Winter is one of the most awe-inspiring times of year to experience New York City. From snowy cityscapes and parks to plenty of activities, and transit hubs that can transport you to a myriad of day and weekend excursions, you’ll discover that NYC never sleeps in the winter either! So how do New Yorkers tackle the winter season? Grab a fashionable hat and gloves from one of our notorious street vendors, be sure to stuff your pockets with those hot honey roasted nuts you can smell on every corner, put on some good walking boots and check out these cool things to do when winter’s chill hits NYC…
Embrace The Chill with Winter Activities
Embrace the change of seasons and all the cool things winter brings to the city. Skating is a favorite winter activity of city dwellers. The Rink at Bryant Park Winter Village is the only free admission rink in NYC (skate rentals are extra). The park’s location on 6th Avenue between 40th-42nd Streets behind the NY Public Library, lets you skate in the middle of the city with skyscrapers towering around you and a view of the Empire State Building. While the rink stays open until the beginning of March, through Jan 5th you can hop off the ice and enjoy a holiday shopping village and specialty food kiosks as well. If you’re spending Christmas in NYC check out our blog on all our bucket list things to do in NYC for the holidays.
Other iconic NYC rinks include The Rink at Rockefeller Center and Wollman Rink in Central Park, both surrounded by picturesque NYC landmarks. Prospect Park in Brooklyn has LeFrak Center at Lakeside, while City Ice Pavilion in Sunnyside, Queens is a massive National Hockey League sized rink open year-round and Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers lets you skate or play ice hockey indoors with a Hudson River view. Check out our blog on apartments located near amazing skating rinks
If you’re taking the kids to NYC, the kids will enjoy sledding in one of our urban parks. After a snowstorm hits, head to local spots like Central Park’s Pilgrim Hill or Cedar Hill (enter between 72-79th Streets & 5th Ave), Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn (DeKalb Ave at Washington Park) or Morningside Park (Morningside Dr at 115th St.) near Columbia University.
Get Out of Town – For the Day or Weekend
NYC is a transportation hub so it’s easy to skip out of town for some winter fun in upstate NY, Vermont or the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Plan a weekend trip and catch an Amtrak Train from Penn Station to many snowy destinations or MetroNorth Railroad out of Grand Central will whisk you away to Thunder Ridge Ski Area in Paterson, NY for skiing and snowboarding.
For skiers, snow boarders and snow tubers, the NYC Snow Bus and Adirondack Trailways Ski Bus from Port Authority Bus Terminal make trips to Mountain Creek, NJ, Gore Mountain in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in upstate NY and Mount Snow in Vermont’s Green Mountains among others. If you want to explore ski areas and discover country towns it’s easy to rent a ZipCar and head out on your own time schedule. For a year-round skiing option, the first indoor ski slope in North America, Big SNOW, just opened at New Jersey’s American Dream mega mall in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey! For more things to do in winter check out our other NYC winter guide.
Hide Out Indoors
After you’ve had your fill of the outdoors, you can always hide out indoors and partake in the city’s many indoor activities. Escape the cold in a warm theater and catch a performance of one of NYC’s famous Broadway shows. NYC Broadway Week runs from Jan 21- Feb 9, 2020 offering 2-for-1 tickets to many of the best performances currently on stage.
If you love music, the city also hosts a Winter Jazzfest that runs from Jan 9-18, 2020 and takes place over multiple venues throughout the city’s boroughs. You can buy advance tickets on their website to individual shows or a 1 or 2-day marathon pass for Jan 10th & 11th.
Another way to escape the icy temps is by popping into one of NYC’s fireside cafes, restaurants or bars and thawing out amid the cozy ambiance. Serra Alpina by Birreria is a seasonal rooftop greenhouse restaurant on the 14th floor of Eataly NYC Flatiron. Sip cider or a winter-inspired cocktail under snow covered trees and twinkling lights in this winter wonderland straight out of the Italian Alps! If you want to go full Eskimo, the coolest spot to be is 230 Fifth Rooftop’s Igloo Bar where you can have cocktails or a boozy hot chocolate, enjoy a nightly light show and mingle with the city crowd in the comfort of a heated igloo with spectacular NYC views!
It wouldn’t be winter without hot chocolate! Some of our top spots for decadent hot cocoa include Mariebelle (484 Broome St, SoHo), with more than a dozen varieties including Aztec dark chocolate, Indian cardamom and white chocolate Tahitian vanilla, and Dominique Ansel Bakery (189 Spring St, SoHo) where the cocoa is topped with a blooming marshmallow flower with a chocolate truffle inside.
Take Refuge from the Cold in a Cozy Furnished Apartment
When we think of an apartment to hide out from the cold in, we picture exposed brick, fuzzy blankets and a fireplace. Whether it’s a working wood or gas fireplace or a decorative one, nothing sets the winter mood like lounging in a homey apartment with a fireplace nearby. While hearths were originally used for cooking, these historical remnants of NYC past still warm the heart of many. Of course, now you can rent a furnished apartment or vacation rental with a fully equipped kitchen for all your cooking plans. The convenience of a kitchen means not heading out in the cold to look for a restaurant, instead you can stay warm by the stove and whip up a dinner in the comfort of your apartment. Choose from a vast selection of properties in NYC on our site and take advantage of discounted low season winter rates to check out a new area of the city you’d like to explore.
This 1 bedroom furnished apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is located in a beautiful classic brownstone building with a charming decorative fireplace, original ornate mantel, and colorful blue tiles to draw the eye. Just place some battery-operated candles or logs and string lights inside it, turn off the lights and it sets a romantic, cozy wintry mood. The apartment’s location just a stroll from Central Park means you can take a walk among the park’s dreamy snow-covered scenery anytime. If you’re staying through February, read our blog on how to plan Valentine’s Day in NYC on a budget.
Enjoy the snow-covered, tree-lined streets of Boerum Hill at this 1 bedroom furnished Brooklyn apartment with a king-size bed you’ll be tempted to hibernate in until spring, and an extra sleeping alcove to use as a second bedroom. The living room has a charming brick decorative fireplace that you can dine beside and savor some warm winter comfort food. Sliding doors open to the back garden area in case you get the urge to build a snowman. A fully equipped kitchen means you can stay home and cook if it’s too cold to venture outside and a convenient laundry washer/dryer saves you a trip to the laundromat in bad weather. From here you can head to Prospect Park for ice skating, grab a hot toddy at a local bar, or rent a car and skip out of the city to the mountains.
If you’re in NYC for a shorter vacation stay and want an elegant accommodation, this 2 bedroom/3 bath duplex vacation rental in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with an extra sleeping alcove, has plenty of space for a family. The whole gang can lounge in the living room and have a movie night or make use of the modern gas fireplace. Step out on the terrace and watch the snow fall while the in-unit washer/dryer saves you from a trip to the laundromat on icy streets. A spacious open kitchen with granite countertops and a large dining table, makes it easy to feed the whole family while enjoying time together.
Visit our website and send us an apartment request telling our experienced agents your winter wishes and they will find you the perfect apartment to settle into on those chilly nights. Whether it’s the thrill of seeing snow, the excitement of exploring NYC in the winter or the anticipation of the adrenaline-pumping winter activities NYC and it’s surrounding areas have to offer, we’re sure you’ll fall in love with NYC in the wintertime!