Finding your inner Olaf at all the NYC area ice skating rinks

By Mercedes Vizcaino, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, November 22, 2016

The holiday season is upon us and if you're staycationing in NYC with friends, family or out-of-town guests and in search of new ideas and sources of inspiration for fun-filled entertainment, then look no further. We've rounded up the 'best ice skating rinks in New York City' to get you active and revel in the merriment! Whether you want to channel your inner figure-skating phenom or hockey legend star, we've complied a list of New York's top indoor and outdoor ice-skating rinks to swoosh and whirl to your heart's content like nobody's watching! So get ready to lace up those skates and get on the ice with these top-notch venues offering boozy hot chocolates, one-on-ones with Santa and skating lessons taught by actual Olympians!

The most well-known and iconic ice skating rink in New York City and home to the world-famous Christmas tree is now open to the public through February 2017. Expect crowds and long lines, but also take in the winter wonderland magic that this 80-year old landmark commands. A variety of skate packages are available to satisfy your ice skating desires. For $45, indulge in the Aprés Skate package (includes admission to the rink/skate rental/cocktail and appetizer) Perfect for a date night. Other packages: First Skate + Bountiful Breakfast ($50 - $55pp) allows you to reserve the rink at 7am before anyone else in Manhattan! Or Starlight Skate ($37 - $45pp): 10:30pm-12AM night sessions. Check website for dates and times here.

No need to endure frigid temperatures to enjoy a great time on the ice. The Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers has skating sessions year-round in their indoor full-sized rink to accommodate and enhance your visit with stunning views of the Hudson River. Skate and helmet rental fees will run you: ($20/pp). If you're serious about learning to skate, Chelsea Piers hosts Adult Skate Night: 30-minute classes, ranging from complete beginner level to those at Learn to Skate USA level Free Skate 5. Registration opens November 21st. For more details click here.

You're in for a real treat this holiday season. The Winter Village at Bryant Park doesn't just have the ONLY free-to-use ice skating rink in Manhattan, from now through March 2017; fun, unique kiosks in Bryant Park surround it with vendors from all over the world. Skate rentals are ($20) with a variety of skating options. Coming soon: The Tree Lighting Skate-tacular. Check back periodically for updates here.

Prepare to be wowed and dazzled! United States Olympic duo: Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov run all the ice-skating programs at Brookfield Place complete with private lessons, events and birthday parties. Their mission: to enhance the ice-skating experience at every age and build everlasting memories for families. New this season: Intro to Hockey Classes. On December 18th Brookfield Place will host The Magic of Beauty: New Year Holiday Ice Show, featuring international and Olympic stars. The show is free and open to the public. For more details click here.

This Central Park gem sits in one of the most scenic areas in New York. From October through February, ice-skating novices and experts alike are encouraged to showcase their skating skills. New to the Wollman Rink Season: "Early Morning Reservations" - a program (December 25 - 26th only) that allows up to 100 people - the exciting opportunity to skate on their 30,000 square-foot rink before the general public at 10am. Fee: ($46 - includes admission, skate rental, hot chocolate and pastry). They also have VIP packages and public skating. Please note: cash only! Beat the crowds and check out full details here.

Time to Rejoice! Come Friday, November 18th - the outdoor ice-skating rink at Lasker Rink is open for their 2016 - 2017 season. Enjoy Youth Hockey, Sled & Special and Adult Hockey programs to get you fully acquainted with the ice. Adults ($23 includes skate and locker rentals) Kids ($11) Please note: cash only. For more information, click here.

The Standard Hotel Plaza opens their 3,000 square-foot outdoor ice-skating rink in late November with a different spin - it's not your average NYC tourist attraction primed to draw massive crowds; instead this venue in the Meat-packing district provides penguin-suited helpers to help young ice-skaters get comfortable on the ice by day and party-centric vibes geared toward adults at night. Explore their Alpine-themed gourmet menus, cozy fur-covered rocking chairs and spiked ciders and hot chocolates to get you through the winter blues. Visit their site periodically for updates on their 2016 - 2017 schedule.

This year-round indoor ice-skating facility located in Flushing Meadows, Queens has the most successful Learn-to-Skate program in the nation. But don't fret! If professional ice-skating is not in your immediate future -- they have public skating hours as well and the chance to skate with Santa every weekend throughout December with free 15-minute introductory skating classes on select weekends. They will host a Winter Wonderland event on December 17th with skaters at every level and special guest performers. Check rates and their full schedule here.

Recently restored by the Prospect Park Alliance, The LeFrak Center offers a picturesque and recreational destination for ice-skating enthusiasts. With a Prospect Park Alliance Friend Membership ($35) you're entitled to free skating days, $35 off a CitiBike membership, free year-round Member Tours and Trails. Public Skating Rates: Adults and Kids on weekdays ($12 include skate rentals) and ($15 includes skate rentals) weekends and holidays. Check out their schedule here.

This Long Island City indoor skating facility is open year round with a NHL-size skate rink and sits atop a rooftop in Queens. It offers public skating, hockey programs for youths and adults. Upcoming programs: Holiday Camps and Open house sessions with free lessons for beginners. Plus, their Winter Show on December 11th will feature solos, duets and many other performances from group members. All skating fans are invited to attend for free. Check for rates here.

Modeled after Japanese urban architectural design, this multi-level recreational state-of-the-art park facility in Harlem has a regulation-size rink that doubles as a roller-skating arena in the summer and ice-skating rink in the winter! The rink also hosts local community hockey games. Adults ($11 includes skate rentals) Kids ($9). For more details click here.

Mercedes Vizcaino, a Contributing Writer with ZEALnyc, writes about lifestyle and cultural events in and around New York City.

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