BEST FOR WEEKDAYS
Citi Pond at Bryant Park
42nd St. at Sixth Ave.; 212-661-6640
Open: Sun. through Thu. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 a.m. to midnight; Fifteen-minute Zamboni breaks every 95 minutes.
Price: Free admission, $14 for skate rental, $7 for bag check, $9 for lock rental.
This is the city's only free rink, which, combined with its location, makes for long lines and congested skating on weekends. Head there on a weekday, however, and you'll find that the 17,000 square feet of ice feels practically roomy, and there's a lot of open seating on the sidelines.
BEST FOR EVENINGS
Trump Wollman Rink
Central Park S., enter at 59th St. at Sixth Ave. (follow the footpath); 212-439-6900
Open: Mon and Tues., 10 a.m to 2:30 p.m.; Wed. and Thurs., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $10.75–$16 for adults, $5.75–$6 for children under 11, $4.75–$8.25 for seniors, $6.75 for skate rental, $4.50-$6 for lock rental.
There's no time when you won't find dizzying crowds here, but if you bring your own skates to avoid the crazed skate-rental process, its sheer size (30,800 square feet) more than makes up for any hassles. Though it's busier, night is still the best time to go because the setting is so spectacular.
BEST FOR OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Fifth Ave. at 50th St.; 212-332-7654
Open: Mon. through Thu. 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri. through Sat. 8:30 a.m. to midnight, Sun. 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 30-minute Zamboni breaks every 90 minutes.
Price: $20 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and children under 11.
The world's most famous skating rink draws huge crowds (wait times can exceed an hour) and commands the city's highest prices. Still, the setting is iconic and it's kind of a must for holiday visitors. The rink is tiny compared to others in midtown, but the number of skaters is limited to 150, so it's a surprisingly pleasant experience once you're on the ice.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
Central Park N. nr. Lenox Ave. entrance 917-492-3857
Open: Daily (hours vary).
Price: $6.75 for adults, $3.75 for children, $2.75 for seniors, $6 for skate rental, $3.25 for lock rental.
Central Park's other skating options are these two smallish oval rinks, split between hockey players and skaters. It's not the most exciting pick, and the music is grating, but it's a good experience for anyone with crowded-rink phobia.
BEST FOR AVOIDING CROWDS
The Skating Rink at Riverbank State Park
679 Riverside Dr., at 145th St.; 212-694-3642
Open: Mon. and Thurs. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fri. 6 to 9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.
Price: $5 for adults, $3 for children, $6 for skate rental.
Similar in size to Bryant Park's rink but lacking the long lines, this well-maintained Harlem destination manages to feel empty even during peak hours. The only potential drawback is the ongoing sound of traffic on the West Side Highway.
BEST FOR KIDS' PARTIES
Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers
Pier 61, 23rd St. at the Hudson River; 212-336-6100
Open: Daily (hours vary).
Price: $13.50 for adults, $11 for children and seniors, $8 for skate rental.
Its indoor setting lacks the charm of the city's more majestic outdoor options, but it's much easier to wrangle a big group of kids here than it is anywhere else. And for parents who aren't skaters themselves, there's plenty of rinkside seating and the temperature is comfortably warm.
BEST IN BROOKLYN
Abe Stark Rink
Boardwalk and W. 19th St., Coney Island, Brooklyn; 718-946-6536
Open: Sat. and Sun, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: $8, $4.50 for skate rental.
Prospect Park's huge Wollman Rink remains closed this season, so the best available option for those not looking to travel into Manhattan is this indoor rink located on the beach. The hours are limited, but you can always hit Totonno's and Nathan's at Coney Island afterward.
BEST IN QUEENS
City Ice Pavilion
47-32 32nd Pl., nr. 47th Ave., Long Island City; 718-706-6667
Open: Mon., 1:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.; Tues. and Thurs., 1:30 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.; Wed., noon to 3:40 p.m.; Fri., 4 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.; Sat., noon to 2:50 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 9:50 p.m.; Sun., noon to 2:50 p.m.
Price: $5–$8, $5 for skate rental.
Sure it's another indoor rink that lacks some charm, but it's convenient for drivers and riders of the 7 train. And unlike the World Ice Arena in Corona Park, this one's topped off with a white bubble-dome that makes skating here more aesthetically pleasing that most indoor options.