There’s never any shortage of things to do in New York City, and the fun doesn’t stop just because the weather gets cold. We’ve put together this list of great places to go when it’s winter in New York!
You kinda gotta go, right? From the Top of the Rock to the base of the tree, the famous skating rink with its golden statue of Atlas to the festive lighted angels trumpeting along the mall, the morning shows filming, the Rockettes kicking, and endless, high-end shopping options, visitors to New York must make a pilgrimage to this epicenter of all things holiday spirited. The crowds may be daunting (you’ll feel like a salmon swimming upstream), but there’s no better place to take instagrammable pics and feel the living pulse of New York City.
Wollman Rink, Central Park
While we’re on the subject of skating, a trip to Wollman Rink, a fixture in southern Central Park since it reopened as a skating venue after a renovation in 1986, gets you out into the frozen beauty of Manhattan’s most famous urban oasis, and adds exercise to the mix. If you’re feeling romantic, get there via horse carriage (you catch them across the street from the Plaza Hotel) after taking a tour of the park cuddled under a nice warm blanket. Then stay warm by practicing your pirouettes as you skate to the deejay’s tunes, and grab a cocoa later to replenish your energy reserves for more NYC adventures.
Over the holidays, the Winter Village in Bryant Park brims with booths offering everything from macarons to hot cocoa to one-of-a-kind gifts like handmade hats and artisan-crafted jewelry and beyond. Looming above it all is the massive Bryant Park Christmas tree, dressed to impress (after all, this is the same park that hosts Fashion Week, so expect no less). And of course, there’s a swanky skating rink here too, where you can take a turn around the ice while people-watching to your heart’s content. Or, just take a seat at one of the many tables and folding chairs that let you take a break from all the stimulation and just enjoy the festive vibe thrumming all around you. There’s a rink-side restaurant and an indoor beer garden to serve all your refreshment needs during your visit.
The NY Botanic Gardens Train Show
From late November through the end of January, one of the must-visit attractions for families with kids (or, really, anyone who just adores an amazing model train display) is the Train Show at the NY Botanic Garden (Please note, we’re talking about the one in the Bronx, not Brooklyn). The incredible indoor display winds through models of many of New York City’s most iconic sights, from the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle, all created from natural plant materials and integrated into the glorious glass-domed Enid Haupt Conservatory. For those over twenty-one, there’s a boozy version called “Bar Car” nights where you can sip spiked hot chocolate and explore the gardens and train show in an adults’ only environment in the evening. Find more info on the event’s times and dates here. Get there via Metro North Rail for easiest access.
Department Store Window Gawking
Our personal favorite is the overtly artsy and elegant Bergdorf Goodman, on Fifth Avenue on the corner of 58th (not far from the iconic Plaza Hotel), which never fails to fill each window with jaw-dropping displays that really ought to belong in a museum. Their high-art concepts will make you ooh and ahh at their intricacy and elegance. Then there’s Bloomingdales, occupying the block from 60th to 59th on Third Ave, which pumps out peppy music to entertain the whole neighborhood while trippy, fashion-forward displays draw you in to explore the store. Macys, of course, never fails to bring smiles to the faces of families, who often line up behind velvet ropes by the thousands for the chance to see a tradition that’s been going on since 1874 (they were the first store ever to do up holiday displays!). Also check out Saks Fifth Avenue and Barney’s, and, hey, while you’re out and about, don’t forget to shop local little boutiques as well, which pour their hearts into their holiday spirit as well.
Day Trips and Adventures Out of Town
New York has more to offer than just the big city. When you want to get away and explore other parts of the state, a great option is to seek small town sightseeing by rail along the Metro North’s Hudson River Valley, Harlem, or New Haven lines. Picturesque towns like Cold Spring, Rhinebeck, Beacon, Garrison, and Mount Vernon can all be visited within a few hours of the big city, some of them with wonderful historic mansions and museums open to the public. For skiing, there’s Hunter Mountain, Lake Placid, Bristol Mountain, Windham Mountain, Belleayre, or Catamount, just for starters. You’ll probably want a car, as most are a few hours’ drive from the city.
At the end of the day, warm your bones back up at Arlo’s comfy lounge, where you can grab a drink and wind down from a day of wonderful wintertime experiences.