Lace up at LeFrak! The Lefrak Center at Lakeside features both a covered and an open-air ice rink. Photo courtesy of Prospect Park
Lace up at LeFrak! The Lefrak Center at Lakeside features both a covered and an open-air ice rink. Photo courtesy of Prospect Park

9 Best Ice Skating Rinks in NYC for Kids and Families

Time to bundle up and sharpen those ice skates: Many of New York City's outdoor rinks open in October for family fall, er, winter fun.

Whether you prefer an iconic New York City destination like the ice rink at Rockefeller Center or something off the beaten path like the rink at Riverbank State Park or the brand-new ice skating rink at JFK, the city offers plenty of options for beginners and experienced skaters alike—there’s even a FREE skate spot. And if it ever gets too cold to glide outside, you can always hit one of NYC's indoor ice skating rinks.

Most of these rinks rent kid-sized ice skates, offer skating lessons and birthday party packages. Many also host ice hockey leagues.

Remember, click through to the rink's website to confirm skating times and daily availability before heading out as schedules can change throughout the season, especially during the busy NYC holiday season. Unseasonably warm October or November temperatures could delay some rinks unexpectedly.

RELATED: 50 Things to Do in Midtown for Families and Kids

Bring your own skates and you can glide on the Bryant Park rink for free. Photo by Angelito Jusay/courtesy of Winter Village.

The Rink at Bryant Park – Midtown West

October 31, 2019 – March 1, 2020
FREE admission; skate rental and hours vary
If you own your own skates, Bryant Park's free admission rink is one of NYC's best deals. However, the skate rental fees are at least what you'll pay to skate and rent at other rinks in the city, even higher on peak dates. That doesn't seem to deter the crowds, but, luckily, you can now skip the crazy lines at the massively popular rink and book a skating time for the same prices as buying at the rink, or for free if are bringing your own skates. Note that The Rink requires you to use a locker or bag check and will make you buy a $12 lock if you don't bring one; no stuffing your shoes under the benches. Penguin- and snowman-shaped skate supports are available for skaters needing extra help.

Lasker Rink – Harlem

Late October 2019 – March 2020
This gem of a rink is easy to get to, inexpensive, and not as crowded as most of the others. You'll find plenty of school groups on weekdays, and locals in the evenings and on weekends. Hockey, skating lessons, and parties are all available. Afterward, stick around and explore this lovely part of northern Central Park, including the East 110th Street Playground. Note: It's cash only.

LeFrak Center at Lakeside – Prospect Park, Brooklyn

October 25, 2019 – March 2020
Built on the old Wollman Rink site, this Prospect Park complex features 32,000 square feet of skating surface on two rinks: one open-air, the other covered. Skating lessons for beginners and experienced skaters, hockey leagues for kids and adults, and birthday party packages are offered. Beginner skaters can get some help from a limited number of penguin-shaped ice skating supports (distributed on a first come, first served basis). The Bluestone Cafe on site offers sandwiches, salads, and snacks as well as coffee and hot chocolate. In summer, the ice rinks transform into a roller rink and water play area. Read our full review of Lakeside.

The rink at Brookfield Place is popular among neighborhood kids who fill the ice after school.

The Rink at Brookfield Place – Battery Park City

Early November 2019 – March 2020
Enjoy stunning views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty while skating around this rink, which returns for its fifth season. The ice is cleaned at the end of every 90-minute session, so don't dawdle getting out there. Visitors are admitted on a first come, first served basis. At 7,350 square feet, it beats the Rock Center rink for space and can accommodate 250 skaters at a time. Prices, however, are steeper than at some other rinks. Parent-and-child skate lessons and hockey classes are offered. Afterward, you'll find plenty more to do in the family-friendly Battery Park City neighborhood. Adjacent Brookfield Place has bathrooms, hot cocoa, and snacks, as well as plenty of rotating art exhibits, and winter fun (plus Santa!) come the holidays.

Riverbank State Park – Harlem

November 2019 – March 2020
Riverbank State Park is a hidden gem in New York City. It's rarely crowded and one of the least expensive rinks for public skating. Riverbank also offers an inexpensive hockey program and skating lessons, and season passes are also available. After you skate, check out the park's other attractions, including an indoor swimming pool, sports fields, and amazing views. There's a snack bar adjacent to the rink, as well as the restaurant Sofrito NY near the entrance of the park.

RELATED: Rockefeller Center: Family-Friendly Restaurants

The famed Rockefeller Center ice rink draws big crowds to Midtown. Photo by Rev Stan via Flickr.

Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center – Midtown East

October 12, 2019 – April 2020
This popular tourist destination opened for the season October 12. Despite its popularity, three-hour waits aren't always the norm—just when the Christmas tree is lit. Skating early or late in the season is fun and easy—if expensive. (Even during off-season, it's by far the priciest rink in the city.) It accommodates just 150 skaters, hence the wait, but some believe it offers one of the most charming, intimate skating sessions, smack in the middle of NYC. Sign up for one of the special packages such as breakfast with Santa for an extra-special holiday treat. There are plenty of family-friendly sights in the area, too.

The views from the Winterland Rink at Pier 17 are impressive! Photo by Andy Fenwick

Pier 17 Winterland Ice Rink – Seaport

Late November 2019 – March 2020
This winter at the South Street Seaport, the Winterland Rink is back. Situated on the roof of Pier 17, just a short walk away from the Seaport Museum, the Winterland Rink bills itself as the only rooftop rink in the city. The views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the harbor are pretty great, and the rooftop space is bathed in sunlight and sheltered from the wind. The rink is sized like other temporary rinks, but takes the irregular shape of a pond: two connected, asymmetrical ovals. Parents can head inside and keep warm, while still watching their children skating from the warming huts

Wollman Rink – Central Park

October 21, 2019 – April 2020
We couldn't do this roundup without mentioning this iconic NYC skate spot in Central Park. Though it is perpetually crowded, every family should 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. A moonlit, post-dinner skate is always fun, too. You'll be rewarded with one of the most famous views of Midtown, not to mention a perimeter of pretty, possibly snow-dusted trees—as well as tired kids, ready for bed. Lockers are available for a fee. Note: It's cash only.

WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink – Staten Island

Opens November 29, 2019
Located in the gorgeous Clove Lakes Park, this is the only outdoor skating rink on Staten Island and is very popular with borough families. If you're interested in skating lessons, call 718-390-7245

Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of the venues.

This article, originally published October 2009, is updated annually. Jody Mercier contributed reporting.

WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink
1321 Victory Boulevard Clove Lakes Park
Staten Island, NY 10301

Wollman Rink
830 5th Avenue Central Park
New York, NY 10065

Riverbank State Park
679 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10031

Winter Village at Bryant Park
99 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018

Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center
10 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020

LeFrak Center at Lakeside
171 East Drive
Brooklyn, NY 11225

The Rink at Brookfield Place
250 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10282

Lasker Rink
110th Street and Lenox Avenue Central Park
New York, NY 10026

Winterland Rink
89 South Street South Street Seaport, Pier 17
New York, NY 10038
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