Ice skating in New York City is a blast all winter long — the outdoor exercise and rosy cheeks! The music and lights! The hot chocolate! But the best time to snap on those new high-tech rental skates and try not to tumble out there on the ice is during NYC's most festive holiday season between now and the New Year.
Here's a look at the city's outdoor ice rinks — they vary in size and cost and vibe, but all are easily reached by public transportation.
Wollman Rink in Central Park
The city's largest outdoor rink also commands one of its prettiest settings, sitting in a natural bowl in Central Park's southeast corner right near the picturesque Gapstow Bridge (and, usually, some good duck spotting on the pond). Plus the whole facility recently underwent a much-needed renovation, so in many ways this old favorite is also one of our newest rinks. Spectators can get a great view from the Overlook, too, where the legendary Harlem soul food restaurant Melba's operates a kiosk. Adults should expect to spend about $35 for ice time at peak hours and skate rental.
Located at the southeast corner of Central Park, enter at East 59th Street and Fifth or Sixth Avenues and then walk inside the park. More details here (open for the 2023-2024 season).
Several subway lines are under 10 minutes from the rink
The Rink at Winter Village in Bryant Park
It's quite a lively scene at the skating rink at Bryant Park, what with the ever-more sprawling and lavish Winter Village complex offering gift shops, snack stalls, bars, and "cozy igloos" near the ice and the spectator patio, where non-skaters can sit at tables and hang and eat and drink. The ice time is free here, just note that if you don't bring your own blades, skate rentals will cost you as much as $36 during peak times.
Located at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. More details here (open for the 2023-2024 season).
Many trains will bring you close to this Midtown rink!
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
The ice rink at Rockefeller Center in Midtown, set right below the world's most famous Christmas tree, is pretty much at the center of NYC's holiday season spectacles. But even after the non-festive part of winter sets in, Rock Center is still an exceptionally pleasant place to skate, not least because of all the incredible new dining options, both casual and fancy, that have recently opened in the complex.
Located between 49th and 50th streets and 5th and 6th Avenues. More details here (open for the 2023-2024 season).
In addition to the subway, the M1, M2, M3, and M4 buses stop right nearby on Fifth Avenue as well.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park
A pair of ice skating rinks came to the southeast corner of Brooklyn's Prospect Park in 2013, one truly outdoors, the other covered by a roof (but still open-air), and local families and teens have been tearing up the ice here all winter long ever since. The music at Lefrak is more contemporary hip-hop crowd-pleasers rather than the standard twinkling piano holiday tunes, and the Bluestone Cafe sells snacks, coffee, hot chocolate, and alcohol.
Located at 171 East Drive inside Prospect Park. More details here (not yet open for 2023-2024 season).
The B, Q, and S trains to the Prospect Park station gets you close to the rink
Riverbank State Park in Harlem
The rink is NHL regulation size up here at the Riverbank State Park, the sprawling sports and leisure complex built in the 1990s. And the price is right, at a nice and low $5 for adults to get out on the ice, $3 for kids, and only $6 to rent skates. The locker rooms are comfortable, the rink itself is covered (but open on the sides for that nice fresh winter air), and there's stadium seating for spectators. Is this the best ice rink in the city? The only downside we can find is that it's only open on Friday evenings and weekends.
The entrance to the park is located at 679 Riverside Drive at 145th Street; just follow the signs once you get in. More details here (not yet open for 2023-2024 season).
The 1 train to 145th Street lets you off right there, and the A, C, B, D trains to 145th are only a few blocks away
Glide at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park has opened an ice skating rink called Glide in Emily Warren Roebling Plaza, where skaters will be able to ice skate under the Brooklyn Bridge and see the Lower Manhattan skyline.
Prices start at $15 for adults (going up to $25 during peak times) and $10 for children ages 2-12 ($12 at peak), but there's a discount for NYC residents who show proof of residency (library card, IDNYC, driver's license, etc.) with $9-$13.50 fees for adults and $9-10 for children. Online reservations are recommended, with only limited walk-up tickets available. Skates are an additional $12.
Glide can be reached by walking up New Dock Street to the entrance of the park, to the left of the Empire Fulton Ferry. More details here.
10-12 minute walk from High Street (A/C) and York Street (F) stations
IC Industry City in Sunset Park
Probably the smallest of all the rinks on this list — it's definitely more for kids goofing around than any sort of serious skating — but there's so much going on at Industry City these days, with its dozens of restaurants, bars, bakeries, all sorts of shops, game rooms, and art installations, that everyone can have a good time over here by the river in Brooklyn's Sunset Park. The rink is open Friday evening and weekends only, and costs $15 to get out on the ice, and another $10 for skate rentals.
Located in the Industry Courtyard between buildings 5 and 6, between 34th and 35th Streets. More details here (not yet open for 2023-2024 season).
Take the D, N, Q, R, or W trains to the 36th Street station and walk one block west and across Third Avenue
The Rink at Brookfield Place
These pop-up rinks from real estate developers are becoming more and more common, functioning as both an amenity for residents in the buildings above and as a lure to bring non-residents to the area. Which is good news for everyone who enjoys a good skate on a chilly day and something warm to eat and drink afterward! The Brookfield Place rink is right on the Hudson River, so the views are lovely, and there are many restaurants and bars located within steps of ice. Adults can expect to pay about $24 for ice time and skate rentals on the weekends.
Located at 230 Vesey Street, behind the Winter Garden and the Brookfield Place mall. More details here (not yet open for 2023-2024 season).
Many trains will get you close to this rink!
The Rink at Manhattan West
Brookfield's other rink is at their other big development in the city, which they call "Manhattan West" and basically sits between Moynihan Station and Hudson Yards. The ice itself is surprisingly large, given that it's located in a snug little plaza between office and residential towers, and there are numerous drinking (alcohol or hot cocoa) and dining (snacks or fancy dinners) right nearby, including a branch of the excellent Daily Provisions mini-chain. Ice time and rental skates will set you back $30 if it's a weekend.
Located at 385 Ninth Avenue, which you can enter at what would be 32nd Street. More details here (not yet open for 2023-2024 season).
These trains get you within a few blocks of the rink
Vale Rink in Williamsburg
More Brooklyn rooftop skating, also on synthetic ice, though the vibe here atop Williamsburg's trendy William Vale Hotel is definitely more grown-up than at the Children's Museum. The Vale Rink is part of a whole Winter Village experience, dramatic skyline views are in the offing, and cheese fondue is on the menu.
Located at 111 North 11th Street, at the corner of Wythe Avenue. More details here.
Take the L train to Bedford Avenue, or the G train to Nassau
⛸️ Note: For the more adventurous, there's the Cloves Lake Park rink on Staten Island — it's situated several miles from the Staten Island Ferry slip in St. George, making it a bit more difficult to get to via public transit, but it's a nice-sized, uncrowded patch of ice. Skating costs $12, skate rentals are $7. Cash only.
Located at 1305 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island. More details here.
Story updated: November 2023