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Winter activities and things to do in New York

Mark your planner with these essential winter activities, including blockbuster shows, anniversary celebrations, sophisticated balls, tasting events and more.

Photograph: Thomas Donley
Winter activities

Resist the urge to hibernate for the next three months—we’ll help you fill your calendar with an array of winter activities the season’s best cultural activities, museum exhibits, food festivals, concerts, Christmas shows and more.

Best of winter

Things to do

Winter survival guide: 50 ways to warm up in NYC

There’s more than one way to keep warm when the temperature plummets. Here are 50 ways to warm up and combat the winter blues. It’s here: winter, the darkest, coldest, saddest time of the year. But why let a little frigid air get you down? We’ve put together a guide to help the chilly and the seasonally affected find ways to warm up and stay above the weather—or revel in it. Catch a movie, play in the snow, tour a museum, take a class, or just curl up on your couch with a great TV show.—Edited by Jenna Scherer Avoid the cold with this virtual NYC summer day Trying to avoid the cold? Make a frozen winter day feel like the middle of July with this handy itinerary—complete with plenty of ways to warm up. We know, we know: It’s a hell of a long time until June, and it’s hard to avoid the cold. Every sidewalk is a frigid wind tunnel, all the trees look like skeletons, and the sun just scrapes over the horizon before dropping below it again. You may not be able to beat the weather, but you can pretend it doesn’t exist. We’ve cobbled together an itinerary you can use to trick yourself into believing it’s actually high summer, starting with beach volleyball and swimming, and ending at a palm-frond-bedecked tiki bar. Begin your morning at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers (Pier 60, 20th St at the Hudson River; 212-336-6000, chelseapiers.com), home to the only indoor sand-volleyball court in NYC. Ditch your shoes and show off your spiking skills at an open-play session, whi

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Things to do

Three light installations to see this winter

There’s plenty to see after the sun goes down. Paris may be the City of Light, but New York has a sparkle all its own. Don’t let the cold winter nights drive you indoors; go out and see the luminous artwork glowing around town. Anne Militello, Light Cycles Strands of mirrored lights have been suspended from the roof of a ten-story glass pavilion for this new piece by Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen’s lighting designer. Moonlight lantern walk Stilt walkers, giant puppets and musicians will accompany you on this nocturnal procession, part of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s four-day Illuminated festival. See bbg.org/illuminated for more details. Leo Villareal, BUCKYBALL Originally set to close on February 1, Mad. Sq. Art has extended this multicolored installation by two weeks. Sit on a zero-gravity bench and watch the 30-foot LED sculpture change hues. You might also like Ten winter art shows you should see Time Out New York previews the top exhibitions. You might also like Ten painting shows you should see (SLIDESHOW) Whitney Museum: Top 25 works of art at America's art museum (SLIDE SHOW) Slideshow: Top 20 paintings at MoMA Top ten: MTA subway art Winter activities and things to do in New York Mark your planner with these essential winter activities, including blockbuster shows, anniversary celebrations, sophisticated balls, tasting events and more. Resist the urge to hibernate for the next three months—we’ll help you fill your calendar with an array of winter activ

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Things to do

Ski trips near NYC: Hotel packages, transportation deals and more

Hit the slopes during a ski trip at one of these winter destinations, including Stratton Mountain Ski Resort and Belleayre Mountain. Get out of your cramped apartment and explore one of the winter wonderlands below. To make things even easier for you, we’ve mapped out cool nearby hotels and thrifty bus services. For more ways to enjoy the cold-weather months in NYC, check out our winter survival guide. Mountain Creek 1 hour and 20 minutes from NYC This New Jersey resort boasts four peaks, 167 skiable acres and a 35-lane snow-tube park. Novice skiers should stick with the family-friendly Vernon Peak, while more experienced adrenaline junkies can get their fix at the steep, fast, jib-and-pipe-filled Bear Peak, which has a massive, 1,040-foot vertical drop. Take a break between sessions at Mountain Creek’s three-story lodge, where you can warm up by the fireplace and nab a bratwurst ($8.95), half-liter stein ($7.50) and other German fare in its biergarten. 200 Rte 94 between Sand Hill Rd and Mott Dr, Vernon, NJ (973-827-2000, mountaincreek.com.) Mon–Thu 9am–9pm; Fri, Sat 9am–10pm; Sun 9am–9pm. Lift tickets: Mon–Thu $51, Fri–Sun $65. Tubing tickets $20–$25. Equipment rental $45. How to get there: On weekends and holidays, New Jersey Transit (njtransit.com/mountaincreek; $25.50, $10 off lift tickets or $5 off tubing) has round-trip bus rides from Port Authority.Where to stay: The cozy Alpine House Bed & Breakfast (217 Rte 94 between Sand Hill Rd and Vanderhoof Ct, Vernon, NJ

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Things to do

101 things to do in the winter

The coldest months are a time for comfort food, warm drinks and indoor pursuits. Find these and more with our rundown of the best things to do in the winter. Don't succumb to cabin fever—NYC's full of things to do in the winter that you can only enjoy between December and February. As well as things to do for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's Eve, Kwanzaa, Chinese Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day, there are annual favorites like petting the adorable pooches at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, marching in free musical parades Make Music New York and Unsilent Night, taking the plunge at the Coney Island Polar Dip on New Year's Day, and joining the mob at SantaCon and the No Pants Subway Ride.RECOMMENDED: All winter activities in NYC There are also plenty of comfort-food events including NY Chili Fest, Fondue Night and the month-long Hot Chocolate Festival—and if you're hungry for a bargain try Winter Restaurant Week. Musical highlights include John Cale at BAM, an oddball (but utterly charming) Christmas show from Sufjan Stevens and a NYE double-bill of Coldplay and Jay-Z. Whether you're looking for traditional activities (caroling) or alternative events (guerilla caroling), you'll find inspiration with our essential guide to things to do in the winter. And if you'd like to see these events in a calendar format, check out these chronological listings (by section) for December, January and February. See Chris Martin and Jay-Z duet on "White Christmas" (we hope) We rea

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Things to do

Self-improvement guide

Your best year ever starts here. We’re arming you with places, classes, films and cultural pursuits to help you attain your self-improvement goals in 2013. Every year starts with the best intentions for self-improvement, whether you’re looking to get fit or to meet people. To help you expand your horizons and keep your New Year’s resolutions, we’ve racked our brains and come up with 70 ways to improve your mind, body and soul in NYC. RECOMMENDED: New Year's Eve in New York guide Ten films to watch Whether you’re a pop-culture junkie or a erudite cinephile, continue your quest for self-improvement by seeing these ten films. You might also like The best and worst James Bond movies: a ranked list In celebration of the new Skyfall, we return to all 22 official James Bond films in search of the perfect spy cocktail, rating the best and worst Bond girls, 007 theme songs and leading actors with the licence to kill.   SLIDE SHOW: View our Bond list as one slide show >> It’s been 50 years of James Bond: five decades of gadgets, glamour and the coolness of a concept that shows no signs of dying. But does one installment tower over them all? Time Out’s film critics have revisited childhood memories and six swarthy, eyebrow-arching actors—from Sean Connery’s iconic pioneer to Daniel Craig’s tough remodel—to consider all 22 of the official Eon entries (we’re omitting 1967’s intentionally silly Casino Royale and 1983’s independently made Never Say Never Again, a semiremake of Thunderb

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Theater

The top 20 New York theater shows this winter

Book tickets and stay cozy at the hottest plays, musicals and revivals on Broadway and Off. The mercury is plummeting and we’ll see snow any day now, so this is the time to make winter survival plans. That includes bundling up, getting exercise, not drinking too much and feeding your brain. Although spring is the truly busy time for New York theater—with shows opening to be considered for a variety of prizes (such as the Tony Awards)—there’s plenty to see between now through the end of February. January alone offers three major Broadway openings (Picnic, The Other Place and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) and a slew of wild experimental work downtown at various festivals: Under the Radar, COIL and Other Forces. So check out our top picks for the winter, click through to the shows and start booking tickets now. What better way to stay warm than with a cozy show and the company of fellow theater lovers? You might also like Holiday gift guide 2012: Theater For that special theater fan, here are the best gifts: books, DVDs and more. Tis the season for fall and winter openings (so many shows, so little time!) and family-friendly limited runs (hello, Elf, Grinch, Rockettes and Christmas Story). Tis also the season for presents. And if you know theater folks, you know they are obsessive completists. This year, we're offering something for everyone: old-school Broadway nostalgists, addicts of experimental playwriting; those who want to see more shows but save money. Also, it wouldn't be a gi

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Things to do

Winter alt sports: Cold-weather outdoor activities

Escape the gym with these winter alt sports, such as swimming in the Atlantic and other bracing outdoor activities. Coney Island Polar Bear Club For the 150 members and 200 friends of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the sound of a conch shell is the call to plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. The club was founded in 1903 by New York’s “Father of Physical Culture” Bernarr Macfadden, who believed that an icy dip boosts stamina, immunity and virility (woof). The frigid weekly swims include jumping jacks to warm up and a circled-up chant of “polar bear, polar bear” followed by a freestyle swimming session. To prevent hypothermia, lifeguards limit immersion to ten minutes, and members often partake in hot showers and banya visits post-dip. Nonmembers can participate in one free guest swim per year in addition to the open swim on New Year’s Day (1pm; meet 11am at Boardwalk at Stillwell Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn), although donations to campsunshine.org are encouraged. If you don’t want to leave your belongings unattended, bring a friend along to hold your things and take pictures. 917-533-3568, polarbearclub.org. Annual membership $35, guest swim free. Snow tubing New York’s Tuxedo Ridge is open for tubing all winter, but we recommend a nocturnal visit with LivingSocial, which has reserved the hill for after-work fun followed by hot chocolate around an indoor campfire. Don snow pants and take a running jump onto a one-person tube; you’ll have two hours to race your friends dow

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Art

Ten winter art shows you should see

Time Out New York previews the top exhibitions. You might also like Ten painting shows you should see (SLIDESHOW) Whitney Museum: Top 25 works of art at America's art museum (SLIDE SHOW) Slideshow: Top 20 paintings at MoMA Top ten: MTA subway art

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Comedy

Winter's top comedy shows

Catch the best holiday stand-up comedy shows, Hurricane Sandy benefits and a new podcast festival in New York this season. Stand-up comedy may not cure your seasonal affective disorder, but you just may forget the wintry mix coming down outside while you're laughing. Here, Time Out New York picks some of the season's best comedy shows, be they improv, storytelling, variety or other (like the Peoples Improv Theater's new podcast festival). Also, there are an awful lot of holiday shows coming up—whether or not we survive the apocalypse on December 21 remains to be seen. A Very Special Hurricane Benefit Show Pals and creative cohorts Tom Scharpling (of WFMU fame) and Ted Leo (of Brooklyn rock fame) have brought together some of their best comedic pals to tell jokes while helping out with Sandy recovery efforts. Also taking the stage will be Chris Elliott, John Hodgman, Jon Benjamin, Julie Klausner, Andrew W.K. and more. Dylan Moran This wildly clever Irish stand-up approaches all of life's issues, from dicks to death, with a wry panache that makes many of his intricate jokes appear tossed off. He may be recognizable to Americans from films such as Shaun of the Dead, but Moran is a lifelong comic and regular at festivals around the world. TJ & Dave TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi quietly founded their own cult, and we couldn't be happier: Comedy nerds, theater enthusiasts and people who just like to laugh can all agree on their accessible and dynamic improv character studie

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Things to do

Best New York book events this winter

Book readings for new titles from George Saunders, Karen Russell and Nick Flynn help warm up a cold season With a bounty of book readings, signings and other literary happenings in New York this winter, there's no reason to stay holed up with a tome alone. The city's bookstores and cultural institutions are offering many different events—from dinner with Martin Amis to a marathon reading of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol—that should appeal to all sorts of literature fans. Artful Dining This special series of symposia bring readers face-to-face with favorite authors in New Yorkers' private residences. Those of us who are strapped for cash will have to stay away, but anyone feeling flush can receive dinner and discussion in close quarters, with just 24 other attendees. Building Stories: Chris Ware in conversation with Zadie Smith Obsessive graphic novelist Chris Ware has done his part to prove what can be accomplished in his medium of choice, with meticulous and deeply affecting works such as Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. His latest, the defiantly corporeal Building Stories, is a series of short tales printed on all kinds of strips, pamphlets and booklets. Selected Shorts: An Evening with Radiolab This coproduction between Symphony Space and PRI's Radiolab promises much more than a standard story reading. Hosts Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad will undoubtedly blend fun, sonic experiments and big ideas into performances by their guests Liev Schreiber, Kyr

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Movies

The 30 coolest winter movies to see

Make those outdoor trips count by consulting our list of the worthiest winter movies—upcoming titles from Hollywood, foreign festivals and all points in between. View the winter movies preview as a list >> You might also like The best and worst James Bond movies: a ranked list New York movies: The 100 best films set in New York City The 50 best uses of songs in movies The 50 most romantic movies of all time   SLIDE SHOW: View the winter movies preview as one slide show >> We’re hot and heavy into Oscar-bait season right now, but what does December and beyond promise? First off, we can expect some of the most gargantuan titles from Hollywood’s 2012 slate, led by Peter Jackson’s massively anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. After being pushed back until after the presidential election, the killing-Osama-bin-Laden movie, Zero Dark Thirty, is finally coming to theaters. (Sadly, there’s no cameo by our reelected leader.) And Tom Cruise gets serious in the pummeling crime thriller Jack Reacher. Moving into the new year (generally a slow time), there’s some terrific art-house counterprogramming: a gritty New York City series at Film Forum and Dror Moreh’s provocative The Gatekeepers, about Israel’s antiterrorism unit. All in all, we’ll have plenty to heat up those dreary months. Hot popcorn will help. “Jean-Louis Trintignant” at Film Forum The face of late-’60s Euro-neuroses, octogenarian French star Jean-Louis Trintignant gets a much-deserved trib

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Music

Top 20 winter concerts

Add these crucial gigs to your planner right now. The coldest months of the year are at hand—all the more reason to stick with indoor entertainment and indulge in one of the season’s hottest shows. From venerable legends such as the Stones and John Cale to up-and-coming stars like Purity Ring and Christopher Owens, we’ve selected the ten most crucial bookings of the next three months; tickets are available now, so act fast or be prepared to shell out some tall bucks. You might also like Interview: The xx The mysterious London trio sheds a little light on what makes it tick Very few band names are actually any good, and fewer still are as good as the xx—a moniker that’s at once suggestive (of sign-off kisses and X-rated movies) and obfuscatory (deleted letters, Mr. X, Generation X). It suits the sound of this London trio to a tee: Crowds at the band’s first U.S. shows, in 2010, were swept up by the music and its mystery; a girl and a boy trading smooth, whispery vocals over bare-bones beats, like a minimalist take on Sade. The sound was subtle, febrile and languorous; this was baby-making music, as evidenced by the number of what singer-bassist Oliver Sim refers to rather coyly as “standing-up spoons” in the audience. It was, as the band’s MySpace page read at the time, “so sexxy.” That said, in true is-it-or-isn’t-it? xx style, soft-spoken singer-guitarist Romy Madley Croft says the group’s songs aren’t necessarily designed to get you hot and bothered. “We’ve always tried to

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Warming food and drinks

Bars

NYC’s best boozy hot drinks for the cold weather

Hot drinks are one of the few saving graces of New York’s endless winter months. Try one of the ten warming cocktails below to stay toasty this season. Even in our modern age, few things take the edge off the cold like a hot buttered rum or warm mulled cider. To help stave off the cold, bars are rolling out their contemporary takes on old winter cocktails—as well as new creations—for the huddled, scarf-wrapped masses. Whether it’s boiled by a red-hot poker or heated by freshly made coffee, one of these drinks is sure to wet—and warm—your whistle. You might also like Ten game-changing cocktails 52 bartenders Cutting-edge cocktail trends Vodka makes a comeback

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Restaurants

Soul-warming bowls: Soups, stews and more in NYC

Take on New York City’s near-freezing temps with piping soups, hearty stews and comforting broths. These ten steaming potages will warm you up this winter. When the festive warmth of the holiday season is gone and all that’s left  is bone-chilling winter, there’s nothing more restorative than a soul-warming bowl. We tracked down NYC’s best soups, stews and broths, including the superior house ramen at Ganso, a classic tomato spiked with sriracha at Earl’s Beer and Cheese, and an update on Grandma’s matzo ball at Jack’s Wife Freda. Dip a spoon into one of these potages to bring color back to your wind-chapped cheeks and fire back in your belly this winter.Beet soup at Todd’s MillAt this bar-cum-bistro, chef Eric Simeon ladles up a fuchsia-hued bowl—as gorgeous as it is tasty—that would convert even the staunchest of beetphobes. Within the satin-smooth base, a swirl of tangy white horseradish crème cuts the root veg’s sweetness, while silky kelp ribbons add a vital hit of salt. The pièce de résistance is the pickled quail egg bobbing amid al dente cubes of beet. Brined in the star ingredient’s juice, the purple egg is a bold pop of acerbity, lingering on your tongue long after the last bite. 162 Orchard St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-995-0300, toddsmill.com). $8.Acqua pazza at Rosemary’sFishermen’s stew isn’t the first item we’d think to serve well-heeled West Villagers, but Wade Moises elevates the blue-collar meal to an elegant dish becoming of the clientele.

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Restaurants

25 best ramen dishes: NYC’s top Japanese noodles

TONY breaks down the specs of New York City’s best ramen dishes. From rich tonkotsu to brothless mazemen, here are Gotham’s essential noodle bowls. For years, New Yorkers have sought comfort in the city’s best ramen bowls, lining up at the revered Ippudo or ducking into student favorite Rai Rai Ken on a cold winter night. The popularity of the humble Japanese dish shows no signs of slowing down, with new spots popping up every year, so we checked in at noodle joints all over the city to see which versions were best. Slurp through our list of these standout bowls. You might also like Japanese gastropubs take off in New York City Nouveau Asian: NYC's cutting-edge Asian restaurants 100 best New York restaurants: Japanese restaurants Best sushi restaurants in NYC

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Bars

Cold-weather drink trend: Nutty winter cocktails

As the temperature drops, bartenders are reaching for nut-based liqueurs and extracts to sweeten seasonal quaffs. Chestnuts may be roasting on open fires, but walnuts, peanuts and almonds are finding their way onto cold-weather bar menus across town. Long written off as saccharine and unsubtle, nut-based spirits are making a comeback, lending depth and complexity to new cocktails. These six tipples feature a range of specialty liqueurs—from a traditional amaretto to a centrifuge-spun pistachio orgeat—and their unique uses. Grab one of these highlighted bottles and experiment at home over the holidays. You might also like Affordable fall booze for Thanksgiving tippling TONY tracked down the best budget-friendly liquor to bring with you to Thanksgiving. Here are the top new releases and classics for pairing with seasonal flavors this fall. After the big turkey feast, kick back with a postprandial sipper. The five wallet-friendly bottles featured here—each option clocks in at under $40—include a brand-new bourbon and a just-released vermouth. Treat your host (and yourself) to one of these fine spirits with dessert or after Thanksgiving dinner. George Dickel Rye The estimable Tennessee bourbon producer—in operation since 1870—releases its first rye. The spicy whiskey’s 90-proof spine, bright fruit and vanilla notes, and dry finish make it perfect for Manhattans. Available in late November at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml $25. A

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Bars

Booze tours in New York City: Breweries, distilleries and wineries

Temps are dropping! Get all warm and buzzy by taking a tour of these New York City alcohol purveyors, including Brooklyn Brewery. Breweries Brooklyn Brewery As the expansion of this stalwart New York brewery nears completion, it’s a prime time to drop in for one of its 45-minute guided tasting tours or gratis ten-minute walkthroughs. During the former, you’ll sip four beers—including seasonal and rare Brewmaster’s Reserve pours. Don’t worry, you can still imbibe during the freebie tour by nabbing a pint ($5, five for $20) in the tasting room. During your stroll, peep the eight new fermentation tanks that were shipped over from Germany, each holding up to 45,000 pints at a time. • 718-486-7422, brooklynbrewery.com. Free tour: Sat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5pm; Sun 1, 2, 3, 4pm; free. Paid tour: Mon–Thu 5pm; $8; reservations required via brooklynbrewery.com/tours. Chelsea Brewing Company On Saturdays, take a free tour of Manhattan’s largest microbrewery, which houses fully automatic grain-handling and bottling systems. When you’re finished with your walk, which includes a complimentary beer, swig through a few of the 20 handcrafted brews ($6, all made on premises) while relaxing along the stylish copper-topped bar. • 212-336-6440, chelseabrewingco.com. Sat 2, 3, 4, 5, 6pm; free. SingleCut Beersmiths Queens, a borough laden with beer makers before Prohibition, returns to its frothy roots with its first full-scale brewery in decades. The yet-to-open 30-barrel brew house will have a tapro

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Bars

The best New York bars and cocktails for winter

Not all New York bars are created equal, especially this time of year. We found the best winter bars and cocktails to help you beat your cold-weather blues. Cold-weather contingency plans can include a wide range of things to do, including seeking refuge in New York bars. We’ve chosen the best NYC bars for warming up by the fireplace, hanging with groups of friends, swilling cocktails and working your way through our ultimate guide to beer in NYC. Read on to find out which NYC bars you should hit up this winter and what drinks you should be enjoying while you’re there.—Edited by Sarah Bruning The best New York bars for winter: 40 places to escape the cold Some New York bars are better suited for winter drinking than others. Find out where you can seek refuge from the chilly temps with good beer and cocktails. When the barometer starts dropping, you might be tempted to stay in your apartment, but you’d be missing out. There are winter activities to enjoy, shops to raid and, of course, a multitude of drinkeries waiting to welcome you. Scroll through our list of the best New York bars for cold weather, including several spots in the best NYC neighborhoods. Middle Branch Good for: chill, cocktails Mixology trailblazer Sasha Petraske expands his influence to Midtown with this spin-off of West Village boite Little Branch. Delicate lighting fixtures illuminate embossed wallpaper and exposed brick in the two-floor space, where bartenders craft cocktails with a chemist’s pr

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Bars

Fireplaces at New York bars: seven toasty hearths to warm you

When it’s so cold outside that drinking cocktails, beer or wine isn’t enough to warm you, the fireplaces at these New York bars should do the trick. New Yorkers are a tough breed, but when the winter chill really sets in, you’re bound to see bargoers flock to a few specific NYC bars—namely, those with fireplaces. These seven New York bars are our favorites. When it’s time to depart, there are still plenty of fun things to do and eat (including essential ramen dishes and decadent hot chocolate) to help you forget that it’s freakin’ cold out there. RECOMMENDED: New York bars and cocktails for winter Union Hall This cavernous, bi-level venue may not fit the textbook definition of intimate, but the flickering stone fireplace is damn cozy. Commandeer the plush couch or one of the chairs near the hearth and settle in for the night with a hot Irish Nut (Bailey’s, amaretto coffee; $10). Black Mountain Wine House On weekends when escaping the city isn’t a viable option, head to this cabinlike space for a rustic retreat. Your objective: Snag a seat around the wood-burning brick hearth. Though the wine list offers a wide variety of options, sip the mulled vino ($8) to eradicate any chill left in your bones. Black Rabbit Bar Hightail it to the back of this long, narrow space to secure your spot by the gas fireplace. If the hearthside benches are already filled, you’ll still feel the festive spirit as you sit in a carved-wood booth beneath strings of colorful, twinkling lights. Wa

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Winter getaways from NYC

Travel

Best New York ski resorts for skiing and snowboarding

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Travel

Adventure sports in New York State: Get your winter thrills

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Travel

Best spas in New York State for a warming winter escape

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Travel

Winter getaways from NYC for the whole family

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Winter activities by month

Things to do

January 2013 events calendar

Our roundup of essential events for the first month of 2013 is the perfect tonic for a holiday hangover. Plan ahead by signing up for Restaurant Week Winter and bag a hot table, visit a major new addition to the Chelsea gallery scene, or free your legs from the tyranny of trousers at Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride.

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Things to do

February 2013 events calendar

After a monastic January (giving up all your vices and spending nothing because the holidays cleared you out), it's time to cut loose. Find a date and romance them on Valentine's Day, get a new year's do-over in Chinatown and party like there's no tomorrow for Mardi Gras. There's also the start of a year's worth of celebrations for Grand Central's Centennial.

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Christmas in New York

Things to do

Ice skating in New York City this Christmas

Your complete guide to ice skating in New York this Christmas. Discover the best indoor and outdoor ice-skating rinks in NYC. When the temperature drops, it's time to strap on the blades and hit the slick stuff. Here are the top places to go ice skating in New York, whether you want to skate at Rockefeller Center in the shadow of the Christmas tree, take in the Central Park views, or cap off a shopping trip at the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park. If exposure to the elements isn't your style, you can also check out one of the city's many all-weather indoor rinks. Recommended: Christmas in New York guide Central Park ice skating Trump Wollman Rink If you decide to check out this famed rink, be prepared for hordes of children and slow-moving newbies. There won’t be room for speed skating or fancy tricks, but braving the crowds is worth it for the awe-inspiring Central Park views. Trump Lasker Rink The second Donald-branded skating venue isn’t quite as crowded as Wollman Rink, which means you just might be able to hit your Apolo Ohno stride. When the ice isn’t available to the public, good odds are there’s a hockey game or practice happening; if you’re a puck fan, stop by to cheer on the adult and youth teams that frequent the spot. Rockefeller Center ice skating The Rink at Rockefeller Center Even if the sidewalks are overrun with tourists, you’ll have ample room to skate at the city’s most iconic rink; only 150 people are allowed on the ice at once. If you want the privil

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Things to do

Christmas trees in NYC

Get into the holiday spirit by visiting one of these spectacular Christmas trees, and see other decorations in New York. Charlie Brown would be blown away by the Christmas trees New York has to offer, from Rockefeller Center's green giant to the origami-bedecked pine at the American Museum of Natural History. And so you've got a place to stash your gifts, we've also got the scoop on where you can buy your own evergreen. RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York guide Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree An annual pilgrimage here never fails to remind us why we love New York City in December. Fighting the crowds to gawk at this year’s behemoth, decorated with 30,000 LED bulbs stretched across five miles of wire, is well worth the elbowing. Other Christmas trees in New York Citi Pond at Bryant Park Tree It's a star-studded affair at Citi Pond, where Bryant Park's 55-foot-tall Norway spruce illuminates skaters and admirers in this magical setting. This year’s tree is adorned with 30,000 LED lights and 3,000 custom-made ornaments. Metropolitan Museum Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche The city’s most elegant tree is an exhibit unto itself, hung with more than 200 18th-century hand-sculpted Neapolitan crèche figures, which are wearing jeweled and embroidered costumes. Many of the ornaments are arranged in pairs, including an angel gesturing to a shepherd. Origami Holiday Tree More than 500 handmade origami ornaments adorn the holiday season'

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Things to do

Christmas lights and decorations in New York

Light up your Christmas with our guide to the best Christmas light displays and decorations in New York. As the days grow shorter and darker, the strings of twinkling Christmas lights in New York grow longer and brighter. After you've polished off your holiday shopping or gone ice skating in Central Park, check out these glittering displays for a dose of cold-weather cheer. After all, there's more to NYC at Christmas than the Rockefeller Center spruce. RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York guide Christmas lights in New York Holiday lights in Dyker Heights On the day after Thanksgiving, the neighborhood of Dyker Heights undergoes a transformation, as residents along several blocks in the area festoon their homes with elaborate holiday decorations. And we're not talking about a Christmas tree or a simple nativity scene: Among the kitschy pieces you might see are life-size reindeer, huge inflatable Santas and snowmen, Christmas carols blaring from loudspeakers and tens of thousands of lights. Before you join the curious onlookers who trek to the neighborhood—as many as 100,000 people reportedly see the lights every year—find out what goes into creating the displays. Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour More than 100,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to this south Brooklyn nabe every December to see larger-than-life Christmas displays, which in past years have included massive nutcrackers, silicone Santas, and hundreds of thousands of sparkling holiday lights. For the optimum twin

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Things to do

Christmas shopping and window displays in New York

Whether you're gift-buying or window-gazing, let us guide you through the best places to shop in New York this Christmas. Get a head start on crossing names off of your holiday shopping list with our guide to the best holiday and Christmas shopping in New York. You'll find information on the big department stores, such as Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as a guide to the best holiday markets in New York City. Plus, check out our photos of the most festive department-store window displays. RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York guide Christmas shops in New York Macy's Herald Square It may not be as glamorous as New York’s other famous stores, but for sheer breadth of stock, the 34th Street behemoth is hard to beat. You won’t find exalted labels here, though—midpriced fashion and designers’ diffusion lines for all ages are its bread and butter, along with all the big beauty names. Bloomingdale's Ranking among the city’s top tourist attractions, Bloomie’s is stocked with everything from bags to beauty products, homewares to designer duds. The cosmetics hall, complete with an outpost of globe-spanning apothecary Space NK and a Bumble and bumble dry-styling bar, recently got a glam makeover. The compact Soho outpost concentrates on young fashion and cosmetics. Barneys New York Every fashionista's best friend, the LA outpost of the legendary New York department store offers five floors of cosmetics, jewellery, shoes, designer clothes (for both sexes), lingerie and home acce

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New Year's Eve

Clubs

Parties

These are the best New Year's Eve parties in NYC to see out 2012 in style, from sophisticated soirees to club nights and warehouse raves.

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Nightlife

Shows

Let cabaret acts, aerialists, Burly-Q artists, comedians and more jaw-dropping performers entertain you at these New Year's Eve shows.

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Things to do

Fireworks

Trip the light fantastic at New Year's Eve fireworks shows in Times Square, Central Park and over the Statue of Liberty.

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Music

Concerts

Ring in the new year with these New Year's Eve concerts, featuring annual live-music shows, major-label stars and cutting-edge acts.

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