Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center
First opening on Christmas day of 1936, the Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink began the most celebrated tradition in New York City. Attracting over a quarter of a million skaters each year, the Rockefeller ice rink is a favorite winter activity for local New Yorkers, NYC visitors, and even celebrities such as Wynona Rider and Richard Gere. Ice skating in NY is most popular during November and December once the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony has taken place. Not only do NYC ice skaters get a fabulous view of the bright lights of Midtown Manhattan, but they get an up-close and personal glimpse of this extravagantly adored masterpiece.
How to Get to Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink
Because you'll be traveling to Rockefeller Center during the holiday months, be sure to plan accordingly, as this area gets quite congested during the winter. When traveling to the Rockefeller skating rink, be sure to enter between 49th Street & 50th Street on Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10020.
- If traveling via Subway: use trains B,D,F, or V and exit at 47th-50th Rockefeller Center.
- If traveling by Car: from the West: locate 12th Avenue and travel North, turn right onto West 42nd Street, heading East, turn left onto 8th Avenue, right on West 50th Street, right onto Fifth Avenue and right on West 49th Street. If traveling from the East: locate East River Drive and travel South until you exit at East 49th Street and continue to travel East.
- Parking: there are a number of parking structures surrounding the ice rink. The cheapest places to park near Rockefeller Center are at 104 West 51st Street and at Rockefeller Center itself, 25-43 West 48th Street. These two locations offer discounted parking prices for pre-ordered passes costing $20 for 6 hours. Other lots to park near Rockefeller Ice Skating are places such as the Hilton Hotel Times Square and the The Palace Hotel NYC that charge $30 and up for a spot for 6 hours.
About the Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink
The Rockefeller Center Ice Rink is one of the most famous landmarks in NYC.
Skating at Rockefeller Center only lasts from October to April, ending on April 8 in 2011. The rink is open on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and regular hours vary throughout the week. Monday to Thursday, the rink is open from 9am-10:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 8:30am to midnight, and Sundays and Holidays from 8:30am to 10pm. Skate sessions for each day also vary from day to day: Monday-Thursday: 9am-1pm, 1:30pm-5:30pm, and 6pm-10:30pm. Friday: 8:30am-11am, 11:30am-2pm, 2:30pm-4:30pm, 5pm-7pm, 7:30pm-9:30pm, and 10pm-midnight. Saturday: 8:30am-11:30am, 12pm-2pm, 2:30pm-4pm, 4:30pm-6pm, 6:30pm-8pm, 8:30pm-10pm, and 10:30pm-midnight. Sundays & Holidays: 8:30am-11:30am, 12pm-2pm, 2:30pm-4:30pm, 5pm-7pm, and 7:30pm-10pm. The ice rink allows 150 skaters at once and while you can skate for as long as you would like, once you have left the rink there is no re-entry. During the November and December months, the line can reach past two hours long, and because there are no reservations accepted, the best time to go is in the beginning or end of the season, on weekdays, or early in the morning. While ice skating, NYC allows the rink to be open during light rain and snow, however the rink will immediately close during heavy rain or blizzards. Lockers are only available for season pass holders. However, as you twirl across the 122ft by 59ft stretch, a complimentary coat/bag check is provided for all skaters.
Cost of Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller skating can cost some visitors a pretty penny, so be prepared for the extra costs that can be easily added due to time of the week or season. Hockey and figure skates are available to rent and vary from $8-$9 depending on the day. Admission also varies with adults costing up to $19, and children and seniors (65+) costing up to $12.50. Take note that ice skating at Rockefeller Center accepts cash only. Ice skating lessons at Rockefeller Center are available for both private and group lessons with reservation only, call (212) 332-7654. No lesson reservations will be taken during November and December due to the high volume of skaters. Private skating lessons (one person only) cost $30 per 30 minutes (Mon-Fri) and $35 per 30 minutes (Sat-Sun). Group lessons have a 15 person minimum and cost $7.50 per adult, $5.50 per child, and skate rentals are $3.50 per person (Mon-Thurs), and adults cost $10, children $6.50 and skate rentals are $4.50 (Fri-Sun).
Shopping Near Rockefeller Center Ice Rink
After you have swirled and twirled all over Rockefeller Center, take a stroll into Midtown Manhattan to experience the world renowned shopping area full of fancy, fun stores. A Fifth Ave Shopping Map is always a helpful tool to bring along on your New York shopping spree. The most prominent shops include: Saks Fifth Ave, Tiffany & Co., FAO Schwarz, Juicy Couture, Bloomingdale's and Macy's.
Dining Near Rockefeller Center Ice Rink
Midtown Manthattan is home to some of the most exceptional restaurants the world has ever seen.
After a long day of NYC skating and shopping, it's no surprise that you have worked up an appetite. Midtown Manthattan is home to some of the most exceptional restaurants the world has ever seen, here are some local favorites you should definitely not pass up:
- The Sea Grill: located in the Rockefeller Center, this exquisite, high-end restaurant serves delectable seafood including Maine lobster and Blue Island Clams. Also praised for supplying delicious pork, tender veal, and an enticing key lime pie, a trip to this sophisticated eatery will be one worth remembering. Located at 19 West 49th Street, you'll experience an amazing view of Times Square, overlooking the Rockefeller Center ice rink and the colorfully decorated Christmas Tree if visiting during the holiday season.
- Cosi: if you're out shopping and want to just grab a quick soup or salad, this delicious sandwich shop has became a popular hot spot. Customers rave about the wonderful tasting bread that you can't find anywhere else, but be warned about stopping in between noon and 1:30pm, a line full of lunch-breakers will be reaching past the entrance. With decent prices, an average sandwich costs between $10-$12, Cosi is a great place to grab a quick bite. Located at 61 West 48th Street, be sure to try the tasty chicken pesto melt, it's to die for!
- Teuscher Chocolates: Once you have experienced a day full of shopping, eating, and skating in NYC, stopping at this savory chocolate shop is a definite must. Located at 620 Fifth Avenue, locals melt at the sight, smell and taste of these scrumptious goodies. Make sure you try a champagne truffle, loyal fans claim that a person has not lived until they have tried this brilliant delicacy. Although a small sweet shop, this popular nook has been known to be quite pricey, sometimes charging well over $80 per pound of chocolate. However, buying in bulk or purchasing one of their packages can save you some cash, so you have just enough to finish up that spectacular Fifth Ave shopping trip of yours.