Outdoor Ice-Skating Rinks in New York City Including a Brand-new Bronx Rink
We feel slightly silly posting about outdoor ice-skating rinks when it hasn't yet dipped below 60 degrees. But NYC's only free rink, the Pond at Bryant Park, opens this Friday, Wollman in Central Park opens on Monday and Rock Center is already welcoming skaters! Plus the Bronx is finally getting its long-awaited ice-skating rink in Van Cortlandt Park. (Of course don't let this warm weather fool you: At some point it will get so cold, you'll probably want to hit an indoor ice-skating rink.)
All of these outdoor ice-skating rinks offer skating lessons and birthday party packages, and many also have ice hockey. Always check the rinks' official websites before heading out to verify that public skating hours haven't changed. There are often schedule changes over the holidays.
Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center – Midtown East
Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets
Open through April 2013
Hours vary. Visit the website for a complete schedule.
Prices vary. Again, visit the website for up-to-date info.
This legendary rink 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.
Wollman Rink – Midtown West
Central Park, enter at Central Park South and Sixth Avenue
Open Monday, October 22 through mid-April, 2013
Hours: Monday-Tuesday 10am-2:30pm; Wednesday-Thursday 10am-10pm; Friday-Saturday 10am-11pm; Sunday 10am-9pm
Monday-Thursday: $11 for adults, $6 for children under 12; Friday-Sunday: $17 for adults, $6 for children under 12, $7 for skate rental.
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 $5! 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.
Citi Pond at Bryant Park – Midtown West
Bryant Park, 40th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Open Friday, October 26 through Sunday, March 3, 2013
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8am-10pm; Friday-Saturday 8am-midnight
FREE, $14 for skate rental.
NYC's only no-cost rink isn't a secret anymore, and it regularly attracts large 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 weekend mornings. If you really can't stand to wait, you can opt to buy a VIP FastPass, which includes entry, skate rental and bag check for $20-$25, but that kind of defeats the purpose of visiting a free rink. The Pond also features an indoor bar and cafe. Bring your own skates! Otherwise you'll end up shelling out $14 for rentals.
Lasker Rink – Harlem
Central Park, enter at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues
Open Saturday, October 27 through mid-March 2013
Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am-3:45pm; Tuesday 10am-3:30pm and 8-10pm; Friday 10am-5:15pm and 7-11pm; Saturday 1-11pm; Sunday 12:30-4:30pm
$7 for adults, $4 for children under 13, $6 for skate rental.
This rink is my personal favorite. It's easy to get to, inexpensive and often empty. 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.
WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink – Staten Island
Clove Lakes Park, Victory Boulevard west of Clove Road
Open Saturday October 27 through mid-March 2013
Hours: Friday 4-11pm; Saturday noon-4:30pm and 7-11pm; Sunday noon-7pm and select holiday weekdays. Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
$8, $5 for skate rental.
Located in SI's historic Clove Lake Park, this is the only outdoor skating rink on Staten Island and is therefore very popular with local families. Although the website says construction is affecting the rink's hours, the recorded message doesn't mention it. To be sure, you may want to call ahead.
Riverbank State Park – Harlem
145th Street and Riverside Drive
Opens November 12. Check the website for hours.
$5 for adults, $3 for children under 18; $6 for skate rental.
Most people don't even know about this covered outdoor ice-skating rink 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 seasonal pass for $200 for adults, $150 for children under 18. After you skate, check out the park's other attractions, including an indoor swimming pool, sports fields and amazing views.
Van Cortlandt Park Ice Skating Rink – the Bronx
Broadway at 242nd Street
Monday, November 19-Saturday, March 30
Hours: Monday-Thursday noon-8pm; Friday-Sunday noon-10pm
$5 on weekdays, $8 on weekends; $5 for skate rental.
The Bronx finally has its own ice-skating rink! Residents were really disappointed when this long-awaited project was delayed last winter. But as of November, 2012, the rink in Van Cortlandt Park is open and it's being run by the same folks behind Queens' two indoor rinks: City Ice Pavilion and World Ice Arena. Visit the website for info on skating lessons, hockey and parties.
The Standard Ice Rink – Meatpacking District
848 Washington Street at 13th Street
Hours: Noon-midnight on weekdays, 9am-1am on Saturday and Sunday
$12 for adults, $6 for children; $3 for skate rental
The swanky Standard hotel has brought back its offbeat 3,000-square-foot ice rink for the third year in a row. In addition to skating in a unique setting, families can grab high-end eats like crepes, hot seasonal drinks and soups. While the rink is open to all ages, the scene is usually more hipster than family.
Liberty View Ice Rink – Battery Park City
Wagner Park in Battery Park City, north of Historic Battery Park off Battery Place
Hours: to be determined
$10; $5 for skate rental
Hot on the heels of the opening of the Van Cortlandt Park Rink comes this brand-new outdoor ice-skating rink in Battery Park City. The waterfront Liberty View Ice Rink boasts incredible views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty. It's quite a transformation for Wagner Park, which was flooded during Hurricane Sandy back in the fall.
The following outdoor ice-skating rinks won't be open for the 2012-2013 season—or in some cases ever again.
Wollman Rink in Prospect Park is closed for construction for the second year in a row. The new rinks are supposed to open next year.