Guide to Skating at the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink

People ice skating at Rockefeller center

TripSavvy / Kelsea Watkins

Ice skating at the Rink at Rockefeller Center is one of the most quintessential New York City experiences. It's also one of the most popular attractions in the winter, drawing more than 150,000 skaters every season. And although it may be a bit touristy, there's something undeniably magical about skating in the center of Manhattan underneath the iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree on the ice rink that has appeared in countless holiday movies, such as "Elf" and "Home Alone 2." Whether you're going with young kids, a group of friends, or your special someone, there are few options in New York that beat ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

How to Visit

For the 2020 season, the Rink at Rockefeller Center opens on November 21 and runs until January 17, 2021. The Rink is open seven days a week, including Christmas and New Year's Day, from 9 a.m. to midnight. The Rink is located in the Plaza in front of the Rockefeller Building on Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th streets. To arrive by subway, take the B, D, F, or M train to the Rockefeller Center stop.

The admission process is a bit different in 2020 from previous years, and tickets must be purchased in advance online. In addition to a ticket, each guest must reserve a date and time in order to limit the number of skaters on the ice at one time. In most years, the Rink can quickly fill up and long lines form, especially leading up to the holidays when kids are out of school. With the new reservation system, you'll be guaranteed a spot on the ice without having to worry about crowds—just make sure you book your reservations early.

Every day up until after New Year's Day is considered a "peak day" and the admission price is $35 for everyone 13 years and older, plus an additional $15 for skate rentals if you need them. Beginning on January 4, the admission price drops to $25. However, you can save some money if you're an early riser or a late bird. Skaters who reserve a slot in the first or last hour of the day only have to pay $15 for admission, regardless of what date they visit.

Sessions are limited to 50 minutes from your scheduled arrival time, so punctuality is important if you want to enjoy your full time on the ice. For visits in 2020, a face mask is required on skaters at all times, whether you're inside the interior entrance area or outside on the ice.

Tips for Visitors

Ice skating at Rockefeller Center is a cherished holiday tradition in New York, but keep in mind a few tips in order to get the most out of your experience.

  • Early morning during holiday periods and weekdays before 4 p.m. tend to be the least crowded times to skate in Rockefeller Center. It's also less crowded earlier and later in the season compared to the peak season, which runs from Thanksgiving through New Year's.
  • While Rockefeller Center may be the most famous place to go ice skating in the city, it isn't the only place. You can save money and find somewhere with fewer crowds by checking out nearby rinks, such as in Bryant Park (which has free admission) or Brookfield Place downtown.
  • While you're in the area, consider complementing your excursion by riding up to the observation deck at Top of the Rock for a view of Manhattan.
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