Although the classic Christmas carol states that winter means there is "simply no place to go,” New York City proves otherwise. From December to February, the city explodes with holiday spirit and wintertime fun. Discover all the events and things to do in New York City during the winter.
Urbanspace’s holiday market is internationally known as one of the most elegant and festive places for holiday shopping. Lose yourself in glittering aisles of art, jewelry, home goods, and food from local artisans. Now expanded to three locations, Columbus Circle, Union Square and Bryant Park, which also features a spectacular Christmas tree and ice skating rink, discover New York City’s favorite Christmas shopping spot.
During the winter, the Broadway becomes extra festive with wintertime holiday spirit. December always features limited runs of explosive holiday Broadway performances. Past productions have included Elf The Musical, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Holiday Inn, and A Christmas Story: The Musical.
Travel Tip: Although Broadway performances may come with a steep price tag, during Broadway Week (which actually lasts for the three weeks starting in mid-January) select shows, offer a discounted rate of two-for-one tickets.
As a city known for its skyscrapers, it is no surprise that NYC is obsessed with constructing larger than life Gingerbread displays. During December, the New York Hall of Science in Queens features the world’s largest collection of gingerbread houses, and Madison Square Park in Midtown transforms into a life-size gingerbread village. After you see some inspiration, design your own edible art! Partake in the New York Hall of Science’s gingerbread lane
New York City has plenty of sledding hills for a snowy adrenaline rush. The most popular is Central Park’s Pilgrim Hill, a family-friendly slope famous for its ideal steepness and smooth finish. For a more relaxed ride, try the gentler Cedar Hill also located in Central Park. When in Brooklyn visit Prospect Park’s Long Meadow, another family-friendly sledding hill, or try of the slightly chaotic hills of Fort Green Park.
NYC Restaurant Week is a semiannual event that celebrates fine dining at an affordable price. Participating restaurants offer specially priced three-course prix-fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner. Although the participating eateries change every year, we recommend The Lambs Club for a celebrity chef experience or ABC Cocina for quintessential, trendy NYC dining. Be sure to make reservations for these popular restaurants in advance.
Experience forward-thinking contemporary music at Winter Jazzfest. This week long celebration not only boasts over 150 performances from established as well as up-and-coming jazz musicians, but also kicks off with the over-the-top Winter Jazzfest Marathon weekend where musicians simultaneously perform across eleven different stages throughout the city.
As the weather gets colder, head indoors and explore the highly anticipated winter exhibits of New York’s, and possibly the world’s, finest museums. This winter, go back in time at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Unpacking Fashion. This exhibit showcases 60 costumes dating back to the 18th century that present fashion as an interpretation of history, or imagine the future at the Whitney Museum of American Art with Red in View, the exhibit that examines Mars as a possible place for settlement and a resource for our own planet, as well as a site of possible human origin.
Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year celebration kicks off with the Firecracker Ceremony honoring the first night of the new lunar year, but the best festivities happen 15 days later at the Lunar New Year Parade. The promenade includes elaborate floats, marching bands, dragon dances, musicians, magicians, acrobats, and local organizations totaling over 5,000 people. During the parade, Chinatown becomes overflowing with food and vendor stalls for a whole day of fun.
In New York City, hot chocolate has evolved from a quick grab-and-go drink to a decadent dessert. For the perfect example of this elevated treat savor the "original" at the City Bakery in Flatiron. We also recommend a visit to MarieBelle in SoHo for a spectrum of chocolate flavors ranging from 60 to 80 percent cocoa content as well as white chocolate varieties, or for something even more exotic, try Queens based Martha's Country Bakery serving up flavors beyond the standard chocolate including peanut butter and red velvet.
New Orleans is not the only place to celebrate Mardi Gras. New York City also hosts parties and happenings to experience Fat Tuesday. The Saturday before the big day, join the 2nd Avenue Mardi Gras Bar Crawl for a whole day of boozy fun. Then on the big night visit one of the many avant-garde parties hosted at the city’s best Cajun and Creole restaurants like Bourbon Street Bar & Grille and Great Jones Café.