8 Best Ice Skating Rinks in NYC for Kids and Families
Time to bundle up and sharpen those ice skates: It's officially ice skating season in NYC. Bryant Park's Winter Village debuted its rink in October, and a handful of other outdoor rinks are opening this month, bringing winter fun back to your routine.
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, the city offers plenty of options for beginners and experienced skaters alike. And, if it ever gets too cold to glide outside, you can always hit one of NYC's indoor ice skating rinks.
Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining an appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do.
Most of these ice skating rinks rent kid-sized ice skates, offer skating lessons, and even 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 temperatures could delay some rink openings unexpectedly.
Bring your own skates, and you can glide on the Bryant Park rink for free. Photo by Angelito Jusay
The Rink at Bank of America Winter Village – Bryant Park
Open through March 7, 2021
FREE admission; skate rental and hours vary; skate reservations must be booked online in advance
If you own your 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 and even higher on peak dates. For a contactless experience, lockers have been removed, but skaters will now wear a “shoe bag” onto the ice: a small drawstring-style backpack intended to hold the pair of shoes you arrived in. If you bring your own skates, you can bring your own drawstring bag or purchase one on-site. Penguin- and snowman-shaped skate supports are available for skaters needing extra help. Advance online booking is now required for all skaters.
Hit the ice at the famed Rockefeller Center ice skating rink.
Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center – Midtown East
Opens Saturday, November 21 through Sunday, January 17
This popular tourist destination opens for the season in late November, and tickets go on sale Thursday, November 12. Act fast: Not only is this a hot spot for tourists, but its season is significantly abbreviated this winter to accommodate a renovation of the concourse level at Rockefeller Center that will reportedly give visitors a better view of the iconic rink in future seasons.
Spend a day in lovely Central Park and take a spin on the ice while you're there. Photo by Janet Bloom
Wollman Rink – Central Park
Opens Saturday, November 14 through April 2021
We couldn't do this roundup without mentioning this iconic NYC skate spot in Central Park. Pre-COVID, this spot was perpetually crowded, but 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.
Riverbank State Park – Harlem
Opens late November through March 2021
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 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.
Lasker Rink public ice skating season opens on November 20, 2020, weather permitting. Photo by Jody Mercier
Lasker Rink – Harlem
Friday, November 20 through March 2021
This gem of a rink is easy to get to, inexpensive, and not as crowded as most others. In past seasons, school groups dominated the weekday sessions, and locals flock to the spot in the evenings and on weekends. Hockey and skating lessons are available. Afterward, stick around and explore this lovely part of northern Central Park, including the East 110th Street Playground. Note: It's cash-only.
The LeFrak Center at Lakeside features both a covered and an open-air ice rink. Photo courtesy of Prospect Park
LeFrak Center at Lakeside – Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Expected opening date is Saturday, November 21, 2020; please see the website for updates. The rink is generally open through March.
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.
WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink – Staten Island
Opening Thanksgiving week; exact date TBD
Located in the gorgeous Clove Lakes Park, this is the only outdoor skating rink on Staten Island and is very popular with borough families.
The Rink at Brookfield Place is popular among neighborhood kids who fill the ice after school.
The Rink at Brookfield Place – Battery Park City
Opening date TBD; the staff is working on getting the rink open as soon as possible while meeting necessary safety protocols.
Enjoy stunning views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty while skating around this rink, which returns for its sixth 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. 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 hot cocoa, snacks, and plenty of rotating art exhibits, and indoor fun.
The rooftop rink at The William Vale plans to open a bit later in the season; stay tuned for details, as we'll update this post when we have them.
The rinks at Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport and TWA Hotel at JFK are not planning to reopen for the 2020-21 season at this point.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of the venues.
This article, originally published in October 2009, is updated annually. Jody Mercier contributed reporting.