Jan 22, 2024

Your 2023 Guide To Roller Skating, Pickleball & More in NYC

One of the best recreational trends these past few years in New York City has been the revival of the outdoor roller skating rink, set in readily accessible locations, with beginner-friendly surfaces, state-of-the-art rental skates, and a crowd-pleasing mix of disco classics coming through the speakers. It's the perfect combo of nostalgic and contemporary fun.

While the skateaissance seemed here to stay, this year some new outdoor offerings have come into the mix, with some replacing the roller skating rinks of last year. That includes a huge expanse of pickleball courts on one of the city's most prominent parkland stages. Here's a quick rundown of all your skating (and otherwise) options, all easy to get via the MTA.

L.A.'s legendary "Roller Boogie Palace" Flipper's took over Rockefeller Center's famous rink last summer, and everyone had so much fun that they're back again with the same retro vibe and party atmosphere. Admission plus rental skates ranges from $32/hr (weekdays early afternoon) to $40/hr (weekends at night) for adults, but the experience is guaranteed to be iconic. And if you haven't dined at Rock Center in awhile, there are a crazy number of excellent options these days for food and drinks, both casual and fancy.

Located between 49th and 50th streets and 5th and 6th Avenues. More details here.

In addition to the below subway lines, the M1, M2, M3, and M4 buses stop right nearby on Fifth Avenue as well.


Multiple subway lines put you within a block or two of the Rock Center complex

The spacious covered rink at Lefrak Center at Lakeside, in the southeast corner of Prospect Park, is given over to skaters all season long and comes with a great hip-hop soundtrack no matter what time you swing by. A 90-minute session, with skate rental will set you back a little more than $20. Note: There are none of those skating trainer things overrunning the rink here. There are, however, bumper cars, in a comically tiny bumper car "arena" off to the side, entrance to which costs $10 for 10 minutes.

Located at 171 East Drive inside Prospect Park. More details here.


The B, Q, and S trains to the Prospect Park station get you close to the rink

Even during prime weekend time, this covered rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park's popular neighborhood sports and recreation complex costs less than $20 for unlimited skate time, skate rentals, and wrist guards, which are required to get out there and boogie. And it stays open until 10:30 on Friday and Saturday nights, when the Lower Manhattan skyline looks extra romantic, all twinkly across the river.

Located at 150 Furman Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park. More details here.


The 2 and 3 trains to Clark Street, or the A and C trains to High Street get you within walking distance

Making its debut this season is this nifty little roller rink at the sceney Standard Hotel in the Chelsea, which, in addition to being surrounded by a cute outdoor cafe with drinks and food (get the Disco Fries, obviously), costs only $10 for admission and skates. Plus you're right under the High Line, two blocks from The Whitney, and a quick walk to Little Island out on the Hudson River. Make a day of it!

Located at 848 Washington Avenue, at the corner of West 13th Street. More details here.


Take the A, C, E, and L trains to the 14th Street-8th Avenue station; or the 1, 2, and 3 trains to 7th Avenue at 14th Street.

Riverbank State Park is true uptown gem, a sprawling sports and recreation complex built in the 1990s featuring an Olympic-sized pool, basketball courts, a 400-meter track, picnic tables, and most relevant to this discussion, a huge roller skating rink complete with rooftop and open sides to let in those cool river breezes. Admission and rental skates only cost $5, and there tends to be plenty of room out there on the skate surface if you want to show off your moves.

The entrance to the park is located at 679 Riverside Drive at 145th Street; just follow the signs once you get in. More details here.


The 1 train to 145th Street lets you off right there, and the A, C, B, D trains to 145th are only a few blocks away

Not a rink, per se, but the DIY Skate Circle between the Bandshell and Sheep Meadow is definitely one of the city's great roller skating venues, carrying on a tradition that began back in 1978 at the now-long-defunct Good Skates. Almost every weekend afternoon between April and October, volunteers from the Central Park Dance Skater Association cordon off an area on the north end of Dead Road, set up the DJ booth and throw a glorious, hours-long dance party. Admission is free, but you have to bring your own skates. This is a blast.

Located on Dead Road near the Bandshell at about 70th Street. More details here.


Take the 4, 5, 6 train to 77th Street or the 6 train to 68th Street

The city's largest rink, in one of the prettiest settings, pivoted to pickleball this summer after last season's glittering DiscOasis roller skating paradise. Which, if you're a fan of "America's fastest growing sport" is awesome news, because they've packed 14 courts into the open expanse set amid trees of Central Park. It'll cost you though: between $80 and $120 an hour, depending on the day and time, but if you're part of a pickleball foursome that little less onerous.

Located at the southeast corner of Central Park, enter at East 59th Street and Fifth or Sixth Avenues and then walk inside the park. More details here.


The N, R, or W trains to 5th Ave-59th or the F to 57th gets you closest