Ice skating and Central Park go together like peanut butter and jelly. During the holiday season it’s a blissful, memorable experience regardless of whether you’re a local or a tourist.
Luckily Wollman Rink stands under the shadow of the Manhattan skyline in the charming southeastern corner of Central Park. Not only is it in an idyllic location, but with proper planning you can easily hit the ice yourself.
If you’re hoping to go ice skating in Central Park then this guide is for you! We’ll chat about pricing and schedules, not to mention we’ll include a few tips and tricks from our team of locals.
We have a lot of ground to cover, so what do you say we jump right in?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Ice Skating in Central Park
Where is Wollman Rink in Central Park?
Central Park is massive, I’m talking over 840 acres massive. If it’s your first time visiting it might take you a minute to find Wollman Rink, so give yourself some grace.
Nonetheless I know you’re looking forward to ice skating in Central Park, so let me help you find it.
Located in the southeast end of the park, Wollman Rink is situated near the Central Park Zoo and Gapstow Bridge. If the street grid extended into the park it’d be around 63rd Street.
There are multiple ways to enter the Central Park but if you’re visiting with the sole purpose of ice skating I suggest coming through the Grand Army Plaza entrance on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.
Otherwise my best piece of advice is to plug Wollman Rink into your Google or Apple Maps and let technology guide you to fun ice skating in Central Park.
When can you ice skate in Central Park?
Wollman Rink as a company operates year-round (this summer it was a pickle ball court!), but the beloved Central Park ice skating rink is only open during the fall and winter.
Each year the ice rink opens to the public sometime in late October. New Yorkers can ice skate for nearly five months, since Wollman Rink doesn’t close until early March.
What’s more, the ice rink is open daily (including holidays) from 10 AM to 8 PM.
If you’re going ice skating in Central Park with kids then I’d recommend visiting in the morning when the rink is less full. On the other hand if you’re going on a date you can visit during sunset for a magical time.
Tickets go on sale on October 3rd 2023. If you’re hoping to go ice skating in Central Park on Christmas Day I suggest booking ASAP, since demand is always high.
How much does it cost to ice skate in Central Park?
Depending on when you want to go ice skating in Central Park ticket prices may vary. Visiting during the weekends and holidays is going to cost you a bit more than stopping by on a random Tuesday morning.
There are also discounted rates available for parties of 10 or more, and if you’re going in ice skating in Central Park with more than 50 folks it would behoove you to reach out to the rink for special pricing.
Here is the current pricing for the 2023-2024 season:
- Adults: $15 (Mon.-Thurs.) | $26 (Fri.-Sun.) | $37 (holidays).
- Seniors (60 & older): $10.00
- Children (11 & under) $10.00
- Skate Rental: $11
- Lock Rental: $7
I should also mention Wollman Rink has a few discount days for qualifying folks. The Wollman Rink Access Program (WRAP) helps locals with a IDNYC or New York Public Library Card get discounted tickets in person.
There are also free community days for folks who “help keep New York strong.” The dates are:
- November 10th: Veterans and Active Military
- January 15th: Teachers
- February 19th: Public Sector Employees
- February 29th: Leap Year (Everyone Skates Free!)
Note: Wollman Rink is CASH-ONLY if you choose to buy tickets in person, but there’s an ATM onsite. I suggest booking online (with a credit-card) to skip the line and the need for cash.
What should you wear while ice skating in Central Park?
There’s no sense in sugarcoating it, NYC is COLD during the winter season.
While ice skating in Central Park you’re out in the open, vulnerable to the weather for hours. Make sure to pack warm socks, a heavy wool or down coat, high-quality gloves and a reliable hat.
You’ll want to make sure your ears are covered and your hands are protected. If you’re anything like me (you have two left feet) you should prioritize gloves since you’ll be touching the ice when you get back up.
Speaking of which, doubling up on bottoms never hurts since slipping and falling is all but guaranteed (unless you’re a professional, but no one likes a show off). Ice skating in Central Park is still worth the bruises!
Can kids go ice skating in Central Park?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s encouraged. Ice skating in Central Park with kids is a hoot, they’re beaming from beginning to end.
Your little ones will be giggling and reminiscing about the fun they had ice skating in Central Park for longer than you’d expect. The magical experience lives on for many, many years and won’t soon be forgotten.
Wollman Rink also offers ice skating aids (similar to walkers) to help your kiddos keep their balance. Parents skate alongside their children all season long, gripping on to the side of the rink like their lives depend on it! 😉
Tips for visiting Wollman Rink
- Bring cash: As I mentioned earlier, Wollman Rink is a cash-only establishment if you’re buying tickets in person. You’ll want to bring enough cash for your tickets and skate rentals. Locker fees are paid by card.
- Dress warm: You’re outside on ice… need I say more? Investing in some of these bad boys don’t hurt (I never leave the house without them when I know I’ll be ice skating in Central Park).
- Go ice skating towards the end of your trip: One of the most common reasons folks end up in the Emergency Room during their trip to NYC is due to ice skating accidents. I wish I was joking but I’ve seen it happen from first-hand experience! For the best chances of a successful trip to New York, try to plan ice skating on one of your last days in the city — as a just in case. 🙂
- Slow and steady wins the race: The beauty of ice skating in Central Park is that this isn’t the Olympics. There is no competition going on during public skating hours so feel free to take your time. No one is judging, skate at a pace you’re comfortable with to avoid injuries.
- Pack extra socks: Trust me on this one and learn from my mistakes. Ice skates hurt if you’re not used to them, so I highly recommend wearing a pair of thicker socks. Not to mention, if you’re renting skates you’ll probably want a fresh pair of socks after you’re all done.
- Bring a backpack: It’s no surprise that New York City is an expensive city, so finding ways to save money can go a long way. If I know I’m going ice skating in Central Park and I don’t want to rent a locker, I make sure to bring a drawstring bag for my shoes and belongings.
- Avoid weekends: Not only are the fees more expensive on the weekend, the crowds are way worse. You’ll be elbowing folks left and right, sympathizing with sardines in no time. Avoid the headache (and heartache) and try to limit your Central Park ice skating sessions to weekdays only.
And there you have it! I hope you found this quick guide helpful. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.
Cheers (and good luck)!