A trip to a skating rink is like a return to your childhood. Every Monday evening for 13 consecutive years, my friends and I ventured to Central Park’s Wollman Rink (now Trump Rink) to watch the sun fall behind Columbus Circle and the Plaza Hotel lights start to glow at dusk. Central Park South was always snow-trodden. There was calm behind the rink’s soundtrack; it seemed like such a rare thing in this great, loud city. Just this past weekend I revisited Trump for a skate. The rink seems smaller each time I go (it has been 5 years since my last visit), but I am always taken right back to that annual skating tradition from my childhood. When your winters are as chilly as ours are, it’s easy to get into a New York “Skate” of Mind. Here are 12 other rinks and ponds in the State worth visiting. Even a few slips in the mix are okay; those take you back, too.
Right along the Hudson River is a nook in the Adirondacks called Crandall Park (also the site of the Adirondack Balloon Festival
in the late summertime). Bring your own skates to this locals’ favorite pond and cozy under the warming hut in between laps. Upper Glen St., Route 9, Glens Falls. (518) 761-3813. Open from dawn ‘til dusk. Admission is free.
Our Marketplace Manager loves this skating spot for its “charming warming hut.” In addition to ice skating, the spa spot also offers trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Bring your own equipment or rent snowshoes through the park office. 19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs. (518) 584-2535. Open 8:00 am-4.00pm. Skating is free with park admission. B.Y.O. skates.
The scenic indoor-outdoor skating pavillion at Mohonk Mountain House offers every ice activity under the sun (short of melting the fun, of course). Purchase a guest pass for a day of open skating, or spend a night at the lodge for access to curling and broomball lessons. Even host your next skating party here. 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz. Contact the Pavillion Shop for details 845-256-2775 or email@example.com.
Carrying your own skates to your friends’ backyards is the way to go in these necks of the woods, but to get in the middle of the action, bring those trusty skates to Glimmerglass State Park for historic ambiance. 1527 County Highway 31, Cooperstown. (607) 547-8662. Skating is free with park admission. B.Y.O. skates.
This indoor recreation center not only offers a public skating rink but also a drop-in hockey opportunity for both kids 13 and under, and also high schoolers and adults ages 14 and up. Hone your ice skills here, with an on-site pro shop, locker room, and snack bar to refuel throughout the day. 319 W. 3rd St, Jamestown. (716) 484-2624. Admission is $7, including skate rental. Check here for February hockey drop-in times.
Finger Lakes Rice Hill | Trumansburg
In addition to two skating ponds, Rice Hill is a famed sledding hill in the area. Bring your own equipment for long snowy days of sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or skating alongside Cayuga Lake. Located off the North side of Taughannock State Park; Follow signs for Taughannock Falls State Park from Route 89 or Route 96. Admission is free.
Ice skate or ice fish
on Rudd Pond alongside the scenic Hudson Valley, but be sure to call ahead for ice conditions. Fishing licenses are required in New York State parks, even for ice fishing; you can apply online
. 59 Rudd Pond Road, Millerton. (518) 789-3059. Skating is free with park admission. B.Y.O. skates.
A local favorite since 1966, the park’s outdoor skating rink was named by News 12 Long Island viewers as the best outdoor skating rink on Long Island. The rink is open to recreational skaters and hockey teams until mid-March, and also offers private skating lessons. Searingtown Road, north of Long Island Expressway, Roslyn-North Hills. (516) 571-8113. Check the website for hours; no public sessions on Thursdays. If you have a $25 Leisure Pass (for Nassau County residents), admission is $7 for adults; otherwise $20. Skate rentals are $5 for everyone.
NYC LeFrak Rink | Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Prospect Park’s newest addition is the LeFrak Rink at Lakeside. Tried and true by our Marketplace Manager, the LeFrak pavillion hosts two rinks of 32,000 square feet to skate on. 171 East Drive, Brooklyn. (212) 661-6640. Skate rental is $5; Open Monday–Thursday, 11 am–6pm; Friday & Saturday, 9am–10pm; Sunday, 9am-8pm. Admission starts at $6; Free admission for children 12 and under on Monday afternoons.
Southern Tier Your neighbor’s pond | Greene
Skating on your neighbors’ ponds is a tradition in the Southern Tier, and especially so for natives of the town of Greene; you're a true New Yorker when you have this insider connection. Pictured here is the gorgeous amateur rink made from Greene native Lizzy Buhl's neighbor's pond! With nice neighbors the skating’s free, but you'll have to pack your own skates, of course.
Thousand Islands Seaway The Fairgrounds | Watertown
Adjacent to Bicentennial Park, the Watertown Fairgrounds Arena Ice Skating Rink is open for public skating, lessons, hockey leagues and pick-up hockey. View their schedule
to find the activity that's right for you! Located at 600 William T. Field Drive in Watertown. Skating season runs through March 15. $2 admission, plus $2 skate rentals.
Sponsored by First Niagara Bank, this public rink is located right in downtown Buffalo. Skate free of charge with a vista of some of the Queen City’s finest architecture, like the stunning City Hall building and the historic Statler Hotel. 671 Main Street, Buffalo. (716) 856-3150. Tuesday-Friday, 11am-2pm and 5pm-9pm; Saturday, 11am-8pm; Sunday, 11am-6pm; closed Monday. Free admission. $3 skate rental.
Do you have a favorite local pond or rink that didn’t make the list? Share with us in the comment section below!