Where can you skate for free in NYC if you bring your own skates? What rink has a holiday market around it? Which rink has several food choices close by? Bryant Park in Manhattan has all of these.
Bryant Park borders 42nd Street and 41st Street behind the main branch of the NYC Public Library. It is about two blocks from Grand Central Station. Between Thanksgiving and the beginning of January the park also hosts a Holiday Market. There are a booths outside carrying a variety of items from clothing to food and gifts.
Yes, if you bring your own skates it is free. They have a changing area. Skating starts early in the morning. There is food available in the lodge, an indoor area near the rink. There is also a Whole Foods across one of the streets it borders and other restaurants and shopping nearby. There are also permanent food kiosks in the park.
It is a rink with some nice views of Midtown Manhattan. It does not get the crowds that the rink at Rockefeller Center gets. I recommend this rink over the others because of that and the close proximity to food and shopping.
Whether you ice skate or not, it is worth visiting Bryant Park in winter. Watch the action or catch a bite to eat and enjoy the scenery of Midtown Manhattan.