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10 things to do in Winter in New York City

This post was originally written in September 2015 and updated in July 2020.
Winter is definitely not my favorite season in New York City. But it is a fact: if you live here, you need to face it. So, it is better to try to enjoy it as much as you can. In this post, I will share some tips to enjoy winter in the city – either you are a local or a tourist.
Of course, suggestion number one would be ice skating! This activity is very popular in New York during the winter and there are several rinks. In Bryant Park, for example, access to the rink is free – you only pay to rent skates – $15 on average. The ice skating season starts in mid-October and runs through March. Other options include a skating rink at Central Park ($ 18 + access skates) and the Rockefeller Center ($40 + access skates, on average).
And if you really like snow and want to enjoy a more complete experience, you can spend a day at a ski station. Hunter Mountain, for example, is a few hour’s driving from the city. You can go by bus early, spend the day there (the station offers rentals of clothing and equipment) and return in the evening. Here, you can check the schedules of buses and prices. Another popular mountain is the Camelback Mountain, which is not far from the city as well.
Winter is also perfect for eating! And nothing is better than a delicious hot chocolate in New York! My favorite is from Max Brenner (841 Broadway). Try the spicy version. Another delight that is a great choice for winter is a cookie! I love the ones from Levain Bakery and Chip New York – for me, they are the best ones! And winter is also a good time for eating pasta, of course. Check my Italian restaurant recommendations.
And, of course, we have the snow! The snow that attracts many foreign tourists – but it is a pain in the ass for who lives here, lol, sorry. Ok, you can not deny that the parks are beautiful when all covered in snow. So, enjoy this landscape is a great thing to do in the city.
For those coming between early December and early January, the tip is to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. The giant tree of Rockefeller Center is a symbol of the city. Macy’s and Bergdorf Goodman are also good spots when it comes to Christmas decor. And if you want a different and unusual program, the tip is to go to Brooklyn and check out the Christmas decor in Dyker Heights – this neighborhood attracts thousands of people every year! The area is located on 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue from 83rd to 86th St. To get there, use the R line to the station 86 St then take the bus B1.
Christmas time is also an opportunity to see beautiful performances, like New York City Ballet – George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is one of the classics of Christmas season in the city – from the end of November through the end of December. Here, you can check out the full schedule. Another typical Christmas show is Rockettes, with performances from November to January. You can check the calendar here.
Brookfield Place is nothing more than a shopping mall, focusing on luxury stores. The place is cool, beautiful and your goal here doesn’t need to be spending money. The second floor has a food court with an amazing view of the Hudson River. Another cool place is the Le District, a French gourmet market with crepes, coffee shops, etc. The outdoor area also has a beautiful waterfront patio and the sunset is beautiful from there!
Since walking on the streets may not be the most pleasant thing in the world during the winter, you should probably focus on indoor places. And enjoy the food courts in the city is a great choice. New York is full of options – such as Chelsea Market, one of the most famous – but it has other several ones like Gansevoort Market, UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, Essex Market, Gotham West Market, and TimeOut Market.
It doesn’t matter the time of the year: appreciating a sunset will be always one of the most beautiful things that mother nature provides us! Wintertime brings different colors for the sunset! My tip is to go to Long Island City, Queens, and enjoy the sunset from the waterfront. The view is fantastic! You can get there by using the 7 subway line or the NYC Ferry.
Street markets are super famous in the city and there are Christmas special editions. Bryant Park, Union Square, Columbus Circle, and Grand Central are among the famous ones in the city. Both features goodies, food, decor items, and a lot of other things that we love. Not to mention the pleasant Christmas atmosphere!

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