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NYC events in January 2021

Make the new year great by attending the best NYC events in January 2021 from concerts to new exhibitions

Shaye Weaver
Collier Sutter
Written by
Shaye Weaver
&
Collier Sutter
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Begin the fresh new year off on the right foot with our list of NYC events in January 2021 to plan your month. We’ve included the best events in January, from can’t-miss happenings to popular New York attractions. From new museum exhibits to celebrating Martin Luther King Day, check out these events and more sensational things to do in the winter.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2021

Featured events in January 2021

  • Art
  • Art

2021 isn’t off to the most zen of starts, but a new work of art coming to the Garment District is hoping to bring a bit of soothing sparkle to midtown. Prismatica, an immersive art installation consisting of 25 rainbow-like prisms, will be installed this Monday on the Broadway pedestrian plaza between 39th and 40th streets, courtesy of the Garment District Alliance. The six-foot-tall prisms will reflect a kaleidoscope of colors as they move, creating a colorful environment for pedestrians to traverse. Along with the colorful reflections, musical sounds will create a truly immersive landscape along the public thoroughfare. 

 

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

NYC's Beetle House—a Halloweenesque, Tim Burton-themed restaurant and bar—now has a "fire-and-ice" bar where you can imbibe hot alcoholic drinks inside a warm and weatherproofed space. Located in the East Village at 308 E Sixth Street, Beetle House is serving up hot cider, hot toddies and other hot and cold drinks, including ice-cold, zero-degree vodka that creates a cloud of steam when infused with a hot cider martini with berries (called the "winterberry cider martini"). New seasonal drinks are on the menu in addition to cocktails like the "This Is Halloween" (Fireball, Sour Apple, Pumpkin Liqueur, Apple Cider, pictured below); "The Fleet Street Martini" (Fireball, sour apple pucker, cranberry juice, cranberry flavor sugared rim) and the "Chocolate Chocolate Martini" (Vanilla Vodka, Chocolate Syrup, Milk, Whipped Cream).

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

As we enter another dark pandemic winter, a small group of Chinatown residents decided what their neighborhood needed was a little bit of light. Right now, hundreds of paper lanterns are glowing above Mott Street—between Canal and Bayard streets—casting a warm and inviting glow. Installed by the Light Up Chinatown Project, the new fixtures are intended to light up the street in these dark times, and also inspire New Yorkers and tourists to stop by and visit hurting restaurants and shops. The effect is magical—the lanterns mimic a celebratory atmosphere despite the difficult times and have already gained a lot of attention and Instagram posts. Each of the 250 lanterns represents a donation of $45 or more to the Light Up Chinatown project. 

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park will be open for shopping and food. Its 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink that's free to use (if you bring your own skates) is the highlight, while about 60 shopping and food kiosks are there to peruse—all at one of the best NYC parks. This year will be slightly different given new health and safety protocols, but this guide contains all the information you need to know, including when the market officially opens (and closes) to the public.
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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Frankly, we all could use more wine right about now—but we especially could use more wine while nestled inside a cozy, heated igloo dome while overlooking a picturesque New York winter scene. Luckily, City Winery is offering just that with the opening of not one but two pop-up experiences at Rockefeller Center. The first is an open-air wine garden on the plaza level, complete with light bites, local sips (City Winery vino, Montauk tapped bears), and those iconic private igloos, which can be reserved for 90-minute stints for up to eight people, and will set you back $150 minimum during lunchtime (1–3:45pm) or $250 minimum during dinner (4–8pm).

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The William Vale has once again transformed its 23rd-floor outdoor rooftop into a skating rink—an experience that comes with a side of panoramic views of New York City.  The true first-ever open-air rooftop ice skating rink in New York, Pier 17, is closed this year. But luckily you can still head to Brooklyn.  Sessions at Vale Rink are now open just in time for the holidays. Guests are required to make reservations in advance to allow for reduced capacity during skate sessions (which run 50 minutes per group). You can snag tickets here.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Eataly Flatiron's SERRA by Birreria will take you to a magical forest with its wintertime concept, SERRA Stellata - Into the Woods, debuting today. Taking inspiration from the great outdoors and being in the open airthe restaurant is named stellata, which means "starred" in Italian, to give inspiration to people to "look up" and admire the winter starry nightthe open-air rooftop will feel fittingly woodsy with Adirondack chairs, birdhouses, and white-and-gold "foliage." The woodlands theme continues with the food-and-drink menu. Get a taste of Italian winter via polenta crowned with wild-boar ragù, blistered dumpling squash filled with fontina or taleggio and braised leaks drizzled with balsamic. On the beverage front, smoke plays a starring role: Joining smoked beers and barley wines, many cocktails will be prepped tableside and ingredients will be presented in smoked bottles. (Try a trio of Negronis, each with varying intensities of smokiness.)  

 

  • Things to do

Since it was first observed nationwide in January of 1986, the holiday commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has served as a reminder of his legacy to the causes of civil rights, nonviolent opposition and community service.

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  • Things to do

It's the year of the Ox! For Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year), NYC's restaurants will be celebrating this year with Chinese delicacies and events where you can experience more of what the country has to offer.

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

FiDi's Watermark Bar is offering glass cabins along Pier 15 overlooking the East River waterfront and the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. The panoramic views alone are enough to warm us up without the use of outdoor heaters. (But don't worry, each "house" is fully warmed and weather-controlled.) 
Available on a first-come, first-serve basis, the glass cabins can fit as many as 10 diners, who can share stuff like cheese fondue, grilled skewers, a s'mores kit, and hot cocktails (boozy cocoa, hot cider) inside. 

Looking for more things to do?

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  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

It’s no secret that New Yorkers are stressed, but when it comes to unwinding, we’re pretty competitive about that too—that’s where the best spas in NYC come in. The city boasts some of the most luxurious spas in the country, but affordable spa treatments also abound. So get inspired with birthday party ideas in NYC or date night ideas in NYC and book yourself a treatment at one of our favorite New York City spas.

RECOMMENDED: A complete guide to Spa Week in NYC

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  • Travel

With a long winter before us, escaping New York City on a secluded getaway is at the top of our list. We're craving a respite from the busy lives we lead in NYC and are seeking to snowshoe in the Adirondacks, walk solo in Rhode Island, roast marshmallows at an isolated campsite in the Catskills, and more. These spots make for ideal trips during times of global crisis and not. As fun-filled as camping sites, cycling and hiking trails are, there is something about going a bit farther away that makes for more memorable times—especially given the current travel restrictions in placeSo, without further ado, in no particular order, here are the best secluded getaways to take from New York to escape the crowds. 

NOTE: Although our list has been vetted, re-opening guidelines in the New York area are constantly changing. Reach out to specific venues and destinations before planning a trip. 

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