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Ice Skating at The Standard Ice Rink

Rink from the High Line Rink from the street Skates at The Standard Ice Rink Penguin skate assist at The Standard Ice Rink Seating along the rink Rink looking toward the High Line

During the winter months ice skating rinks pop up around New York and they can be a great way to make the best of a season that otherwise doesn’t always encourage you to spend a lot of time outside. The most famous rink is easily the one at Rockefeller Center, but I think my favorite after a visit this weekend is The Standard Ice Rink outside the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. The small size of the rink is perfect for kids just learning or starting to gain skating confidence, and there are lots of other pluses: great location, enticing food offerings, and even really high quality rental skates. On top of all that, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon the rink wasn’t overly crowded – such a pleasant surprise!

A little alpine-style chalet hut along the Washington Street side of the rink serves as the skate rental house, and after paying and getting a tiny pair of skates for my daughter, we quickly headed for the ice. I think learning to ice skate can be a little discouraging sometimes for young children — it doesn’t seem natural at first, and really does take some practice — so the availability of a huge penguin you can cling to and push along to help keep you on your feet can make the experience a lot more fun. Most of the rinks around New York seem to have the same penguins available, but at The Standard Ice Rink they’re free of charge (first come, first serve) – a nice perk.  We grabbed the first one that became available, and started our slow circles of the rink. During our visit we saw a lot of other younger children who were also just learning to skate, which helped keep the atmosphere very low-key and approachable.

Skates and penguins Rink and The Standard Hotel Taking a break from skating Snacks after skating Snacks after skating

The Standard Ice Rink’s location in the Meatpacking District puts it close to a number of other family-friendly attractions. The High Line is just above the rink, offering an excellent vantage point for watching the skaters or taking a walk before or after skating. We made sure to take a quick trip up after we took off our skates, and loved seeing the huge red snowflake decorating the ice, something we hadn’t noticed while skating. Two blocks south you’ll find the Whitney Museum of American Art and a branch of Ample Hills Creamery, my favorite New York ice cream. You’re also only four blocks away from High Street on Hudson, which would be an excellent stop for breakfast before hitting the rink.

Don’t fill up too much, though – the lounge area alongside the rink is really inviting, with red metal rocking chairs draped in sheep skins tucked under heat lamps to help keep cozy and lots of little lights decorating trees and strung overhead. The kid-friendly menu offers plenty of warming winter drinks – cocoa, mulled cider, and eggnog (plus mulled wine and hot toddies for the adults) – along with soups, sandwiches, and desserts. It was hard to say no to a hot cocoa with marshmallows and an enormous gingerbread cookie to celebrate a job well done on the ice, and had my daughter seen the grilled cheese, which is also cut in the shape of a gingerbread man, I’m sure we would have ordered one of those too. Something fun for next time, I suppose!

A few additional details:

  • The rink is open until March
  • Skating costs $13 for adults and $6 for children under 12 years; renting skates is another $4 per person and the smallest size available Toddler 8 (Euro size 24)
  • Current hours: Monday-Thursday, 12pm-12am; Friday, 12pm-1am; Saturday, 9am-1am; Sunday, 9am-12am
  • Lockers are available to help stow your belongings when on the ice, but they’re small and don’t actually lock, so be sure to take any valuables with you.
  • Walk-up skating lessons can be arranged for $25 per person for 30 minutes if instructors are available and the rink isn’t too crowded.
  • The closest subway at is at 14th Street and 8th Avenue, served by the A, C, E, and L lines.

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