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

The party continues on New Year’s Day with fun daytime activities, DJ sets and great ways to unwind
Polar Bear PlungeWe began the year by cringing as hundreds of half-naked New Yorkers waded into the frigid---and probably slightly yucky---Atlantic Ocean...
Photograph: Bailey Photography
By Jennifer Picht and Time Out New York contributors |

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

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. 

Things to do, Sport events

2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Hockey fans, assemble! The 10th anniversary of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be big, especially for Gothamites. The match is between two Empire State teams, the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers. What makes this game so special is that it’s being played outdoors: Citi Field is bringing in an ice truck to create a temporary rink. Before the stick smackdown, there’s a free pregame festival for fans with giveaways, food and drinks at Lot F in Citi Field’s parking lot (9am to 1pm).

The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersViggo Mortensen as Aragorn©New Line Cinema.
Things to do, Film events

Annual Lord of the Rings Marathon

Bring a sword, a bow, an ax and a hangover to this daylong fan viewing, at which Videology screens all three extended editions of the legendary Middle-earth trilogy. With a total 726 minutes (that’s 12 hours) of screen time to watch, there’s no braver way for you to start your New Year than by surviving this saga. Just try to pace yourself: Not everyone can hold their liquor as gracefully as Legolas does. Rohirrim!

Photograph: Courtesy Shot By Rod
Things to do

The Get Down and House of Yes Present Datrium

If your New Year’s resolution is to be more of a free spirit, this daylong art, mind and music bash is where you’ll find your release. Hosted by dance-party geniuses the Get Down and House of Yes, the eight-hour party lets you groove to live DJs, listen to poetry, marvel at dance and circus performances and clear your mind during yoga.

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

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.  

Things to do, Talks and lectures

44th Annual Poetry Project Marathon

Chances are your attention will be shorter than normal today, which is just fine: This 44th anniversary of the 12-hour literary soiree features bite-size readings and performances by around 150 poets, dancers and musicians. 

Looking for brunch on New Year’s Day?