Winter just isn't winter without ice-skating in New York City. And though most of us can probably name two or three rinks off the top of our heads, we might be more than mildly surprised to find there are 15 venues open for public ice-skating this holiday season. The best known of the City's rinks is without a doubt the Rink at Rockefeller Center—tracing figure eights while surrounded by the shops, restaurants and buildings of a NYC landmark provides the quintessential NYC skating experience—but plenty of other (frequently less crowded) options exist.
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Where: Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets
When: October 30 to March 6
Price: Free; skate rental $15–$19
If you already own skates, this is the most affordable spot in the City—it's the only rink that offers free admission. Bryant Park also hosts annual holiday shops, a good destination if you want to cross some gifts off your list after your turn on the ice.
Ice Rink at Riverbank State Park
Where: Henry Hudson Parkway between West 138th and West 145th Streets
When: November through March
Price: Adults $5, kids 11 and under $3; skate rental $6
Riverbank, in Hamilton Heights, is the only state park in Manhattan; it offers incredible river views across to New Jersey and gorgeous vistas of the George Washington Bridge.
Where: Central Park, northeast corner between 106th and 108th Streets
When: Late October to late March
Price: Adults $7.50, kids 12 and under $4; skate rental $6.50
Up in the northern reaches of the park, Lasker Rink is a bit less crowded than its sister skate center in the park (see “Wollman Rink in Central Park” below)—and a much better deal.
Rink at Rockefeller Center
Where: Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets
When: Mid-October through April
Price: Adults $25–$32, kids 10 and under $15; skate rental $12
Millions of visitors plan trips to the City every year just to catch a glimpse of skaters taking a spin on the ice below the famous Christmas tree and gilded statue of Prometheus; others will wait in long lines to experience it for themselves.
Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers
Where: Pier 61, West 23rd Street and Hudson River Park
Price: $10; skate rental $5
Want to skate downtown…in mid-July? The enormous rink at Chelsea Piers is the place to head, though it’s a reliable stop-off any time of year.
Where: 848 Washington St., between West 12th and West 13th Streets
When: Late November until early spring (weather dependent)
Price: Adults $12, kids $6; skate rental $3
One of the hipper—and more exclusive—hotels in the City has a ground-level rink available to the public. If you can't find the info on the main website, check standardculture.com for the latest prices and times.
Wollman Rink in Central Park
Where: Central Park, mid-park between 62nd and 63rd Streets
When: Late October to first week of April
Price: Adults $11.25 (Mon.–Thurs.), $18 (Fri.–Sun.); kids 11 and under $6; seniors $5 (Mon.–Thurs.), $9 (Fri.–Sun.); skate rental $8
Few rinks can match the ambience of Central Park’s Wollman Rink, especially after a fresh snowfall. If you’re there at night, be sure to look up for some prime NYC stargazing.
Abe Stark Rink
Where: Coney Island Boardwalk and West 19th Street
When: Early November through March
Price: $10; skate rental $5
Already missing the beach? Take a trip to the Coney Island Boardwalk, where the Abe Stark Rink provides the wintertime recreation. Open on weekends only, and some holidays.
Aviator Sports and Events Center Rink
Where: Floyd Bennett Field, Flatbush Avenue and Belt Parkway
Price: Adults $11, kids $9; skate rental $5
Marine Park has an indoor rink that stays open throughout the year; relax in the sports lounge before or after your skate.
Where: Prospect Park, near Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road entrance
When: Late October through March
Price: Weekdays $6, weekends $8; skate rental $6
The venerable Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park’s southeast portion has been demolished, replaced by the LeFrak Center at the new Lakeside development. Skating takes place at two rinks (one open air, one covered); even if you don’t want to get out on the ice, you might still enjoy the views.
Where: McCarren Park, Lorimer Street between Roebling and Driggs Streets
When: Mid-November through January
Price: Adults $11, kids $6; skate rental $6
One of the newest places to get out and skate, McCarren Rink is a sheet of ice installed over part of the revitalized McCarren Pool—another fun reason to make your way to Williamsburg, as if you needed it.
City Ice Pavilion
Where: 47-32 32nd Place, between 47th and 48th Avenues
Price: Wed. $6, Sat.–Sun. $9; skate rental $5
This facility boasts the only rooftop ice-skating in New York City. Public skating hours are limited due to classes and league hockey, so call before you head out.
World Ice Arena
Where: Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Price: Mon.–Fri. $6, Fri. (after 7pm)–Sun. $9; skate rental $5
In Flushing Meadows’ northeast corner, the World Ice Arena provides the wintertime activity that the locale’s other features (the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows Golf Center, adjacent Citi Field) don’t, and continues the skating fun throughout the year.
War Memorial Ice Skating Rink
Where: Clove Lakes Park, Victory Boulevard, west of Clove Road
When: Late October through late March
Price: $10; skate rental $5
Some days might be too cold to fully appreciate the park’s wetlands and other natural assets, but not to ice-skate: this rink is encased within a huge heated white bubble, similar to that of enclosed tennis courts. Open Fridays through Sundays, and some holidays.