Probably we all know that New York City is the capital city of the world, therefore visiting NYC is mandatory. So, are you planning to go to the big apple during the winter? It can be a good call because, among other seasons, winter definitely offers a different nuance to New York City. There are plenty of winter activities in New York for you to enjoy. The busy streets will be filled up with tourists and locals dressed in their best winter attire, and you can spend some time at nearby coffee shops having a cup of hot beverages of your choice and immerse yourself in warm conversations.
NYC winter offers many different attractions and activities you can get into with your family and friends. To make sure you are well prepared for the excitements, don’t forget your winter boots and coats. Also, make sure you are ready to enjoy the best ways you can enjoy winter activities in New York during the snow season.
Table of Contents
- Best Winter Activities in New York
- 1. Travel Back in Time
- 2. Extreme Winter Sport
- 3. Go Shopping at Chelsea Market
- 4. Catch the Epic Holiday Lights
- 5. Fancy Coffee Time
- 6. Watch World Class Artistic Performances
- 7. Visit the Largest Cathedral
- 8. Ice Skating at Wollman Rink
- 9. Holiday Train Show
- 10. Explore the Snowy Central Park
- 11. NYC Secret Food Tour
- 12. Beat the Bomb
- 13. Get Holiday Treats at the Historic Food Hall
- 14. Futuristic Interactive Art
- 15. NYE Drop Ball Live at Time Square
- 16. Grab a Seat at a Broadway Show
- 17. Winter Carriage Ride
- 18. Have Fun Bargain at the Flea Market
- 19. Visit the Winter Village
- 20. NYC Restaurant Week
- Final Thoughts
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is NYC Worth Visiting in the Winter?
Yes, NYC is worth visiting in the winter. It is arguably even better to visit NYC during the winter if you want to experience the ambience like in a movie first hand. From city landmarks, business districts, the coffee shops, to people walking down the street in their best winter attire, you will get a memorable experience you can’t get in other seasons.
What are the Worst Winter Months in New York?
It can be different from year to year, especially nowadays since climate change emerges and we never know how the weather might turn that day. However, in general January and February are the worst winter months in New York where the temperature can drop below zero with a maximum of 35.6°F (2°C). Make sure to check the weather forecast and choose your timing wisely before visiting New York in the winter.
Best Winter Activities in New York
1. Travel Back in Time
For a short period of time during NYC winter, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) works hand in hand with New York Transit Museums to run a vintage 1930s subway train. It is a rare opportunity you can get only during certain weekends.
The experience is known as Holiday Nostalgia Ride, and we believe that you certainly don’t want to miss it. Moreover, to make things even more fun, citizens usually dress accordingly to highlight the vintage era. So, if you like to dress up and are interested in vintage style, this is your time to shine.
2. Extreme Winter Sport
Aside from the big city spirit, New York also offers a lot of winter outdoor activities. If you are a fan of outdoor sports, we recommend you to go skiing at Whiteface Mountain, snowshoeing along the Old Erie Canal, or snowmobiling at Tug Hill.
When you need some time to just rest and have a heartwarming conversation with your family, you can also stay at a resort in Hunter Mountain. Moreover, this place also offers different winter activities, such as snow lifts and tubing.
3. Go Shopping at Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is the home of the most unique shops, restaurants, and coffee shops that come alive during the New York winter months. Here you can warm yourself during the freezing weather while shopping for spices, souvenirs, and tasty treats.
During winter, the market is fully decorated in warm lights and holiday decorations, creating a comfy and welcoming vibe. It is located in the heart of New York City’s Meatpacking District and is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm.
4. Catch the Epic Holiday Lights
A fun NYC activity during the winter can be as simple as enjoying the city lights. You’ll witness the fantastic arrangement of festive decorations and extravagant light shows during the holiday season. From the lit-up Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to the stunning Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show, we can assure you that it will give you a magical experience worth remembering.
5. Fancy Coffee Time
When the whole city is filled with snow, there is no better way to enjoy it than by getting warm by sipping a cup of coffee. But not just any other coffee. You need to get a fancier experience by having coffee in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, which is in the Upper East Side.
Personally, we think Ralph’s coffee is where you want to go. It is decorated in a sophisticated way that complements the New York winter. Yes, it is from the Ralph Lauren brand, so you know what you’re getting. We also suggest that you bring home some of their best blends and souvenirs as well.
6. Watch World Class Artistic Performances
Looking for a classy winter activity in NYC? You can always go to the Lincoln Center, a place that is also considered the cultural capital of NYC. From philharmonic opera to ballet, we can assure you that there is always something to watch on this site.
It is home to many respectable institutions, including the Juilliard School of Music, so you can expect a performance that will not disappoint you. Located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, we believe without a doubt this place will guarantee the most impressive and unforgettable performances.
7. Visit the Largest Cathedral
Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most iconic churches in New York City. It is decorated in neo-gothic Roman style. Therefore, we recommend you to visit the place because we’re pretty sure that it can be a great New York City winter activity.
You can book a tour for only $25 for a self-guided audio tour and $99 for a VIP one. Located at 5th Ave between 50th/51st Streets, New York, they also have a gift shop that is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.
8. Ice Skating at Wollman Rink
Skating in New York is a winter activity everyone should add to their bucket list. But, where to skate? Well, we have to say that there is no better place than the Wollman Rink, which is one of the most iconic skating sites you should visit.
It is located in the southern part of Central Park and is open from October to April. Enjoy the crisp air as you glide through the ice while enjoying the Manhattan skyline view. They are available from 10 am to 9 pm, and you can get tickets for only $35 for adults and $20 for kids and seniors.
9. Holiday Train Show
If you are looking for a winter activity for NYC kids, we believe the Holiday Train Show is something you want to take advantage of. The New York Botanical Garden has been holding the show for more than 30 years.
If you are wondering what the holiday train show is about, it is a model train zip through New York’sYork’s notable landmarks. The show is usually held from November to January yearly from 10 am to 6 pm. You can get tickets for $35 for adults and $20 for kids.
10. Explore the Snowy Central Park
Central Park is just as enjoyable during winter months in New York. As seen in the movies, we can assure you that it will offer you a dreamy and magical yet peaceful experience as you wander through its various paths.
Moreover, if you are lucky enough to walk the park with your lover, then this free winter activity in New York will be one of the most romantic dates to make you feel like you’re in a romantic Hollywood movie.
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11. NYC Secret Food Tour
Get a more unique and intimate experience by taking a secret food tour. You can walk the iconic and charming villages and enjoy food like the locals. By joining this secret food tour, you will discover hidden gems along the historic neighborhood offering tasty food and the story behind it.
This activity allows you to learn the origins of New York’s delicious indulgences and how they evolved into the yummy treats we know today. A 3-hour tour starts from $80 for a maximum of 12 people. Therefore, if you are visiting the big apple with a large group, this is one activity to enjoy together.
12. Beat the Bomb
You need to play this game if you prefer a non-skiing activity that still offers loads of thrill. Beat The Bomb is a group entertainment where you can complete a mission with your friends armed with dodge lasers and hazmat suits.
It combines video game amusement and real-life escape room adventure. However, if you want to avoid getting involved in the mission game, you can also play the game bay at the arcade lounge or get some drinks at the Bom Bar. Tickets start from $59,9 for a group mission, including 1 regular drink.
13. Get Holiday Treats at the Historic Food Hall
We can all agree that one of the most fun winter activities is enjoying tasty treats. The chilly season also invites us to indulge in more comfort food to keep our bodies and hearts warm. Essex Market, located in the Lower East Side, has been around since the 1880s, making it the most historic food hall in NYC. In our opinion, you need to make sure the Essex Market is on your list.
It is a three-story building with various tenants with unique stories and flavors you can enjoy. After you get your tummy filled up with good food, you can as well visit an art gallery and a gingerbread village. Personally, we think it is such a fun way to support local businesses, too!
14. Futuristic Interactive Art
Aside from snow activities in New York, you can also opt for an indoor cultural activity such as visiting a museum or art gallery. For that purpose, we think Inter is one of the coolest art spaces in New York City worth visiting. It offers a blend of futurism, the advance of technology, surreal lighting, and the beauty of art.
It is a perfect place to go during winter if you are looking for an extraterrestrial and psychedelic artsy activity. Located at 415 Broadway, they are open on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets for the beta launch started from $33,15 for adults and $20 for kids.
15. NYE Drop Ball Live at Time Square
While you are in New York, you certainly don’t want to miss Time Square’s annual ball drop. It is a prominent New Year celebration held in Time Square, where thousands of people gather to celebrate the New year.
The celebration usually starts in the evening with an opening ceremony and involves guest stars from notable artists performing. Having been held since 1907, it became a historical event as a part of New York culture.
16. Grab a Seat at a Broadway Show
Talking about the New York cultural scene, it means that you also need to watch a Broadway show. At Broadway, you can watch numerous shows every night, from the classics such as Phantom of the Opera to more contemporary musical performances. Tickets price varies for each show. However, we have to remind you that it can be a little pricey, but at least you must experience it once in your lifetime.
Actually, you can always watch the shows at Broadway anytime of the year. But since winter is more special in New York, we believe without a doubt that doing it in winter is more memorable. In short, it would be one of the best winter activities in New York.
17. Winter Carriage Ride
Make the most of the winter weather and enjoy a Central Park tour in one of the iconic horse-drawn winter carriages. While you can enjoy the carriage tour with an experienced driver and guide, you will be provided warm blankets to beat the chilly winter weather.
The carriage is suitable for all ages and even accessible for wheelchairs. You don’t have to share the carriage with strangers and enjoy the tour exclusively with your group. The meeting point is at 200 Central Park S, and you can book tickets in advance starting from $39.99 per group.
18. Have Fun Bargain at the Flea Market
Brooklyn Flea Market is one of New York’sYork’s top attractions, making it a mandatory destination you need to visit. It features various vendors, from vintage clothing, antique furniture, and jewelry and arts, which you can collect as your NYC souvenir.
In our opinion, it is a great place to visit if you are visiting New York on a budget. Brooklyn Flea is open from April through December each year and is located at 80 Pearl St, Brooklyn, NY.
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19. Visit the Winter Village
Visiting the winter village at Bryant Park is highly recommended, especially if you want to have an immersive winter experience. You can do different activities, from ice skating and fine dining to style shopping.
Moreover, you can also cozy up with a festive cocktail and enjoy delicious food at The Lodge Bar. And when the winter weather gets overwhelming, you can warm up at the heated dome in Curling Cafe & Bar. We can assure you that your and your family will have a great time at this place, because it offers an all-in-one experience you will always remember.
20. NYC Restaurant Week
NYC Restaurant Week is held in summer and winter each year. Been held since 1982, we believe this is your opportunity to enjoy tasty meals at affordable prices. Over 600 restaurants are participating in the event, offering different flavors, making it one of the best winter activities in New York to enjoy with everyone in the family. The winter season usually takes place from January to February, so make sure you get it.
New York is one of the most popular cities, not only in the US, but also in the world. It has countless excitements that everyone can enjoy all year long. However, visiting the big apple in winter would be a memorable experience. From outdoor winter activities to visits to famous restaurants and markets, New York has it all. So, make sure your visit is truly memorable by checking out our list of the best winter activities in New York.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What to do in NYC when it’s snowing?
You can do several winter sports if you like adventures. However, ice skating is probably the most popular and friendly activity to do. Not to mention that it is also very accessible since there are several ice skating rinks around the city. If you prefer to stay indoors, you can also hop to a coffee shop or bar nearby and warm yourself with your favorite beverages while watching the snow falling outside.
What activities can kids do in New York in the winter?
Kids have so many options when it comes to winter activities in New York. For example, they can watch the train show. The well built landmark miniatures will keep them entertained. They can also get their first winter sports experience such as snow tubing which is very beginner friendly, and having fun ice skating. or admire the beauty of winter light shows.
Where do rich New Yorkers go in winter?
It really depends on their preferences. Some people may love to visit a more sunny area such as Florida or even go on a vacation to a tropical country. Some people may prefer to stay in a winter resort, and some others may prefer to just stay in the city. However, beachy areas such as Miami are still a popular destination for rich New Yorkers in the winter.