By Leyla Shamayeva
New Yorkers are tough, so tough that the ice rinks around NYC are packed with skaters – even when sub-zero temperatures grace the city.
What’s to love about the sport? A day on the ice offers you, your family, and your friends quality time gliding together (or gripping each other’s wrists trying not to fall) while you work your thighs and core. If you pick the right rink, you’ll enjoy the killer views that the city has to offer, too.
With almost a dozen rinks to choose from, where do you go? I’ll share my two favorites with you, but before you go…
It’s all fun and games until somebody falls. Before you check my favorite places out, keep these tips in mind:
- Before you lace up your skates, make sure they fit! Just like shoes, you don’t want your skates to be too tight or too loose. Avoid a trip to the ER with a broken ankle – if you rent a pair that doesn’t fit, change it!
- Dress comfortably. A cold rink won’t stop you from sweating once you start skating. Wear layers that you can take off if you need to. Socks are a must (especially if you’re renting your skates). Finally, wear clothing that won’t restrict your movement.
- Fall safely. You’re probably going to fall at least once. When you feel yourself losing balance, fall forward to protect your head and tailbone. Bend your knees so that they hit the ground before anything else, and then use your hands to catch the rest of you. Gloves may be a good idea!
- Hold on! Don’t be embarrassed to grab on to the sides of the rink until you get the hang of skating!
Bank of America’s Winter Village at Bryant Park – at 42nd St. and 6th Ave.
Price: Free admission, $15 skate rental (or bring your own!), lockers available
Open daily 8 AM – 10 PM through March 1, 2015
This rink is truly a city winter wonderland. See for yourself:
The atmosphere here is beautiful. Although the city’s bright skyscrapers surround you, you’ll still feel like you’re in a different world. The soft tunes playing in the background only add to the serenity.
If you get hungry or cold, hot drinks and snacks await you inside the facility. Better yet, visit Celsius, a Canadian-themed lounge located right next to the rink. They offer a full menu, including winter favorites, salads, sandwiches, drinks, desserts, and a few local options, all ranging from $8 – $30. Slightly pricey, but cheap by NYC standards.
One last pro: you also have the option to explore the many holiday shops surrounding the rink. Belgian waffles from Wafels & Dinges, anyone?
Lakeside at Prospect Park – enter at Ocean Ave. and Lincoln Rd. in Brooklyn
See pricing and hours here.
If you really want to get away from the city, the rink at Prospect Park is the place to go. A short 10-minute walk from the entrance to the park, bare winter trees will surround you instead of city skyscrapers. Visit on a nice day and you can enjoy a stroll to the Lake, too.
When you’re done skating, warm up with hot beverages and snacks from Bluestone Café, located right at the rink. Their menu is more fairly priced and offers more veggie-packed options like roasted butternut squash, grilled chicken, zucchini sticks, and black bean veggie burgers. Yum!
My recommendation: visit this rink near sunset for a breathtaking view: