Top U.S. Family Ice Skating Rinks (Forbes, Nov 16, 2018)

With the holidays approaching, I can not think of a better time to round up your family and friends and venture outdoors for a magical skating experience. Check out the Forbes’ recently published list of The Country’s Most Magical Ice Rinks. If you’re traveling or expecting family/friends visiting for the holidays and will be near one of these rinks, then you should definitely make plans to enjoy some bonding time with your loved ones while also getting a great workout.

As you may have guessed, one of the top destinations on the list is the iconic Rink at Rockefeller Center in NYC. It is THE place to be during the holiday season and what could be more fun than to skate in front of the famous Christmas tree, dubbed “a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike.” Nothing can match the beautiful backdrop of the tree, the monumental sculpture of Prometheus, the surrounding spectacular Manhattan skyscrapers, and the thousands of gathered tourists looking down on you at the rink regardless of how well you skate. I still remember my parents taking me there when I first started learning to skate at 7 yrs old and it was such an incredible experience. I learned from reading the Forbes article that you can make advance admissions reservations for a VIP experience at a day and time of your choosing without having to wait hours on the long lines, I never knew that and will for sure plan to go back again soon with my friends and definitely choose this convenient VIP experience option.

I must admit I’m surprised the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park in NYC did not make the Forbes’ top outdoor skating rink list. It’s one of my all-time favorite winter wonderland spots to visit whenever I’m in the city especially during the holidays. Not only is the Bryant Park rink twice as big as Rockefeller Center’s, but the skating is FREE!!! Of course, there are expected long lines because of free admission but I don’t feel it to be any much longer than those at Rockefeller Center. If you go during off-peak hours during the early part of a weekday then you’ll surely have a good chance to enjoy a fun and affordable skating experience. Skate rentals are not free but even if you do have to rent, it’s no more than rental prices elsewhere. I think the very best part of Bryant Park skating is the 100+ outdoor artisanal and holiday shops selling unique gifts in customized kiosks which line the plaza. I love walking around and going in and out of the shops hoping to be surprised at what cute trinkets and treasures I would find. Imbedded in this holiday market are also great food eateries which serve all types of popular ethnic cuisines. I highly recommend for you and your family to check out Manhattan’s only free skating rink. In fact, I was just at the Winter Village at Bryant Park last night waiting to pick up my brother who’s coming home on the bus from college for Thanksgiving break and I took the opportunity to do some early holiday shopping and also had dinner nearby at one of my favorite chic restaurants, Bryant Park Grill. I love eating there especially during the holidays where you can sit at a table right near the beautifully adorned Christmas tree under the heated holiday tent and enjoy the dazzling festive decorations while people-watching the passerbys.

It’s not the holidays without skating so go out and enjoy a classic tradition and make some magical memories with family and friends!