New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with plenty of things to do in the winter. The city offers activities that the whole family can enjoy, from indoor markets to snowy walks by a frozen lake in Central Park to winter sports.
Whether you love snow tubing down a snowy hill, a snowball fight, making a snow angel, or other outdoor winter activities, there is something for everyone.
If you prefer to stay indoors, you can play games at a local game night, watch movies, visit art exhibitions, or solve a jigsaw puzzle over mulled wine.
While you will have to go upstate for winter camping, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing, there is no shortage of fun winter activities in New York City. Here are some ideas for your trip to this winter wonderland.
9 Exciting Things To Do in the Winter in NYC
If you enjoy art, culture, sports, and shopping, then you cannot run out of things to do in New York during the winter holidays. Here are a few great winter activities to get you started:
#1: Enjoy Free Activities at Bryant Park
Bryant Park is the go-to place if you are looking for an ice-skating rink with free admission in the heart of Manhattan. In addition to the rink, there are numerous other free activities to enjoy at this local park, including game nights, art workshops, various classes, and chess.
#2: Ice Skate at Rockefeller Center
Skating at the Rockefeller Center ice rink is among the top winter activities in NYC and is another excellent spot for ice skating in addition to Bryant Park. The Rockefeller Center ice rink is open until midnight.
Another great skating spot is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sitting on The William Vale hotel’s 23rd floor, this sky-high rink is ideal for those who love to skate while enjoying the city’s spectacular skyline.
You usually do not need to own ice skates to go skating in New York City. You can find skate rentals at competitive prices.
#3: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Your winter holiday in NYC cannot be complete without seeing the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center. Tourists have been traveling to Midtown Manhattan for decades to see the magnificent Christmas tree.
The lighting ceremony occurs on the Wednesday following Thanksgiving. The ceremony signifies the official start of the Christmas season in New York. The tree remains standing until Jan. 6 of the new year.
This is an incredible outdoor event during the holidays, though you will have to stand cold weather and crowds.
#4: High-end Shopping on Fifth Avenue
Do you love shopping and a walk in the snow and chilly weather? You can leave your cozy blanket and head down to the famed Fifth Avenue stores to window shop as you enjoy the city’s fresh air. Each of the department stores on Fifth Avenue decorates the window displays with attractive holiday decorations.
#5: Sample the City’s Hot Chocolate
Nothing is better during the winter season than a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Dominique Ansel Bakery is a favorite spot for visitors and locals alike. You cannot go wrong with their marshmallow-topped hot cocoa.
While the goal is to defrost from the snow with a warm cup, you can also get a “hot” frozen chocolate at Serendipity 3 on the Upper East Side. This is perhaps New York City’s most well-known hot chocolate, as made famous by the movie “Serendipity.”
#6: Go for a Movie Marathon
A movie marathon is another fun activity in New York in winter. NYC is home to many movie theaters. Whether you want a traditional theater, one with comfy reclining seats, or one that serves full dinner meals during screening, the city has you covered.
You can also see a screening at the IFC Center, an art-house icon in Greenwich Village. The IFC Center has five screening rooms dedicated to foreign, documentary, and independent films. It also offers cult film screenings on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight.
#7: Visit Local Museums in NYC
New York City has a seemingly endless selection of museums that will excite your holiday spirit:
- Jewish Museum
- Frick Collection
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
No matter your interests, New York City likely has a museum you can spend hours exploring.
#8: Rock Climbing and Various Sports at Chelsea Piers
Up for an ice hockey game? Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River has you covered — and it is one of the most popular sports venues in the city. It offers plenty of indoor fun and a wide range of sports to keep you active and warm.
The complex features:
- Figure skating
- Rock climbing
Chelsea Piers has two indoor rock-climbing walls ideal for the winter months — the Field House’s 23-foot wall and the Rock Wall at Pier 60.
#9: Enjoy Holiday Train Show at NYBG
If you want winter activities that every family member will enjoy (even the older kids!), take a visit to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens (NYBG). The Holiday Train Show features model trains that traverse the circuits, taking you on a visual tour of the city.
During the tour, you will see recreations of historic NYC landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. The Botanical Gardens light up with thousands of sparkling, colorful Christmas lights at dusk, referred to as the NYGB Glow.
Get To Know New York City
Are you looking to make a move to New York City and need more information to help you make the right decision? You can find everything you need to know about New York life and leisure on our blog. Whether you need ideas for winter getaways, where to play hockey, or the best ski resort to calm your winter blues, we can help.
Call Lincoln Towers for more exciting things to do in winter in NYC.