Oct 282016
 

free ice skating in nyc

An important part of NYC as a winter wonderland is our ice skating rinks. Even though you aren’t as graceful as an Olympic medalist, you can still have fun at one of the indoor and outdoor rinks that dot the five boroughs, including some where you can skate for FREE.

Unless otherwise noted, skating is daily between mid-November 2016 and mid-March 2017.

Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center – Probably the world’s most famous skating rink, is also likely the busiest during the holidays when everybody wants to glide or twirl in the glow of the lights from the world-famous Rockefeller Center holiday tree. Best is to skate early or late in the season, or early or late in the day, to avoid the longest waits.  The rink holds only 150 skaters at a time. Be prepared for the cost, too, since this is the most expensive skating rink in town.  Skip the line with online reservations for a 90-minute skating session that includes free skate rentals, hot chocolate and cookies. Sign up for one of the special packages, like Breakfast with Santa for an extra special holiday treat.  Kids and seniors are always $12; prices for adults vary by season.

  • Standard, $25: Oct. 8 – Nov. 4, and weekdays Nov. 7-10 and  14-16
  • Holiday, $27: Weekends in Nov. to Nov. 22, Dec. 5-8 and 12-15
  • Peak, $32: Nov. 23 – Dec. 31

Wollman Rink  – Another iconic skating location, in the heart of Central Park.  Like Rockefeller Center, it’s almost always crowded, but feels less cramped because it’s three or four times the size. You’ll find more locals here than tourists, especially for the special early morning figure skating and free skating sessions. Sessions here are as long as 2 1/2 hours. The regular prices are below, but you won’t find them on the website. I had to google “cost of ice skating central park” to find them.  What you will find online is $72 per person per session VIP pricing, which includes skip-the-line privileges, skate rentals, three hours of reserved table seating in the heated, rink-side tent with unlimited access to snack buffet that includes hot chocolate, apple cider and fresh-baked cookies, and a storage locker. There are also skating lessons, including figure skating lessons.  Wollman Rink is in Central Park near 59th St., enter at Central Park South and Sixth Avenue.  I learned to skate here as a child, and got good enough to be a skating instructor in my senior year in high school, so it’s a sentimental favorite.

  • Adults: $11.25 Mon-Thurs; $18.00 Fri-Sun.
  • Children: (11 & under): $6.00 Mon-Sun.
  • Seniors: $5.00 Mon-Thurs; $9.00 Fri-Sun.
  • Skate Rentals: $8.00 (tax included)

Lasker RinkAt the northern edge of Central Park, this is a popular free swimming pool in warm weather, but quieter in the winter when it’s frozen over into a giant skating rink. There is rarely a line here, and  the ice is smoother because there are fewer skaters carving gouges into its surface. Perhaps more importantly, Lasker is half the price of its sibling Wollman Rink at the other end of Central Park.  Lasker Rink is at 110th St., mid-park. Skate rentals are available. For information on hours and admission fees call 212-534-7639

  • Adults       $6.25
  • Youths:     $3.50
  • Seniors      $2.25
  • Skate Rentals $5.50 (tax incl.)
  • Lock Rental   $3.25 (tax incl.) plus $4.00 deposit, refundable

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers – The city’s only year-round indoor skating rink is a delight. It’s a large, well-maintained rink with few lines and a courteous staff.  Two-hour general skating sessions are $10 and skate rentals are $5.  Be sure to check the schedule, since much of the daily schedule is for figure skating and hockey leagues.

Winter Village at Bryant Park  – As New YorkCity’s only free skating rink, and centrally located one block from Times Square, there can be a two-hour wait on weekends. Go when school is in session or early in the day for the best chance of gettting in before your fingers freeze.  Skate rentals are $15, except for the peak Thanksgiving to New Year’s season, when it’s $19.  Lockers are free. Bring your own lock or rent one for $9.  Open 8am to 10pm daily.

  • Share your photos with the hashtag #wintervillage and you might see your picture at the Skating Pavillion or online.  And don’t forget to visit the Holiday Market booths around the rink for unusual hand-made gifts.

Riverbank State Park Ice RinkThis indoor rink overlooking the Hudson River is open year-round, for ice skating in winter and roller skating the rest of the year.  Since this is a State Park, fees are low: Adults – $5; Kids – $3; Skate Rentals – $6. Hours are 6am to 11pm daily.  Take the #1 train to 145th St. and walk four blocks west.

Rink at Brookfield Place – Also overlooking the Hudson River, in Lower Manhattan, this rink adjoins what used to be called Winter Palace at World Financial Center, now called Brookfield Place.  Hours are  Weekdays 1pm – 8:30pm  and Weekends 10am – 10pm.  This is positioned as a “neighborhood” rink with Mommy and Me classes and free sessions for local FIDI residents.

  • $15 single session (90 mins)
  • $5 skate rental
  • $200 Individual Season Pass
  • $500 Family of 3 season pass

 

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