Make the most of a winter trip to New York City by ice skating on these famous ice rinks, some of which you'll recognize from movie scenes shot at fabulous places like Rockefeller Center and Central Park.
Most city rinks stay open from November through March, affording a wide window of time to plan your winter outing and to sample multiple rinks throughout the season. And if you are not a skater, no problem: Most rinks offer classes to get you started. In 2021, some rinks may be closed or operating at reduced capacity so you will likely need to reserve tickets in advance. Be sure to check the official websites for the latest information.
With a gilded statue of Prometheus, the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and the 70-story 30 Rockefeller Center building towering above, The Rink at Rockefeller Center affords the most glamorous skating experience in the city, but it's also the priciest.
Accommodating just 150 skaters at a time for 90-minute skate sessions, the rink is one of the few areas of Midtown where you won't find crowds (though lines can get quite long during the holiday season). Entry is usually first-come, first-served. Rates depend on the time of year and are higher during key holidays and skate rentals are available if you don't have your own.
Part of the Bank of America Winter Village at picturesque Bryant Park, this 17,000 square-foot rink has brought free ice skating to NYC for more than a decade. Accessing the rink is free, although you will need to make a reservation online for your session time. If you don't have your own, skate, helmet, and skating aids rentals are available.
After a spin on the ice, stick around to nosh at the Danny Meyer rink-side restaurant pop-up, Public Fare, or browse the 125-plus boutique-style vendor at the Holiday Shops.
Wollman Rink in Central Park
Framed by skyscrapers on the horizon and Central Park, the Wollman Rink offers ice skating at about half the cost of Rockefeller Center. Skating lessons are available, ranging from the learn-to-skate level to ice dancing, and Wollman also has hockey programs for children and adults, too. VIP tickets include skate rental, no-wait admission, use of a heated tent, snacks, and locker access. In a rather unusual policy, spectators must pay a $5 cash fee to watch. The hockey program was postponed in 2020, and other events may be altered in 2021, so check the program schedules for the latest announcements.
Riverbank State Park Ice Skating Rink
Overlooking the Hudson in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood on the Upper West Side, this covered rink at Riverbank State Park offers a budget-friendly skating experience in a scenic setting, far removed from the bustling crowds further south in Manhattan. In 2021, only 18 skaters will be allowed on the ice at a time and reservations must be made in advance.
The Rink at Brookfield Place
This Battery Park City Rink at Brookfield Place, situated alongside the Hudson River's North Cove Marina in front of the Winter Garden, offers great views of downtown skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty in the harbor. With 7,350 square feet, it's bigger than the Rink at Rockefeller Plaza. In recent years, the rink has partnered up with U.S. ice dancers and Olympians who host various skating programs throughout the season. You can book tickets for weekday or weekend/holiday skating in advance.