Review: Ice Skating at Wollman Rink

By Gianna Abruzzo, Creator, Our Play Patches December 19, 2022

Ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park is an iconic New York City experience that everyone should experience at least once. Of the six local rinks we’ve visited in the past few years, we liked this one for the city skyline views, large-sized rink, unlimited skate time, and the uncrowded indoor snack bar where we warmed up with yummy apple cider.

Our family (daughters 8, 11, 13) spent a fun Friday evening skating. First, we enjoyed about a 10-minute scenic walk through the park to get to the rink. The rink is surrounded by park foliage as well as the midtown skyline, which is beautifully lit up at night. The huge irregular-shaped rink gave us time and space for stretches of straight skating (compared to dizzying circles on tiny rinks). There were many skaters out that night (though few young children) and a wide range of abilities – from the first-time skaters hugging the side walls and then flailing and falling on the ice, to the very experienced who were swooshing in and out of the crowds. My kids are steady on the ice and enjoyed the challenge of dodging obstacles, but the rink size and the crowds could be intimidating for others.  

Unlimited skate time meant that we were not rushed to get our skates and sort our belongings. We knew we could skate for a while and take a break, not worrying about how many minutes remained in our session. But we also needed to keep track of the ice-cleaning schedule: several times a day, the Zamboni machine stops all skating for a half-hour clean-up. When we arrived at 7 pm, we were relieved to learn we had a full hour before a required 30-minute ice-cleaning break. In order to control capacity with no fixed-time skate session and Zamboni delays, the wait time to start skating can be long and/or indeterminable. Ticket-holders are not guaranteed entry at their designated time slot. As we were leaving, folks in the line who had made it to the entrance said they had been waiting for more than 45 minutes with a pre-purchased ticket.  

We were satisfied with a snack of a warm New York-style pretzel ($5) and hot apple cider ($4.50) at the café. There is a range of fast food, snacks, and baked goods, all reasonably priced (most everything $10 and under). There was adequate seating indoors and outside so we easily found a spot to take a rest.

Other things to note: You can only bring a bag/purse onto the rink if you can wear it under a coat. Rental lockers are available for $7. Children’s skate aid rentals are also available for $25.  We recommend waiting for an off-peak time to visit, purchasing tickets in advance, and preparing to be flexible with time spent waiting and then skating. The Zamboni machine schedule is listed on the website.  

Wollman Rink is opened through mid-March. Ticket prices for children are $10 (includes an adult companion pass if adult is not skating); adult skating prices vary by day from $15 (Off-Peak) to $35 (Prime). All skate rentals are $10.


Gianna Abruzzo is a Brooklyn-born mom of three daughters living in Lower Manhattan. You can find her family downtown and around town, exploring new playgrounds, treat spots, and NYC’s diverse arts and culture. Follow her on Instagram.