The Best Ice Skating in New York (Updated 2014)

Bryant Park Winter Village

The rink at Bryant Park’s festive Winter Village. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Want to go ice skating in New York? You can! Every winter, pleasure-seeking New Yorkers and visitors strap on skates and join the fun at New York’s many skating rinks.

Ice skating rink in new York

Currier & Ives print of ice skating in Central Park

Ice skating in New York is a tradition that goes back to the 17th century, when locals would skate on Collect Pond (which would have been in today’s Chinatown). The first formal skating rink in the United States opened in Central Park in 1858. The strange sport quickly caught on: Skating clubs formed, private rinks opened, and events were held at ponds in the still-rural Upper East Side.

At the end of the 19th century, a rink called Iceland opened, featuring a restaurant, orchestra, and ice carnivals and pageants. The rink at Rockefeller Center opened in 1936, followed by many others. Opened in 2004, the Winter Village in Bryant Park (formally CitiPond) is the latest venue to cater to the city’s ice skaters.

The best ice skating rinks in New York

Want to do some skating this winter in New York City? Here are some of our favorite New York rinks!

Rink at Rockefeller Center, NYC

The famous Rink at Rockefeller Center. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

The Rink at Rockefeller Center: Located in the heart of Rockefeller Center and overlooked by the golden statue of Prometheus (not to mention the Holiday Tree, in December), this midtown skating rink is one of Manhattan’s best-loved institutions.

Location: Between 5th and 6th Avenues and 49th and 50th Streets. Hours: Open daily 8:30am to midnight. Prices: Adults $27, kids under 11 and seniors $15, skate rental $12.

Notes: Skate lessons are available daily from 9am to 6pm for $50. Lines can be long between Thanksgiving and New Years, but the First Skate of the Day reservations can be purchased in advance online. Want to splurge? VIP reservations also are available.

Trump Wollman Rink: This New York skating rink boasts a gorgeous setting in southern Central Park, with the imposing Manhattan skyline as its backdrop.

Location: The best park entrance is at 6th Avenue and Central Park South; follow the path north for approximately 2 minutes. Hours: Open from 10am to 2:30pm Monday and Tuesday, 10am to 10pm Wednesday and Thursday, 10am to 11pm Friday and Saturday, 10am to 9pm Sunday. Prices: Adults $11.25, kids under 11 $6, seniors $5 (rates are $18, $6, $9 Friday and Saturday). Skate rental $8.  NOTE: The rink accepts cash only.

Wollman Rink, Central Park, NYC

Central Park’s Wollman Rink has a dramatic backdrop. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Winter Village at Bryant Park: This large skating rink, set over Bryant Park’s central lawn, is ringed by festive restaurants, bars, and kiosks selling artisan gifts and specialty foods.

Location: Between 5th and 6th Avenues and 40th and 42nd Streets.  Hours: Open daily from 8am to 10pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday). Prices: Use of the rink is free, but skate rentals are $15.  Lockers are free (bring your own lock or buy one there), but bag check costs between $8 and $10.

Notes: A reasonable VIP FastPass is available to skip the line.  Skate lessons are also available, either by reservation or walk-in, from 10am to 6pm.

The LeFrak Center at Lakeside – this new state-of-the-art facility in Prospect Park includes two ice rinks (one covered and one open-air) connected by an ice bridge and a high-quality café.  In addition to skating, the center offers a Skate School with classes for all levels, gameplay for hockey enthusiasts, and even curling.

Location: Near the Lincoln Road and Parkside/Ocean Avenue entrances to Prospect Park.  The center’s hours, pricing, classes and programs vary. See the website for full details.

Lakeside Center, Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Prospect Park’s Lakeside Center features two ice rinks. Photo: Lakeside BKLYN

Sky Rink at Chelsea PiersIn the Chelsea Piers Sports Complex, this is a popular year-round indoor ice skating rink at Pier 61. In addition to general skating, figure skating and ice hockey programs are offered.

Location: 23rd Street at the Hudson River. Hours: General skating hours are 1:30pm to 5pm Monday, 3pm to 5pm Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30pm to 5:20pm Friday, 1pm to 3:50pm Saturday and Sunday (schedule changes seasonally, so check their website). Prices: Entrance $10, skate rental $5, helmet: $4.25. Coin-operated lockers are available.

McCarren Rink – located in North Brooklyn’s McCarren Park (between Williamsburg and Greenpoint), this public ice rink is open mid November to just after New Year. In addition to skating, the rink offers lessons, professional coaching, skate sharpening and snacks.

Location: 768 Lorimer St. between Driggs and Roebling St., BrooklynSubway: Take the G train to Nassau Ave or the L to Bedford Ave.  Hours: Weekdays 10am – 10pm, Saturdays 10am – 11pm, and Sundays 10am – 8pm (including all holidays).  Prices: Adults: $11, Children: $6, skate rental: $6.

Further afield, outdoor ice skating rinks can be found at Riverbank State Park (West 145th St and Riverside Drive, with great views of the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge), and at the Abe Stark Rink at Coney Island. Queens has two excellent rinks, too: the World Ice Arena (in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, former site of two World’s Fairs) and the City Ice Pavilion (Long Island City), which is the city’s only rooftop ice rink.

Bryant Park Winter Village Rink

A magical place to skate, Bryant Park’s Winter Village. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Have you hit the ice in NYC? What’s your favorite ice skating rink in the city? Tell us in the comments below.

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