Get us in your inbox

Search
William Vale rink
Photograph: Courtesy The William Vale

The best things to do in the winter in NYC

The weather outside might be freezing, but the best things to do in winter in NYC will keep you cheery.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Advertising

New York City doesn't shut down in the winter, thank you very much! We're just turning up the heat on all there is to do here! There are a lot of incredible things to do all season long during the snowiest time of year, including great museum exhibits and winter pop-ups to keep this town entertained. For something a bit more snuggly, check out the free fireplaces to cozy up by 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.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do outside this winter in NYC

Best things to do in the winter

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Harlem

For a cozy evening out enjoy Prohibition-era cocktails and live jazz channeling the spirit and energy of the Harlem Renaissance at Sugar Monk every Monday night. You'll have your pick of Prohibition and Pre-Prohibition cocktails (Sidecar, Clover Club, Bijou, French 75, The Boothby, The Bee's Knees, Hanky Panky and others) to sip on while Max Bessesen and his trio play on from 8 to 10pm. There's no cover, just make a reservation on Resy.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • City Life

Escape to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island or the Queens County Farm for their respective lantern displays  The botanic garden is illuminated for over eight acres and in addition to the lantern display, a live DJ, projection mapping, food vendors, and more keep the party going. Queens County Farm is a radiant oasis with a dazzling display of holiday lights and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, tractors, farm animals and much more. Tickets for the New York City experiences start at $16.99 and can be booked in advance online

  • Things to do
  • City Life

There's a new sledding and ice skating spot in NYC. Take a ferry to Governors Island, which recently announced that it will be open to the public year-round for the first time in its history, to chill at its new winter village with glittering lights, a 5,000-square-foot ice rink, sled rentals, warm drinks near fire pits and winter programming as well. Its massive ice rink will be open Fridays, weekends and on New York City public school holidays from noon to 5pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm, with extended hours available for youth, adult and nonprofit sports leagues and associations. There will be themed events as well as Free Admission Fridays! Sleds will be available to rent alongside bikes from Blazing Saddles NYC. Governors Island will also have winter activities including cornhole, can jam and giant Jenga as well as winter arts and cultural programming and a dazzling display of holiday lights throughout Colonels Row. There will also be a fun and historic photo opp with a Coast Guard-era fire truck at the Winter Village.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Chelsea

Winter can be tough on the mind and body, which is why the Rubin Museum's Mandala Lab could be a good oasis to flock to when the going gets tough. The Lab delves into the power of difficult emotions and how to turn them into positive ones. It uses fun and interactive tools to explore jealousy/envy, attachment, pride, anger and ignorance and shows visitors how to turn them into wisdom of accomplishment, discernment, equanimity, mirror-like wisdom and all-accommodating wisdom, respectively.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Midtown West

You'll want to spend a couple of hours inside the NYPL to see every item of its collection within "The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures." The artifacts on view span 4,000 years of history and includes a wide range of history-making pieces, including the only surviving letter from Christoper Columbus announcing his "discovery" of the Americas to King Ferdinand’s court and the first Gutenberg Bible brought over to the Americas...just wow!

 

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Need a warm and beautiful rooftop dining experience? The sensational seasonal transformations at Serra by Birreria at Eataly Flatiron are sure to please. Serra is decorated with elegant, interlacing vines dripping with white flora reminiscent of falling snowThe family-style Italian restaurant’s menus have also been refreshed, with a focus on fonduta, cheese melted over an open flame, for the chilly months ahead. One particularly decadent, cheesy comfort crowns Taleggio DOP with Urbani black truffles. Toasty tipples include four types of mulled wine in red, white, rosè and orange varieties. And the new Brooklyn ‘Nog is made with NYC’s own White Mustache ginger probiotic tonic and Kings County bourbon, plus Amaro Averna, pumpkin spice and of course, eggnog.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Go dark and sip on champagne or absinthe at a bar in the East Village that is inspired by... hell. The decor at Café de L’Enfer, which literally translates to "hell cafe" in French, is just as striking as the cocktails developed by mixologist Sother Teague. The destination, which calls out to the famous Victorian-era Cabaret de l'Enfer in Paris, is filled with touches of the underworld. Expect skulls, deep red booths and ogre-like statues to adorn the dark space, located directly above Amor y Amargo. In terms of cocktails, the absinthe portion of the menu includes the De La Louisiane (rye, sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, absinthe), the Cobbler (Amontillado sherry, absinthe, apricot, cinnamon, Peychaud's and berries) and the simple but exquisite Death in the E'Ville (Vert, peach liqueur and champagne).

 

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Nowadays in Bushwick has just been winterized with yurts, heated tables and food by Diner by Izakaya, which really hits the spot in the colder months. Drinks-wise, warm beverages take center stage, from hot toddies to spiked hot cocoa and more. And if you do happen to be okay with heading indoors, the spot's new weeknight community lineup is looking pretty exciting. Programs range in scope and genre, so you can expect workshops about music production and psychedelics but also live entertainment sessions and more.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Just in case the myriad of private heated domes and cabins that are constantly popping up around town for the winter aren't enough, here is a new option for you: the glasshouses overlooking the East River at Watermark Winter Wonderland at Pier 15 in downtown Manhattan. Once you get to the destination—which is a huge, 7,500-square-foot waterfront venue—you'll walk through a beautifully illuminated tunnel before entering one of the many cozy private glasshouses. In addition to the phenomenal views of Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Williamsburg bridges, guests delight in trying out the delicious cheese fondue, perhaps, or order the build-your-own-s'mores dish. We do also suggest warming up with the spiked hot chocolate or some cider. Last but not least, you'll notice a jumbo screen on-premise, where holiday movies will be screened all season long. 

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

We can't help but feel the pull of this midtown destination when the famous heated igloos are set up. The glowing cocoons will stay in place through April 15 and, as usual, will be able to accommodate up to ten guests at once. Yes, you'll still find warm red snuggies for use inside each one. In addition to admiring the spectacular views, you'll be able to order food and drinks from inside each bubble. 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • City Life

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, open now through March 6, has its own series of cozy igloos that are heated and overlook the park's iconic skating rink. Inside the clear and intimate structures, each one decorated with holiday cheer in mind, patrons can order delicious food and drinks to enjoy among friends or family (each igloo can accommodate up to eight guests). If it's something a bit more active that you're looking to do, consider visiting the on-site Curling Café, which will offer the first-ever iceless curling experience. Expect dedicated curling lanes where two teams of up to four people each can play some "street" (also known as iceless) curling for an hour-and-a-half. According to an official press release, the lanes are accompanied by "a private, heated dome where teams can warm up and share seasonal drinks and bites between games."

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The round igloos aren't doing it for you? Somewhere Nowhere, the rooftop lounge and nightclub atop the Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel on West 25th Street just debuted eight unique teardrop igloos that folks can rent all season long. Each cupola can fit between four and six guests and features a cozy built-in fireplace, unobstructed views of the Empire State Building plus winter-inspired decorative accents and blankets to keep warm. Fair warning: You can only reserve an igloo for two-hour increments and it's $200 per person.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Hell's Kitchen

If you're a huge SitC fan, take a On Location Tours Sex and the City Hotspots Tour, where you'll see Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District, and SoHo and its one-of-a-kind boutiques, department stores and designer shops with tour guides who are local New York City actresses excited to share facts along with fun trivia questions about the buildings and locations. Each tour guest will also receive a free Magnolia Bakery cupcake (and those over 21 can sip discounted cosmos at the famous NYC bar ONieal’s). Public tours run several times a week, including Fridays and Saturdays at 3pm. Private tours are offered daily, and a limo buyout option is available.

  • Things to do

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.

More winter things to do

Advertising
Advertising

Winter food & drink

Advertising
Advertising

Winter events guides

Advertising
Valentine’s Day in NYC
  • Things to do

Looking for Valentine’s Day ideas, NYC? Here’s our pick of the best events, romantic restaurants, gift ideas and more.

Archive things to do in the winter content

Advertising
Recommended

    More on Christmas

      You may also like
        Advertising