It seems like every movie from my childhood that was set in a New York winter had at least once shot of people skating on the Rockefeller Ice Rink. It is a New York City tradition to go skating outdoors in the winter, and over time there have been a series of additions to the ice skating scene of New York. Each one of the four outdoor skating options in New York offer their own particular set of benefits and whether it’s price, location or amenities we break down each for you in this quick guide.
Rockefeller – the timeless and still classic choice
All skating is first come first serve, and as you would expect it gets quite crowded. There are now a bevy of options for different skating packages you can purchase – from an all season pass with a locker to VIP skating with complimentary hot cocoa. Their site allows you to make a lot of decisions.
- Admission Fees: Adults $25, Children under 11 and seniors: $15
- Skate Rental Fee: $10
- Skate Lessons: $35
- Hours: Open between 7 AM and Midnight with various half hour closures for Ice Resurfacing
- Location: Located between 49th and 50th street on 5th Ave. Closest subways are the B, D and F train at Rockefeller Center 47-50th Street. Map available here.
- Check the website for The Rink at Rockefeller Center for more info.
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The Pond at Bryant Park
Quickly becoming one of the other classic choices in NYC is the Citi Pond at Bryant Park. With an awesome location right off Times Square and impressive views of the Empire State Building, The Pond is an incredible space to skate. With a host of food and shopping options surrounding the rink itself, this skating locale makes an awesome spot for a date.
- Admission: FREE (that is so awesome)
- Skate rental fee: $14
- Skating lessons: $50 for one person, $65 for group of 2-3, $80 for group of 4-8
- Hours: Sunday thru Thursday 8 AM-10PM – Friday and Saturday 8 AM-Midnight
- Season: October 26, 2012 thru March 3, 2013
- Location: Located on 42nd street between 5th and 6th avenue. Closest subway is the B/D/F at the 42nd Street Bryant Park stop. Map available here.
- Check the site for Citi Pond at Bryant Park for more info.
Central Park Rink 1 of 2: Wollman Rink
The first section of Central Park to open was the Lake and in its first winter, froze over to host the inaugural skaters on the pond. Pretty cool considering the park opened in 1858! Who knows, maybe you’ll skate in the same spot as Abraham Lincoln did when he visited NY in the winter of 1860…
- Admission Fees Monday thru Thursday: Adults $10.75, Children $5.75, Seniors $4.75
- Admission Fees Friday thru Sunday: Adults $16.00, Children $6, Seniors $8.75
- Skate Rental Fee: $6.75
- Hours: Monday & Tuesday 10AM-2:30PM, Wednesday & Thursday 10AM-10PM, Friday 10AM-11PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM-9PM
- Season: November thru March
- Location: Located slightly inside the park from the 61st street entrance on 5th Ave. Closest subway is the N, Q and R trains stop at 5 Ave/59th Street. Map available here.
- Check the Central Park website for more information.
Central Park Rink 2 of 2: Lasker Rink
The 60’s were a crazy time in New York, and one product of all that craziness was the construction of the Lasker Pool and Rink. Part of the year it’s a swimming pool, the other part of the year it is a skating rink. Really, what more could you ask for? Lasker is the more affordable of the two rinks in Central Park, but doesn’t lose any of the Central Park charm. It also plays host to a winter hockey league.
- Admission Fees: Adults $7, Children $4, Seniors $2.25
- Skate Rental Fee: $6
- Hours: Monday 10AM-3:45PM, Tuesday 10AM-3:30PM and 8PM-10PM, Wednesday & Thursday 10AM-3:45PM, Friday 10AM-5:15PM, Saturday 7PM-11PM, Sunday 12:30PM-4:30PM
- Season: November 2 thru March 13
- Location: Located between 106th and 108th street on the west side almost half way into the central of the park. Nearest subway the 2 or 3 train’s 110th street stop or the B and C train 110th street stop. Map available here.
- Check the Lasker Rink website for more information.
Unfortunately, the Wollman rink in Prospect Park is still under renovation and won’t be open until at least 2013. You can look for updates on the project here.