One of the best things to do in winter is attend an amazing winter carnival, where you can sip hot cocoa, munch on savory dishes, go ice-skating and ogle beautiful snowscapes. NYC and other places in the state are hosting multiple festivals and events during the colder months, so mark your calendars and starting planning all your weekend getaways now. We’ve ranked out favorite winter carnivals and festivals below. Take a look!
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to winter getaways from NYC
Find a winter carnival in New York State
At the always-festive Winter Carnival at Bryant Park, you can take free curling lessons, taste soothing hot chocolate and enjoy some of the best seasonal ales at the Outdoor Winter Brew House. There will be special skate performances including a strong lineup of entertainment—folks can don their fanciest formal wear (and skates) for the waltz-soundtracked “Ice Ball.” Peruse fine fare from local vendors and play some board games once the post-skate exhaustion truly sets in. Jan 27–Feb 4, (wintervillage.org/visit/wintercarnival); Free.
The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months with Winter Jam, its annual winter sports festival in Central Park. Attendees can learn or take part in snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding on the manufactured white stuff. (Or they can just sip hot chocolate and enjoy the outdoors.) Jan 28.
Hudson Woods Winter Festival
If you’re planning a winter getaway, consider renting a cabin in Kerhonkson, New York so you can attend this awesome winter spectacular. Hudson Woods is hosting a day chock-full of cozy, cold-weather fun, including crafts and wooden board games, eats from Applestone Meats, Good Harvest and Tree Juice Maple Syrup, plus sled races, snowman-making, a bonfire (with s’mores!) and more. R.S.V.P. here. 101 Ridgewood Rd, Kerhonkson, NY. Sat, February 25 1–5pm; free.
Lake George Winter Carnival
If toasting marshmallows on the beach, warming-up with a steamy bowl of chili, flying a massive kite on ice, riding on a dogsled ($20) and learning how to dive in frozen water piques your interest, Lake George is calling. There are new events every weekend in February that are perfect for folks seeking adventure or a life of leisure. Saturdays & Sundays in February (lakegeorgewintercarnival.com); various prices.
For ten days, this fete attracts more than 100,000 people to dozens of displays, parties and competitive events. Join in on a treasure hunt (there’s a plastic medallion hidden somewhere in Onondaga County, and you could win $1,000 if you find it), a chowder cook-off, and team trivia. February 16–26 (syracusewinterfest.com); various prices.
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Itching to plan a getaway next month? We recommend taking a trip to Saranac Lake for a weekend of cold-weather fun. Some events are free (like the Gala Parade, winter carnival parade, bands’ sound-off and a fireworks display), while others require a small fee, like Snowshoe Softball and the Lion’s Club Chili Sale. Make sure to bring your camera and explore the Ice Palace (a massive walk-through igloo-type castle), so you can act out Disney’s hit movie Frozen IRL. February 3–12 (saranaclakewintercarnival.com); Free.
Looking for more reasons to go upstate?
Café Zona Sur
This casual Sunset Park dinette run by a husband-and-wife team serves breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. For the morning meal, start with a La Colombe espresso ($2.25) along with lemon-ricotta crepes ($7), huevos rancheros ($10) or a pesto focaccia topped with mozzarella and two sunny-side up eggs ($14). Not a fan of brunch? Try something savory from the lunch menu, like the croque monsieur ($10) or Zona Sur burger with gruyere, caramelized onions and roasted tomato on a brioche bun ($14). The dinner options include larger portions like a seafood linguini with mussels, cockles and the catch of the day ($16), pan-seared salmon with kale ($17) or cavatappi mac and cheese ($16). Thirsty? Order a glass of red or white sangria ($7 for a glass, $25 for a liter), or one of the assorted wines and beers. Cafe Zona Sur even offers a few sweet options for dessert fiends, like a chocolate souffle ($7), apple bread pudding ($6) and tiramisu ($6).
Venue says: “SERVING BREAKFAST, EGGS PANCAKES AND CREPES EVERYDAY UNTIL 4PM!!!”