Ice Skating at Bryant Park: A New York Classic

With spectacular views and access to the Winter Village, Bryant Park is a wonderful place to ice skate in the wintertime.

Every winter, the lush green lawn at Bryant Park in Manhattan is removed and recycled. After two weeks of grueling labor, “New York’s Backyard” is transformed into the famous Bryant Park ice skating rink and Winter Village.

The 17,000 square foot rink has a spectacular view of the Empire State building and the surrounding skyscrapers. At night, the windows of nearby buildings light up the night sky. 

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park attracts New Yorkers and tourists alike. The nearby subway stations and bus stops make it a convenient outing for friends and family, as Bryant Park is a 15 minute walk from Penn Station.

Coming from Bronx Science, the downtown B or D train leads directly to the entrance of Bryant Park (42nd Street). The train ride lasts about 50 minutes on the D train.

Bryant Park is one of the only free-admission rinks in the city for people who own ice skates. Ice skate rental prices, however, skyrocket during peak hours (generally weekends and evenings). Prices can range from $15-35 for a 55-minute session. Tickets must be reserved and paid for online prior to entry – Bryant Park unfortunately does not accept cash.

The prices typically increase when bought on the same day as the reservation. Rental skates that may have cost $26 the night before the reservation time can jump up to $30 when purchased on the day of.

“If you don’t have your [own] skates the prices can be high, but it is definitely worth it if you can bring your own skates,” said Isabella Vidach ’25. 

At check-in, skaters each receive a colored tag indicating their session time; make sure not to lose the tag, as it allows employees to verify you have a reservation. If visitors miss their entry-time, they will not receive a refund. Arriving a few minutes late to your session is fine; however, the session will still end at the same time. 

Visitors can check in their shoes and bags together at the skating pavilion – the small building adjacent to the ice. Although Bryant Park offers a free shoe check, visitors still have to pay a $5 bag check fee because bags are not allowed on the ice (bigger bags such as luggage or strollers cost $15 for bag check).

Pictured at the Bryant Park ice skating rink are Raquel Andon ’24, Jacey Mok ’24, Isabella Vidach ’25, Leahni Fuentes ’24, Zuriel Bonny ’25, and Daisy Luis ’25. (Zuriel Bonny)

At bag check, employees store the guests’ belongings in large plastic bags, so bringing a tote bag may be helpful for storing shoes and other possessions. Employees will then take the guest’s phone number and give them a ticket with a number for claiming their belongings when the session is over. 

When combined with a $5 bag check fee and tax, a single ice-skating session could cost upwards of $40. 

The ice is cleaned according to the ice-cut schedule found on the Bryant Park website (about every 1.5 hours). Ice cleaning lasts about 5-10 minutes, typically at the beginning or end of a session. However, some sessions do not have the ice paved beforehand, so the rink might end up scratched for the entirety of the session. 

Bryant Park is generally geared towards tourists, people who own their own ice skates, or anyone looking for a weekend outing, so it can get very crowded on the weekends. When the rink gets crowded, people might fall and bump into each other, given the close proximity, but the visitors are generally very friendly. 

Lining the rink are many tables and chairs with people sitting and enjoying their food from the nearby eateries. For some, it might be awkward to ice skate (and fall) in front of such a crowd, but the spectators generally mind their business and simply enjoy the dazzling Manhattan view. 

Adjacent to the rink is The Lodge, an open-air food hall, along with numerous other food stands. Bryant Park hosts a number of dining kiosks that are open all-year round: from grab-and-go stops like Wafels & Dinges and Le Pain Quotidien to Parisian-style dining at the Bryant Park Grill. During the holidays, Winter Village is located near the dining stands. 

The Winter Village hosts many artisan holiday shops, selling unique items ranging from vintage-aesthetic puzzles at the New York Puzzle Company to wire sculptures at One Million Roses. All of the various shops and eateries can be located on this map. The holiday shops  unfortunately closed on January 3rd, 2023 but will open again in late October 2023. 

The rink closes for the season on March 5th, 2023. Happy skating!

Admission: free
Ice-Skates Rentals: $15-50 (depends on time & date)
Additional Fees: $5 bag check

“If you don’t have your [own] skates the prices can be high, but it is definitely worth it if you can bring your own skates,” said Isabella Vidach ’25.