Ice-skating is undoubtedly great fun for the little ones, but do not mistake ice-skating lessons for kids-only territory. Whether you’re nostalgic for the figure skating routines you learned in your youth or tired of feeling foolish each winter when your partner inevitably suggests adding it to your list of romantic date ideas, it’s time to thaw out your skating dreams. Give skating a whirl as a new hobby or as new fitness classes that are too much fun to feel like exercise. Whichever level you're starting from, these are the best lessons for learning at the finest ice-skating rinks in NYC.
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Best places for ice-skating lessons
City Ice Pavilion is no small pond. If you’re brand-new to ice-skating, this NHL-size skating rink puts enough space between you and the judgmental stares of the skillful skating 8-year-olds. You can get four full hours of open skate time over the weekend for just $8, which makes it easy to pop in and practice your moves. The rental skates are exceptionally comfortable, and the coaches there are excellent at adapting lessons to suit all skill levels of figure skating and hockey. After your lesson, head to the on-site snack booth to reward your hard work with the food of champions: pizza!
The Bryant Park Winter Village is simply magical and has one of the quintessential city skating experiences. This frozen little urban oasis has its own magnificent Christmas tree, not to mention a rink that’s larger than the Rink at Rockefeller Center. Yes, there are a lot of tourists and it gets super busy, but the guards are used to managing the crowds and are quick to help fallen skaters. Adult classes are early on weekend mornings and come in bite-size 30-minute increments, and you can schedule private lessons as well.
No, it’s not cheap to get a lesson at NYC’s most iconic skating rink—a 30-minute private lesson is $50—but come on, it’s a classic for a reason. That price for the daily lessons includes your general admission but not skate rental. (And reservations are highly recommended.) You can save $10 by taking a two-person lesson for $80 total, and you get bonus points if you turn it into a romantic date night in NYC.
Aviator Sports is fun for the whole extended family. In addition to an ice rink, the Flatbush venue includes a rock climbing wall, gymnastics facilities, a basketball court, an indoor soccer field, tennis courts and even an arcade. Aviator offers adult classes as well as private coaching, so you can practice your axel jumps no matter what age you are. And just to drive home the adult-friendliness, there’s a bar, because nothing beats coming off the ice for an ice-cold beer.
With sky-high buildings peeking over the trees that surround Wollman Rink in Central Park, the views from the ice are phenomenal. The rink is a decent size, meaning it’s not overly crowded. Plus, the schedule caters to the more dedicated skating students. You can buy a package for unlimited adult classes and then add on additional private lessons to work out any problem areas. It even offer beginners’ and intermediate pond hockey classes.
LeFrak Center has indoor and outdoor rinks right in the middle of Prospect Park, so you can alternate between warming up and braving the cold for gorgeous views of the lake. The Center offers three levels of adult classes as well as private lessons, so there are options for everyone. Once you’ve worked up an appetite skating, head over to the Bluestone Café, which serves up hot food, sandwiches, dessert and even Brooklyn Brewery beer.
Unlike the outdoor venues, this Chelsea rink stays open year-round. This means you can learn throughout the warmer months and then come Christmas time, casually suggest ice-skating and impress your unsuspecting date. (They’ll be so amazed that they’ll assume you’re naturally skilled at all physical activities.) Sky Rink is divided into two separate rinks for skating and hockey, which is good news for hockey players as well as figure skaters afraid of being body slammed. If your schedule allows it, weekday mornings are when the rinks are least congested.
The Rink at Brookfield Place wins the scenic skating category, hands down. This rink is undeniably romantic, with the beautiful backdrop of lower Manhattan hugging one side of the rink and breathtaking views of the Hudson River on the other side. And while it’s not the largest venue, the instructors there, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petkhov, just so happen to be world-renowned Olympic athletes, so it’s probably fair to say you can trust their skating wisdom and guidance.
Located near the upper edges of Central Park, Lasker Rink offers Manhattan ice-skating that’s perhaps a bit less scenic than other options but significantly less crowded. Figure skaters and hockey teams enjoy freedom of movement on their own individual rinks. The Skate School offers 30-minute adult group classes every Saturday and Sunday and dedicates another 30 minutes to practice time. You can sign up for private lessons as well.