Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to BLOG

Top 30 Winter NYC Activities – Things To Do in New York When it’s Cold

a person riding on the back of a boat in the water

The Big Apple has tons of things to do, even during the cold winter months. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or a fun day with the family, there’s something for everyone in New York City. continue reading to learn about all of the fun things to do in NYC around Christmas.

Weather Conditions in New York City

The coldest month in NYC tends to be January. During this time, the average high is around 39 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lows are around 34 degrees Fahrenheit. The average winter snowfall is 25 inches, and it is typically heaviest in December, January, and February.

Now that you know what to expect weather-wise, here’s a list of the top winter activities in New York City.

Top Winter Activities In New York

Check out these 30 things to do in NYC in winter:

1. Twirl around an Ice Rink

skating at rockefeller plaza new york

One of the most popular winter activities in NYC is ice skating. There are numerous rinks throughout the city, including iconic spots such as Rockefeller Center, Central Park and Bryant Park. Whether you want a leisurely skate or a competitive game of hockey, you’ll find something to suit your needs.

2. Go on a Shopping Spree

The Big Apple is also home to some of the best shopping in the world. Whether you want luxury brands or bargains, NYC has it all. Head to iconic department stores such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s or check out the designer boutiques. If you’re looking for a bargain, hit up the outlet stores in Chelsea and Manhattan’s Garment District. And if you are looking to stay warm, you can also head to one of the city’s winter indoor flea markets.

3. Take in Some Theater

New York City is home to some of the best theater productions in the world. Whether you want to see a classic musical like The Lion King or a modern hit such as Hamilton, you’ll find something to suit your tastes. Be sure to check out the Broadway discounts at TKTS for discounted tickets to some of the most beloved shows in NYC.

4. Visit Museums

American Museum of Natural History, NY

Winter is a great time to explore the many wonderful museums in NYC. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim are just a few of the must-see destinations in NYC. Don’t miss out on some of the smaller museums such as MoMA PS1 and El Museo del Barrio either.

5. Enjoy the Holiday Events

The winter months are a great time to experience some of the city’s most festive holiday events. Head to Bryant Park for Winter Village, or visit one of the many Christmas markets in NYC. You can also take a stroll down Fifth Avenue and check out the beautiful window displays at iconic stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

6. Take a Hot Tub Boat Tour

NYC offers plenty of activities you can enjoy on the water. For example, you can brave the cold and take a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, or explore the city’s waterways with Sea The City’s Hot Tub Boat Tour. Our Hot Tub Boat Tour is a unique way to explore NYC from the water in the winter months. You can soak up the views of Manhattan from your hot tub, and it’s BYOB and lots of excitement for the entire tour. It’s a great way to get outdoors without feeling the chill!

7. Sample NYC’s Many Restaurants

No trip to NYC would be complete without sampling some of the amazing food the city has to offer. From critically acclaimed restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin to pizza spots like Lombardi’s and John’s of Bleecker Street, there is something for everyone in NYC. Be sure to check out the rooftop and winter terraces for breathtaking views of the city.

8. Have Some Fun Bowling

There are plenty of bowling alleys throughout the city, including Brooklyn Bowl and The Gutter. Both spots offer fun activities for all ages, as well as delicious food and drinks. Head to either spot for a night of laughs and some friendly competition with your friends and family.

9. Take a Free City Tour

Free Tours by Foot, NY

New York City offers tours through anything from Radio Music City Hall to the Brooklyn Bridge. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for an interesting way to explore the city, there are plenty of options. Companies such as Big Apple Greeters and Free Tours by Foot offer free city tours so that you can make the most out of your budget.

10. Enjoy Outdoor Activities

NYC may be cold in the winter months, but there are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Take a stroll through Central Park or explore Governors Island for stunning views of Manhattan. You can also head to Brooklyn Bridge Park and take part in ice skating or snowshoeing.

11. Catch Up on the Latest Movies

Winter is a great time to catch up on some of the year’s most anticipated films. Midtown Manhattan has two iconic movie theaters: the AMC Empire and IMAX at Lincoln Square. Head to either spot for a night of entertainment away from the cold.

12. Have Brunch at a Winter Cafe

If you’re looking for a cozy spot to have brunch, look no further than the winter cafes in NYC. There are plenty of options throughout the city, from outdoor terraces to heated igloos. Try a cafe like Drexler’s or The Wythe Hotel for delicious food and drinks with friends.

13. Laugh at a Comedy Club

Winter is a great time to take in some comedy. Clubs such as the Comedy Cellar and UCB Theatre offer stand-up shows with some of the city’s best comedians. If you prefer something more low key, there are plenty of open mic nights and improv comedy shows around NYC.

14. Marvel at Times Square

Times Square, NY

There’s nothing quite like Times Square in the winter months. The iconic spot is lit up with bright lights and decorations, making it an ideal destination for a romantic evening or a fun night out with friends. Of course, the famous ball drop on New Year’s Eve is a must-see.

15. Visit the Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society offers a variety of educational experiences at its four zoos and one aquarium throughout NYC. The Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo are all great places to explore in the winter months. They’re also home to some of the world’s most amazing creatures.

16. Embrace the Cold with the Polar Bear Plunge

This one is not for the faint of heart. For a truly unique NYC experience, take part in the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Each year, locals brave the cold waters of Coney Island to plunge into the Atlantic Ocean and support Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses.

17. Attend the Westminster Dog Show

This winter, make sure to check out the Westminster Dog Show. The event is held each year in February and showcases some of the world’s most impressive canines. Attendees can also get up close and personal with their four-legged friends at petting zoos and meet-and-greets throughout the show.

18. Head to a Fun Parade

NYC is famous for its parades. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, there are plenty of annual events in the city that celebrate different occasions during the cold season. Head to one of these iconic parades and take part in the excitement and energy of NYC.

19. Stay Cozy at the Chapel Bar & Lounge

This winter, make sure to check out Chapel Bar & Lounge. The cozy spot has a stunning fireplace and plenty of warm drinks to keep you warm during the cold months. They also host live music events throughout the season, so you can enjoy some entertainment while staying cozy.

20. Take a Pizza-Making Class

Winter is the perfect time to learn new skills. Take a pizza-making class and learn how to make NYC’s famous thin-crust pizza. You can also participate in a cheese-making workshop or pasta-making class at various locations around the city.

21. Check Out Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year Celebration, NY

In February, New York comes alive with Chinese New Year celebrations. From fireworks and lion dances to traditional parades and performances, there are plenty of events throughout the city for you to explore. Make sure to check out Chinatown for a truly unique experience.

22. Curl up at a Bookstore

The Big Apple has slews of bookstores. One for the “books” is Archestratus Books & Foods in Brooklyn. This cozy spot is the perfect place to curl up with a good book and enjoy some delicious food and drinks. Browsing their large collection you are sure to find local and vintage cookbooks, chef biographies, and many other interesting reads. They even gift wrap your finds for you if you want to pick something up for a friend.

23. See the Lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree

If you’re a fan of the holiday season, make sure to participate in one of NYC’s most iconic winter events. The Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting is one of the most beloved traditions in the city and draws locals and visitors alike each year. The tree is illuminated with thousands of lights, making it an unforgettable sight.

24. Warm up at the Butterfly Conservatory

During the winter months, escape from the cold at the Butterfly Conservatory. Located in Central Park, this spot is home to more than 500 colorful butterflies and lush plants. Visitors can take part in lectures and activities throughout the day or simply relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of this tropical paradise.

25. Attend a Fashion Party

During the winter months, make sure to attend one of NYC’s many fashion parties. From themed events and runway shows to catwalk competitions and live music performances, there is something for everyone at these unique gatherings. For example, if you are looking for things to do in NYC in December that’s glamor-packed, Gatsby’s Fireworks Yacht Party New Year’s Eve bash won’t disappoint. 

26. See Christmas Lights in Dyker Heights

Exploring the city’s Christmas lights is a must-do during the cold winter months. Head to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn for some of the most impressive displays in NYC, where area homes and businesses go all out with festive decorations. Make sure to bundle up and grab your camera for some stunning picturesque shots of the borough’s holiday spirit.

27. Experience Culture at an Art Gallery

Garden Court - The Frick Collection, ny

The art scene in NYC is vibrant year-round, and it is especially vibrant during the cold winter months. Make sure to check out some of the city’s best galleries like the Whitney Museum of American Art or The Frick Collection. Both spots offer an inspiring experience where you can take in some amazing works that span different eras and genres.

28. Tour the New York Catacombs

If you’re looking for a unique winter experience, take a tour of the New York Catacombs by candlelight. This underground journey takes visitors through the bowels of Manhattan and offers an unforgettable experience. During your visit, you’ll learn about NYC history and see some of the city’s most stunning sights and artifacts.

29. Go Indoor Skydiving

Of the fun things to do in NYC in winter, indoor skydiving is a great winter activity for thrill-seekers. iFly Indoor Skydiving offers an unforgettable experience as you float through the air and get a chance to experience freefall without having to jump out of a plane.

30. Puzzle Your Way Through an Escape Room

Escape rooms are a thrilling and fun way to spend an afternoon, especially during the cold winter months. Solve puzzles, find clues and work together with your team to escape the room before time runs out. NYC has some of the best escape rooms around so make sure to check them out!

As you can plainly see, there are plenty of winter activities that will make you never wonder what to do on a cold day in NYC again. From holiday lights and art galleries to indoor skydiving and escape rooms, new york in wintertime is an unparalleled delight. There is a world of wonder in the Big Apple for everyone, no matter the weather or your preferences, so don’t let the cold keep you from having a great time. 

Fun on the NYC Hot Tub Boat

Enjoy Winter in NYC with Sea the City’s Incredible Hot Tub Boat Tour!

Sea the City’s Hot Tub Boat Tour is the most luxurious 90 minutes you’ll spend this winter. This one-of-a-kind tour offers stunning views of NYC while you relax in a hot tub under the stars! Enjoy the amazing skyline views while you soak in the hot tub among your friends – this is truly a unique experience that can’t be missed. Reserve your spot and start planning the perfect winter getaway in NYC!

Our Jet Ski Tours Launch Just 10 Minutes from Manhattan.

  • Posted in:
Starting at $169

Sea the City Jet Ski tours offer a unique way for tourists and New Yorkers alike to get up close to the sights and attractions on their very own Jet Ski. Book online today!

What you’ll see: Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, Freedom Tower, Janes Carousel, One Brooklyn Park, South Street Seaport, Empire State Building, and more!