There are tons of fun things to do on Long Island in the winter. Our list of the top 20 winter events includes ice skating and sledding spots, holiday theater and performances, awesome indoor play spaces, and more!
1. Cut down your own Christmas tree.
Cut your own Christmas tree at Mike’s Christmas Tree Farm in Manorville, late November through Christmas Eve. Choose your favorite tree and chop it down yourself, making it feel like a country Christmas. Find more Christmas tree farms in our guide to u-pick tree farms on Long Island.
2. Lace up your skates and hit the ice.
Go ice-skating at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, voted best outdoor skating rink on Long Island by the viewers of News 12 Long Island. Enjoy the 200-foot rink, surrounded by forest, from November through March (weather pending). And find more indoor and outdoor rinks in the area.
3. See visions of sugar plums on stage.
It’s not hard to find performances of The Nutcracker in December, but there’s only one version done by the Long Island Ballet Theatre. Savor the local spin on this classic ballet in Port Washington in early December. Tickets are much less expensive than Lincoln Center, too!
4. Light up the holiday season.
Christmas tree lighting festivals, like the one at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport in late November or early December, can make even the Scroogiest among us embrace the holidays. Enjoy cookies, hot chocolate, carols, and a holiday-mood jumpstart.
5. Have a historic Christmas.
Hallockville Christmas at Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead sets a scene that will take your whole family back to a simpler time. In early December, you can tour historic homes decorated in Victorian and Depression-era style, try your hand at old-fashioned baking techniques, and take part in traditional children’s Christmas games and traditions.
6. Create a handmade gift for someone special.
Love the old-fashioned, understated look of a single candle lighting each of your home’s windows during the holidays? Head to Paint a Piece in Commack to create your choice of scented candle (the pottery and glass creations make great holiday gifts, too).
7. Visit the ghost of Christmas past.
The Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson in early December is a holiday treat that celebrates the author of A Christmas Carol. From costumed characters to Victorian entertainment and food, this event will surely bring out the Christmas spirit.
8. Go sledding.
When the snowflakes fly, take advantage by going sledding. The hill in Eisenhower State Park in East Meadow is ideal because of its gentle slope and thrilling length—perfect for the littlest snow bunnies. And check out our full list of sledding spots in the area.
9. Hit the mountain for skiing and snowboarding.
Head to a nearby mountain for skiing and snowboarding. Belleayre Mountain in Highmount is great for families because of its Learning Zone, a designated retreat for first-timers ages 8 to adult.
10. Be a firefighter for a day.
House fires peak in December and January. Honor our everyday heroes (and learn essential fire safety) at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center in Garden City. This destination teaches all about the work and sacrifices of firefighters by letting visitors put on actual firefighter uniforms and go through obstacle courses.
11. Have a "souper" time for a good cause.
You don’t need to know how to run or tackle to be part of Port Washington’s Souper Bowl. All you need to do is make a stop at each of the soup stations, taste as many different soups as you can—all of which are donated by participating Port Washington restaurants—and then vote for your favorite soup. You can also bring non-perishable food items with you to donate to the Twin Pines food pantry. The festival is held in late January or early February.
12. Go cruising for seals with Captain Lou.
Seal Cruises in Freeport, aboard the Captain Lou Fleet, show families these beloved creatures in their natural habitat. Bundle up: January is when the sightings are best. Learn about the biology and behavior of seals and other marine life on this scenic junket. Cruises are presented by The Riverhead Foundation and board on select weekend dates through April.
13. Partake in a frosty celebration.
The Harborfrost festival in Sag Harbor in early February is a celebration of the maritime history of Sag Harbor. There will be whaleboat racing, clam chowder tasting, underwater archaelogical exploration, and many other acitivies in which the whole family can partake.
14. Act like a polar bear.
Watch the most hardcore people jump into the freezing Atlantic Ocean on Super Bowl Sunday when the Long Beach Polar Bear Club raises money for charity. Maybe you’ll even want to join them!
15. Treat yourself and a lovebug to a day at the spa.
Princesses-in-training can get pampered at Darlings & Divas in Amityville, which hosts special events throughout the year, including pampering parties near Valentine’s Day. Activities typically include manicures, glittery makeup, and a runway show.
16. Play laser tag.
Any kid will say lasers are awesome. So Long Island Laser Bounce in Levittown is a no-fail way to thrill the kids on cold winter days. The arcade includes a laser tag arena filled with glow-in-the-dark obstacles and cool special effects lighting systems.
17. Visit Long Island's air and space museum.
Highlighting L.I’s contributions to flight, which many people don’t know about, The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City aims to get kids excited about the science and beauty of flying planes. Make a day of it by stopping by the nearby Long Island Children’s Museum and Historic Nunley’s Carousel.
18. Dream of summer in a treehouse.
A real eucalyptus tree brought in from California stands at a height of 18 feet in Once Upon A Treetop in Plainview. Playing in the treehouse makes summer seem that much closer. Little ones can also roam around in a pint-size village complete with a train station, grocery store, and other interactive “stops.”
19. Bounce away your cabin fever.
By the time February rolls around, everyone is getting a case of cabin fever. Have the kids jump off the stir-crazies at Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Syosset. Aside from plain old jumping, they can play trampoline basketball, dodgeball, and fly into ginormous foam pits. Talk about a cure for cabin fever!
20. Enjoy a puppet show.
The Long Island Puppet Theatre in Hicksville gives your kids a taste of entertainment you probably enjoyed all the time as a kid. The shows use both marionettes and traditional hand puppets. Craft workshops are also available.
MORE SEASONAL FUN ON LONG ISLAND