Wintertime in New York City

Wintertime in New York City

Winter is a magical time in NYC. Tens of thousands of Christmas lights hang from the trees and buildings in NYC and cast a warm glow across the streets. Snow blankets the city's surfaces and the fast pace of life becomes just a little slower, as New Yorkers and tourists alike take time to appreciate the splendor of NYC in the winter.

The appeal of wintertime in New York City extends far beyond the picturesque sights and friendly atmosphere. There is no shortage of fun festivities, seasonal traditions, and holiday celebrations to enjoy on a winter vacation in NYC. From the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center to New Year's Eve in Times Square, New York City truly becomes a winter wonderland each and every year.

NYC Winter Activities

Between seeing a holiday show, shopping for presents at world-class NYC department stores, taking a tour of the city's best Christmas lights and decorations, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, or watching the ball drop on in Times Square on New Year's Eve, there's a fun wintertime activity in NYC to please even the grumpiest grinch or surliest scrooge. 

  • Ice Skating in NYC: When the temperature drops, it's time to lace up the skates and hit the ice at one of a dozen ice skating rinks in New York City. The world-famous Ice Skating Rink at Rockefeller Center attracts over a quarter of a million skaters every year who come to glide across the ice in Midtown Manhattan and gaze up at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree towering above. Head uptown to Central Park, where skaters can take to the ice while enjoying breathtaking Central Park scenery at Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. Across the river in Brooklyn, the indoor Abe Stark Skating Rink on Coney Island offers family-friendly fun in NYC no matter what the winter weather has in store.
  • NYC Holiday Shows: On Broadway or off, holiday shows have become a wintertime tradition in New York City. For over 75 years, the Radio City Rockettes have been high-kicking holiday cheer across the world-famous Radio City Music Hall stage at the family-friendly Radio City Christmas Spectacular show. At nearby David H. Koch Theatre in Midtown West, the New York City Ballet brings back childhood memories with fabulous performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.
  • New York City Holiday Sights: Tourists on a budget can get in the holiday spirit by checking out a plethora of free wintertime attractions in New York City. Among the season's most extravagant sights are the Christmas window displays at NYC department stores. Every winter, thousands of spectators line the sidewalks of Times Square and Fifth Avenue to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring, multi-million dollar exhibitions inside the windows of Lord & Taylor, Barneys NY, Bergdorf Goodman and other world-class shopping destinations in NYC. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is another must-see holiday attraction in NYC. Standing between 65-90 feet tall and decorated with 30,000 environmentally-friendly lights, the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree is truly a sight to behold.
  • Christmas Shopping in NYC: From kitschy souvenirs to lavish silk gowns, a gift suited for every taste and budget awaits at the chic boutiques, huge department stores, cheap holiday bazaars and countless other retail shops in NYC. For extravagant Christmas shopping with a hefty price tag, Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is home to upscale boutiques and designer stores like Prada, DKNY, Roberto Cavalli, and Chloe. Splurge on a Christmas or Hannukah present at Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Emilio Pucci, or one of many other fine shops along Fifth Avenue. This world-renowned shopping destination in NYC also caters to holiday shoppers on tighter budgets, with stores like H & M, Zara, Abercrombie & Fitch and the Gap. For a unique New York shopping experience, holiday bazaars in NYC offer affordable handmade goods and unique gift items in a fun and festive atmosphere. Indoor and outdoor holiday markets like the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair, Crafts at the Cathedral, and the Union Square Park Holiday Market spring up throughout NYC every winter and are popular among tourists and local New Yorkers alike.
  • NYC Holiday Celebrations: The winter months in NYC are filled with exciting events and holiday festivities that draw visitors from all over the world. The popular New York Matzo Ball takes place every year on Christmas Eve in downtown Manhattan and is the city's premier event for Jewish singles. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Lighting of the Hannukah Menorah in Central Park are free holiday festivities in NYC that the whole family will enjoy. Another free winter celebration in NYC is the famous New Year's Eve Celebration in Times Square. This wildly popular NYE party in NYC attracts a crowd of nearly one million revelers who come to Times Square to watch the ball drop and ring in the new year in style. 

Click here for more information about where to stay and where to play on a winter vacation in NYC!

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