Tips for Ice Skating in New York

By Go City Expert

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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Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

It’s...wait. It’s WHAT day in December? How did that happen? How is Christmas so soon? Isn't it still October? Why haven’t I been shopping/ordering/baking? While we can’t help with the cookies for the office cookie swap, we can help make your last-minute gift shopping a little less woeful. Here, our tips for last-minute holiday gifts. Museum Gift Shops For a classy gift that’s elegant and thoughtful, try a museum gift shop. At The Frick, you can get gorgeous coffee-table books, posters, tote bags, scarves, and even some truly unique offerings, like a clock paperweight and a stunning porcelain tray. Uptown at Cooper-Hewitt, you can find fabulous design-inspired gifts, from a Bauhaus-inspired chess set to a puzzle that seems to change colors with the light. You’ll also find stocking stuffers like a snowflake trivet and a citrus squeezer, plus cute stuff for kids, including plush toys, a gummy bear puzzle, and reusable paper. A perfect place for last-minute holiday gifts. Holiday Markets If you haven’t discovered the holiday markets already, now would be the moment. The holiday markets at Bryant Park and Columbus Circle are great for handmade goodies like jewelry and toys, while the Union Square Market is especially good for food items (Jams! Bread! And get yourself some hot cider!) And if you’re near (or travelling through) Grand Central, their yearly holiday market focuses on handmade American goods. Note: Most of the markets are up through December 24, so hasten thee there immediately! Need more info on them? We’ve got the holiday market info here. Drugstores Now, hear us out. We don’t mean a desperate last-minute Christmas-Eve run to your local CVS (though, hey, if you have to, you have to.) We’re thinking something a little more well-conceived. So, consider giving a gift-wrap kit. Get the recipient gift wrap, tape (no one ever has enough tape), gift tags, bows, and maybe a little something to munch on while they wrap (also conveniently located in the drugstore.) Genius! Everyone will be grateful. Specialty Food and Wine Stores Do they love cheese? Wine? Cheese AND wine? Do they have a secret stash of chocolate in their desk? (Honestly, who doesn’t?) For a truly fun Christmas experience and some stellar chocolate, head to Myzel’s, a tiny jewel box of a candy store across from City Center. Christmas decorations abound, and you can get beautiful chocolate by the pound, as well as a fabulous selection of licorice. Plus little stocking stuffers and perhaps a cookie for you. (You’re working hard!) For fantastic cheese, head to the iconic Murray’s cheese shop in the Village, with maybe a stop at Astor Wines. Now, those are gifts.
Go City Expert
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5 Steps to Beating the New York City Summer Heat

Summer is well and truly upon us, at once awesome and yet unbearable in its glory. There’s still a few months of sun left (fingers crossed) to explore all the wondrous delights that New York has on offer. But it’s also hot. Very, very hot. All those tall, glass, sky-scraping behemoths and streets paved with tarmac mean that NYC scorches like no other. Still, you’ll want to make the most of the sunshine before it skedaddles for another half year, so here are some of the best ways beat the heat in NYC this summer. 1. Stay Hydrated Water is brilliant, isn’t it? Not only does it make up 70-odd percent of your body, it’s also pretty neat to drink too. You should be drinking 2-3 liters a day, and that’s never truer than when the sun’s beating down. Your best bet is to carry a reusable bottle around with you. Not only can you fill it up and one of the many water fountains around, but you’ll also be super environmentally friendly. Of course, if you’re already out with no water bottle of your own, you can pick one up from any number of shops and stands around town. Remember to stay hydrated on the subway too. Not all of them are air-conditioned, and the ones that aren’t can become a humid kind of hell. 2. Dress Light Dare to get those legs out in a sundress or a pair of shorts. Freedom is key – anything tight or heavy is only going to make you sweat buckets. That’s not pleasant for you. Or for anyone else who might be within smell-shot of you. Are you brave enough to don a pair of sandals or flip flops too? O’ courageous one, we salute you. 3. Hide in Air Conditioning Inside Metropolitan Museum of Art Of course, if it all gets a bit much and you want to seek the safety of a beautifully air-conditioned building, there’s plenty of inside hilarity to be had too. Fancy a little culture to go with the cold air? There’s museums aplenty. Looking for a little summer spending spree? Try the innumerable shops. Or if you’re starving, stop by a local restaurant and pray they have air-con. 4. Enjoy some Fro-Yo Ice Cream. Photo via Epoch Times As if you needed an excuse. What better way to beat the heat in NYC this summer than with the ice-cold, sugary delights of ice cream? You’re sure to find ice cream vans on most street corners, so go exploring. Vegan’s can even have their chilly taste buds sated at one of the renowned Van Leeuwen shops around town. 5. Take a Cruise Shearwater Classic Schooner. Photo via Manhattan by Sail Miss all of the hustle, bustle and blazing microclimate of the city by backflipping on to a boat. Sweet moves. If you’ve never seen the city by sea, then you haven’t even lived. There’s plenty of options too. Take a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise, and catch a glimpse of NYC’s iconic skyline with the glorious breeze running over you. Close your eyes and imagine it. Excellent. Or go say hi to Lady Liberty on the retro Shearwater Classic Schooner. Either way, you’re bound to beat the heat in style. Them’s just some of the ways to beat the heat in NYC this summer. Any hot takes we missed? Let us know down below. Bonus Tip Chinese Folding Fan Stop by Canal Street in Chinatown and pick up one of these lovely, lightweight, handheld refreshing companions. These Chinese Hand Fans are all over Chinatown and can seriously reduce the temperature of your face, thus making you more comfortable.
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A Trip to New York City in Photos

Post was originally published on Denise's blog at Travel with Denise. First impressions of New York Arriving at JFK Airport [spacer height="20px"] After 8 years we finally visit The Big Apple! Our dream came true, it was on our bucket list for a long time. These are our first impressions.. We just love it! After a 9 hour flight with Delta, we take a yellow cab to our hotel. The best way to see the skyline for the first time... This is my number 1 favorite city in the world and I need to go back some day! Room Mate Grace Boutique Hotel Room Mate Grace Hotel in Times Square [spacer height="20px"] Our hotel "Room Mate Grace" is a perfect place to stay in New York. A boutique hotel in the center of New York, close to Times Square (200 meters). But everything's nearby: Broadway theaters, 5th avenue, and dozen of iconic sights. After a long day you can relax at this place; chill out at the pool and poolbar. The rooms are not big, but very clean and modern. You will have a nice bathroom and the service is great! I really recommend this place! Top of the Rock / Rockefeller Center Top of the Rock Observatory [spacer height="20px"] Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center; an amazing place with a breathtaking view of New York City and beyond. From this point you can see the Empire State Building, awesome! The excitement begins on the ground floor with the rich history and architecture of Rockefeller Center. You can take one of the glass ceiling sky shuttles for a ride to the top. When you have the New York Pass you have a free entry and you can skip the lines, perfect! You can order the New York Pass here: www.newyork.nl. The best time to visit this place is in the morning at 9.00 AM. At the top it's very small and in the evening there many tourists, but the sunset is great to see! Good luck ;) Bryant Park Bryant Park [spacer height="20px"] Bryant Park is a public park and a New York landmark. It's located between fifth and sixth avenue and between 40th and 42nd streets in Midtown Manhattan. The New York Public Library is located within the park, so when you visit the Library, make sure you walk through this park. The buildings around, the flowers and the carousel, make this place incredible! Did you know that the movie Sex and the City staged multiple scenes at the park's carousel? Times Square Times Square [spacer height="20px"] Love this concrete jungle! The most famous square in the whole wide world and one of world's most visited tourist attraction. 450.000 people daily on a busy day, that's more than then Disney theme parks! You will feel so small at this place. It's magical because of the Neon billboards and advertisements, shops, many tourists and costumed characters. At nighttime the billboards light up even more brightly than during the day, so it don't feel like night when you walk there. Do you want to make some awesome pictures without all those people? I had a jet lag so wake up at 5.00 AM, it's very quiet at this time ;) Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park & Brooklyn Heights Brooklyn Bridge [spacer height="20px"] I can give you 100 tips and recommendations, but the best one; rent a beach cruiser at Blazing Saddles. When you have the New York pass, you can rent a free beach cruiser for 24 hours. You can pick up your beach cruiser at Pier 17 (in the neighborhood of the circle line cruise) and you can drop your beach cruiser at Pier 17 or Pier 84 at Hudson River Park, it's up to you. The best way to explore New York is on a bike ride. We bike the Brooklyn Bridge, what an experience! There two sections; walk and bike. Very difficult to bike with so many people walking at the bridge, but we did it and it was great! We also visit Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Heights Park, DUMBO and back over the Manhattan Bridge. You will see breathtaking views! This is the best ever, especially when you have great weather just like us :) Grand Central Station Grand Central Terminal [spacer height="20px"] Grand Central Station; official name Grand Central Terminal, with 44 platforms, more than any other railroad station in the world. This terminal is also one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, with 21.9 million visitors a few years ago. The station is not owned by Authority, but by a private company. We visit this place at the day there was a congress with Donald Trump, that's the reason why some people demonstrate. A nice thing you need to know is that you can hire an audio tour to learn more about the history. It's not only a station, you can find here shops, restaurants and a market. Really nice to visit this place, it's open daily from 5.30 AM until 2.00 AM. Empire State Building View from the Empire State Building [spacer height="20px"] One of the best places to visit in New York is the Empire State Building. I can't describe the feeling you get when you're on the top and see the view of New York and beyond. WOW WOW WOW! Also for this attraction the best time to visit is early in the morning (like 08.30 AM or 09.00 AM), it's not to crowded and you can make stunning shots! The Empire State Building was completed in a year and 45 days and finished in 1931. It stood as the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years, now One World Trade center is the tallest. Inside this building you will find art deco design. At the 86th-floor observation deck you have a 360-degree view of the city. There is a second observation deck on the 102nd floor, but you need to pay 20 USD extra when you use the New York Pass. 9/11 Memorial & Museum 9/11 Memorial [spacer height="20px"] Impressive that's the best word to describe this place.. The place where 2983 people killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001. This is a place to honor the people who have been killed. You will find two reflecting pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers and a plaza of trees, including the Survivor tree. The underground museum tells the story of the events of 9/11, while presenting stories with 23.000 images, 10.300 artifacts and over 500 hours of video. The stories you will hear inside the museum will give you goose bumps, so sad what happens. A must see when you visit New York! Open-door Helicopter flight Manhattan View from a helicopter [spacer height="20px"] Ever made a shoe selfie with the One World Trade Center? This is the best experience ever!! An open door helicopter flight with FlyNyon. AMAZING! I wanted to give my husband a special gift on his birthday trip to New York, so I booked a flight at FlyNyon. We took the NJ Path from Manhattan to New Jersey (location of FlyNyon) and take a uber taxi to the hanger. It's possible to take you're iPhone, camera and go pro, they have straps for all your camera's. The view is spectacular! Dumbo - Brooklynn Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO, Brooklyn [spacer height="20px"] Dumbo, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass is a neighborhood in Brooklyn and it's located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. That's what makes this area so nice, you can make pictures of the bridges from the other side. If you take a good look you will see the Empire State Building framed by the Manhattan Bridge, this pictures are made from Washington Street. Did you know Dumbo has become Brooklyn's most expensive neighborhood? It's worth a visit by bike! Statue of Liberty at Liberty Island & Ellis Island Statue of Liberty [spacer height="20px"] Some people told us, don't visit Liberty Island, because it's very busy with tourists and it's better to see Lady Liberty from the ferry. But I can tell you, I'm happy we take the free ferry from Battery Park to Liberty Island, because we had a great time! Every 20 minutes there is a ferry who can bring you back to Manhattan or Ellis Island. 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