More than 50 million tourists visit New York City each year and there’s one thing that many of them can’t resist doing before departing the Big Apple – gliding atop blades on one of the city’s numerous ice rinks. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Rink to the lesser known Lasker Rink at the north end of Central Park, there are more to choose from than one could possibly have time to hit in one winter. Here are a few of the must-see rinks in the famed bustling metropolis.
6. Chelsea Piers: This indoor rink known as the Sky Rink, located at Pier 61, offers seven-day-a-week skating and boasts two skating surfaces. Not only does Chelsea offer figure skating and hockey training, they also host events like birthday parties, with dedicated party rooms and food onsite. $10 to get in, $5 to rent skates.
5. City Ice Pavilion: This NHL-sized rink is a rooftop facility in Long Island City, and is open all year round. The rink offers skating for the public as well as hockey for children and adults, as well as birthday party and corporate event packages. $6 on weekdays, $9 on holidays and weekends. Skate rental is $5.
4. Lakeside Prospect Park: This Brooklyn beauty has just been completely renovated to the tune of $74 million, and reopened in October, 2015. The two ice rinks total 32,000 square feet and encompass an open air as well as a covered surface. Among the offerings are open family skates as well as classes for all ages. Check the website for daily hours. $6-8 to get in, $6 to rent skates.
3. Wollman Rink – Central Park: Remember that scene in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, you know, the one at the skating rink, in which Marv stumbles by the boards? This is that ice rink. While it can be crowded here, the view of the New York City skyline to the east, west, and south is hard to beat. Wollman is open from October until April and during the rest of the year serves as the beautiful Victorian Gardens.
Wollman Rink is branded as a “Trump” property, and as such now offers a VIP package. This will set you back $72 but you’ll get skate concierge service, guaranteed admission, and a reserved seat (for a three hour time block) in a heated tent next to the rink. But wait, that’s not all! You’ll also enjoy a private lock and unlimited coffee, cider, cocoa, filtered water, fruit, granola bars, and cookies.
For regular, non-VIP Joes – admission will cost you $11.25-18 depending on the day and hours, $6 for kids 11 and younger, and $9 for senior citizens. Skate rental is $8 and if you just want to sit and watch you’ll be out $5.
2. Bryant Park’s Winter Village Rink: During the wintertime Bryant Park is transformed into a holiday shopping paradise featuring vendors with all kinds of interesting wares, from arts and crafts to clothing, jewelry, and of course plenty of gift items. Along with this vibrant holiday market comes skating on the rink at Winter Village. With all of the food and warm beverages available in the area, what could be better? You get to skate in mid-town without the chaos of Rockefeller Center crowds.
Admission is free but skate rental will set you back $15-19. You can also opt for Fast Passes which means VIP treatment – admission, bag check, skate rental, and hot cocoa, all for one price (either two people or four). If you’ve got an itty bitty skater you can rent a Penguin helper for $15/half hour, $20/hour.
1. The Rink at Rockefeller Center: Cliché as it is, the rink that sits in the shadow of one of the most famous buildings in the world, surrounded by the home of the Rockettes, NBC Studios, and the site of the famed NYC Christmas tree must occupy the number one spot on the list of the best ice rinks in Gotham. It’s true, it’s not the largest – only 150 skaters are permitted on the ice at any given time. The crowds…you know there will be crowds, especially during the tourist-heavy holiday season. When your turn comes, you will bask in a generous 90 minutes of glide time, reveling in the fresh air on your face as you cruise along underneath the watchful eye of Prometheus. If it is dark, you will experience the magic of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree – a childhood dream come to life!
Like many of the skating rinks in NYC, Rockefeller Center offers packages – including a 7am First Skate that comes with skate rental, coffee, hot cocoa, and a breakfast if you so choose ($45-55). The VIP package will cost you $60-125 and includes all the standards plus a concierge and in and out rink access during your 90 minutes. If impressing your date (or your wife!) is at the top of your list, opt for the Starlight Skate, which begins at 10.30pm (by reservation) for $45 per person. And if it’s time to pop the question, Rockefeller has you covered there too, although proposing will hit your wallet hard – ranging from $350-1000 for one of the Engagement on Ice Packages.
If you’re just having a regular go round the rink, it’ll cost you $25-32 for adults, and $15 for kids and seniors. Skates are $12 to rent.
No matter which NYC rink you choose, the atmosphere, scenery, and people-watching are worth the price of admission all on their own. The actual skating? That’s a bonus!