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The rink at Rockefeller Center
Photograph: Courtesy Rockefeller Center

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 Shaye Weaver and Time Out New York contributors
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It's time to lace up your skates—the best ice skating rinks in NYC are waiting for you. As one of the most beloved cities to spend the holidays in, NYC has plenty of indoor and outdoor rinks where you can glide and practice your toe jumps. To help narrow down your options, we’ve ranked the top places to go, from the iconic Rink at Rockefeller Center or lower-key rinks at NYC parks like Central Park. 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 the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. If you'd rather stay warm while on the ice, there are 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

Rockefeller Center, Ice Rink, ice skating
Photograph: Courtesy Rockefeller Center

1. The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Things to do Ice skating Midtown West

The Rink is open every day from 8:30am until Midnight through January 17 this year only, as it's usually open until April. To have your moment with the bronze gilded statue of the Greek legend Prometheus, a ticket costs you $28 to skate during the holiday season. One thing's for sure, whether the weather is frigid or balmy, nothing stands in the way of New Yorkers and their time on the ice. Fun fact: The attraction, which first opened on Christmas Day in 1936, was meant to be temporary, but it has stood the test of time to become one of the most coveted things to do in New York, especially during the holidays. 

 

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Ice Skating
Photograph: 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 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is still free and open late, however, you’ll still have to shell out $20 to rent skates (or BYO). Reservations and skate rentals must be made in advance online (rental prices change depending the day and time) this year, and fewer skaters will be on the ice at one time, which is good for skaters looking for a less hectic time on the ice. In the past, skaters and spectators used to be able to keep warm inside tents. Now, they'll have to brave the cold in separate areas for those waiting to get on the ice and those coming off the ice. And instead of placing your belongings in a locker, each skater will be given a free drawstring bag to put their shoes in and keep on their backs as they glide across the ice. Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your time on the ice, warm up with hot chocolate at the new The Lodge Deck rinkside.

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Industry city ice skating rink
Photograph: Courtesy Industry City

3. Industry City Ice Rink by Volvo Car USA

News City Life

Industry City is opening its ice rink by Volvo this year in Courtyard 5/6 will be open during the winter season every Thursday-Sunday until March 1. (It will also be larger than last year's rink!) And when you're not skating on the heated outdoor rink, decorated with tons of holiday décor, you can grab a cup of hot chocolate from Frying Pan Brooklyn next door. Tickets are $12 per person, with skate rentals costing $10 per person. Tickets can be purchased on-site at Industry City or online.

 

Vale Rink
Photograph: Courtesy William Vale

4. The Vale Rink at the William Vale

News City Life

Did you know you can take in stunning skyline views atop The William Vale while on your ice skates? Starting December 2, the hotel's 23rd-floor rooftop is 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. It's open Wednesday - Friday, 2-10pm, and Saturday & Sunday, noon-10pm.

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LeFrak Rink in Prospect Park
Photograph: Courtesy Prospect Park Alliance/Michael Moran

5. 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. Ice skating is just $7.50 to $11 per person.

Ice Skates for Ice Skating
Photograph: Shutterstock

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. You can book a freestyle skate session, which you can book here. Skate rentals and its rink locker rooms are not available this year.

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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. You could even stop by Sofrito, which is on the premises, after a brisk day of skating. It costs just $5 ($3 for kids) to skate unless you need to rent skates, which costs $6. 

Ice Skating, Wollman Rink, Central Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. Wollman Rink in Central Park

Things to do Ice skating Central Park

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. It's $12 to skate during the week, $19 to skate on the weekends, and $10 to rent skates (cash only). 

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Couple Ice Skating
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Lasker Rink

Things to do Ice skating Central Park

The second Donald-branded skating venue isn’t quite as popular as Wollman Rink, which means you just might be able to hit your Apolo Ohno stride. The rink is open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. When the ice isn’t available to the public, good odds are there’s a hockey game or practice happening; if you’re a puck fan, stop by to cheer on the adult and youth teams that frequent the spot. This year, the rink will be operating at a limited number of guests based on a first-come, first-serve basis, so there will be no reservations or advanced tickets needed.

Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Abe Stark Rink

Sports and fitness Coney Island

This seaside rink keeps people flocking to the area even after Coney Island's 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. Saturday, Sunday and holiday sessions last only for four hours a pop, from noon to 4pm on Thursday, December 26 through Wednesday, January 1, 2020. On Saturdays, it's open from 2-4pm. It's $10 to skate and $5 per skate rental.

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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. It's $25-$28 to skate for 80-minutes; skate rental is $6. You must register online before you arrive to skate.

ice skates for ice skating
Photograph: 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. It's just $7 to skate during the week and $10 to skate on the weekends. Skate rental is $6. You must register online before showing up to skate.

Need to warm up a bit?

mr purple chalet
Photograph: Courtesy Katrine Moite

11 ridiculously cozy outdoor dining spots in NYC

News Eating

Sure, technically, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but we’re quite partial to fall in NYC: the fall foliage, the hot cocktails and especially the outdoor dining. Whether you’re looking for hidden patios or scene-y rooftop bars, there’s an al fresco option for every preference and—thanks to heated lamps, soft blankets and covered tents—every weather advisory. Here are 10 great outdoor spots to cozy up to this fall in NYC.

Olmsted

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The greenery-filled backyard of this Prospect Heights favorite is charming at any season, but with warming infrared heaters and fall-inspired fare (hello, chestnut chawanmushi), it’s an autumnal must-visit. Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Dr. Clark

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Forget standalone heaters: Each outdoor kotatsu table is heated at this Hokkaido-themed newcomer in Chinatown. In case that’s still not comfy enough for you, they’re equipped with remote controls so customers can adjust the temperature, plaid blankets to snuggle up to, and a disco ball overhead, because life is short. Chinatown

Mr. Purple

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The chalet is open for the season on the Hotel Indigo’s rooftop terrace, and it sure looks like a fall getaway: think faux-fur blankets, fireplace logs, and freshly-popped bubbly, all tucked inside a heated, private snow globe. Lower East Side

Wayla

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The back garden of this stylish Thai spot has all of the floor pillows, woven rugs and candlelit lanterns of our West Elm-loving dreams. And if the spicy, Bangkok-by-way-of-Bowery eats don’t warm you up from the inside out, the outdoor heaters should do the trick. Lower East Side

Sushi Lab

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It’s easy to enjoy omakase outdoors at this raw-fish restaurant situated atop midtown’s Sanctuary Hotel: Leaf-covered tenting and electric heaters ensure that the only chills you’ll feel during your meal are from the food. Midtown West

Hütte

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Travel’s not an option right now, but you can get some Alpine ski-lodge vibes without the plane at this woodsy cold-weather concept, found in the tented garden behind Schaller’s Stube. Wrap yourself in a blanket and tuck into a hearty spread of bubbling fondue, game meats, and Austrian beer. Upper East Side

Scarpetta

The garden café outside of the Italian stalwart has turned a new leaf for fall—literally. The semi-covered pergola is lush in seasonal foliage courtesy of “floral scientist” Elisabeth Santana, and the whole outdoor structure is heated so you, and your pasta, won’t ever get cold. Flatiron

Ten Hope

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The open-air patio behind this Williamsburg eatery is sprawling, but feels invitingly intimate thanks to rooftop canopies, ivy garlands, comfy banquettes and a dozen heaters fighting the seasonal chill. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Daniel


Who said that private cabanas were a summertime luxury only? You can have yourself a very cozy fall date night inside one of the striped, heated bungalows at Daniel Boulud’s fine-dining flagship. An extra layer of warmth: That famed white-tablecloth service. Upper East Side

Shuko

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Leave it to the Shuko team to make a New York alley feel quaint and magical, instead of the usual cold and menacing. Warming up the traditionally nondescript space are overhead heaters, string upon string of twinkly lights and, of course, world-class sushi. Union Square

Pastis

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The Keith McNally classic is a perennial outdoor dining favorite, but that doesn’t need to end just because the temperature’s dropping. At the restaurant’s sidewalk patio, French plates are served with a side of propane heaters, so you’ll spend less time shivering and more time people-watching down the cobblestone streets. Meatpacking District

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PHD Terrace hot chocolate
Photograph: Courtesy PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown

The best hot chocolate in NYC

Restaurants Cafés

New York's hot chocolate revival can be traced back to City Bakery more than 20 years ago, but even though that bakery bastion shuttered in 2019, the scene is still piping hot. One reason? Baristas. A great coffee shop is often a great hot chocolate spot—that latte-quality milk can make all the difference when you want a cocoa to lift your spirits when battling the brutal cold.

But whether you get it from your corner Joe joint, one of the city's best bakeries, or from a bar as a warming hot cocktail, hot chocolate in NYC has never been better. There are so many high-quality options in this city that you could go on a season-long cocoa crawl, and try everything from classic cups to more creative expressions. (Cardamom almond milk hot chocolate, anyone?)

Fancy techniques aside, the best cocoas are comforting—there's a reason why hot chocolate is one of the defining flavors of childhood.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best restaurants in NYC

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The Pocono Chalet in Pocono Summit, PA
Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb

13 cozy cabins near NYC that you can rent on Airbnb

Travel

The perfect winter getaway from NYC requires a few things: hot chocolate, a crackling fireplace, wool sweaters and a cozy cabin to cuddle up in. Whether you need lodging at ski resorts near NYC or somewhere rustic chic for a girls’ weekend, this list of cabins near NYC on Airbnb has got you covered. After just a few hours of driving, you could be snuggling in a chalet in the Pocono Mountains, relaxing in a geodesic dome in upstate New York or sipping a hot toddy in a trendy container cabin in the Catskills. No matter where you choose to go, escaping the city to a snow-covered wonderland has to be one of the top things to do in the winter.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to weekend getaways from NYC

Note: please check the latest travel guidance before booking your trip.

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