Want to enjoy New York’s ice rinks in winter? In this article I explore with you all the ice skating options in New York 🙂
New York is a city that can be visited at any time, but it totally transforms around the Christmas and New Year holidays. New York's ice rinks are among the most popular attractions during this festive period.
If you are planning a trip to New York between October and March, you will probably have the opportunity to visit one of the large ice rinks that are open to the public. If you're not sure when to go to New York yet and want to enjoy the winter and holiday atmosphere, this will be just right for you 🙂
In the following lines, I'm going to tell you all about the most iconic places to skate in New York during the winter.
THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER ICE RINK
Let's start with New York's must-see ice rink. Rockefeller Center is an iconic Manhattan landmark – especially during the holiday season, as it is home to one of the world's most famous Christmas trees (and the tallest in New York): the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.
It is on Rockefeller Plaza, at the foot of the Comcast Building (the largest building in the Rockefeller complex), that thousands of people come to skate each year in an absolutely enchanting Christmas decor.This ice rink has been set up every year since 1936, and has today truly become a symbol of Manhattan.
It's not the biggest rink you'll find in New York, nor is it the cheapest, but this is the place to go if you want to make a lasting memory of your stay in New York. No need to wait for winter to enjoy the ice – this rink opens most of the time during the first half of October.
You can also take the opportunity to visit another one of New York's major attractions: the Top of the Rock Observatory. This panoramic observatory is located at the top of the Comcast Building, and from it you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Manhattan and the city, which is even more beautiful when the streets are decorated for Christmas.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER ICE RINK
In order to use the Rockefeller Center ice rink, you will have to go to the Skate House, a tent located in front of the entrance that you will have no trouble finding. No reservation is needed – although you may have to wait up to an hour, as the rink is of course very popular, especially from November until the first days of the new year.
The entrance is open from 8:30 am to midnight. By buying a ticket, you get the right to skate for 90 minutes, and your turn comes the very next skating session.
The price of this ticket is not fixed and varies according to the number of people. The basic price is $25 (£19.20), but during school holidays you will have to pay $28 (£21.55). During the busiest periods, the price can get as high as $33 (£25.50). For children aged 10 and under, the price is $15 (£11.50). In addition to the ticket price, you will have to add $13 (£10) for skate rental.
Additionally, you can even take a skating lesson with a teacher for $50 an hour (£38.50). These lessons are available every day between 9 am and 6 pm.
The Rockefeller Center ice rink is one of the most famous skating rinks in New York, along with the Central Park rink 🙂
THE CENTRAL PARK RINK (WOLLMAN RINK)
This is the second most famous rink in New York, and arguably the most beautiful. Located south-east of Central Park from October or November, the Wollman Rink will allow you to skate in a magnificent setting while enjoying a beautiful view of the city's tall buildings.
Every year since 1949, New Yorkers have had the chance to enjoy this rink – which you have probably already seen in a romantic comedy or Christmas movie. Unlike the Rockefeller Center rink, this one is very large. It will therefore be more suitable for beginners, who will have more space to move around on the ice.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE CENTRAL PARK RINK
To reach the Wollman Rink, you can enter Central Park from the intersection of 5th Avenue and 64th Street. The rink is open:
- Monday and Tuesday from 10 am to 2:30 pm
- Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm
- Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm
- Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.
Prices vary according to the day of the week:
- Monday through Thursday, admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children under 11, and $5 for people over 65.
- From Friday to Sunday and on public holidays, the ticket costs $19 for adults, $6 for children and $9 for seniors.
Only cash is accepted, and you'll also have to pay $15 for skate rental and the cloakroom.
This is my favourite out of the New York City ice rinks. The surrounding scenery is incredible while you skate 🙂 You are in the heart of New York!
BRYANT PARK ICE RINK
In Bryant Park, during the late fall and holiday season, you will have the opportunity to visit the Bank of America Winter Village. In addition to the shops, the main attraction of this winter village is its beautiful and very large ice rink. You can skate in a beautiful setting that is not any worse than Central Park, and you won't even have to buy a ticket.
There are also regular ice shows at the Bryant Park rink. A short walk away is the Bryant Park Christms Market – one of the most popular and charming markets in New York, with its small glass chalets. You'll find lots of shops from merchants and artisans from all over the world.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON THE BRYANT PARK ICE RINK
The rink is open every day from 8 am to 10 pm. You won't need to buy a ticket to skate, but on the other hand, skate hire is more expensive there than at other rinks in the city. This is not a backdoor way of charging admission (or at least not completely), as the skates provided are genuinely of a better quality and better maintained than those provided elsewhere. Depending on the period, the price for renting ice skates varies between $18 and $33 (£14 and £25)
Chelsea Piers ice rink
Chelsea Piers is a sports complex located in Manhattan's Chelsea neighbourhood, on the banks of the Hudson River. You can visit this complex all year round to enjoy a wide range of sports activities. There is a fitness centre, bowling alley, basketball courts, football fields and batting cages where you can try your hand at baseball.
Between October and February, there is also an ice rink at Chelsea Piers – the Sky Rink. It's not the most beautiful rink in the city, but it's a great place to learn how to stand on your skates and enjoy your skating sessions on the other rinks. At the Sky Rink, you can take skating lessons, try your hand at ice hockey and even take freestyle classes to learn how to do artistic tricks.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON THE CHELSEA PIERS ICE RINK
Free sessions on the rink cost $28.50 (£22) for 50 minutes and $35 (£27) for 80 minutes. These rates include equipment rental. On public holidays, there is even a reduced rate, with 50 minutes for $22 (£17) and 80 minutes for $25 (£19).
From October to February, free sessions are organised:
- Monday from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm
- Tuesday to Thursday from 3 pm to 5 pm
- Friday from 1:30 pm to 5:20 pm
- Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 3:50 pm
To book, go directly to the official website.
THE BROOKFIELD PLACE ICE RINK
If you want to enjoy a beautiful view of the New York Bay and the Statue of Liberty, the Brookfield Place Ice Rink is the place for you. It opens every year from early November to early March.
This relatively small open-air rink is far from being the busiest in the city. This means that you can enjoy your skating session while taking in the Manhattan skyline, without having to wait for your turn. The prices are also more affordable than for the most popular rinks in Manhattan.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON THE BROOKFIELD PLACE ICE RINK
The rink is located in lower Manhattan, right next to the World Trade Center It is open Monday to Friday from 12 noon to 8:30 pm, and on weekends from 10:15 am to 9:30 pm.
The 90-minute session costs only $15, with an additional $5 for skate rental.For more information, go directly to the rink's website.
You've reached the end of this article on New York's ice rinks. I hope you enjoyed it! 😊