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Tips for Ice Skating in New York

When the temperature drops, the ice skates come out (or at least, they should.) Follow our tips for ice skating in New York--what to know, where to go, and how to get the most out of this winter sport.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

The jewel in the crown of New York ice skating rinks, this is where all the tourists (and plenty of New Yorkers ) want to go, and what everyone wants to photograph. Not surprisingly—it’s got a stellar location, and a prime New York setting in Rockefeller Center.

What to know:

It’s pricey. A general admission skate will set you back $25 for an adult ticket. During holidays and peak holidays, it goes up to $28 and $35. Add in a skate rental, and that will set you back another $18. Expect it also to be very, very crowded. You can reserve tickets (on their own, which start at $60, or as part of a package, such as breakfast with Santa, or a seat to see the Rockettes). Should you go? If it’s on your bucket list; you are planning on proposing (or being proposed to); or if it’s part of your perfect holiday fantasy, then yes. Otherwise, you can get great pics and feel like part of the experience simply by watching the skaters from afar.

Winterland Rink

Image credit: The Howard Hughes Corporation

What to know:

Now in its second year of operation, the rooftop Winterland skating rink offers season passes as well as daily tickets. (You will need to pick an arrival time, although you’re free to skate as long as you like once you're there.) Go for the skating, stay for the views; you’ll see the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River, and the Manhattan Skyline.

Bryant Park

Free admission! Yes, it’s true—admission to the Rink at Bryant Park is free, and there’s no catch. (If you need to rent skates, there is a fee for that.)

What to know:

The rink is open daily, and you’re surrounded by lots of other stuff to do, especially during the holidays (the holiday market!) The main branch of the library is nearby, there are lots of good food options, and there’s something especially fun about skating right in the middle of the city with grand buildings surrounding you. (You’ll also find a lot of special events in Bryant Park, so check the schedule.) New this season: You can reserve your skate time online. Should you go? Probably. Everybody should go at least once.

The Rink at Brookfield Place

One of New York’s great little (almost) secrets. The small rink (nothing to sneeze at though; it’s over 7,000 square feet) is located behind the shopping mecca Brookfield Place--and it has an unbelievable view. (Yes, that’s New Jersey over there, looking surprisingly fetching.)

What to know:

Tickets are $15, skate rentals five. Note: It doesn’t open until noon during the week. So do some shopping inside, then come out and get re-energized. Should you go? Why not? It might not be worth making a special out-of-your-way trip, but if you’re nearby, it’s a fun destination.

Wollman Rink in Central Park

Few rinks are prettier than Wollman, located in the middle of Central Park; it’s hard to imagine a nicer city setting to ice skate.

What to know:

It’s got amazing views of the city skyline as well as Central Park, and it’s less pricey than Rockefeller Center ($12 for adults for public skating, a great deal). You can even get a season pass, as well as a locker for the season. Note: Public skating sessions are cash only. Should you go? Yes. Good price, great views; a kind of quintessential New York skating experience.

Abe Stark Rink

Located on the Coney Island Boardwalk, the rink, open since 1970, is only open on weekends and some holidays.

What to know:

In the plus column, it’s only $10 to skate, with $5 skate rentals, and they offer skating lessons. Plus it’s indoors, which in February you’ll appreciate. (Oh, and if you were wondering, Abe Stark was a three-term Brooklyn Borough president, known as Mr. Brooklyn.) Should you go? If you’re in Brooklyn and you’re looking for a kind of classic, non-touristy skating experience, then yes.

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers

A New York classic! A large indoor rink great for public skating, birthday parties, and outings of any kind; the two rinks are among the most popular in New York.

Photo courtesy Chelsea Piers

What to know:

Factor in some pretty great views, a snack bar right nearby, and plenty of other things to do when you’re done skating, and you’ve got a winner. Check out their group rates and private lessons, too. Should you go? If you’ve got a group or are looking for something fun to do (it’s open year round, a big plus) then yes.

Looking for some cultural winter fun? Check out these must-see art exhibits!

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