Ice skating at Rockefeller Center is a quintessential New York City winter experience. The whole area in the heart of Manhattan is decorated for the holiday season, with the massive Rockefeller Christmas tree, lights, and garlands. The ice skating rink can accommodate approximately 150 skaters at a time and is 122 feet long and 59 feet wide.
History of the Rockefeller Rink
The Rink at Rock Center first opened on Christmas Day in 1936, when it was originally called the skating pond. Ever since, it has served as an iconic backdrop for movies (like Elf and Home Alone 2) as well as an activity for celebs like Jack Nicholson and Serena Williams. More than 150,000 visitors don their skates at the rink every season.
How to Visit
The rink at Rockefeller Center typically opens Columbus Day weekend and stays open through early April. It is open for 90-minute skating sessions every two hours, starting at 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. with the last at 10:30 p.m. to midnight. The Ice Rink is in the center of the Rockefeller Center complex of buildings between 47th and 50th Streets and 5th and 7th Avenues. See our Rockefeller Center Map.
Adult admission is $25 to $33 depending on the day and admission for children under 11 and seniors are $15. Group rates for 15+ adults offer significant discounts (but are unavailable from November 9, 2018 to January 6, 2019). Season passes for 2018 start at $275 (use of locker is an additional cost). Check the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center website for the most current information. Skate rentals and admissions are charged per session. Time your visit appropriately to get the most skating for your money.
Skate Rentals are an additional $12.50, whether paying regular admission or with a lesson.
Half-hour private lessons are $50 per person, daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, and include one hour of skate time in addition to the lesson. Email email@example.com or call 212-332-7655 for more information and to make reservations.
It is extremely easy to visit the Rockefeller ice rink via public transit. The nearest subways include the F, B, and D to 47-50 Streets-Rockefeller Center; 6 to 51st Street; or 1 to 50th Street.
If you are worried about crowds, there are a couple of options to guarantee access to skating in Rockefeller Center. Their First Skate package is the only way to reserve specific skating time which runs from 7-8 a.m. For $50 to $65 a person, you can skate and enjoy complimentary coffee/hot chocolate while you skate. The 2018 dates are: November 18 through December 31, 2018, and January 2, 2019. For $55 to $90 a person, you can have breakfast at Rock Center Cafe after your skating session with their "Bountiful Breakfast" package, on specific dates.
If early-rising isn't for you, the VIP Skate package (which ranges from $60 to $150 per person, depending on the date you choose) offers 90-minute-long reserved skate sessions, bypassing of lines, rentals, beverages, and fresh baked cookies.
If you'd like to combine skating with some other holiday offerings, the Rockettes + Skating Package is available for select dates starting at $178. You get the VIP Skate package mentioned above along with a ticket to see the the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes and a three-course meal at either the Rock Center Cafe or Sea Grill.
If you're more interested in ice skating than in saying you ice skated at Rockefeller Center, check out Ice Skating in New York City for some other options.
- Early morning during holiday periods and weekdays before 4 p.m. tend to be the least crowded times times to skate in Rock Center. It's also less crowded earlier and later in the season, compared to peak season, which runs from Thanksgiving through New Year's.
- While ice skating at Rockefeller Center is an experience that many New York City visitors desire, keep in mind that you're paying a premium to be able to say "I skated at Rockefeller Center," despite the small skating surface and the often crowded atmosphere. Ice skating prices at Rockefeller Center are most expensive during peak holiday periods, and the rink is at its busiest at those times as well.
Other Things to Do in the Area
This area of Midtown has some of the best things to do for tourists. Besides the skating rink, Rockefeller Center has Top of the Rock, a massive year-round observation deck that overlooks the Empire State Building and the New York City skyline. Also within the complex is Radio City Music Hall, where you can tour or see performances such as the Rockettes. Around the corner, you'll find St. Patricks cathedral (opened since 1879, it is the site of many festive Christmas events) and Fifth Ave's iconic holiday window displays.