Winter in New York is magical. It's truly every scene from every Christmas movie ever set in NYC. The crisp air has made us forget all about those sweaty subway rides from the summer past and the first dusting of snow over Central Park begins to melt our cold New Yorker souls. While winter everywhere else can be fairly miserable, in NYC it comes with a whole list of new activities we've been waiting all year for.
I get asked all the time about recommendations on where to stay, where to eat and things to do in New York and honestly, it depends on the experience you want to have.. If this is your first time to New York and you're looking to tick all the touristy stuff off your list, my recommendations will be much different than if you're a New York visiting vet and want a more local "New Yorker" experience. With that being said, here is what I think you can't miss at winter time in New York City, no matter what!
Ice Skating in New York is a magical experience, like literally something you see in every Christmas movie set in New York. You don't have to be a great skater, or let's be honest, a skater at all, to enjoy the experience of the cool air swirling around you as you take in the city scenery as you glide along (we can pretend gracefully). Just rent some skates, bundle up, buy some hot chocolate and enjoy! You have so many options of where to ice skate, whether it be in Central Park, Bryant Park, Battery Park, or Rockefeller Center.
P.S. Rockefeller's rink is most iconic, but pretty small so if you're looking for a rink with more space, I recommend Central Park or second to that, Bryant Park.
Central Park Strolling
Central Park is one of the best things about New York no matter what time of year. Just because there is a chill in the air doesn't mean you should skip the outdoors. You may not feel up for renting bikes but a winter stroll around the ponds, past the fountain and on to Belvedere Castle, it's an experience that can't be missed. You can also take a horse drawn carriage, however I can't comment, as this isn't something I've done. I recommend stopping for some hot chocolate or coffee and bundling up! The best time to go is just after a fresh dusting of snow!
If you're visiting before Christmas, then you can't miss out on the Christmas Markets. They are scattered around the city but most have similar venders. My favorites are Union Square, Bryant Park and Central Park. You'll find all kinds of unique and quirky gifts from jewelry, art, scarves and gloves to hot chocolate and edible goodies! This is a fun activity to do with friends or family and there is no pressure to buy anything (but I bet you will).
We all know about the giant Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and it truly is a site to see. Along with the tree, the whole plaza is completely decked out in over the top, stunningly beautiful Christmas decor that you won't want to miss.
P.S. If you are visiting after Christmas, it's important to know that they remove the tree and decor in the first week in January.
5th Avenue shopping
5th avenue shopping is a must all year around, but in the winter you get to experience all the beautiful Christmas windows and decor, plus all the great gift giving ideas. Be sure to stop by Lord & Taylor, Macy's, SAKs, Barney's and Bloomingdales for the best window displays! Wear your comfy shoes, you're bound to be doing tons of walking!
There are SO many more amazing things to do in NYC. If you have something that's on your "can't miss" list, share below and PIN IT for your next NYC Trip!