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Ah, the holidays in New York. They're not only an excuse to shop, eat, and drink in excess, but also an excuse to fall on your ass—while ice skating, that is. Though not all of us can skate like Olympic gold medalists (or even stand without holding onto the wall), that's no reason to skip out on nighttime twirls and, more importantly, the promise of hot cocoa afterwards.
Here, we've picked the city's nine best rinks for newbies, based on super-scientific data like each one's snack bar game and where to shop once your toes are sufficiently frozen.
↑ Trump Rink (formerly Wollman Rink)
Location: Central Park (enter at Sixth Avenue and Central Park South).
Cost: $11.25 on weekdays and $18 on weekends, and rental skates are $8.
Snack bar game: Average. Expect rink-side staples like hot cocoa, coffee, and cookies.
Nearby shopping:Tourist-friendly haunts like the Apple flagship, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the Shops at Columbus Circle—plus Bergdorf Goodman if you're fancy.
Best for: Feeling like you're skating in an enchanted forest while also being surrounded by enormous skyscrapers.
↑ Bank of America Winter Village
Location: Bryant Park (enter at Sixth Avenue and 40th Street).
Cost: Free to enter! But the skate rental price is high at $15.
Snack bar game: On point—nay, on fleek. Not only is there a two-story restaurant in the Winter Village, there's also Ice Bites, a traditional snack bar, and the Bryant Park Grill—plus bites the holiday market like delicious crepes, soups, and Christmas-y treats.
Nearby shopping: Aside from the festive, trinket-heavy holiday market, you've got Times Square box stores a mere avenue away, as well as Alice + Olivia across the street.
Best for: Skating for free, duh. Arrive during off-peak hours (late nights and early mornings), and you could have the rink mostly to yourself.
↑ The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Location: Fifth Avenue at 48th Street.
Cost: High—$27, plus $12 skate rentals.
Snack bar game: Pricey. The Rock Center Café is less snack bar and more bonafide tourist-trap restaurant—but great if you're looking for that $15 bowl of lobster bisque.
Nearby shopping: Let the Fifth Avenue stretch be your oyster—you've got Saks Fifth Avenue, tons of mega-designer flagships, plus the brand new Topshop.
Best for: When your parents are in town (and footing the bill).
Photo: McCarren Rink/Facebook
↑ McCarren Rink
Location: McCarren Park (enter at Union Avenue and North 12th Street)
Cost: $11, plus $6 for skate rentals.
Snack bar game: Medium. There's a concession stand with necessities, but that's about it.
Nearby shopping: Happily, North Williamsburg contains a hefty portion of our favorite indie boutiques in the city, including In God We Trust, Catbird, and Pilgrim Surf + Supply.
Best for: Late-night skating on the (25% bigger!) rink, once you've already thrown back a few beers at Berry Park.
↑ LeFrak Center at Lakeside
Location: Prospect Park (enter at Ocean Avenue or Parkside Avenue).
Cost: $6 on weekdays and $8 on weekends, plus another $6 for skate rentals.
Snack bar game: Strong. The snack bar has quick cold-weather fixes like hot cocoa, candy, and soft pretzels, while the Bluestone Café has larger fare like smoothies, burgers, beer, wine, and even kale.
Nearby shopping: Not much. To get to a solid shopping corridor, you'll have to traverse the entire park to reach Park Slope's vintage stores and indie boutiques.
Best for: Indecisive minds. Not only can skaters go freely between the covered rink and the uncovered one, but the LeFrak Center even has a curling league for once you get your
sea ice legs.
Photo: Brookfield Place/Facebook
↑ Brookfield Place
Location: Brookfield Place, Financial District.
Cost: $15, plus another $15 for skate rentals.
Snack bar game: Strong. Take your pick of NYC fast-food faves like Little Muenster, Dos Toros, Mighty Quinn's, and Black Seed Bagels, all available at Hudson Eats.
Nearby shopping: If we were to fast-forward to next year, your shopping options would be plentiful—however, until the mall's many, many tenants officially open, there's not much to shop around here.
Best for: Burning off the calories from that massive Dos Toros burrito you just scarfed down.
↑ The Standard
Location: The Standard Hotel, Meatpacking District.
Cost: $12, and skate rentals are just $3.
Snack bar game: Very, very strong—alcohol-wise. Expect hot toddies and other boozy winter warmers, plus beer and warm pretzels at the Biergarten.
Nearby shopping: You've got tons of designer stores, plus indie boutiques like In Support Of.
Best for: People who don't actually want to go skating. The rink is so teensy-tiny that you could just skip it altogether and warm up at Le Bain.
Photo: South Street Seaport/Facebook
↑ South Street Seaport
Location: Fulton Street at Front Street, Financial District.
Cost: $10; skate rentals are $6.
Snack bar game: Strong, but cold: Food truck offerings include the Milk Truck, Gorilla Cheese, and Carl's Steaks.
Nearby shopping: Skip the nearby Abercrombie & Fitch and check out the new, revamped Fulton Stall Markets (if only for those "cheesy pouf" doughnuts).
Best for: The events! On Sundays in December at 5pm, attend a Silent Disco skate, while on Saturdays in December from 5pm to 8pm, there'll be a vintage skating party, complete with a 1930's throwback band.
Photo: Chelsea Piers/Facebook
↑ The Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers
Location: 61 Chelsea Piers.
Cost: $10, plus $5 for skate rentals.
Snack bar game: Average. Your best bet is to head downstairs to Chelsea Piers' own 'wichcraft for soup and sandwiches.
Nearby shopping: Stop by newcomer Anthom before heading to Chelsea Market for holiday pop-up shops galore.
Best for: People who kind of know how to skate. Of course, public skating is open to all skill levels, but you wouldn't want to disgrace the home of Olympians like Johnny Weir, would you?
· Holiday 2014 [Racked NY]