Ice-Skating Central Park, NYC

By Lucy Rainer

If you’re heading to New York City in the wintery months of 2018 and 2019 and haven’t planned a day in Central Park ice-skating or taking to an NYC ice rink somewhere else in the city, it’s official – you must be dead inside. From Home Alone 2, to Serendipity, Love Story and Miracle on 34th Street, Manhattan’s glistening Central Park ice rink has probably featured in almost as many blockbuster movies as the Empire State Building. Sure, it’s primarily a tourist pastime but most romantic New Yorkers admit to strapping on their skates at some point and taking to the ice rink Central Park style. Over the years, skating in Central Park has become an institution and with the park’s trees dotted with festive fairy lights, the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and everyone in good spirits, it’s time to pick up your Central Park ice skating tickets and indulge your inner Elsa.


Where to go for Central Park Ice Skating in New York City

The place for ice-skating central park is the Wollman Rink (named after its original funder) which first opened in 1950. The 33,000-square-foot Central Park ice skating rink has one of the most romantic backdrops in New York. Skaters can glide along in the shade of the famous New York skyline by day and sparkle under the twinkling city lights by night. I was in town to meet my sister, Gemma, who has been living in Manhattan for two years and together with our friend Claire, ice skating in Central Park was top of our holiday list.

This year, for the first time, visitors can book the Central Park Ice Skating from a UK seller in advance through authorised agent Attraction Tickets Direct. This was perfect for us as we were guaranteed tickets and didn’t have to wait in line on the day. Plus, as I was buying the experience as a gift for Gemma it meant I could buy the actual Central Park skating tickets in the UK and put them in her birthday card as a surprise. In December, pre-booking was definitely the right decision as, being so close to Christmas, the box office was crowded and some time slots for doing ice skating Central Park were fully booked when we arrived. Sessions on the Central Park ice rink at other busy times such as New Year’s Eve, January 1st and ice skating on Valentines Day in NYC are also snapped up quickly.

Lucy, Gemma and Claire on the ice

What is the best time to go Ice Skating in Central Park?

In an attempt to experience the rink during both day and night, we opted to skate at dusk which was the perfect time. Stepping onto the ice rink in Central Park like Bambi taking his first steps, we were all a bit unsteady at first. Clinging to the sides we began to circle the rink and were able to warm up and find our feet just in time to pick up speed and enjoy the changing light of the NYC at sunset. We noticed the Rockefeller Ice Rink got quiet crowded at weekends but the Central Park ice skating rink was less busy than expected for a Saturday evening and upbeat music gave it a lively atmosphere. The crowd was mixed with families, couples and groups of friends all ice skating in Central Park together. It had been a few years since I’d hung out at my local ice rink in Stevenage, so I was a bit nervous about being knocked over by confident athletic Nancy Kerrigan wannabes swooping past me. I need not have worried, there are plenty of wardens around the rink to help out if you do fall over but everyone was generally skating at a leisurely pace and taking in the spectacular view of the NYC skyline, so beginners will be fine. It wasn’t long before we began to build our confidence and after 20 minutes we were cruising along like pros. Our tickets gave us 90 minutes on the ice which was plenty of time. After that we were more than ready to hang up our ice boots and head to Café Carlyle, (part of the Carlyle Hotel, one of the closest hotels to the Wollman Memorial rink) across the park for a celebratory cocktail.

Photo: Lucy Rainer

Ice skating Central Park, Book Tickets in the UK?

I am one of those people who like to be really organised before a holiday and because this was a really important trip to NYC, being able to plan our Ice skating Central Park night, book tickets in the UK in advance and know exactly when we could go and enjoy our experience made it stress free. Plus, we were able to buy a package which combined ice skating Central Park with passes to the Empire State Building Observatory. It was the cheapest ticket we could find for the Empire State Building Observatory and the Central Park Ice Skating combined (£42pp) and since we also wanted to go to the top of the iconic Empire State and take in the epic view from the 86th Floor, it was top NYC deal.

I have always wanted to go ice-skating in Central Park and it didn’t disappoint. It’s winter, so wrap up warm but I’d advise wearing a few layers that you could remove, as you’re not skating for long before you begin to heat up. I purposely wore thick socks and the skates do come up quite small so another tip is to ask for skates a size bigger than your UK shoe size. The rink here is bigger than the one at Rockefeller Center, and our Combo ticket was actually cheaper than a single ticket at the Rockefeller Rink (although that ticket did come with a drink and a snack) so it would definitely be my top pick for ice-skating in Manhattan. Plus – it’s Ice skating Central Park! What could be better than that? Happy skating!

Wollman Rink in Central Park Ice Skating Experience is open from Friday 26 October 2018 to Sunday 7 April 2019 (weather dependent). The Central Park Ice Skating rink address is Wollman Ice Rink, Central Park South, 59th Street and 6th Avenue. Ice Skating in Central Park starts at 10am Mon- Sun, closes at 2.30pm Monday and Tuesday, 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 11pm on Friday and Saturday and 9pm on Sunday. Visit for more information.


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DISCLOSURE, Lucy Rainer or Helen Wright were not paid to endorse this destination or brand. Tickets were not provided by Attraction Tickets Direct. All reviews on are honest and unbiased regardless of sponsorship.

About the guest author

Lucy Rainer

Lucy Rainer is a content marketing publisher based in London

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