The Rink at Bryant Park
New York City's Only Free Admission Ice Skating Rink
Bryant Park, with the help of Bank of America, has opened their Winter Village and ice skating rink to the public for the winter season. This free admission skating rink gives locals and visitors a great way to enjoy some time on the ice in the middle of Manhattan. Since 2005 the village has grown to allow guests to enjoy some time on the ice, meet Santa Claus and even do a bit of holiday shopping. The Rink at Bryant Park has been their crown jewel and attracts skaters from around the globe.
You can actually ice skate completely free from October 31, 2019-March 1, 2020 from 8:00am-10:00pm by following these simple steps. So bundle up, grab you essentials and spend a brisk morning circling the 17,000 square foot rink with the amazing city views as the backdrop for free.
*Pro Tip* If you are traveling with a stroller, leave it at home or at your hotel. There is a fee for checking a stroller. They cannot be left unattended in the ice skating pavilion.
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3 Things You Need to Ice Skate Completely Free
You will need to spend some money upfront if you don’t own a pair of ice skates or combination lock, but these are items that you can use in the future. Imagine being able to ice skate every morning on your vacation or staycation (if you live in the tri-state area).
1. Arrive EARLY.
As they say, the early bird catches the worm. To get the most out of your time ice skating at Bryant Park you want to arrive early. The crowds tend to be shorter before Thanksgiving, after the New Year and before 3:00pm on weekdays. The rink opens at 8:00am so there is added value in arriving early. This also means the ice is fresher and you have less time off of the ice for ice cuts. If you plan on ice skating with children.
If you do arrive when it’s crowded, don’t forget a bit of patience and watch the other skaters as you wait for your chance to take to the ice. You will only be allowed to enter the pavilion 10 minutes before your time slot on your reservation. Keep reading for a tip on making sure you can enter the pavilion and hit the ice without waiting for hours.
2. Bring your own ice skates.
If you live in New Mexico or California you may not have a need for ice skates, but if you plan on ice skating at Bryant Park, or live in the NYC area, it may be worth investing in a pair of ice skates. After a few trips to the ice skating rink they’ve likely paid for themselves. You can find a pair of ice skates like these, which I currently use. Don’t forget your warm socks! Rental ice skates at Bryant Park start at $18 during low season and go up to $33 for a one time rental.
3. Pack a combination lock.
Lockers are available for free, but you must provide your own lock (or risk losing your belongings). I like the Master Lock 1535DWD Locker Lock Set Your Own Word Combination Padlock because you can set the word to something that both adults and children can remember if someone needs to grab something from the locker. The lockers are not large and can hold a few pairs of shoes and a small bag. You may have to play a bit of tetris to get everything in. A second lock for an additional locker may be necessary if you are a larger group.
Things That Cost Money
If you want to skip the lines or want don’t feel like lugging your own ice skates to Bryant Park you can reserve skates and purchase an express pass here.
Bank of America cardholders receive 20% off skate rentals and Express Skate when they use their card at The Rink. The offer is valid only at the Winter Village Skating Pavilion box office. You cannot access the discounts online if you choose to pay for your ice skating experience at Bryant Park’s Winter Village.
Express entry with skate rental ranges from $25-$48 depending on the day you visit the rink. Express entry without ice skate rentals range from $7-$15. As you can see via the 2019 fee schedule on the right that almost all of December 2019 is set at the highest rate.
While the lockers are free, but don’t forgot to bring a lock or it’ll cost $12 for one at the register.
If you decide that you need skating aids for your kids they can be rented for $22 per hour. There is a one hour minimum and are only available to skaters under 10.
BONUS TIP: If you have ice skates & a lock DON’T wait in line for a wristband and entrance time, just head to the reservation site here and make your reservation for FREE!! You will receive a reservation with a QR code that you can use to enter the rink.
Stazi’s recently went ice skating for the first time. My three-year-old currently shows an interest in ice skating so we will take advantage of this free option. You can check out our tips for taking your toddler ice skating here.