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Best ice-skating rinks in New York City for families

Take the kids to one of our favorite ice-skating rinks in New York City for a day of ice-filled fun.

Photograph: Bart Barlow/© RCPI Landmark Properties

For an active family outing that's truly cool, lace up your skates and hit the ice. We've rounded up the best ice-skating rinks in NYC from Rockefeller Center to Brooklyn's McCarren park so you can get your glide on all winter long. No skates? No problem—you can rent a pair at most of these rinks. While you're at it, you might also want to check out our list of 60 things to do with kids in NYC this winter, the city's beautiful holiday windows and displays and—dare we say it—Santa sightings for kids in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas for kids in New York

The best NYC ice-skating rinks

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Even if the sidewalks are overrun with tourists, your crew will have ample room to skate at the city’s most iconic rink; only 150 people are allowed on the ice at once. Unfortunately, that also means that your family should prepare for long lines—unless you plan on going early in the morning or between 9am and noon on Thanksgiving, expect a one- to two-hour wait. Reservations for the first skate of the day (daily 7am) can also be made online.

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Midtown West

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

During the winter months, Bryant Park opens a no-charge 17,000-square-foot skating rink. Don’t get too excited: The admission may be free, but you gotta pay $14 to rent skates (or BYO). On the upside: The complex holds 500 people, holiday shops, an indoor pavilion and the Canadian-themed lounge Celsius, which conveniently offers a full children's menu and plenty of hot chocolate.

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See/Change Unseasonably Cool

This 110-by-45-foot ice-skating rink at the intersection of Fulton and Front Streets joins the markets that debuted at South Street Seaport over the summer. Drop-in basic skills classes will be held Saturdays and Sundays from 9–9:45am ($20 including skate rental) and private lessons are also available Thursday–Sunday ($60). Ages 3 and up.

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Lakeside at Prospect Park

This $74 million project overhauled 26 acres of the park’s southeast corner and now offers year-round fun. The LeFrak Center houses seasonal ice- and roller-skating rinks, plus a cafe. For warmer months, there's a boat dock and wading pools along the restored waterside.

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Prospect Park

The Rink at Brookfield Place

Located on the plaza in front of the erstwhile World Financial Center Winter Garden (it's now called Brookfield Place Winter Garden), this rink brings a much-needed cold-weather option to the seasonally popular outdoor spot overlooking the North Cove Marina. At 7,350 square feet, it's even bigger than the Rink at Rockefeller Plaza. Manhattan Youth and Asphalt Green will be offering learn-to-skate and ice-hockey lessons too, in case your crew's in need of a little coaching. All ages.

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Battery Park City

Trump Lasker Rink

This rink is less crowded than Wollman, but go for the hockey: Competitive leagues for Gretzky wanna-bes practice here daily. If your tot has a winter birthday, this spot also offers party packages.

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Central Park

McCarren Park

This Brooklyn park straddles the two hipster-fied nabes of Greenpoint and Williamsburg but continues to be a family favorite, too. There are baseball, football and soccer fields, dog runs, a track, tennis courts, a skate park and more. Stop by on select summer nights for outdoor film screenings, food trucks and music, or a romp in the playground at Lorimer Street and Driggs Ave. And as of 2013, the park has also transformed into a winter destination, now that the ever-popular McCarren Park Pool operates as an ice rink during the colder months.

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Trump Wollman Rink

Skating newbies can sign up for the learn-to-skate program—it’s the largest in the country. But no matter what your child’s skill level, there’s nothing quite like skating in the middle of our city’s most beautiful park.

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Midtown West

Abe Stark Rink

This 40-year-old venue began its life as the Ravenhall Baths, a saltwater swimming pool that was quite the Coney Island hot spot in its day. It was destroyed by a fire in 1963, after which the space was converted into a destination for the heavily sweatered and uncoordinated. Arrive at the rink promptly at 1pm when it opens; the ice fills fast and it closes at 4pm.

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World Ice Arena

Although this rink offers hockey programs and private lessons, families can enjoy free-skate sessions every day of the week. World Ice also hosts inexpensive birthday parties; the fee ($23-28 per child) includes skate rental, pizza and several hours of ice time.

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City Ice Pavilion

The five boroughs’ only rooftop rink stretches an NHL-appropriate 85-by-200 feet under a weatherproof air dome (if it’s good enough for Canadians, it’s good enough for the wussy New York winter). Stop by Wednesdays from 12-4pm or between noon and 2pm on the weekends. At other times, the rink is devoted to skating lessons, hockey practice and private parties.

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Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers

There’s no need to wait until winter for your family to glide across the two NHL-size rinks at this megacomplex—they’re open year-round for general skating as well as hockey and figure skating. Unlike most indoor ice arenas, this one doesn’t feel like a cave; ample windows afford sweeping views of the Hudson River to the west.

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West Village

Staten Island Skating Pavilion

The borough's only year-round ice rink is a skater's dream, offering figure-skating and hockey programs for kids and adults of all levels. Public sessions, parties and private rink rentals are also available.

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Staten Island