There are plenty of things to do in New York during winter but, if you only have a few days to spend in this gigantic city you have to make a choice! Here is a list of must-do activities which I hope will help you to make up your mind.
Drink a delicious hot chocolate
One of the things to do in New York in winter is to have a nice hot chocolate. The Max Brenner is a spacious and cosy restaurant near Union Square which offers delicious hot chocolates all day long. You can combine one of three chocolates (dark, milk, white) with a serving style (whipped cream, marshmallows, Italian thick, Mexican spicy) to create your own drink. No better way to start your day in the cold winter of New York than to enjoy this delicious beverage! Open daily from 9am to 12pm or 14h (depending on the day).
Address: 841 Broadway, south of Union Square.
See the lights of Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal offers a light show in its main hall every day from the end of November until December 26, from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Every half hour, we see dozens of people arriving with flashlights and making them dance above travellers and tourists’s heads, creating a truly glittering show which lasts 6 minutes.Whilst you are in Grand Central Terminal take the opportunity to go and see its huge Christmas market with over 70 stands. It is open from November 17th to December 24th 2014.
Address: Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd Street, New York 10017.
Go to the Christmas markets of New York
We can’t imagine going to New York in winter without visiting the Christmas markets! They are everywhere in the city, such as Grand Central Terminal which I just mentioned above, and here are 2 others ones:
– The Christmas market in Union Square Park which is very nice and it will get you into the Christmas spirit. No doubt you will find some good gift ideas … It is open from November 20th to December 24th.
Address: Union Square, 14th-17th Street (Broadway and Park), New York 10001
– The Bryant Park Winter village offers 125 small cosy shops and also an ice rink. The perfect place to do your Christmas shopping while the kids are having fun ice skating 😉 The market is open from October 21st, 2014 to January 4th, 2015.
Address: Bryant Park 6th Ave. between W. 40th and W. 42nd Sts., New York 10017.
Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center
Talking about ice rinks, here is another one you have to include in your list of things to do in New York in the winter!
Rockefeller Center is one of the most famous buildings in New York where the famous Christmas tree stands tall and proud (69 to 100 feet tall). An ideal place where you feel the magic of both Christmas and New York simultaneously.
New Yorkers and tourists love to go there to skate on the ice rink every year, even if the price is quite expensive ($ 27- $ 30 for 1h30 per adult and $ 15 per child + ice skate rental of $ 12), it is definitely worth it!
Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Dining by a fire place
After a hard session of ice skating in the cold winter, nothing is more enjoyable than sitting by a fireplace and enjoying a hot meal … Here are 2 places we recommend:
Inspired by the brasseries in France and New York, it offers independent wine producers, artisanal cheeses, local beers and a bistro menu with, for example, coq au vin, snails and mussels with chips. Oak Wood everywhere, furnished with comfortable sofas and mismatched chairs, this place is very intimate and cosy and you feel at home straight away.
Address: 533 Grand St (between Lorimer St and Union Ave)
This tavern doesnt offer gourmet cuisine and we are far away from that but you can eat delicious burgers, nachos, pizzas and sandwiches at very reasonable prices. It is often crowded but the place is very nice and very cosy with its library and fireplace. Try it!
Address: 702 Union St (between Fifth and Sixth Aves).
Horse-drawn carriage ride in Central Park
It is a good idea which doesnt take too much time (about an hour), and gives you the opportunity to take a ride in Central Park. It wont allow you to see the whole park because it is really huge but you will see the most beautiful spots and have the pleasure to hear your horse trotting along. A great souvenir to bring in your luggage but it has a cost: 27 € per person (maximum 4 people per carriage). You can buy your tickets at the park entrance.
Tips: wrap up warm and go during the sunset, you will see the reflections of New York skyline in the lake, it’s magical!
See the Christmas decorations in New York
New Yorkers are very good for christmas decorations, even extravagant, I would say. That’s why so many tourists choose to go to NYC during Christmas time. One of the areas which has the most beautiful decorations is the Dyker Heights, in Brooklyn, between 11th and 13th Avenue (from 83th to 86th Street). You will be impressed! The houses are so incredibly decorated that it is possible to have a guided tour.
In another location: The famous Macy’s is very well decorated. Plus, it is the ideal place to go shopping because it is the world’s largest department store and they offer great discounts. You can even take a photo of your child with Santa Claus! Also, there is the 5th Avenue with its luxury boutiques offering incredible decorations which will take your breath away. It is a real show for both children and adults. And if you don’t want to shop go anyway because it really is worth it!
See the musical Radio City Christmas Spectacular
This is THE show to see on Broadway in November and December. You will see many differently decorated stages during the show and many special effects. You will hear the most famous Christmas songs and admire the classical dances performed by the Rockettes with impressive costumes.
The show kicks off with a mind-blowing 3-D sleigh ride through NYC, led by no other than Santa Claus himself! To put you in the Christmas spirit.
Here is my list of things to do in New York in the winter and I hope it will help make your stay unforgettable. Feel free to add other activities, your opinions are always welcome!