The Most Famous Ice Skating Rink In The U.S. Opens Soon — When You Can Hit The Ice

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The iconic ice skating rink underneath Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree is opening soon.Photo credit: TerraceStudio / Shutterstock.com

The countdown to the holidays is on, and one quintessential winter activity in New York City is close to opening. The Rink under the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree opens for the season on Saturday, November 5. From ice skating lessons to special events, the rink is a tradition that gets you in the spirit.

Tickets And Membership

There are a few ways you can enjoy The Rink this holiday season. General admission gets you on the ice with a skate rental at a certain date and time. Ticket prices are $20 for ages 13 and over, and ages 6 to 12, which requires a skating adult or chaperone. Chaperones are non-skating tickets and must be with a child ticket. Ages 5 and under are $11 and require a skating adult.

If one day just isn’t enough for you, there are seasonal memberships available. A seasonal passholder gets unlimited admissions to The Rink during all public skate times. Seasonal membership is $500. It’s $550 with a skate rental and $600 with an assigned locker.

Skate Lessons At The Rink 

You can book a private lesson or attend skate school at The Rink. Private lessons are half-hour sessions with a professional instructor that focuses on fundamentals and builds up your comfort level on the ice. Private lessons for one skater start at $60.

Skate school is a group lesson at The Rink. It’s hosted on select Saturday and Sunday mornings. It also teaches you basic skills, except this school is in a group environment.

Special Events 

From birthdays to anniversaries and engagements, you can plan an entire special event with packages through The Rink. There are special packages to pop the question which can include a classic proposal with VIP skating tickets and your song of choice, or a private proposal, which gives you the rink after closing hours for 30 minutes.

You can also host company or private events and work with the team to create a unique experience. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to set up the event.

History Of The Rink 

As the story goes, the idea for The Rink, first known as the “skating pond,” was inspired by a Depression-era skate salesman who demonstrated his product by skating on the frozen water of the Rockefeller Center fountain. As it turns out, The Rink was the perfect fit for a sunken plaza, which was struggling to attract shoppers to high-end retailers in the underground concourse. It officially opened on Christmas Day 1936. It was supposed to be temporary, but The Rink was so popular it became permanent.

Famous skaters laced up and took to the ice throughout the years. Norwegian figure skater and film star Sonja Henie would entertain the crowds in the 1930s and 1940s. The famously trained seal, Sharkey, appeared as the guest of honor in 1940. Beginning in 1965, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and his wife Ethel held an annual skating party at The Rink, inviting 120 children to join them. Sochi Olympic dancing gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the first Americans to ever win the title, took a skate with Harlem students in 2014.

To read other articles on spending the holidays in New York City, check out:

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