While the rinks at Rockefeller Center, the High Line and Central Park are popular for good reason, the ice and surrounding facilities can get jam-packed during the holiday season. Luckily, there are three new outdoor ice skating rinks, each with its own perks, that are perfect for winter visits.
SAMUEL J. AND ETHEL LEFRAK CENTER AT LAKESIDE: After years of construction and a $74 million price tag, Prospect Park's year-round recreational facility, which includes two open-air, connected ice skating rinks, is set to open Dec. 20. Each rink -- one that is covered -- will accommodate 450 skaters. Eight-week sessions in skating for beginners and the fundamentals of hockey will be offered, and a cafe will be open daily through Jan. 1 and on weekends thereafter.
WHEN | WHERE: Open Dec. 20 through March from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday (until 8 p.m. through Jan. 1), 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday at Prospect Park, Parkside and Ocean avenues entrance or Lincoln Road entrance, Brooklyn
INFO: $6 weekdays, $8 weekends and holidays; $5 a person skate rental. Free skating for children 12 and younger on non-holiday Mondays between 3 and 5 p.m. 212-661-6640, lakesideprospectpark.com.
McCARREN RINK: The crowds that flock to Greenpoint's McCarren Park Pool in the summer now have a place to frolic in the winter, too -- McCarren Rink opened at the same address on Nov. 15. And at this wintry destination that can accommodate more than 300 skaters, it isn't all about the ice. The refreshments are a huge draw, too. Foodie fare includes a black bean burger melt, blackout cake and "Crazy Doggs," topped with pulled pork, pickled jalapeños and cheese sauce, among other options.
WHEN | WHERE: Open through January from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily at 776 Lorimer St., Brooklyn
INFO: $8 adults, $5 seniors/students, $4 children; $5 a person skate rental. 347-482-7798, mccarrenrink.com.
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT RINK: If you want a little holiday cheer with your ice-skating adventure, the new "Unseasonably Cool" rink at South Street Seaport may be the place to go. Opened Nov. 29 -- the same night as the seaport's Christmas tree lighting -- the 110-by-45-foot rink, which can hold about 200 skaters, also hosts carolers on Thursdays through Sundays in December, and will include Christmas in NY and Santa's Workshop shops among the area's shipping container mall. Other enticing offerings include drop-in $20 beginner lessons on Saturday and Sunday mornings, skate shows, special DJ nights and seasonal passes that provide significant savings for skating enthusiasts.
WHEN | WHERE: Open through March 2 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday at South Street Seaport, 19 Fulton St., Manhattan
INFO: $10, free children 5 and younger; $6 a person skate or helmet rental, $8 bag check. 212-732-8257, southstreetseaport.com