Christmas in New York City is truly a magical time of year, from the beautifully decorated holiday windows along Fifth Avenue to the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Having grown up in NYC, I loved seeing all of the Christmas decorations and watching the special shows, like “The Nutcracker” by the NYC Ballet or the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” with the Rockettes, but one of my favorite treats was ice skating at Rockefeller Center under the gigantic Christmas tree. I now love sharing these Christmas traditions with my little ones, as the Rockefeller Center ice skating becomes even more magical when Santa joins in the fun!
While Santa doesn’t ice skate all the time during the holiday season, you can usually find him on the rink during the 10:30am-12pm and 12:30pm-2pm sessions after the “Breakfast with Santa” events at Rockefeller Center in New York City. These breakfasts began over Thanksgiving weekend and run on weekends in December and during the week leading up to Christmas. There are several ways you can enjoy skating with Santa:
- Book a “Breakfast with Santa” package at either the Rock Center Café or the Sea Grill. We usually choose the Rock Center Café for the 9:15 a.m. breakfast, as it’s less expensive than the Sea Grill and breakfast ends just in time to ice skate with Santa. If you end up at one of the earlier breakfasts, you can still come back to ice skate with Santa and avoid the lines, as long as you retain your “Breakfast with Santa” ticket stubs.
- If you’d rather not get up that early for breakfast, you can purchase a VIP Igloo skating package in advance from Rockefeller Center which lets you both avoid the lines and gives you a warm place to take a break during your skating session.
- You can also reserve a 30 minute skating lesson during the 10:30 a.m.-noon timeslot by phoning Rockefeller Center in advance (212-332-7654) which will allow you to bypass the lines and still give you plenty of time for photo opportunities with Santa.
- If you want to save money, you can take your chances and arrive at least two hours in advance for the 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. sessions on one of the “Breakfast with Santa” days. If you don’t bring your own ice skates, rentals are available. Assuming you are successful, once you get on the ice, you’ll be able to ice skate and take pictures with Santa, without having paid extra for the privilege.
However you choose to celebrate the Christmas season – enjoy!!