Nothing evokes the holidays more than the iconic experience of ice skating at Rockefeller Center. The Comcast building tower and other skyscrapers loom overhead while the top of the fabled Christmas tree symbolizes the peace and joy of the season, and every turn you make around the ice, Saks Fifth Avenue, half a block away, beckons.
The only thing about the foregoing is that once the holidays are over and most tourists leave town, people forget that ice skating at Rockefeller Center is still an option.
Open until April
The ice skating season actually continues until April 19, 2020, with eight 90-minute sessions available to first-timers and experienced figure skaters alike.
New York City is also famous for the fact that demand exceeds supply for whatever you might have in mind, from getting a seat on the subway to dinner reservations at 5-star restaurants.
While ice skating after the holidays remains extremely popular, there is a way to ensure that you and your friends and family will not miss out on this fabulous experience.
The ice rink at Rockefeller Center offers a VIP experience that allows you to go behind the proverbial velvet rope and skate to your heart’s content.
The VIPs actually have a separate entrance and are able to reserve their spots in advance, so as to be certain that they will enjoy the ice time of their choosing.
You get help with your skates, which are included in the reservation price, as well as a large, heated VIP area just off the rink where you can take a break from the skating whenever you choose.
Through the VIP package, you can get complimentary skate rentals, in and out access to the rink for the season, refreshments such as hot chocolate and coffee, and an assortment of freshly baked cookies. You even get a bottle of water included, which is pretty nifty, considering that there is nowhere else around the ice rink to buy water. So that’s pretty cool.
My first time
The first time I ice skated at Rockefeller Center was literally half a century ago, as a 10-year-old with my family. Parents visiting Manhattan with their children and looking for unforgettable experiences should not overlook ice skating in the middle of America’s busiest city. It’s an experience that lingers in my memory 50 years after the event, and it will almost certainly create the same kind of memories for your kids as well.
Maybe the best time to skate is late afternoon, as the sky darkens and the lights of the surrounding skyscrapers blink on. It’s an awesome sight when viewed from street level, but it’s even better when you’re looking up from the rink itself.
You can make reservations for a VIP experience. Doing so eliminates the uncertainty of whether you’ll actually get out on the ice at the time you desire. It also eliminates waiting in line, because general admission to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center cannot be reserved in advance.
One More Tip
And here’s a pro tip. Once you’ve skated, finish off the experience by going to the top of the Comcast building. The view is just as sublime as that from the Empire State Building…without the massive line. Your kids will love it.
And if you are with your honey, then finish off your Rockefeller Center experience by going up to the Rainbow Room for a drink, dinner, or even dancing. The art deco masterpiece is the perfect place for après-skate, as all of Manhattan will be laid out at your feet as you sip cocktails or take a turn around the famous dance floor.
So if you’re going to New York, the VIP skating experience is the way to go, for you, your sweetheart, your kids, or whoever else is in your party. A few turns around the ice and you too will fall in love with Manhattan as never before.