The Best Ice Skating Rinks in New York City

Wollman Rink in Central Park is stunning in the fall foliage season
Wollman Rink in Central Park is stunning in the fall foliage season | © nyc russ / Alamy
Kseniya Baranova

As the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, your first instinct may be to retreat into semi-hibernation, preferably with a mug of something hot in hand. Don’t let the cold spoil all your fun, though – get out there and enjoy one of the best winter activities in New York City. Be it with your significant other, your adventurous friends or solo, we’ve rounded up our picks for the best ice skating rinks in NYC.

1. LeFrak Center at Lakeside, Prospect Park

Park, Skate Park, Sports Center

Reflections in the ceiling of the covered skating rink at Lefrak center at Lakeside in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York.
© David Grossman / Alamy
The LeFrak Center has it all. Recently rebuilt, and designed by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the complex houses both indoor and covered seasonal ice skating rinks, a well planned rink-side cafe and a breathtaking view of the Prospect Park Lake from the green roof. This rink is great for kids and large groups, as there’s plenty of room to spread out, while the sleek, modern architecture and seasonal fare at the cafe offer a refined edge to your skating experience. The best time to go is early evening, as there are no high-rises to block the golden light, meaning that this rink transforms into a gorgeous winter wonderland.

2. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park


The Rink at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
© Ed Rooney / Alamy
The Bank of America Winter Village is the only free ice skating rink in the city, but be prepared to wait in line for anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour and a half during peak times. The rink is huge, and there’s plenty to do off the ice, too, with an indoor pavilion, a restaurant, multiple food kiosks and a massive holiday gift shop area for those last-minute purchases. Keep in mind that while admission is free, there’s a skate rental charge, as well as bag check for a fee – so be sure to bring your own lock to use on the free lockers instead. This is the perfect place to bring the kids or to score some alpaca mittens as Christmas gifts from one of the local retailers.

3. Wollman Rink in Central Park


People ice skating at the Wollman Rink in Central Park
© Ihor Dvoretskyi / Unsplash
There’s nothing quite like ice skating in the middle of the most famous park in NYC. Wollman Rink offers a gorgeous view of the New York skyline and is a NY staple, having been around since 1950. This rink is huge, and offers a plethora of learn-to-skate classes for skaters of all skill levels. Skating here feels like partaking in an age-old NYC tradition.

4. The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Skate Park, Sports Center

Ice Skaters at Ice skating rink at the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.
© Richard Green / Alamy
The most iconic rink of them all could not be overlooked – the Rink at Rockefeller Center. Admire the sights and scenes of Rockefeller Center as you wait, such as the spectacular view of the world-famous Christmas tree. The staff here are friendly, the ice is well maintained, and you’ll be skating in pretty much the center of Manhattan. For the optimal experience, go after 1 January to avoid the worst of the crowds. The rink offers various packages for those who fancy splurging for VIP treatment.

5. Chelsea Piers Sky Rink

Sports Center, Skate Park

Pier 62 Entrance of the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex, Manhattan, New york City, USA
© George Oze / Alamy

It’s no surprise that this iconic Manhattan sports hub has a great spot for skaters of all levels. While the golf driving range might be the most iconic image of the Chelsea Piers, its ice rink has been a firm favorite with New Yorkers since 1969. The rink, which can be found on Pier 61, is open all year round and offers everything from a skating school to private lessons and general free sessions. Kids can learn to figure skate or work on their hockey skills, while adults can also book a freestyle session.

6. Vale Rink at the William Vale


The stylish dining room of the restaurant at the William Vale looks out over the Midtown Manhattan skyline from double-height windows
Courtesy of the William Vale / Expedia

You might expect your hotel to have a pool or a spa, but not many have their own ice rink on site. Then again, as Brooklynites know, the William Vale is no ordinary hotel. When you’re done dining at the top-class Italian restaurant, sipping cocktails in the Westlight bar, indulging in the winter spa or simply relaxing in Vale Park – the elevated neighborhood green space – you can head to the 23rd-floor rooftop, with 360-degree views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. In summer, this is where you’d go for lawn games, film screenings and cocktails parties, but in winter it’s all about the Vale Rink. It’s smaller than most on this list, so you’d be wise to book ahead, but the panoramic city views and intimate setting make this one of the dreamiest skating spots in the city.

Additional reporting by Gethin Morgan.

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