Travel and Leisure

Fun Things to Do in New York City in the Winter

Winter in the Big Apple can be a lot of fun, even during the cold winter months that cause other cities to go dormant. Winter visitors know they can stave off the winter chill with a Broadway show or by celebrating the New Year in Time’s Square alongside other revelers. But there’s plenty more to do. From November to February, the ground may be frozen, but visitors find that New York City is still very much alive.

Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center may have the single most recognizable Christmas tree in America. If possible, be there for the official lighting ceremony in late November or early December. Even if you miss the lighting event, take time out to visit the tree and snap a photo or two if you are there before the tree is taken down in early January. (See “Resources” below.)

Window Shopping
The Big Apple is a shopper’s heaven, but for those who only wish and window shop, the city offers the perfect opportunity during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Most of the bigger retailers in New York, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, create breathtaking holiday window displays. They might just entice you to break the bank and do a little shopping while you’re in town.

Take Up Ice Skating
Ice skating is an NYC winter favorite. Central Park has a great ice skating rink, as does Rockefeller Center. Bryant Park is also a popular spot. The ice gets packed with skaters of all ages and skill levels, so don’t be afraid to fall if you have never ice skated before.

For those who would like to ice skate in places that are a little less well-known, consider checking out the Polar Rink near the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. Tickets are $8-$10 for adults and children.

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers offers ice skating year-round at 23rd Street and the Hudson River. Admission for adults is $12.50; helmet and skate rentals are available for $3.

MLK Day Parade
Martin Luther King Day is a large celebration in New York City. Each year a parade is held to honor the memory of Dr. King and his impact on the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. It begins at 1 p.m. at Fifth Avenue and 61st Street and proceeds down Fifth Avenue to 86th Street.

The NYC parade often includes more than 25,000 participants and even more spectators (see “References” below). Prepare to pack in with thousands of others for this Big Apple tradition. Whether you participate or just look on from the sidelines, the MLK Day celebration is bound to be unlike any other celebration you have attended.

Winter Restaurant Week
New York City restaurants host two official Restaurant Weeks each year (see “Resources” below). One is during the summer and the other is in the winter. This is a time to sample some of the best fare that the Big Apple has to offer at deeply discounted prices. Make the most of this opportunity by trying something new, whether a dish or a cuisine. The event takes place at participating restaurants around town.

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