The Empire State Plaza ice rink will open at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 1 and the state’s holiday tree lighting ceremony and fireworks will be on Sunday, December 3 to kick off a season of winter events at the plaza.
The rink will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, and skating is always free.
Lockers, skate rentals and a snack bar will all be located in the glass pavilion on the Plaza level adjacent to the rink. Each Friday, including opening day, will feature free skate rentals, courtesy of Hannaford Supermarkets. Also, BlueShield of Northeastern New York will sponsor a series of free learn-to-skate clinics.
Some of this season’s highlights include:
- Friday, December 1, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., ice rink opening day and the first Hannaford free skate rental Friday.
- Saturday, December 2, 9 – 11 a.m., First Learn-To-Skate Clinic presented by BlueShield of Northeastern New York and hosted by the Hudson Mohawk Figure Skating Club. Additional clinics will be offered on January 6, February 3, and March 3. Online pre-registration is required at www.empirestateplaza.org.
- Sunday, December 3, 1 p.m. – 8 p.m., New York State Holiday Tree Lighting presented by SEFCU and featuring both free skate rentals and free parking after 3 p.m. courtesy of Hannaford Supermarkets.
This family-friendly event will feature a full day of indoor and outdoor activities, including a chance to meet Santa, a holiday arts and crafts fair, skating demonstrations by the Hudson Mohawk Figure Skating Club, holiday llamas strolling the plaza, train rides around the Empire State Plaza concourse, as well as horse and carriage rides on the Plaza.
New for this year will be free professionally drawn caricatures by Rich Conley; a free, make-your-own-holiday-centerpiece station presented by the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York; and a display of trees from Abel’s Tree Farm in Dutchess County in the Empire State Plaza concourse.
Starting at 3:45 p.m., there will also be musical performances by Tuba Christmas, the Rusty Pipes, Debuts Theater Company, and the Capital Area Flute Club. Phil’s Kitchen will be open at the glass pavilion, and there will be two food trucks: Mosall’s Cider Doughnuts selling doughnuts and cider, and DC’s, serving hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, soup, and more.
The tree-lighting and fireworks, hosted by the News10 Morning Team and WTRY’s Chris Warren, begins at 5:15 and will be followed by a Rock and Skate that will feature a special performance by local artist Moriah Formica of “The Voice.”
The event also coincides with the free Taste NY Holiday Market at the New York State Museum; the Great Train Extravaganza in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, admission $7, kids under 12 free; and a free concert by The Zucchini Brothers at 3 p.m. in The Egg Center for the Performing Arts.
Thursdays, January 4 – February 22, Winter Fitness at the Plaza. Each Thursday, from 5 to 6 p.m., Fitness at the Plaza presented by BlueShield of Northeastern New York, will offer free HIIT with Catrina K Fitness evening workout classes in The Egg’s Hart Lounge. More information and preregistration will soon be available at www.empirestateplaza.org.
- Sunday, February 4, Big Game Sunday. Wear your team’s jersey and come to the rink to skate before the Super Bowl.
- Saturday, February 10 & 24, 9 – 11 a.m., Try Hockey For Free With USA Hockey and Troy Albany Youth Hockey. Online preregistration is required. More information at www.empirestateplaza.org.
- Tuesday, February 13, Mardi Gras. The spirit of New Orleans comes alive. Free beads with every skate rental while supplies last.
- Wednesday, February 14, Valentine’s Day. Come to the Plaza for a romantic skate with your sweetheart or even to propose marriage.
- Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Hannaford Kidz Expo Featuring the Octonauts. The Hannaford Kidz Expo is a day jam-packed with entertaining, educational, and healthy activities for kids of all ages presented by Hannaford Supermarkets. The Octonauts are a dynamic eight-member crew of quirky and courageous adventure heroes who dive into action whenever there is trouble under the sea.
- Sunday, March 11, last day of skating for the season (weather permitting).
“The events and activities OGS has planned will keep people of all ages entertained and active throughout the winter months, and it’s all made possible by the support we receive from I LOVE NEW YORK, Hannaford Supermarkets, BlueShield of Northeastern New York, SEFCU, and all of our other generous sponsors,” said Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito.
General Rink Information
Hours: Every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., weather dependent. The rink will be closed daily from 3 to 4 p.m. for maintenance.
Cost to Skate: Free
Skate Rental: $3 for children 12 and under and $4 for adults. A photo ID is required to rent skates. Every Friday is free skate rental Friday courtesy of Hannaford Supermarkets.
Amenities: A full-service snack bar open Friday nights and weekends and a skate lounge with lockers for personal items are all located in the glass pavilion on the Plaza level.
Paid visitor parking is available in the V-lot under the Empire State Plaza. Free parking in the East Garage on Philip Street off Madison Avenue is available after 5 p.m.
For updates on any of the above listed events visit the Empire State Plaza Events page on Facebook, follow @plazaevents on Twitter, or call (518) 474-4759. For additional information about Winter at the Plaza events, including directions, parking, and ground rules, visit www.empirestateplaza.org.
Winter at the Plaza sponsors include I LOVE NEW YORK, Hannaford Supermarkets, BlueShield of Northeastern New York, Albany Renaissance Hotel, CDTA, GEICO, SEFCU, Hudson Valley Community College, OrthoNY, Freihofer’s Bakery, New York State of Health, El Mariachi, Albany.com, Alloveralbany.com, Times Union, The Spot, PYX 106, and 99.5 The River.
Sponsors of the tree lighting include SEFCU, Hannaford Supermarkets, National Grid, New York Lottery, Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, Hudson Mohawk Figure Skating Club, 98.3 TRY Holiday Favorites, News10, Times Union, Albany.com, and Alloveralbany.com.