Ice Skating in New York City with kids
Ice skating in New York City with kids during the winter is a great thing to do because there are so many options.The most notable places to ice skate in New York City are Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, and Central Park.
Here’s the cost breakdown for peak season prices:
Rockelfeller Center – Skate Rental ($12) Admission (Adults $30/Kids $15). VIP Skate and meal packages available. This iconic rink is definitely the smallest one. Expect to wait in line at least an hour during peak times.
Bryant Park – Skate Rental ($15) Admission (free). Free lockers and bag storage for a fee. Although larger than the Rockefeller Center rink, this one tends to be very crowded since it is the least expensive of the big ones.
Central Park – Skate Rental ($8) Admission (Adults $11.25/Kids $6). Locker and spectator fees. One of the largest rinks with a great park setting, they only take cash.
To avoid waiting in lines, you have a couple of options. Show up when they open for the day, as they all tend to be the least busy bright and early. The rinks are busiest between the Thanksgiving and New Years holidays, so if you can visit New York City during the off-peak winter on a week day, you’ll have better luck. Lastly, you can pay up at Rockefeller Center with a skating package that includes a separate entrance and the assistance of a skate concierge and refreshments.
The last thing I wanted to do was stand in line for an hour or more during our 5 days in New York City during Thanksgiving. Waking up early to hit an ice skating rink wasn’t a great idea for us. We were staying in an apartment in Soho and getting up early to ice skate would be pushing it for my boys. If you are staying closer to one of the rinks, or have girls that are super excited to ice skate, you might be able to pull that off. I was the one who was sort of pushing the ice skating agenda, so making it as seamless and comfortable as possible was key.
We scheduled the VIP Skate at Rockefeller Center at 2:30pm the Friday after Thanksgiving. And boy was I glad we did. The general admission line to skate was really long, and the addition of Black Friday shoppers made the area a little chaotic. We walked to the opposite corner from the general admission madness to check in for our 90 minute VIP skate. Once we donned the proper wrist bands, we were ushered into a stylish igloo that seemed to accommodate about 25 people during each session.
A skate concierge retrieved our skates as we sat on plush benches, unloaded our bags, and took off our shoes. They’ll even help the kids lace theirs up. Although the rink was small and crowded, we had our own separate entrance which helped limit the chaos. We sailed around the rink taking pictures and having fun. At Thanksgiving, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is standing, but not lit. The lighting ceremony is usually the week after Thanksgiving. It still made a great backdrop and Bo was amazed at just how big that tree really is.
We took a break about halfway through our 90 minute session for refreshments. The beverages consisted of bottled water, coffee, hot chocolate and s’mores hot chocolate. A giant cookie tower held an amazing assortment of cookies and chocolate. The peppermint chocolate bark was my favorite. After a short break, we refueled and headed back out to skate the remainder of our time. After our skate time was over, we took off our skates, and the concierge whisked them away for us. They even have a souvenir booth located inside the igloo with hats, gloves, and ornaments.
I will say that the skating packages at Rockefeller Center are not cheap. I know we will probably never do it again. But as I took out the the commemorative snow globe we bought to help decorate our home this Christmas, I knew it was worth it. Each of my boys took turns turning the globe over to make it sparkle and snow inside while talking about how much fun we had. That experience on our travels was a definitive memory maker.
What more can a mom want for Christmas than that?