Winter at the Plaza events and activities announced

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The ice rink at Empire State Plaza officially opens to the public on December 1.

Thousands visit the Plaza to skate every year. It’s free to use, and rentals are free every Friday.

The Plaza’s tree lighting ceremony will be held on December 3.

Schedule of Winter at the Plaza free events:

  • 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
  • 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-fun annual event has something for everyone with 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, hot dogs, 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
  • 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
  • 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 11last day of skatingfor the season (weather permitting).


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