The holiday season is all about tastes: pie, spices, hot chocolate, and peppermint. But don’t forget the flavor of winter air and snow flurries dancing on your tongue. NYC ice skating is the perfect recipe to get the family outside to drink in that winter wonderland. Here are New York’s best outdoor rinks for starting a flavorful new holiday tradition.
Ice Rink at Riverbank State Park
Start your gorgeous wintry day here with a family walk by the river, taking in the views near the George Washington Bridge. Then head to the two playgrounds for some huffin’ and puffin’ in the cool winter air. Now you’re ready to hit the rink. It’s open-air, it but does have a roof – just to keep out Old Man Winter’s nastier stuff.
Central Park’s Wollman (Trump) Rink
Live out your own romantic Serendipity scene – much to the chagrin of your kids – at NYC’s classic ice rink. The largest of Central Park’s ice rinks (Lasker Rink is closed this season), you’ll find Wollman at the southern end of the park, near the entrance between 62nd and 63rd streets. Once you’re laced up and have your “ice legs,” gaze at the skyline beyond the park’s lush greenery. The view’s about as New York as it gets.
Bryant Park’s Winter Village
Bryant Park’s rink is smack dab in the middle of the city and surrounded by one of the best outdoor holiday markets: Winter Village. After skating your little hearts out, sip hot chocolate at Ice Bites before perusing the many vendor stalls, and get started on that shopping list. With options like designer chocolate, custom jewelry, and toys, you’ll get several tough-to-buy-for relatives out of the way in one fell swoop. Then, stop in the luxurious, glass-enclosed Celsius restaurant for a glass of wine – and kiddie cocktails, of course.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Right beneath New York’s best Christmas tree, play Daddy Warbucks to your little Annie (or Andy) with an iconic NYC ice skating experience he or she will never forget. This is a prime destination for out-of-towners, so be wary of tourists wanting to cut in on the merry action. Start early with a First Skate package, and after an hour of calorie-burning, bring your little ones to a bountiful breakfast at Rock Center Café.
The Standard Ice Rink
The Standard Hotel’s ice rink at Standard Place, just off the High Line, is definitely the swankiest spot on our list. Hit it in the afternoon before the chic, late-night East Village crowd gets there. Afterward, have a seat at the rink-side Alpine Kaffeeklatsch: a stand serving up holiday favorites like hot cider, doughnuts, and waffles. Snag some treats here and you’ll definitely become the “cool parent” (at least for the moment).
South Street Seaport Ice Rink
Sure, South Street Seaport usually means summer fun down by the water. But come winter, the FiDi spot on Fulton transforms into one of the city’s most festive destinations. See the night turn to a sea of twinkling lights during the Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 28, then hop on the rink right next door, where the colorfully-lit ice will keep your little ones’ eyes shining.
The Rink at Brookfield Place
Discover the pristine village within a village that is Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City. After visiting Santa’s Winter Garden to hang with the old elf himself, venture outside to find a rink bigger than Rockefeller’s. Zoom around on the ice with beautiful views of the Hudson as your backdrop. Breathe in some of that chilly air coming off the water and you’ll have to admit: It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas.
Prospect Park has had an ice rink for years, but now it’s better than ever following a massive renovation project last year. And LeFrak Center at Lakeside has more than just one rink, it has two–one covered, and one open-air–and they’re connected by an ice bridge. How cool is that? Drop by with your family to skate at your leisure, or sign up for classes at the on-site skate school to hone your skills. This being Brooklyn, they have to do things a little bit differently, so look out for curling teams, and maybe try the ancient Scottish sport for yourself. Who knows, you might become an expert at a sport known to devotees at “chess on ice.”