter Activities , holiday travel
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