Skating at Rockefeller Center Ice Rink: Is it Worth It?
Rockefeller Center Ice Rink
Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center Ice Rink
Train tickets to NY: $90. 3 admissions and 2 skate rentals at Rockefeller Center Skate Rink $65. Hot chocolate at Starbucks $15. Skating outdoors with my kids against the backdrop of an iconic Art Deco Building, a 75-foot sparkling Christmas tree, a gilded statue, and hundreds of onlookers: priceless.
Gorgeous Setting for an Urban Rink
Rockefeller’s rink is small, its admission is high (and jumps higher during the holidays), and the wait can be more than hour. But if you are looking for moments to make memories, then this magical setting in the midst of Manhattan’s skyscrapers is worth it.
Colorful flags surround the intimate rink, and a statue of Prometheus gilded in gold glistens in front of a water fountain. Tourists and locals alike take in the view and snap photos of a spot that has become a NY winter icon.
The rink’s web page (link below) gives the lowdown on hours and prices (which vary between $9 and $19 for admission depending upon age and season), but here’s some tips on how to make the most of your visit to the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink.
Rockefeller Center Ice Rink Information
- Rockefeller Center Ice Rink Web Site
All the latest information on hours and prices for the rink are on the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink Web Site. Check it before you go.
Crowds at Holiday Time
Both the price of admission and the size of the crowd jump at the holiday season when the Christmas decorations are up. For a shorter wait, go early. If possible, go on a week day. Accept that you are going to have to wait in line and just enjoy the city scene. Getting impatient will ruin your experience.
If you have to wait in line, be sure to have your group all together as you approach the front of the line. They do not allow you to save spots!
If you do not like waiting, come before or after the peak season is over. There are no lines during October, January, February, March and April.
Equipment and Ice
You can bring your own skates, but the rentals (about $9 to rent) are just fine. The skate shop has an adequate supply of sizes up to mens 14. The locker room is extremely tiny and gets crowded. The floor gets damp, so be careful not to get your socks wet (bring an extra pair) and not to leave behind gloves or other small items. You can check your shoes and other belongings at the booth. Bring a couple bucks for a tip.
If you want to buy your own skates, check out deals on eBay (see below) We got my daughter $800 skates for about $100. Ebay also has good deals on skate tights and skate dresses. So if you want to look your best on Rockefeller Ice, shop ahead of time. See below for a link to my tips on how to buy used skates and skate dresses.
Although the rink is small, the ice itself is not too bad, and between skating sessions a Zamboni smooths it out.
How Long Can You Skate?
Each session lasts an hour and a half. If you can, time it so you come at the start of a session to you get the most ice time. Times are posted at the rink and on the Web site. Once you make it to the ice, you can skate until the end of the session. Then the ice is cleared so the Zamboni can come on. Tip: If you come at the end of a session, ask if they will let you come to the next session so you get your money’s worth. When we went they allowed this.
The official rules state that once you stop skating, you cannot come back on. However, this does not mean you cannot stop at all. There is a small area off to one side with benches where you can take a short break. You just cannot remove skates, leave, and come back in a different session.
Capture the Moment
Take a Camera or at Least Your Phone
You’ve paid a premium for the location, capture the moment. Rink employees patrolling the ice are happy to snap your photo. Rockefeller Center’s beautiful ice rink has been used as a location in movies such as Elf, Home Alone 2 and A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Switch to video mode, and capture a few seconds of yourself skating on the most famous urban rink in the world. We did.
My Daughter Doing a Spin at Rockefeller Rink
Remember Your Skating Experience with a Gift
Cool ornament with Rockefeller Center.
Book about the Rockefeller tree.
Puzzle with the skate rink.
Want Your Own Figure Skates or Skating Dress?
- How to Buy Figure Skates for Beginners
If skating at Rockefeller Center inspires you to get your own skates, check out my hub on How to Buy Figure Skates for Beginners.
- How to Buy a Figure Skating Competition Dress
If you want a real skating dress, check out my tips on How to Buy a Figure Skating Competition Dress.
What Do You Think?
Is skating at Rockefeller Center worth it?
New York Movie Settings
The Rockefeller rink has been used as a setting in movies, especially those with a holiday theme.
Rockefeller Center Ice Rink