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Top 20 Things to Do in Winter in New York City

Top 20 Things to Do in Winter in New York City

UPDATED JULY 2019: Baby, it's cold outside–but that doesn't mean you can't have fun! Keep this list of the top 20 winter activities in NYC handy for ideas to keep cabin fever at bay, including going ice-skating, sledding, and some spectacular holiday shows.

 

1. Slip ‘n Glide

Hit the ice for some classic winter fun at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s state-of-the-art skating facility featuring two ice rinks. Check out other indoor and outdoor rinks in the area for more icy fun!  

2. All Aboard!

Hitch a ride to tons of fun at the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show, which boasts replicas of area landmarks made entirely from natural materials. The show typically runs mid-November through early January. Here's a full list of nearby train shows and exhibits

3. Visions of Sugar Plums

Paul Kolnik

Visit the Land of Sweets when New York City Ballet presents George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Performances are usually held late November through early January. Or, get the details on all Nutcracker performances in our area! 

4. There’s Nothin’ Like the Real Thing

Make this Christmas special with a day trip to cut your own Christmas tree at Stuart’s Farm in Granite Springs in nearby Westchester County or one of the area’s other farms, most of which are open from late November through late December.

5. Jingle Bell Rock(ettes)

It wouldn’t be Christmas in New York without the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in Midtown, Manhattan (radiocitychristmas.com). From early November through late December, the Rockettes perform classic numbers such as "New York at Christmas" and "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers."

6. Tales of Tinsel

Create your own Christmas story in the Bronx at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum’s annual Holiday Family Day. Usually held in early December, this event includes storytelling, shopping, crafts, and of course, pictures with Santa. 

7. All of the Lights

Watch little eyes light up with holiday joy during a tree or menorah lighting. If you’re looking for a big event, brave the Rockefeller Center in Midtown, Manhattan to see its illustrious tree throughout December, or celebrate the Hanukkah at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn where a large menorah stands throughout the festival of lights.

8. You Better Not Pout, I’m Tellin’ You Why…

From Santaland at Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan to Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island, Kris Kringle makes appearances all over the city from late November to late December. For something unique, set sail with Hornblower New York near the end of December for a 3-hour cruise around the harbor, complete with dinner, dancing, and plenty of Christmas fun. 

9. Giving Back

With all of the gift-giving and receiving, the holiday season is a great time to teach kids about being charitable. Give a little back to your community and do some volunteering. 

10. You Can’t Catch Me…

Head to the New York Hall of Science in Corona, Queens to experience Gingerbread Lane, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest gingerbread house exhibit village. More than 1,300 gingerbread houses, stores, fire stations, businesses, and more are on sugary display from November to January.

11. Christmas Past

In mid-December, step into the 18th century with Candlelight Tours at Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island. During the special holiday tour, visitors will learn about the history of some of today’s most cherished holiday traditions.

12. It’s All Downhill from Here

Pull out your Flexible Flyer and get set for some downhill snow-day fun. Once there’s enough snow on the ground (4 to 6 inches), hills in New York City parks are fair game for sledding. 

13. Happy New Year!

Try something different this New Year’s and check out the annual Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Dip your toes into the icy water, join the plungers, or just watch the zany fun—no matter what, it’s a fun way to get in some family bonding to begin the year!

14. Mountains of Fun

Grab your gear and pack up the kids for a day (or a few days) of skiing or snowboarding at one of the area’s family-friendly resorts. 

15. Behind the Scenes in Queens

Escape from the cold at Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. The only museum in the U.S. dedicated to the art, history, and technology of moving pictures, this museum boasts behind-the-scenes exhibits, hands-on workshops, and daily film screenings. 

16. Let’s Pow Wow

Jonathan Slaff

Over two weekends in late January and early February, city folks can get a taste of Native American culture during the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Annual Dance Concert and Pow Wow at Theater for the New City in the East Village, Manhattan. The event brings together Native American artists, educators, singers, dancers, storytellers, and performing groups from across the Americas. You can also head to another festival in the area! 

17. Over the Moon

Ring in the Chinese New Year in late January or early February with dragon dancers, steel drummers, fireworks, and more at the famous Flushing Lunar New Year Parade in Queens. Check our calendar for updates.

18. Keep the Winter Blues Away

Head over to Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Prospect Lefferts Gardens from early December through early March for First Sundays, which feature all kinds of programming for the whole family throughout the winter. Activities include story time, winter nature walks, an outdoor “chase away the winter blues” tour, and a tour of the tropical, desert, and Mediterranean plants of the Conservatory.

19. Winter Village

Take the kids on a magical journey to Bryant Park Winter Village, where you can shop, sample hot chocolate, waffles and other goodies, go ice-skating, and more. The holiday village usually opens in late October and runs through January, while the skating rink runs through March.

20. Stick Together

Carlos Serrano

Learn all about Southeast New York’s maple sugaring heritage at programs held in late February and early March at the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale, Westmoreland Sanctuary in Mount Kisco, and other orchards and nature preserves in nearby Westchester County.

 

MORE SEASONAL FUN IN NEW YORK CITY

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