Explore New York for the winter wonderland it is.
This time of year, with a little chill in the air and some snow on the ground, the hills and parks around New York City transform into beacons of winter activity. Looking to slide, skate, and swoosh to your heart’s content?
Get out into the city (and beyond) for some fun in the snow at our six favorite spots for skating, sledding, and skiing in and around the city.
Just like street vendors hawking roasted nuts and crowds lining the streets for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, ice skating at Rockefeller Center is about as New York as it gets. The rink is open October through April, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and from 10:30 p.m. to midnight for a special Starlight Skate session.
Because only 150 people are allowed to skate in the rink at once, mid-day hours can be busy, and families should plan for one- to two-hour lines. The benefit of the wait is that, with a cap on the number of people allowed in the rink, you’ll have plenty of room to show off your jumps and twirls!
The Rink at Brookfield Place
Located in front of the Brookfield Place Winter Garden, the 7,350-square-foot Rink at Brookfield Place is slightly larger than the rink at Rockefeller Center, and lends visitors a view of the North Cove Marina. During your trip to the popular outdoor spot, take ice-dancing or hockey lessons, or just spend some time gliding around during open skating hours. General admission is $15, skate rental is $5, and the rink is open October through March.
With a few exceptionally perfect hills for sliding down, Central Park is a favorite sledding destination for locals and visitors alike. Just north of the 72nd St. entrance to the park at Fifth Ave., Pilgrim Hill is a steep slope with a gentle finish, and one of the more popular spots in the park for winter revelry. Nearby Cedar Hill, between 76th and 79th St. at Fifth Ave., is also a popular hangout, with a lower section that’s suitable for young kids and beginner sledders, as well as a steeper top section for thrill-seekers.
Near the Tennis House at Prospect Park West and 9th St., a long, very sled-able incline is just one of the numerous options for sledding within Prospect Park. Long Meadow, Lookout Hill (the highest point in the park), and Endale Arch (a gentle, beginner’s slope), all await hill enthusiasts within the 526-acre park.
Thunder Ridge Ski Area
Thunder Ridge Ski Area is located about an hour outside of New York City by train, and it’s the perfect place for beginners to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time. Gentle slopes, reasonable prices, and fluffy powder await visitors eager to spend some time under an open sky. The ski area is an approachable and friendly destination for both solo adults and families with kids.
Technically over the border in Vernon, New Jersey, Mountain Creek is an hour and a half drive from midtown Manhattan, and features 44 ski trails and eight lifts on 167 acres of skiable terrain. The resort is home to the region’s highest vertical at 1,040 feet, as well as the only true All-Mountain Terrain Park. Ski, snowboard, or even tube your way around the resort -- which was named a top five park in the nation by the Freeskier’s Resort Poll -- then decompress at one of the numerous cafés, restaurants, or the new Biergarten at the base of the mountain.