Now that the winter season is in full force in New York City, the five boroughs are shining bright with holiday festivities. A walk along the pricey Fifth Avenue stores draws crowds of onlookers at the window holiday displays, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is ornately decorated and shoppers are hurrying around to buy presents.
A perfect winter activity to take part in while wandering the streets of New York City may be somewhat unlikely in between the skyscrapers, ice skating. Lace up your ice skates and head to one of these famous rinks.
The epitome of ice skating in Manhattan is to go a few rounds at The Ice Skating Rink in Rockefellar Center. The winter tradition of turning the outdoor, sunken in space into an ice skating rink draws the attention of visitors and locals alike. Located in the heart of Midtown, ice skating in Rockefellar Center is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.
With the majestic Christmas tree twinkling in the background, tourists are drawn to this spot for photo opportunities. Although the lines are often long and the price for admission is steeper than other places in the city, there is no other place in New York City quite like this ice skating rink.
For those who are hesitant to step onto the ice, Rockefellar Center is a optimal spot to watch skaters spin underneath the lights of the Christmas tree. The Ice Skating Rink is open Monday-Thursday from 9am-10:30pm, Friday-Saturday from 8:30am-midnight, and Sunday from 8:30am-10pm.
Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city sits Central Park. Often considered an oasis for New Yorkers, Central Park gears up for the winter season with not just one, but two ice skating rinks. Located in the southern tip of the park is Wollman Rink, one of the most well-known ice skating rinks in all five boroughs.
Opened in 1950, visitors and locals love to put on a pair of ice skates and make rounds in the rink. With tall trees and a landscape that is anything far from urban, ice skating at Wollman Rink allows people to forget they are in the middle of Manhattan.
Wollman Rink is open on Monday and Tuesday from 10am-2:30pm, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am-10pm, Friday and Saturday from 10am-11pm, and Sunday from 10am-9pm.
Located in the northern section of Central Park is the Trump-Lasker Rink. During the summer, this space is an outdoor pool, but when winter arrives it transforms into a skating wonderland. Still with the beautiful backdrop of the large park, this ice skating rink is a good spot to enjoy the winter sport for those who are located uptown.
Ice hockey teams are a popular attraction at the Trump-Lasker Rink, as many leagues are formed every year. Opened in the 1960s, ice skating at this rink is a tradition and continues to be one in the 2011-2012 season.
The Trump-Lasker Rink is opened on Monday from 10am-3:45pm, Tuesday from 10am-3pm, and reopens from 8-10pm. Wednesday from 10am-3:45pm, Thursday from 10am-3:45pm. Friday from 10am-5:15pm, and reopens from 7-11pm, Saturday from 1-11pm, and Sunday from 12:30-4:30pm.
One of the most popular ice skating rinks throughout Manhattan is Citi Pond at Bryant Park. Its claim to fame is that admission is free. Ice skaters are more than welcome to bring their own skates, or pay to rent skates on premises. The free admission draws long lines. People wanting skate at Citi Pond need to go with some patience, but the wait is worth it.
Citi Pond at Bryant Park is a unique ice skating experience mainly because Bryant Park fills up with holiday festivities throughout the season. A beautifully decorated Christmas tree stands at one end of the ice skating rink, similar to Rockefeller Center’s tree, just smaller.
The whole park transforms into a market, as small shops in glass buildings open up during winter. People have the opportunity to do some holiday shopping after they’ve tired of skating, or find one of the many tables and chairs to hunker down and watch the skaters twirl.
Citi Pond is open Sunday-Thursday from 8am-10pm and Friday-Saturday from 8am-midnight.