Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The best things to do in the winter in NYC

The best things to do in the winter in NYC

The weather outside may be frightful, but the best things to do in winter in NYC are just so delightful

Photograph: Pixabay
By Jillian Anthony and Time Out New York contributors |

There are a lot of incredible things to do in winter, which only reinstates how the city that never sleeps certainly doesn’t hibernate during the colder months. There are many exciting events during the snowiest time of year, including a winter carnival and festivals to keep everybody entertained. For something a bit more snuggly, check out the coziest restaurants and bars in NYC or lounge inside a sauna at one of the best spas. Don’t forget that New York is absolutely gorgeous in winter, so bundle up and go out to admire all the snow-covered trees at the best NYC parks, and enjoy fun winter celebrations.

Best things to do in the winter

Photograph: Courtesy Elizabeth Shrier
Things to do, Markets and fairs

The Bryant Park Winter Village guide

The Winter Village at Bryant Park is worth braving the cold for. Not only is there free ice-skating on Bryant Park's 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink (you may bring your own skates or rent for $20), there's a bunch of new kiosks and eateries where you can grab a bite. There is also the new rink-side pop-up restaurant The Lodge with an indoor beer garden. 

Winter Jazzfest 2017
Photograph: Courtesy Gulnara Khamatova

Winter Jazzfest

Each January, Winter Jazzfest, perennially one of the best concerts in NYC, hosts the genre’s top talent over several nights. Its signature two-night Greenwich Village marathon brings vets and up-and-comers, hordes of music fans and a palpable air of excitement to an array of cozy downtown venues.

15th annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, Chinese New Year
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do

Chinese New Year

Get ready for one of the best NYC events in February: Chinese New Year! NYC will be chock-full of dragon dances, vibrant floats and yummy vendor foods during the annual celebration. Make sure to head to Chinatown for one of the best things to do in the winter, including annual Lunar New Year Parade & Festival. 

138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do, Exhibitions

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

These pups may be cute, but their owners have spent tens of thousands of dollars to train, primp and groom them for this moment. Coo over more than 3,000 dogs representing hundreds of breeds and varieties at this annual caninefest, where dogs are judged across seven divisions (hound, toy, nonsporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier). If you can’t score a ticket, you can still get your fix via online streaming during the day and TV coverage of the evening competitions.

Cupid's Undie Run 2013
Photograph: Eric H. Brown
Things to do, Quirky events

The Cupid’s Undie Run

Join this scantily clad, one-mile Valentine’s Day dash to raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which has raised $94,589 in the past. Make sure to register (and wear some form of undies) to participate.

Photograph: Raydene Salinas

New York Fashion Week

Get camera-ready for Fashion Week. NYC will be filled with a stampede of posh editors, bloggers, stylists and shutterbugs. Tickets to some of the major runway shows aren’t available to the general public, but newsflash: you don’t have to be part of the elite fashion world to feel like an insider. Maybe you don’t have a front-row seat to the shows or a spot reserved next to Anna Wintour, but don't fret—we’ve got you covered. 

The Orchid Show 2013 at the New York Botanical Garden
Photograph by Cinzia Reale-Castello
Things to do, Exhibitions

The Orchid Show

The New York Botanical Garden explodes into a tropical floral extravaganza for the annual Orchid Show. Take in the thousands of blooms on display, and don’t forget to make a pit stop by the Shop in the Garden for your very own orchid to take home.

Things to do, Festivals

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

No St. Patrick’s Day in NYC would be complete without staking out a spot at this parade, which makes another glorious march up Fifth Avenue. (The event is even older than the United States; it was started by a group of homesick Irish conscripts from the British army in 1762.) More than 2 million onlookers show up for the annual spectacle. 

Photograph: Zandy Mangold

NYC Restaurant Week

Twice a year, NYC Restaurant Week takes over our fair city, allowing penny-pinchers like us to stuff our guts like royalty at top eateries for only a fraction of the usual cost. With three-course prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus and reservations available via OpenTable, it’s easier than ever to get into that new French bistro you’ve had your eyes on and nearly 400 other mouthwatering gems.

Super Bowl Party Food
Things to do

Super Bowl

Whether you dig football or not, the big game is, if anything, an ace excuse to gorge and get sloppy. And if football isn’t really your jam, there’s always the Puppy Bowl, a televised gaggle of adorable doggies in a mock stadium. Who are we kidding? We’re mostly here for the puppies.

Photograph: Thomas Donley
Things to do

Mardi Gras

Every year, New York's usual anxiety and chaotic charm turns laissez-faire via the Crescent City for Mardi Gras. NYC’s Fat Tuesday is a typically rambunctious affair, featuring jazz performances at some of the best jazz clubs in the city, plus more funky shows. There also rich cuisine from Cajun restaurants, king cake and some of the best parties in New York.

More winter things to do

Windham Mountain
Photograph: Courtesy Windham Mountain
Things to do

The best ski trips near NYC

Interested in ski trips near NYC? Take the bus or train to hit the slopes in ski paradises near New York in no time.

Show more

Winter food & drink

Show more

Winter events guides

Show more

Archive things to do in the winter content

Show more

GYG NYC Widget