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Photograph: Courtesy Colin Miller

The best places to go ice-skating in NYC

Lace up your skates and head to our favorite spots for the best indoor and outdoor ice-skating NYC has to offer

By Time Out New York contributors and Will Sabel Courtney
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When the temperature drops, that means it’s time to go ice-skating. NYC has plenty of indoor and outdoor rinks where you can strap on the blades and hit the slick stuff. We’ve ranked the top places to go, so whether you want to be the center of attention at Rockefeller Center or skate at some NYC parks like Central Park, you certainly have a multitude of options. You can even make a full-day out of it when you shop at one of the city’s best holiday markets, followed by sipping hot chocolate and skating on The Rink at Bryant Park Winter Village. If exposure to the elements isn’t your style, you can also check out one of the city’s many all-weather indoor rinks, including spots that offer roller skating.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the winter in NYC

Best places for ice-skating in NYC

Vale Rink
Photograph: Courtesy of the William Vale

1. The Vale Rink at the William Vale

News City Life

Now you can take in stunning skyline views atop The William Vale while on your ice skates.  The hotel's 23rd floor rooftop is now the home of Vale Rink, where you can do your spins and lutzes high above Brooklyn with major views of Manhattan's skyline. Doing laps at the rink is $20 for adults and $12 for kids, which includes skate rentals. The new Vale Rink has a big advantage that other NYC rinks don't have— it's made with synthetic ice by Glice which is said to provide a smoother glide than the natural stuff. It doesn't require much maintenance and sticks around even if the temperature goes above freezing.

Photograph: Courtesy Angelito Jusay

2. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink

Things to do Markets and fairs

If you want to eat, shop and go ice-skating all in one-go, The Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park is the spot. The Rink (opens October 28) is still free and open late, however, you’ll still have to shell out $20 to rent skates (or BYO). Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your time on the ice, warm up at the new rinkside restaurant Public Fare. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours.

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

3. The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Things to do Ice skating Midtown West

This is one of the first outdoor ice-skating rinks to open for the season, which is fitting, since it’s also the most iconic. Even if the sidewalks are overrun with tourists, you’ll have ample room to skate at this beloved landmark; only 150 people are allowed on the ice at once. Unfortunately, that also means that you should prepare for long lines. If you want the privilege of being among the first to hit the cold stuff in the morning, visit the rink’s website to make a reservation for the first skate of the day.

Photograph: Kate Hess

4. Ice-skating at the LeFrak Center

Attractions Parks and gardens Prospect Park

Ahh, is there anything more picturesque than Prospect Park during the fall and winter? We have a feeling you’ll be spending a lot of time there this season, particularly for the park’s massive arena, which transforms from roller rink to ice haven come wintertime. From outdoor and indoor ice-skating and figure skating to hockey, curling and broomball, there’s plenty of sports to try. And the walk through the park’s foliage is worth the price in admission.

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David Mitchell

5. Runway Rink at JFK Airport

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You'll move a lot faster on this rink than you do through security. The new TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport is opening an ice skating rink this month where guests can lace up and get twirling on the tarmac. The 56-by-44-foot Runway Rink will be open for business starting Nov 30, and you can make your visit to the rink, which is open seven days a week, a full day outing. While hanging rink-side, you'll find frosty beers, Sno-Caps candy and other snacks and beverages available for purchase. Proud New Yorkers will also want to know that the ice is made from 3,500 gallons of good ‘ol New York City tap water.  “Normally, when you hear about ice at the airport, it’s not good news,” says Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner of MCR/MORSE Development, the owner-operator of the TWA Hotel. “But in this case, people can get excited about a frozen tarmac at JFK — we’re creating the Rockefeller Center of Queens.”

Travelers and visitors should keep in mind that you can only access the rink before heading through security. So, once you go through TSA checkpoint you can't exactly leave your gate for a quick skating sesh and come back. But, if you have a layover or are seeking out new NYC rinks to try out, add this to the top of your must-do list. Admission will cost $15 for adults, $10 for kids under 12, and you can rent skates for $10 (kids under 12 can rent for $8). Plus, if you’ve got little ones still learning on the ice, there will be skating aids onsite.

icechelseapiers
Photograph: Courtesy of Chelsea Piers

6. Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers

Things to do Ice skating Chelsea

There’s no need to wait until winter 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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Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

7. Riverbank State Park Ice Skating Rink

Things to do Ice skating Harlem

This sizable outdoor rink is open to the public Friday through Sunday, and has a roof to prevent December snows and April showers alike from raining on your ice capades. And since Riverbank State Park overlooks the Hudson, you’ll have nice views of the river and the George Washington Bridge as a backdrop.

8. Wollman Rink in Central Park

Things to do Ice skating Midtown West

If you decide to check out this famed rink, be prepared for hordes of children and slow-moving newbies. There won’t be room for speed skating or fancy tricks, but braving the crowds is worth it for the priceless Central Park scenery.

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Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Abe Stark Rink

Sports and fitness Coney Island

This seaside rink keeps people flocking to the area even after the theme parks have closed. The 40-year-old venue began its life as the Ravenhall Baths, a saltwater swimming pool that was quite the Coney Island hotspot in its day. It was destroyed by fire in 1963, after which the space was converted into a destination for the heavily sweatered and uncoordinated. It’s open through March for weekend-only skating, but don’t lollygag: Saturday, Sunday and holiday sessions last only for three hours a pop.

Ice skating
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

10. Floyd Bennett Field, Aviator Sports and Events Center

Sports and fitness Exercise classes Brooklyn

This place is an actual airline hangar filled with two NHL-regulation rinks—plus a gym, arcade, rock wall, bungee jumping and air hockey, so you can try out pretty much every sport you love in one place. There’s at least one open-rink session held daily so you can practice that double axel.

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Photograph: Shutterstock

11. World Ice Arena

Things to do Ice skating Queens

Need some skating tips before you attempt to navigate Manhattan’s obstacle-ridden ice? Head to this Queens arena, where dozens of weekly classes are available in addition to daily open sessions. If you need to refuel after all that gliding, the World Ice Cafe serves rinkside grub during most public skating hours.

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

12. City Ice Pavilion

Sports and fitness Sunnyside

World Ice’s sister arena has the added benefit of a second, smaller skating area for spillover. The five boroughs’ only rooftop rink, it stretches to NHL size under a weatherproof air dome. (If it’s good enough to withstand Canadian temperatures, it can handle the wussy NYC winter.) The additional rink—made of synthetic material—gives smelly adult-leaguers a place to practice their hockey stops while you enjoy your leisurely laps.

Need to warm up a bit?

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