The winter season in the city that never sleeps is a great time to explore NYC and its neighborhoods. While New York is one of the best places to visit all year round, it’s particularly special during winter, when the city is adorned with a layer of snow and ice.
During the colder months, you can expect to find New Yorkers out and about more than you would during the summer. The following are amongst the finest winter activities in New York.
No matter what month it is, New York City knows how to keep the noisiest of towns entertained. From sipping winter cocktails at pop-up bars abroad to staying warm by fireplaces in tiny tea shops, this town knows how to keep things interesting. During the coldest season, there are still plenty of ways to keep warm. Some of the top recommendations for winter pursuits in New York City are here:
City Winery near Rockefeller Center Rents out Private igloos
City Winery is serving up some of its signature wines and locally sourced food at the iconic Rockefeller Center Plaza. For those looking for a unique night out, the first-ever “Open Air Wine Garden” will be open to the public during summer on Thursdays.
The new pop-up experience will offer a view of the iconic Christmas Tree as well as tables made from reclaimed wood from New York wineries. Guests can reserve one of City Winery’s iconic, private igloos for a special event, 3 hours in either the morning or afternoon. Reservations are recommended, however, walk-in customers may be accommodated with a first, first-served approach across both pop-up spaces.
NYC Winter Markets
Escape the cold this winter with some holiday cheer. Join us at one of the city’s largest holiday markets on the Upper East Side, featuring over 200 of the city’s top merchants. Stroll through five boroughs of handmade goods, enjoy live entertainment, sip hot cocoa, and ice skate on the main floor.
Get ready to shop for gifts made by local artisans on sale for up to 70% off. Candy cane lane is a holiday market for all ages. Boasting some of the best artisans and craftsmen in the city, visitors can expect to find unique treats and gifts for everyone on their list — from soaps and candles to jewelry and more.
Forget about the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. From December to January, you can enjoy communal experiences at Bryant Park, Union Square, Columbus Circle, Madison Square Park, and more.
The Rockaway Hotel
The recently launched specialty store Rockaway Hotel is only a one-minute stroll from the beach. The 84,000 rectangular shape hotel features 53 luxuriously appointed and seven long-stay homes, all with views of all that some Atlantic Ocean and perhaps the beauty of Jamaica Bay.
The Winter Pool House of the Rockaway Hotel offers year-round protection from the elements. This covered, air-conditioned space boasts a retractable roof that can be opened to enjoy warm winter nights without the need for an outside wall. The Winter Pool House will draw many tourists into its ventilated dining area filled with ambiance and inspired by the ideals of tropical paradise.
Their address: Rockaway Beach Drive, Rockaway, Queens (108-10 Rockaway Beach Drive)
Winter pricing starts at $200 per night at this peaceful beachfront hotel.
At JFK, Relax In This Gigantic Rooftop Jacuzzi
TWA Hotel has a whole new way to embrace winter: bring your swimsuit and head to the rooftop infinity pool. To fight the cold, the hotel has turned up the water temperature — and we’re not talking a little bit. It’s now a toasty 95 -degrees -of-Fahrenheit.
TWA Hotel is a great option for those who would rather explore the city’s seasonal attractions instead of going further afield. The hotel’s heated rooftop swimming pool will be open until April 30, and it comes with a spectacular view of the Empire State Building.
The lounge area has been designed to replicate a tropical paradise, with palm trees and a sandy beach-like layout. TWA Hotel has given city-dwellers what they’ve always wanted: a way to achieve an outdoor tropical vacation right in their backyard. You can also order fondue to round off your experience. The warmed infinity-edged pool and terrace are worth a look even from 7 are until p.m. (irrespective of the climate).
Bryant Park Is Indeed an Excellent Skiing Location
Bryant Park isn’t like the rest of Manhattan. It’s a sanctuary of green in the middle of a concrete jungle, and in winter, when its trees are fully adorned with twinkling lights and its grass is blanketed in snow, it’s also a winter wonderland.
This oasis is known for its iconic fountain, which was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould (the work of sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder sits on top), and for providing free public Wi-Fi to visitors. The pop-up park invites everyone from families to hipster millennials to come together for a day of winter activities — from ice skating to shopping.
This 17,000-square-foot skateboarding rink is located in the center of the Winter Village and is open to the public for free. This same rink is accessible from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
The Skating Pavilion in Bryant Park offers both ice skate rentals and private lessons for beginners through advanced skaters. The Skating Pavilion in Bryant Park also offers an observation deck on the second floor – perfect for those who’d rather stay warm with a good book or board game.
New York, 42nd Street along 6th Avenue
Fifth Avenue’s Storefront Shopping
If you enjoy the rush and craziness of the winter holidays, then get a kick out of New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Every year, around Thanksgiving to Christmas, more than 7 million twinkling lights are used on the avenue to light up more than 300 blocks. To date, more than 400 window displays are created each year, drawing the attention of tourists and New Yorkers alike.
When the weather gets cold and the Christmas spirit flows, New Yorkers don’t sit at home — they head out to Fifth Avenue to celebrate the holidays. Holiday decorations adorn the city’s biggest attraction — Madison Square Garden — and visitors can be seen at all times of day strolling down Fifth Avenue and looking into the windows of numerous designer stores.
In 2019, Saks Fifth Avenue joined forces with the animators behind Frozen to create an ice-studded window display. Louis Vuitton’s 2019 windows, on the other hand, took over the entire corner of Fifth Avenue, showcasing a collection of colored sculptures and life-size images of the brand’s iconic bags.
With the Super Bowl in town, there’s no better time to watch a game in a bar. How can you make a good decision? Start with a wide range of viewing options, from intimate lounges to large-screen sports bars.
There are plenty of restaurants that will take you into the stadium with flatscreen TVs and gaming consoles, while others boast live commentary from special guests and ticket giveaways. You can make sure that enjoy your winter season during match dates and events.
Experience the Beauty of the Dyker Heights
The Dyker Heights area of Brooklyn is best known for offering incredible views of the winter season. However, while the rest of NYC twinkles with festive lights, Dyker Heights takes it to another level by lighting up trees, rooftops, fences, utility poles, and even mailboxes with synchronized lights. It’s an awesome sight to behold!
The streets of Dyker Heights are the place to be during the Christmas season. With its annual Christmas tradition, adorned with more than 5 million lights, the neighborhood is amped up with excitement. References to Santas, candy canes, and snowmen are everywhere, making it an extremely festive—and popular—a destination for city-dwellers.
The lights along 6th Avenue in New York City will go up just after Thanksgiving Day. If you’re planning a drive-by visit, the lights can be seen near the corner of East 83rd and East 86th Streets.
Enjoy the Chinese New Year
Lunar New Year — also known as the Spring Festival — is always an occasion for celebration in New York City, when the city’s Chinese community gathers across neighborhoods to pay tribute to their heritage. From the traditional lion dance in Chinatown to vibrant parades in Flushing, dance performances in Brooklyn, and fireworks over the Hudson River, there are many ways to get into the spirit of this meaningful winter holiday.
Nonetheless, Chinatown is one of the most iconic and colorful neighborhoods in Manhattan — and that’s saying something. Filled with iconic sites like the Lion’s Gate Bridge and historic landmarks like the Museum of Chinese in America, it’s a place you won’t want to miss out on. The abundance of restaurants — from hole-in-the-wall joints to internationally acclaimed fine dining experiences — make the neighborhood an absolute paradise for winter foodies.
Take Pleasure in the Winter Jazzfest
Winter Jazzfest is New York’s premiere jazz music festival, which has occurred annually since 2005. This winter, Winter Jazzfest will run from the 15th to the 22nd of January, and will once again occupy The City’s most notable performance venues. And with 7 stages and more than 700 artists, this event is big — but the people at the helm of it are even bigger, bringing a welcoming and warm atmosphere that makes everyone feel like part of a giant party.
Midori has been lighting up NYC with some of the hottest names and rising stars in the music industry since 2005. Though the number of performances has swelled over the years, Winter Jazzfest refuses to compromise on quality — ensuring that audiences enjoy a week of world-class jazz performances from some of the best artists in the industry.
Take a Sip of the Outstanding Hot Chocolate
The perfect cup of hot chocolate is just one ingredient in the recipe for a fantastic winter trip to New York City. In addition to cozy digs complete with a fireplace and a down comforter, New Yorkers use their expert culinary prowess to make the city’s hot chocolate rival any from around the world.
The best NYC hot chocolate can be found in restaurants and bakeries across the city: Little Collins and Milk Bar, for example, serve up some delicious hot chocolate year-round. Within NYC’s five boroughs, you can get hot chocolate with all sorts of toppings, from whipped cream to cinnamon. Be sure to order some fried dough while you’re at it!
Get Ready for Fashion Week
Prepare for Fashion Week by dressing appropriately. With major brands seeking collaborations, Fashion Week is the best time to be a designer. PR firms are begging for an invite to your show, and press agents are falling over themselves trying to get the latest scoop on your new designs. When you’re working on something special, you need to know that your customers will be there with you every step of the way.
New York’s Fashion Week is a spectacle that attracts the industry elite from all over the world. When you have icons like Anna Wintour in your front row, it’s clear why so many people clamor for a spot in the city’s most fashionable week. Be a part of this history!
Every year in the city where fashion started, it honors the future generation by collaborating with the newest designers and technology. The people involved in this event are always pushing the boundaries, focusing on how we can be more creative and ingenious.
There are numerous ways to participate throughout the week. There are events, such as parties and fundraisers, but also panels hosted by big names in the industry and attended by them to discuss current trends and changes we will start to see in the future.
The Indoor Brooklyn Flea Market is a Treasure Hunter’s Paradise.
Every New Yorker and tourist in the New York City area knows that a visit to Brooklyn is not complete without a trip to the Brooklyn Flea. The sprawling flea market offers a plethora of unique, hard-to-find treasures — from vintage clothing and handmade jewelry to collectible toys and one-of-a-kind furniture and decor.
Come winter, shoppers can still browse and barter at indoor vendors, who offer their wares beneath heated tents. The Flea was founded in 2008 as a seasonal outdoor market but now operates year-round under a covered shed at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn to accommodate shoppers who need a little cover from the unpredictable New York weather.
Just a stroll away from the Empire State Building, 220 36th Street is minutes from some subway stations.