18 Winter Things to Do in NYC

Key Takeaways:

– New York City transforms into a winter wonderland with festive lights and holiday cheer.
– Local New Yorkers reveal hidden gems and insider tips for winter activities.
– CityPickle offers indoor pickleball with active community and happy hour.
– The Plaza Hotel offers high tea followed by a burlesque show for a unique experience.
– Mr. Purple rooftop lounge provides panoramic views of the city’s winter charm.
– Hunter Mountain is the nearest skiing destination for New Yorkers.
– QBK Sports offers indoor beach volleyball for a summer-like experience.
– Food tours, such as visiting Bo Ky for noodle soup, are popular winter activities.
– Mountain Creek Resort is a great option for skiing and snowboarding near the city.
– pulsd NYC offers bottomless brunch and Edge Hudson Yards for breathtaking views.
– NYC’s art exhibits, including works by Basquiat and Warhol, are worth exploring.
– Luxury experiences include private shopping, helicopter tours, rooftop ice skating, and spa retreats.
– The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a different experience at night during winter.
– Ice skating at rinks like Wollman Rink and Brookfield Place is a popular activity.
– Visiting holiday markets throughout the city is a favorite winter activity.


New York City, renowned for its dynamic energy, becomes a winter wonderland that offers a unique and enchanting experience for both residents and eager visitors alike. As the chill sets in, the city transforms into a magical landscape adorned with festive lights and a palpable sense of holiday cheer. Winter in NYC unveils a captivating side of the city that’s both cozy and exhilarating for transplants just moving into their first NYC apartment. In this Redfin article, local New Yorkers reveal the winter delights tucked away in various neighborhoods, unveiling hidden gems, and providing a handful of insider’s tips on the best cold-weather experiences the city has to offer. 

1. Play indoor pickleball at CityPickle

“Everyday with pickleball is better than a day without,” says Lydia Hirt, Chief Marketing Officer of CityPickle. “CityPickle is New York City’s only indoor pickleball club, offering four courts that are always the perfect temperature, regardless of the weather outside. Whether you’re located in Long Island City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens, you can always escape the cold and order delicious food and drinks to your court. CityPickle has an active community so it’s easy to make new connections here over happy hour, every day from 4-6PM. And first time players get half off on the courts.”

2. Visit the Plaza Hotel followed by a show

“One of my favorite experiences in New York City involves savoring high tea at the Plaza Hotel followed by the captivating allure of a burlesque show,” says Events by Mala. “It is a cherished blend of refined elegance and theatrical entertainment that adds a unique and memorable touch to the vibrant tapestry of the city’s offerings. The sophistication of high tea and burlesque, creating an unforgettable fusion that captures the essence of NYC’s diverse and dynamic cultural scene.”

3. Visit a magical rooftop

“Experience the magic of winter in New York City at Mr. Purple, where the vibrant energy of the Lower East Side meets the cozy warmth of the season,” suggests the NYC nightlife pioneers,  Gerber Group. “Nestled atop Hotel Indigo LES, Mr. Purple offers a stylish urban retreat with panoramic views of the city’s iconic skyline. As snow blankets the streets below, indulge in crafted cocktails and tasty bites in the chic, rooftop lounge. The terrace provides the perfect vantage point to admire the city’s winter charm, making your visit to Mr. Purple a perfect blend of coziness and the lively allure of a NYC winter.”

4. Go skiing at Hunter Mountain

“The winter holidays are an exceptionally busy time for catering and events, so the start of the new year is an opportunity to rest, and catch up on my favorite NYC winter hobby: skiing,” says  Event Planner, Renee Kehinde, from RSVP Events in NYC. “I just discovered skiing a few years ago, and Hunter Mountain is the nearest mountain to NYC where New Yorkers can visit to practice skiing, or just enjoy the beauty of the mountains and snow.” 

5. Play indoor beach volleyball

Sophia Jin from QBK Sports shares, “Beat the winter blues without leaving the heart of NYC by immersing yourself in the exhilarating world of beach volleyball at QBK Sports. Swap snow boots for bare feet on three, meticulously crafted indoor sand courts. Transport yourself back to summer, and cap off a game with an ice-cold beer or piña colada—all under one roof.” 

6. Go on a food tour

Scott Goodfriend from Ultimate Food Tours says, “My favorite winter activity in New York City is getting a big bowl of noodle soup at Bo Ky, their chili oil is delicious. After filling up with their delicious, warm broth, I take a walk north through SoHo, pop into the cool shops, and end with a sweet treat in the West Village.” 

7. Spend the day at Mountain Creek 

“The best way to enjoy winter in the city is to get out of it,” says George Li from Sourced Adventures. “For example, together with your friends, spend a day at Mountain Creek Resort. Mountain Creek Resort, only 47 miles from NYC, is perfect for new skiers starting their skiing or snowboarding adventure. It is the #1 choice for ski beginners from NYC with easy slopes, helpful instructors, and places to practice tricks at your own pace. Sourced Adventures will take you there on its weekend Day Trips.”

8. See what promotions are available in the city

Zoe Lindquist from pulsd NYC shares, “New York City is magical this time of year. Cold, sure, but enchanting. pulsd has a ton of experiences that our members love this time of year, but I especially love a bottomless brunch at TacoVision because nothing warms me up like endless tacos and margaritas. If I want to see the city in all its glory, Edge Hudson Yards is a no-brainer. The glass floor amps up the thrills and the views are unmatched – especially with a hot chocolate in hand.”

9. Check out one of many NYC’s art exhibits 

“My favorite artists in NYC include Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol,” says Evan Peterson from New York Events. “I love perusing the museums and galleries checking out their work. After their formal introduction in 1982 at Warhol’s Factory, the two would meet regularly, working on multiple monumental canvases at once, resulting in over 160 collaborative works created in the short period of from late 1983 to 1985.”

10. Indulge yourself in any of these luxury experiences

Jean Charles Vaneck, CEO of Sumptuous Events shares, “Even in the heart of winter in NYC, there are still plenty of lavish experiences for those seeking to indulge themselves. Here are a few winter season upscale things to do in the city:

  • Private shopping on Fifth Ave: Explore the world’s most prestigious luxury brands along Fifth Avenue, with personal shoppers and private viewing rooms for an exclusive experience.
  • Helicopter tour over Manhattan: Soar above city lights on a private helicopter tour, capturing the glistening winter landscape of Central Park and iconic skyscrapers for a breathtaking perspective.
  • Rooftop ice skating at The Standard, High Line: Enjoy ice-skating with a touch of sophistication at The Standard, High Line, offering stunning views of the city skyline for a perfect blend of winter fun and luxury.
  • Luxury spa retreats: Escape the cold with a rejuvenating spa day at one of New York’s luxurious wellness retreats, indulging in world-class treatments and tranquil settings to unwind and recharge.”


11. Metropolitan Museum of Art

“My favorite winter activity is visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and going to the 81st street entrance instead of the main entrance on 82nd to skip the long lines,” recommends Nick Gray, founder of Museum Hack. “Anyone can go inside and you can buy tickets there just like in the main entrance.

Second is, I love how they are open late on Friday and Saturday nights until 9 PM and that during winter, because it’s dark outside and sometimes snowing, the museum looks beautiful at night. The experience is totally different at night than during the daytime. There are many curatorial decisions that are made about the lighting and it looks very beautiful.”

12. Try your hand (or feet) at ice skating

“It can be difficult to find outdoor activities in NYC during the winter months,” says James Higgins from Integrative Physical Therapy of NYC. “NYC has various ice skating rinks, particularly Wollman Rink in Central Park and The Rink at Bryant Park. We additionally recommend going on runs along the many paths of Central Park.”

Brianne Manz from Stroller in the City says, “Living in the city, we are constantly trying to find fun activities to spend time together. With the winter here, it gets more difficult to stay active outdoors, but one thing we never tire of is practicing our ice skating skills. One of our favorite NYC rinks is the Brookfield Place rink. Not only is it practically in our backyard, but they have fantastic bites and hot cocoa to be had at the dining spots at Brookfield Place. The smaller rink makes it easier for beginner skaters and the views of the water are the best in town.”

13. Hit up all the holiday markets

“One of my favorite winter activities in New York City is visiting the various holiday markets scattered throughout the city,” suggests Eliot Podgorsky at Aviator Sports. “These markets, such as the Union Square Holiday Market, Bryant Park Winter Village, and Columbus Circle Holiday Market, offer a unique and festive experience that captures the essence of the season.

What makes exploring these holiday markets a beloved activity is the vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings. Visitors can browse through an array of artisanal goods, handcrafted gifts, festive decorations, and indulge in delectable seasonal treats. The markets also feature live performances, ice skating rinks, and other entertainment, fostering a joyous ambiance for everyone.”

14. Classic holiday rituals in NYC 

“Growing up outside the Big Apple, I adored visiting the city in winter,” says Kathy Rusch from  Rusch To The Outdoors. “It’s then that Manhattan becomes a magical place as the streets become dusted with glistening snow. I loved gazing at the store window displays along Fifth Avenue before warming up in St Patrick’s Cathedral. During Christmas time, I counted myself lucky to witness the hilarious Santa Bicycle Parade or watch guests sip tea in The Plaza’s Palm Court. No matter what, my trip always ended with a visit to Central Park and the fabulous zoo.”

15. Grab hot chocolate

“Warm up with hot chocolate in Flatiron & NoMad this winter,” says Melissa Benedek from Flatiron & NoMad. “From Blossoming Hot Chocolate at Dominique Ansel Workshop to Lavender Hot Chocolate at maman, enjoy some cocoa happiness as you explore Flatiron & NoMad, home to world-class shopping, dining and experiences in the heart of NYC.”

16. Join a recreational league

“Our favorite winter activity is – you guessed it – playing sports,” says Jill Nawoyski, Marketing Manager from ZogSports. “We love seeing our players make connections in our recreational leagues around NYC during the winter. Whether they’re playing pickleball at Chelsea Piers, Basketball at 14th Street Y, or Cornhole at Beer Authority, they’re staying out of the cold and having a blast.”

17. Host an event with your coworkers

ZogCulture shares, “Our favorite winter activity is hosting virtual corporate events for our clients. We get to help companies foster connections and team building amongst their employees without even having to leave the house.”

18. Book a private tour at the MOMA

“New York City is a sight to behold when blanketed in a rare blanket of fresh snow. On such a day, I would bundle up my littles and head out for an adventure,” shares travel writer Amanda Blakley. “Inspired by the iconic children’s novel ‘From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’ by E.L. Konigsburg, we would visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I might splurge and book a private tour. Then we would have a cozy bowl of matzo ball soup and cheese blintzes at nearby Eli’s Table.”

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Property Chomp’s Take:

Market and the Bryant Park Winter Village, offer a unique shopping experience filled with artisanal crafts, delicious food, and festive decorations. It’s the perfect opportunity to find unique gifts for loved ones while immersing yourself in the holiday spirit.

14. Take a stroll through Central Park
During winter, Central Park transforms into a winter wonderland, offering breathtaking views and serene landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll through the park, surrounded by snow-covered trees and frozen lakes. You can even rent a pair of ice skates and glide across the Wollman Rink, enjoying the iconic scenery.

15. Attend a Broadway show
Winter in NYC is the perfect time to catch a Broadway show. From classic musicals to thought-provoking dramas, the city offers a wide range of performances to suit every taste. Snuggle up in a cozy theater and let the magic of the stage transport you to another world.

16. Explore the holiday window displays
New York City is famous for its elaborate holiday window displays, especially along Fifth Avenue. Take a walk down this iconic street and marvel at the creative and intricate designs that adorn the storefronts. It’s a magical experience that will make you feel like you’re stepping into a fairytale.

17. Attend the Winter Village at Bryant Park
The Winter Village at Bryant Park is a must-visit during the winter season. This outdoor market features over 170 holiday shops, an ice skating rink, and a cozy lodge where you can warm up with hot cocoa or mulled wine. It’s the perfect place to soak up the festive atmosphere and do some holiday shopping.

18. Enjoy a hot chocolate at Serendipity 3
Warm up with a decadent hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, a famous dessert destination in NYC. Their frozen hot chocolate is a must-try, but they also offer a variety of other flavors and toppings to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s the perfect treat to indulge in on a cold winter day.

19. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park
Experience the charm of a bygone era with a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park. Snuggle up under a cozy blanket as you glide through the park, taking in the sights and sounds of winter. It’s a romantic and nostalgic way to explore the city.

20. Attend the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square
If you’re in NYC for New Year’s Eve, there’s no better place to be than Times Square. Join the crowds as they count down to midnight and watch the iconic ball drop. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Winter in New York City is truly a magical time. From holiday markets to ice skating rinks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Embrace the chilly weather and explore the city’s enchanting winter wonders. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, the unique and enchanting experiences of winter in NYC will leave you with cherished memories and a yearning to return again and again.

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