Things to do in New York in Winter

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Best Cold Weather Activities in NYC

There are so many things to do in New York in Winter, making it one of the BEST times to visit NYC. Yes, the weather can be cold and wet, so it is a risk. However, there are two key payoffs – in December, you get to experience the magical holiday season, twinkling lights, special holiday tours and more. For bargain hunters, January and February include HUGE discounts like Hotel Week, Broadway Week, Restaurant Week and much more, offering you the best of NYC at a fraction of the usual price.

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December, January, February NYC Events Calendar

Some of NYC’s busiest event months are December, January and February. With tons of holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and special Events like Broadway Week, Hotel Week, Winter Restaurant Week, Central Park Winter Jam and more, the winter is packed with things to in New York.

New York City Events Winter Season Calendar

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Broadway, Off Broadway and The Opera

What better time than winter to head inside and catch a show? Do something funky and Off Broadway, like Stomp or Blue Man Group, catch a celebrity on Broadway (winter has the most celebrities on Broadway) or head to the Metropolitan Opera, and enjoy a classic like The Barber of Seville or La Boheme.

New York Broadway Shows

Shows are a great way to take a break from poor winter weather and infuse yourself with some NYC culture!

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Warmest Winter Tours of NYC

Since it’s often hard to predict the winter weather, an indoor tour might be the best option for NYC sightseeing. Of course, if the weather is great, then go ahead an enjoy a walking tour of NYC. If not, hedge your bets and take a bus, boat or helicopter tour, all of which will keep you warm while also allowing you sightsee to heart’s content.

Warmest Winter Tours of NYC

Stay warm and see the best of NYC with any of these climate-controlled sightseeing tours:

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Skip the Line and Do NYC VIP Style

Do you how many attractions and tours let you skip (most) of the lines and be treated like a VIP? Save HOURS on your NYC Vacation.

Empire State Building: Express Entry (86th Fl)

NYC Insider Pick
Price starting at US$60
View details

One World Observatory: Skip The Line (Priority Reserved)

Bestseller
Price starting at US$34
View details

9/11 Memorial & Museum: Skip The Line

Bestseller
Price starting at US$26
View details

Empire State Building: Silver Access (86 & 102 for Fee)

Likely to sell out
Price starting at US$34
View details

Empire State Building: Day and Night Entry

Price starting at US$86
View details

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Priority Entrance

Price starting at US$
View details

Skip the Line: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Flexible Date

Bestseller
Price starting at US$
View details

Skip The Line: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Likely to sell out
Price starting at US$
View details

The Guggenheim: Skip The Line

Price starting at US$
View details

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Ice Skating in New York City

It is impossible to write about things to do in New York in Winter without mentioning Ice Skating. For tourists and locals alike, ice skating at Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park is a classic New York winter experience.

Ice Skating in New York City

We also have several other Ice Skating Rinks around the city and outer boroughs. Here are the details for Ice Skating in New York City, including rates and dates plus NYC Insider Tips for discounts and coupons.

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See the Lights Sparkle from an Indoor Rooftop

The majority of our rooftop bars have both indoor and outdoor space, many with retractable roofs to accommodate the seasonal weather. Some even with indoor pools, making them super fun and a cozy, warm place to escape the winter chill. There are few experiences as unique to NYC as enjoying a cocktail and taking in our famous skyline.

Best New York City Hotels with Rooftops

Some roof decks are open only to hotel guests, so if you want a spectacular skyline view and maybe a private party built in to your NYC stay, there are two great ways to have guaranteed access to the city’s best skyline views.

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More Things to do in NY in Winter

The list of NY Winter activities is endless, so here are a few more things to do during the winter months.

  • New York City Museums – take in a new exhibit, film or revisit one of your old favorites
  • Free Things to Do in New York City – ride the Staten Island Ferry, take a free walking tour, visit the Bronx Zoo free and so much more
  • Discovery Center Times Square – always a great selection of exciting exhibits at reasonable prices. The last few years have seen Star Wars, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Legos and many more.
  • Live Music – winter is a great time to check out what’s going on at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, some of our smaller live music venues like City Winery, The Bowery Ballroom and more.
  • Bowling – head to Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square or Lucky Strike (W 42nd and 12th Ave ) and shoot the ball!
  • Day Spas – there is no better way to forget about nasty weather than to check into one of our amazing day spas, which offer whirlpool spas and baths, couples massages and all around general pampering. A few to enjoy: ancientbathsny.com, gjspa.com, russianturkishbaths.com, scpremier57.com
  • Cozy Bars with Fireplaces – relax and enjoy some cocktails or hot chocolate and food by a warm fireplace
  • See a Movie – NYC has one of the best selection of movie theaters anywhere! Whether you want IMAX, art house, classics, indie or general cinophile, we have so many unique and distinct theaters.

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More from NYC Insider Guide:

More Things to do in New York City

Sightsee from the Sky

Top of the Rock, Empire State Building or One World Observatory? Which is best and, if we have to choose, which should we visit? There is no easy answer, but here are some facts to help guide your choice.

New York City Tourist Attractions

  • Empire State Building - (86 and 102 floors) Best for patient movie and history buffs who need to check it off their bucket list
  • Top of the Rock - (67-70 floors) Best for sweeping 360° vista views, including of the Empire State Building and Central Park. Shorter lines and cheaper than the ESB.
  • One World Observatory - (100-102 floors) Best for those who want to be first. Newest, most modern and high tech, with phenomenal views

See All: Top New York City Tourist Attractions

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Take in ALL the Tours, Landmarks and Attractions and SAVE

New York Pass, NYC Explorer Pass, Go Select Card, New York CityPASS Compared

New York City Passes Compared

See All: New York City Pass Comparison Chart

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Skip the Line and Do NYC VIP Style

Do you how many attractions and tours let you skip (most) of the lines and be treated like a VIP? Save HOURS on your NYC Vacation.

Empire State Building: Express Entry (86th Fl)

NYC Insider Pick
Price starting at US$60
View details

One World Observatory: Skip The Line (Priority Reserved)

Bestseller
Price starting at US$34
View details

9/11 Memorial & Museum: Skip The Line

Bestseller
Price starting at US$26
View details

Empire State Building: Silver Access (86 & 102 for Fee)

Likely to sell out
Price starting at US$34
View details

Empire State Building: Day and Night Entry

Price starting at US$86
View details

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Priority Entrance

Price starting at US$
View details

Skip the Line: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Flexible Date

Bestseller
Price starting at US$
View details

Skip The Line: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Likely to sell out
Price starting at US$
View details

The Guggenheim: Skip The Line

Price starting at US$
View details

Things to do in New York with Kids

One of the best parts of NYC is that what is fun for kids is usually just as much fun for adults. If you are joining us in NYC for a family vacation, then please read all about our local kid's favorites, along with special tips just for visitors.

Things to Do in New York With Kids

See All: Visiting New York with Kids.

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FREE Things to do in New York City

There are tons of free things to do in New York all day, every day! Tours, attractions, museums, events, shows, sports, movie and more. Kids, adults, outdoors, indoors, active, lazy...you name it!

Free Things to Do in New York City

See All: Free Things to Do in NYC - weekly calendar of all free walking tours, free museum admissions, free things to do by season and more

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Get Out of NYC for a Day

NYC is within 3 hours of so many other cities and areas you can visit for just one day: Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Niagara Falls, the Hamptons, Woodbury Common Shopping Outlets and more quite easily. Top choices for 1-day Out of Town:

Day Trips Out of New York City

See All: Day Trips Out of New York City

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New York City Nightlife

How do you make the most of your time in the city that never sleeps?? Some of the best 'only in NYC' nightlife experiences include skyline views, dinner cruises, Museums and attractions open late til 2am, rooftops, night tours, comedy clubs and more. Some of our top NYC Nightlife picks:

New York City Nightlife

See all our Top Picks: New York City Nightlife

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Save Big on Things to do in New York City

New York City Coupons and Discounts are available for almost everything one can do in NYC: concerts, shows, Broadway, sports, events, tours, attractions, beauty and spa and much more!

New York City Coupons

Sites we use ALL the time to save are:

  • Groupon - save on dining, tours, things to do, attractions, cruises, shows
  • Gilt City - upscale deals on dining, exclusive events, Broadway, shopping
  • ShowTickets.com - huge sightseeing tourist discounts

See All: Insider Guide to ALL our NYC Coupons

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Romantic Things to Do in NYC

There are tons of things to do on your romantic New York City vacation. Attractions open late with skyline views, Central Park Tours, VIP Experiences, a helicopter ride. Some of the most popular romantic ways to see NYC include:

Romantic Things to Do in NYC

See more romantic things to do at: Romantic New York City Vacation and Valentine's Day in NYC

Explore and Indulge Like a Real NYC Foodie

There is no shortage of pizza, bagels, street vendors, cupcakes, craft beer and cocktails, rooftops and mini food parks to explore and so many more food choices in the five boroughs, along with wonderful guides who can't wait to show you them all!!!!

New York City Food Tours

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