Ice-Skating in NYC: 10 Outdoor Ice Rinks & Most Open This Month
Last skating season brought tidings of brand-new rinks, but this year, the city is actually losing ice-skating spots. The Bronx's sole place to skate, the Van Cortlandt Park Rink, won't be open this season and the plans for Brooklyn's McCarren Rink are still up in the air. Plus the proposed Highbridge Park Rink in Washington Heights is on ice for now. Of course, it's very possible that new rinks may pop up once winter cools down, and we'll be sure to update this post if that happens.
The good news is that we still have 10 outdoor rinks in NYC, and six open for business in October: both Central Park rinks, Lakeside in Prospect Park, the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center and Winter Village at Bryant Park.
Most of NYC's outdoor ice rinks offer skating lessons and birthday party packages, and many also have ice hockey. Always check the rinks' official websites before heading out to confirm public skating hours as they change throughout the season, especially during the holidays. And if it ever gets too cold to glide outside, you can always hit one of NYC's six indoor ice-skating rinks.
Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center – Midtown East
Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets
Open through April 2015, times vary. Find the complete schedule on the website.
Prices vary. Visit the website for up-to-date info.
Every tourist's favorite rink opened for the season on October 13. Despite its popularity, it isn't always crowded with three-hour waits—that's just when the Christmas tree is lit. Skating early or late in the season is fun and easy—if expensive. In fact, even during off-season, it's by far the priciest rink in the city.
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park – Midtown West
Bryant Park, 40th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Open Tuesday, October 21 through Sunday, March 1, 2015, times vary. Find the complete schedule on the website.
FREE, $15 for skate rental
NYC's only no-cost rink regularly attracts insane crowds. The best time to go is early in the season before Thanksgiving, when the weather is mild and the lines are short (or at least, shorter). Don’t even try to go during holiday break. Later in the season, stick to weekdays before 5pm and early weekend mornings. If you really can't stand to wait, you can opt to buy a variety of VIP Fast Passes, which all include entry, skate rental and bag check for $22 and up... but that kind of defeats the purpose of visiting a free rink. Winter Village also features an indoor restaurant and seasonal holiday shops. Bring your own blades and locks! Otherwise you'll end up shelling out $15 and $9 for each, respectively.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside – Prospect Park
171 East Drive in Prospect Park, enter at the Parkside/Ocean Avenue or Lincoln Road/Ocean Avenue entrances
Open Saturday, October 25 through March 2015, times vary. Find the complete schedule on the website.
Weekdays: $6; weekends: $8; $6 for skate rental
Built on the old Wollman Rink site, this complex features 32,000 square feet of skating surface on two rinks: one open-air, the other covered. Skating lessons, hockey leagues and birthday party packages are all offered. Additional amenities include a cafe, restrooms, bag check and a green roof with incredible views. In summer, the rinks transform into a roller rink and water play area. Read our full review of Lakeside.
Wollman Rink – Midtown West
Central Park, enter at Central Park South and Sixth Avenue
Open Saturday, October 25 through mid-April 2015, times vary. Find the complete schedule on the website.
Monday-Thursday: $11.25 for adults, $6 for children under 12; Friday-Sunday and holidays: $18 for adults, $6 for children under 12; $8 for skate rental; $5 cash only spectator fee
We couldn't do this roundup without mentioning this iconic NYC skating spot. But this rink is not only perpetually crowded, it even charges a spectator fee! Of course every family should wait in line to ice-skate here at least once. Try to arrive at the start of the first session or right after school to get a few spins in before the hordes arrive.
Lasker Rink – Harlem
Central Park, enter at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues
Open Saturday, October 25 through late March 2015, times vary. Find the complete schedule on the website.
$7.50 for adults, $4 for children under 13, $6.50 for skate rental
This rink is my personal favorite. It's easy to get to, inexpensive and not as crowded as most of the others. You'll find lots of school groups on weekdays, and locals in the evenings and on weekends. Ice hockey, skating lessons and parties are all available. Afterward, stick around and explore this lovely part of northern Central Park, including the recently renovated East 110th Street Playground.
WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink – Staten Island
Clove Lakes Park, Victory Boulevard west of Clove Road
Open Saturday, October 25 through Sunday, March 29, 2015, times vary. Find the complete schedule on the website.
$9, $5 for skate rental
Located in the gorgeous Clove Lakes Park, this is the only outdoor skating rink on Staten Island and is therefore very popular with borough families. If you're interested in skating lessons, call 718-390-7245. Planning a skating party? That number is 718-720-1014.
The Rink at Brookfield Place – Battery Park City
In front of Brookfield Place’s Winter Garden, 250 Vesey Street between West Street and North End Avenue
Open early November through mid-March 2015
Prices and hours to be determined
Though details are still being finalized, we can confirm that the rink will reopen for its second season sometime in early November. At 7,350 square feet, it beats the Rock Center rink and can accommodate 250 skaters at a time. Adjacent restaurant P.J Clarke's serves up eats, and last year, Manhattan Youth and Asphalt Green Battery Park City offered skating lessons and ice hockey.
Riverbank State Park – Harlem
679 Riverside Drive, enter park at 145th Street
Open November through March 2015
$5 for adults, $3 for children under 12 (helmet required); $6 for skate rental. Season passes are also available.
Although this covered rink was closed all summer for renovations, we have it on good authority that it will reopen for ice-skating season come November. Most people don't even know about this skating spot in the awesome Riverbank State Park. It's rarely crowded, offers an inexpensive ice hockey program and ice-skating lessons, and you can buy a season pass, too. After you skate, check out the park's other attractions, including an indoor swimming pool, sports fields and amazing views.
South Street Seaport Rink – South Street Seaport
Open mid-November through early March 2015, hours to be determined
$10, free for children under 6; $6 for skate rental
South Street Seaport's skating spot is back for a second season. Plans are underway for a soft opening in mid-November, while the grand opening will coincide with the neighborhood's popular tree-lighting ceremony. Residents living in zip codes 10038 and 10005 get 50% off (proof required), and season passes are also available. There aren't any lockers, but for $8 you can stuff all your items into a big sack and check that.
The Standard Ice Rink – Meatpacking District
848 Washington Street at 13th Street
Open Monday, November 24 through March 2015
Prices and hours to be determined
The swanky Standard hotel's 3,000-square-foot ice rink will reportedly be back again this winter. Though it is open to all ages, the scene has always been more hipster than family, but it makes for a good destination after an icy winter walk along the High Line.
McCarren Rink – Williamsburg
776 Lorimer Street
The McCarren Park pool finally turned into an ice-skating rink last year but as of now, we can't confirm whether it will be open this season. Check the official website for details. We'll also update this post as soon as we have anything concrete to report.
A previous edition of this post was originally published in October 2009.