Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center in New York: A Wanderlust Experience

There’s something dreamy about gliding across the ice with the Manhattan skyline as your backdrop.


Each year from Columbus Day weekend through April, an enormous ice rink pops up in the middle of the infamous Rockefeller Center complex between 47th and 50th Streets and 5th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan. This likely isn’t news to you—you’ve probably seen the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas-tree-lighting ceremony on TV at least once or twice in your lifetime. The ice rink typically features prominently as part of the production.

As a little girl, I would dream about lacing up a pair of skates and going for a whirl around the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. Finally, a few years ago, my dream came true. And it was worth the wait. If you’re one of the privileged travelers who will be spending some time in New York this holiday season, this wanderlust experience should be high on your list of things to do.


Here are a few things you need to know about ice skating at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

1. Be Prepared to Wait

Believe it or not, you’re not the only visitor to New York who wants to skate at Rockefeller. Shocking, I know. Entry to the rink is on a first come, first serve basis. And it’s almost inevitable that there will be a line up to get into the rink. Expect especially long lines over the holidays, which run from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. I was there on January 1, and the line was at least a full city block long when I arrived. But it moved fairly quickly—we only had to wait about 45 minutes.

2. It’ll Cost You

You’ll have to fork out the big bucks for this premium experience. Admission is $25 per adult for a 90-minute session. But that’s not all, unless you managed to pack a pair of skates in your suitcase, you’ll need to rent them. That’ll set you back another $12. But you’re in New York and on vacation, so who cares about the cost. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, after all.

3. Get the VIP Experience

Truth be told, I didn’t know mere mortals like myself could actually go skating at Rockefeller Center. I thought it was only open to the elite. It wasn’t until my friend and I were on our flight to New York that I learned otherwise. Had I known in advance, I would have done more research and learned about the slew of VIP experiences available at the ice rink. Not only do you get to reserve your skating session in advance so you can skip the line, you can pair it with some sort of awesome extra, like breakfast with Santa, afternoon tea, or even an engagement celebration.

4. It’s Magical

I come from a cold part of the country and grew up on a pair of skates. But no rink I’ve ever skated on felt quite as special as the one at Rockefeller Center. When I put my first blade down on the ice, it was like I stepped out of reality and into another dimension.

Sure, it was crowded and cold, but all of that melted away as I looked up at the Manhattan skyline enveloping the ice like a cashmere sweater. My bff and I have been friends a long time—forever, in fact—and this was by far one of the most special experiences we’ve ever shared…and we’ve done a lot of cool things over the years. We laughed so hard we nearly cried as we stumbled awkwardly around the rink for our first few laps. We enjoyed every second of our 90-minute session, soaking in the atmosphere of that majestic place at the most magical time of year.

If you’re traveling to New York, take a few hours out of your day to enjoy this special seasonal experience. I promise you won’t regret it. Be sure to share your pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #wanderlustwayfarer.


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Rockefeller Center


3 Tips to Take the Chaos Out of Holiday Travel

‘Tis the season for holiday travel.


Can you smell it? That’s mom’s turkey roasting in the oven. Oh, and is that pumpkin pie for dessert? You can taste it, can’t you? But none of that matters if you never make it home for the holidays. Remember that movie with that woman who’s trying to get home for a festive dinner with her family but her flight gets canceled? She’s stranded at the airport and tries to rent a car instead, but there are none left. You don’t want to be that person, do you?

holiday travel

Follow these handy tips to make sure your holiday travel plans go smoothly.

1. Check in with Mother Nature

No matter how you’re getting to where you’re going, the weather plays a very important role. If there’s a snowstorm, accidents happen on highways, causing traffic to back up. Flights get rescheduled—or worse. And even the most reliable trains and buses get delayed. Be sure to start checking the weather and road reports days in advance of your planned holiday travel schedule. Have alternate plans in place in case of a service disruption with your preferred mode of transportation.

2. Find Out if There are Any Gift Guidelines for Your Flights

There is nothing worse than finding out at the security gate that the bath bubbles you bought for your Auntie Sandra aren’t allowed in your carry-on…and don’t even get me started on that cap gun you thought would be so cool for your nephew. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised some of the things you’ll forget in the holiday travel chaos. It’s inevitable that something will slip through the cracks, like that bottle of whisky you got for your pops. Save yourself the grief and check the TSA for holiday packing tips. Find out what you can—and cannot—bring on board the plane, as well as any gift-wrapping guidelines.

3. Leave Plenty of Time

Set your alarm an hour earlier than normal…and don’t hit the snooze button. And if you simply can’t resist falling back asleep, set your clock an hour ahead and have the alarm come on at your regular time. Do whatever you need to do so that you’re not racing against the clock. Nothing good ever comes of it: You forget things, get sweaty running around like a chicken with your head cut off, and feel frazzled. It’s not the best way to start the holidays. You’ll be irritable before you even arrive, and we all know spending time with family can be frustrating at the best of times—no matter how much we love them. But perhaps the biggest reason to leave yourself a little extra time is that you won’t have to drive like a maniac to make up for lost time. At the end of the day, the most important thing about holiday travel is that you arrive alive.

These are just a few help holiday travel tips. What other advice do you have for fellow travelers? Share your ideas with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.