The best things to do on New Year’s Day in NYC

The party continues on New Year’s Day in NYC with fun daytime activities, DJ sets and great ways to unwind
Polar Bear New Year's Plunge
Photograph: Courtesy Jena Cumbo
By Jennifer Picht and Time Out New York contributors |
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There is plenty to do in NYC on New Year’s Day, so shake off your hangover and get ready to start off 2018 with a bang! There are many excellent NYC events in January, like Coney Island’s Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim. But if that’s too cold for you, opt for a delicious, wholesome meal (and maybe a cocktail or two) at some of the city’s best brunch spots instead. Afterward, we highly recommend checking out one of the best parties happening in NYC to combat your post-New Year’s Eve hangover. Make sure to head to one of the best sports bars to watch the Rose Bowl or NHL Winter Classic on January 1.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Year’s Eve in NYC

Best things to do on New Year’s Day in NYC

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Holiday Train Show 2013 at the New York Botanical Garden
Things to do, Exhibitions

Holiday Train Show

icon-location-pin New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY, The Bronx
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The garden lights up with its collection of trains that chug along a nearly half-mile track by 150 miniature NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall, all made of natural materials such as leaves, twigs, bark and berries.  

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Coney Island Polar Dip 2013
Things to do

Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim

Would you believe us if we told you a dip in the Atlantic is great for a hangover? Even if you don’t buy it, cheering those brave—or crazy—enough to take the plunge will stir you from your stupor. The Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s annual New Year's Day Swim invites hundreds of swimmers (without the benefit of blubber, underfur or guard hairs) to venture out into the ocean. All that’s required to take part in this brisk tradition are warm clothes, sneakers you don’t mind ruining (or surf boots, if you’ve got them) and the fortitude to actually go through with it. Meet on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn. Suggested donation $25. 

Looking for brunch on New Year’s Day?

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