Many people would argue that winter is the best time to visit New York. Why? Well, some major events take place in New York in the winter: Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the mother of sporting events, The Super Bowl! That’s not all yet, though!
New York is lucky enough to experience a lot of snow during the winter season which makes our winter activities in New York even more exciting. In this article we’ll share everything you need to know about New York City in winter-time, including our top things to do in the winter in New York!
My tip: check out our complete guide to Winter in New York!
Our 35 Absolute Best Things to Do in New York in Winter
You’ll pretty much find things to do in the different neighborhoods such as Midtown, SoHo or DUMBO. With so many winter events in NYC, we’ve curated this list to the best 35. What is New York City like in the winter? Find out in this article!
Visit the best Holiday Markets in NYCChristmas Market in Midtown ManhattanOur Highlight
The famous Union Square Holiday Market is one of the biggest holiday markets in the city. From November until Christmas the market on Union Square attracts lots of visitors from all over the world. But there are many more winter markets to explore: from Midtown to Lower Manhattan, you have plenty to choose from!
My tip: The Best Christmas Markets in NYC.
Have fun at New York’s ice skating rinksOther Attraction in Midtown Manhattan
New York gets really cold during the holiday season and the famous ice rinks in New York are one of the fun things to do in New York City in the winter. You have multiple ice skating options in New York which are definitely fun especially in the midst of the beautiful skyscrapers. The rinks in New York are also reasonably priced.
If you have little to no experience on the ice, do not worry. Our favorite ice rinks in NYC are the Wollman Rink in Central Park, Rockefeller Ice Rink and the ice rink at Bryant Park.
My tip: These are the best Ice Skating Rinks in NYC.
Visit a world-famous Musical on BroadwayBroadway Show in Theatre District
What better way to be entertained than at a musical while it’s crisp and cold outside? Now, for the first time, the theaters are open again all New York winter, bringing you many world-renowned performances such as Lion King, Wicked and Hamilton.
Experience New York in the winter quite relaxed with a Dinner CruisesCruise in Chelsea
I am quite a big fan of the boat tours with dinner in New York. It’s warm inside, jazzy music plays and there’s delicious food (and drinks). And during the whole cruise you see the wintry New York with its impressive skyline.
What is the Best Cruise in New York for you?
There are over 40 boat and sailing tours in New York and it’s not easy to choose the best one. That’s where our Cruise Finder comes in. It will help you find the best boat tour for you!
Schau dir das winterliche Dyker Heights in Brooklyn an!Bus Tour in Dyker HeightsOur Highlight
If you live in Brooklyn or visit New York during Christmas, one of the most popular attractions to enjoy during the wintertime is the Dyker Heights Christmas lights display. Every year around this time, people flock to catch a glimpse of these beautiful lights. Our ultimate guide will tell you everything you need to know about Dyker Heights and their Christmas Lights Festival so that when December rolls around, you have no problem navigating your way through the crowds and enjoying it as much as possible!
My tip: Our Guide to the Best Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
Celebrate New Year's Eve in New YorkOther Events in Theatre District
People from all over the world fly to NYC in December, especially during New Year’s Eve. They come here to experience the popular ball drop live while standing in the frigid December temperatures in the middle of Times Square. Live performances by famous artists are part of the outstanding program in Times Square every year. It’s pretty much a big party.
In order to get a decent spot a view, we recommend arriving no later than 3 PM. Many roads around the event are closed off and condensed foot traffic on the streets is inevitable. Definitely, plan on walking for a good amount of time. Being part of this tradition will be very special.
Photo: Countdown Entertainment, LLC
Enjoy breath-taking viewsBuilding in Hudson YardsOur Highlight
You know what’s really unique about New York? The view of the (most likely) snow-covered Central Park from one of the observation decks! With the Top of the Rock, The Edge Hudson Yards and the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt you have three to choose from!
And then there’s the One World Observatory and the Empire State Building. You should go to the latter (even if it gets cold) late at night from Thursday to Saturday. Because then a saxophonist plays on the 86th floor!
My tip: if you are cold, you can go inside and enjoy the view from the inside. Because each of the observation decks (except for the Empire State Building) has additional floors with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Go aboard my two favorite winter boat toursCruise in ChelseaOur Highlight
Why not spending time on a Christmas Holiday Cruise during Christmas in New York? Both locals and NYC visitors love the amazing Christmas Cruises New York City has to offer.
My favorite holiday cruise is the New York City Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise. The Jazz Band on board is fun and so talented which makes the New York City Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise even more entertaining. And if the cruise is already sold out or you’re in NYC outside of the Holiday Season, be sure to try the Champagne City Lights Cruise.
Relax in the heated main observation cabin, join in the caroling, and admire the city through the glassed-in observatory on the 1920s style yacht.
Take Photos of the most famous Christmas Tree in New YorkOther Attraction in Midtown Manhattan
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is one of the largest Christmas trees in NYC, placed annually in Rockefeller Center Plaza. In New York, the Tree Lighting Ceremony right after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Holiday season. Over the past years, we weren’t super lucky with the weather but the Tree Lighting Ceremony attracts tons of people every year. Of course, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is the highlight of visitors coming to New York from all over the world during Christmas time. Most visitors only know the tree from movies or pictures, so it’s very impressive looking at it in person. This year, the lighting of the tree ceremony at Rockefeller Center will take place on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021.
Brooklyn Bridge in WinterBuilding in DumboOur Highlight
The Brooklyn Bridge is an official landmark of the city, which you should not miss even in winter. Make sure to walk across the impressive bridge and enjoy the unique view across the East River to Brooklyn in the clear winter air. And while you’re on the bridge, take a stroll to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
GET A WARMING COFFEE AND ENJOY THE SPECTACULAR VIEWS!
Due to the cold wind, it can get really icy on the Brooklyn Bridge in winter. The best time to try your luck on some warming sunshine is around noon on the bridge.
Visit the museums of New York during the winterMuseum in Upper West Side
New York City has the best museums in the world and usually, they are always crowded. Especially when it is cold outside visiting a museum in NYC is a great idea. One of our favorite museums is the American Museum of National History. You can literally spend an entire day here if you wanted to.
My tip: These are the Best Museums in NYC
Enjoy a Drink on a Rooftop in New York in Winter (or in an igloo)Rooftop Bar in Midtown ManhattanOur Highlight
Interested in knowing what the best rooftop in New York in Winter is? We’ve got you covered! Even though summer and fall are over, it doesn’t mean the end of rooftop season! Many of New York’s rooftop bars have either radiant heaters or a lounge areas, so they’re a great option even in winter.
At 230 Fifth near the Flatiron Building, you can even sit in a heated igloo while enjoying breathtaking views of the skyline – how cool is that?
A Walk in Wintry Central ParkPark in Midtown ManhattanOur Highlight
Central Park should not be missing from any Things to Do in New York in winter! The green lung of the city turns into a true winter wonderland during the cold season. It is therefore also a popular destination for New Yorkers. Stroll through the park under snow-covered trees and let yourself be enchanted by the play of lights on the frozen water surfaces in the evening.
Walking through Central Park in the cold is magical! If there’s snow, it’s even more amazing.
If you want to be more adventurous, start in Harlem and walk down Central Park towards Midtown. Too often we catch ourselves starting on Fifth Avenue at the Plaza Hotel in Central Park. There is so much more to explore than just that part of Central Park.
Visit one of New York's Amazing Art Exhibitions at MoMa PS1 during Winter in NYCMuseum in Long Island City
Check out the local art scene in the MoMa Ps1 art exhibit, featuring work from 47 local, contemporary artists. This exhibit explores art-making in New York history, the resilience of artists, and the feelings connected with art. You’ll see a huge emphasis on foreign-born artists, their work full of Egyptian, Iranian, Tunisian, Nigerian, Mexican, Argentinian, and Indian influences. There is also an abundance of Native American artists to enjoy.
My tip: Here you find the Best Art Exhibitions in New York City.
MetLife Stadium (NY Giants)Sport Events in Outside of New York City
The MetLife stadium is the home stadium of the New York Giants, New York’s most popular football team. The atmosphere is just incredible – we’ve been to New York Giants games several times and it’s been really cool every time (but also really cold!).
Compared the other team (New York Jets), the New York Giants enjoy the more dominant fanbase in New York. If you ask us, it’s absolutely worth it to go watch a game of either team just to feel the incredible atmosphere and energy in the stadium.
Here’s everything you need to know before heading to a New York Giants game, including schedule, best seats, and cheap tickets!
Visit the Whiskey Wonderland at Great Jones Distilling Co.Bar in NoHo
I am a huge fan of whiskey. If you feel the same way, I have a tip for you: Great Jones Distilling Co. in NoHo! It’s the first distillery in Manhattan since Prohibition and has won several awards. Designed in the style of a speakeasy bar, you can drink their first-class straight bourbon here, either straight or as a cocktail.
The Great Jones Distilling Co. bar also has a restaurant. At The Grid, they serve American cuisine at a high level. My tip: Try the prime flat iron steak and the tuna!
During winter, they host a Whiskey Wonderland every Thursday, Friday and Saturday with matching cocktails, drinks and winter snacks. Learn more about the Whiskey Wonderland here.
Where to go shopping during Winter in NYCMall in Financial District
Shopping in New York seems to be on everyone’s bucket list. But what if the snow is blocking the sidewalks and the high winds won’t even make you want to leave your hotel to stroll around 5th Avenue?
Luckily there are a bunch of great shopping malls in the NYC area where you can simply move your shopping experience inside. Our favorites are Garden State Plaza Mall and the Outlets at Jersey Gardens. Both malls in New Jersey can be reached via bus from Port Authority in Midtown Manhattan. If you want to stay local make your way to the Oculus in Lower Manhattan which offers a couple of shops as well. Both Woodbury Outlets and Empire Outlets are located outside with no indoor areas except the shops.
Don't miss the New York Restaurant Week (January/February 2023)Other Events in Midtown Manhattan
Attention food enthusiasts: NYC Restaurant Week will be back in the winter, meaning you can look forward to enjoying cheap meals all over the city. Thousands of travelers and locals look forward to this event every year because it’s a great opportunity to try new cuisines or simply enjoy top-notch meals at decent prices.
What is NYC Restaurant Week?
NYC Restaurant Week is a bi-annual event that takes place every summer and winter since 1982. Back then only a few restaurants participated in the promotion, whereas this year’s event counts over 380 participating restaurants. Over time, the length of the promotion has been extended, so that now we can enjoy almost a full month of great, affordable food instead of just one week.
New York Fashion WeekOther Events in East Village
This is probably one of the most interesting Things to Do in February in New York. Whole streets are closed off and intersections become catwalks. It’s one of the biggest fashion events of the year. For a week, twice a year, influencers, celebrities, editors, photographers and fashionistas from all over the world will make their pilgrimage to New York City to see the new collections from their favorite designers and brands.
Take a ride with the Bumper Cars!Activities in Meatpacking District
Every winter, the small plaza of The Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District turns into an ice rink. It’s not big, but it’s really beautiful. It’s right next to the High Line and the Whitney Museum. Afterwards, have a drink at the bar or visit the rooftop bar Le Bain to enjoy the sunset over the Hudson River!
Hop on a cruise during the Winter Season in New York CityCruise in Midtown ManhattanOur Highlight
Exploring the city on a boat is an amazing experience. Even though it can become a little chilly we highly recommend taking the New York City Water Taxi or hop on a Circle Line Cruise. They all have an indoor seating space where you can protect yourself from the cold in case you need to.
My tip: these are the 12 best cruises that you should do right now!
Time Out MarketFood Market in Dumbo
I love the food markets in New York: the choices are huge, the value for money is great AND you can warm up after your winter strolls through New York.
There are really many good food markets in NYC, the Time Out Food Market in DUMBO is my personal favorite. Why? You can enjoy a free panoramic view of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Lower Manhattan skyline!
My tip: these are the best food markets in NYC
The NutcrackerOther Events in Upper East Side
The Nutcracker is one of the world’s most famous ballets and enjoys great popularity among visitors and locals. A true holiday tradition!
Enjoy good drinks in one of the best Bars in New YorkBar in Financial DistrictOur Highlight
Have you ever thought about how to take the Irish Pub into the 21st century? Go check out the Dead Rabbit bar and find out. This modern Irish pub and restaurant, which opened in 2013, is one of our favorite bars of all times. As soon as you enter the bar, you are transported into another world. There is nothing ultra-modern here, but everything is stylishly trimmed to old. From the original cash register, old punch glasses for the drinks to the wooden floors covered with sawdust.
My tip: 50 Best Bars in Manhattan
Radio City Christmas SpectacularBroadway Show in Midtown Manhattan
Radio City Music Hall is a distinguished concert and event hall located on Sixth Avenue and can be recognized from a distance by its striking exterior lighting. Throughout the year, concerts and events take place here such as the popular Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes. It is the most famous Christmas Show you can watch in New York!
It's Super Bowl time!Sport Events in Midtown Manhattan
The Super Bowl is usually held in February and NYC, just like the rest of America, goes crazy during the days leading up to it. In the US, this event is the sporting highlight of the year. The halftime show is of the very best and every year, big names like Bruno Mars or Beyonce perform during the halftime show. If you’re looking for a nice bar on this night check out Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant at Times Square and other sports bars in the area.
Visits Governors Island (for the first time possible during Winter in New York)Other Attraction in Outside of New York City
Though Governors Island is no longer a secret spot, it hasn’t lost its charm and remains one of our favorite places in New York. Throughout the summer, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Manhattan from the island, ride bicycles, and participate in a large variety of events hosted here.
Usually Governors Island closes at the end of October, from 2021 on you check it out even during winter and spring! A ferry ride to the island typically costs $3 but if you decide to come on a Saturday or Sunday before noon, it’ll be free!
Visit the NYC Winter JazzfestOther Events in Midtown Manhattan
What started as a one-day event in 2005 started to become popular in the Big Apple. Now, it evolved into a one-week festival. The Winter Jazz Fest is one of January’s prominent events, and those who are jazz fans will definitely be happy about this. Over 700 artists perform in different venues scattered across NYC. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in New York in January!
Black History MonthOther Events in Harlem & Washington Heights
Don’t miss out on some of the best cultural events of the year during Black History Month in February in NYC. There are many ways to show your appreciation for African-American culture. Head Uptown and explore Harlem and its one of kind soul food restaurants. Harlem will be filled with music events, movie screenings, spoken word performances, and fun parties during Black History Month in New York City.
Enjoy the NBA in New York in WinterSports Tickets in Midtown ManhattanOur Highlight
The New York Knicks are one of the most famous basketball teams in the NBA. Among New Yorkers, the Brooklyn Nets are even more popular. Basketball is one of the four major and important sports in the USA. You will find many enthusiastic Knicks and Brooklyn Nets supporters and at the latest after the game you will understand why basketball has such an attraction.
High Line Winter Tour (free)Walking Tour in West Village
The High Line Park takes you along the old tracks of the elevated railway to the Meatpacking District. Thanks to the initiative “Friends of the High Line” the park exists at all, because originally the construction was supposed to be torn down. And the best thing? They offer free tours!
- When? Saturdays at 12pm
- Where? At the Gansevoort Street entrance
Spend Valentine's Day in NYCOther Events in Midtown Manhattan
Valentine’s Day is one of the most celebrated days in New York in Winter (more precisely on February 14th). Our list below includes romantic events, restaurants, photo spots, and fun activities for couples. So, what are the best things to in February in New York during Valentine’s Day? The Valentine’s Day Dinner Cruise in New York City is a great idea and a perfect surprise for your loved one. Each couple receives a rose as a welcome gift before the yacht leaves for New York Harbor.
My tip: This is our complete guide to Valentine’s Day in NYC
Chinese New Year ParadeOther Events in Chinatown
Usually, locals and tourists alike will (obviously) flock to New York City’s Chinatown to celebrate the Lunar New Year. A huge Chinese New Year Parade takes place there every year. The official name of the event is called the Lunar New Year and Festival.
The parade will down Mott and Canal Street. It will then make its way down East Broadway and head towards Manhattan Bridge, and it will ultimately end at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. During the parade, there will also be smaller activities going on in Chinatown NYC. It will have all sorts of street vendors and festivities.
St. Patrick’s Day ParadeOther Events in Midtown Manhattan
The famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is one of the oldest, attracts around 700,000 people annually who want to be part of the spectacle. The parade takes place either directly on March 17th or – if it is a weekday – on the following weekend. Destination of the parade is the St. Patrick Cathedral. At 11 a.m. on the dot, the parade starts moving north at 44th Street/corner of 5th Avenue.
Visiting the Statue of Liberty in the WinterCruise in The BatteryOur Highlight
Are you planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty in the winter? Be prepared! The winds oftentimes are pretty gusty and the overall temperature feels much colder than anywhere else in the city. Wear a sweater, gloves, a hat, a scarf and of course a warm winter jacket. Here you can see exactly how to plan your visit to Miss Liberty.
Since Spring 2019 the new Statue of Liberty Museum has opened. Use this great location to warm up for a few minutes, when you’re getting too cold.
🥇 Look no further: That‘s the only New York Travel Guide you need 2021/22 (300+ pages and 600+ reviews on Amazon)
This is our COMPLETE GUIDE that includes 25+ neighborhood guides for every part of the city with New York’s newest attractions like SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, Edge Hudson Yards & Little Island, our best-of lists, budget tips and the best things to do and see!
If you want to visit several observations deck, attraction and tours in New York, check out the New York sightseeing passes. You can save up to 60% on the ticket price!
To find out which New York Pass is the best for you, check out my New York Pass Comparison.