Skating in a winter wonderland

New York ice skating

There’s something so iconic about ice skating in New York. It feels like you’re in a film.

Some old friends flew out from London last week, and gave us a great excuse to hit the classic tourist spots. See the Rockafeller Center Christmas tree? Tick. Admire the 5th Avenue window displays? Tick. Go ice skating in Central Park? Tick.  Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island? Tick. Go out for a bit of live music at Cafe Wha in Greenwich Village? Tick tick tick. It felt v gratifying to be the local rather than the tourist, and made me realise how much of the city I’ve explored and am now a part of.

Rockefeller Center ice rink -New York ice skating
Rockefeller Center ice rink

The Rockefeller ice rink was far smaller than we had imagined (it looks enormous in ‘When Harry Met Sally’, after all), and it was raining too hard to brave the queues, so we went to the Central Park rink the next day instead. It was v atmospheric, with the bare trees and the sky scrapers in the background.. . and Trump branding splashed all over it. So New York.

Central Park ice rink - New York ice skating
Central Park ice rink

There’s a cafe by the rink selling hot chocolates and pretzels to refuel. There were signs everywhere banning the use of mobile phones on the ice, but nobody took any notice as the rink was full of people taking exaggerated selfies. There’s even a little circle coned off in the middle for private lessons (now, wouldn’t that be an amazing birthday party?? Hmmmm). We contented ourselves with shuffling around the edges trying to keep T’s weight above her skates. Having skated all of once before, she was determined to do it All. By. Her. Self. This resulted in a lot of hard falls, but a brilliant day out.

Wonderful day out at Central Park ice rink - New York ice skating
Wonderful day out at Central Park ice rink

There are ice rinks all over the city, including Battery Park City, Sea Port and Bryant Park, each with an iconic New York view. Wherever you go, it’s a wonderful family day out, but most won’t let you carry children, so v little ones would need to wait outside with one long suffering parent. Read my other rink reviews here.

If you’re thinking of taking your kids ice skating at Central Park too:

  • Bring a fat wallet. You get charged for the ice skating, the skate hire and the locker hire (two adults and a child cost just shy of $70), but on the plus side there’s no time limit so you can stay and get your money’s worth
  • While you’re at it, splash out and take a rickshaw ride to warm up afterwards – they have plastic windscreens and big colourful blankets to cover your knees
  • Go for pizza at Angelo’s on 117 W 57th Street, corner of 6th  Avenue. They make you wake a sleeping child to put the pram away, but other than that it was a fantastic family restaurant.

We fly back to the UK tomorrow for Christmas, and I just cannot cannot wait to see all our family and friends again after four months here.

All our bags are packed,

We’re ready to go.

We’re leaving on a jetplane.

But we know that we’ll be back again

This week’s Highs & Lows:


Finishing B’s bunny quilt. It was such a pleasure to see it coming together literally piece by piece. Spent a while worrying about how to do the bunny bit itself, then decided to just sit down and sew it, and it came out beautifully. B is thrilled with it, and bundles up all her toys in her lap and wriggles around in it. The whole process was really enjoyable, including spending a good hour picking the fabrics at the deeply wonderful Purl Bee in Soho. Those guys really have an eye for colour.


Spending so long writing out messages for all the apartment building’s staff tips that have lost the will to write any actual Christmas cards for our friends and family. There are precisely twenty nine men working in our building. Twenty nine.

Author: Alex

Hello. Toddling Round New York is my own little blog of our family's experience of moving young kids from London to New York... And of having a baby out here. They are my own baby steps of exploring this incredible city. I lived in five countries in four continents growing up, so you'd think I'd be good at this by now. Here you'll find stories and photographs of our adventures, the highs and the lows of expat parenthood, and some ideas I hope you'll find useful if you're in New York with young kids.

2 thoughts on “Skating in a winter wonderland”

  1. We love angelos too! I love the way they are so quick to serve you and the food is pretty good. My favourite has to be meatballs.
    Didn’t your back ache after the skating ? There’s nothing quite like holding up a wobbly kid as they slide everywhere!

    1. Hi Louise. Yep, pretty sore on the lower back, not to mention my feeble upper body strength was no help at all. But she spent half the time on her bottom anyway, so it wasn’t too bad…

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