10+ Things to Do in New York in Winter 2018 – January & February Activities & More

Winter in New York City is full of white lights, window displays, shopping, and more.

From outdoor skating to seasonal festivals, there’s fun for everyone this time of year. So if you’re looking for things to do in New York in Winter 2017-2018, check out our list of the best holiday activities and attractions.

Save on Winter Attraction Admission

Regular admission to a number of these attractions are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®.

Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available New York passes, attractions & prices.

Please note, some of these special Winter events may be separately ticketed and not available on the Explorer Pass.

For more ideas, check out our Christmas in New York post – for more fun holiday themed activity ideas.

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Explore the NFL Experience at Times Square

NFL-Experience-Times-Square-5With the Superbowl looming, now is the time to indulge your love for the NFL. This exciting attraction — located conveniently right in Times Square — is an immersive experience for the American football fan that simply can’t be beat.

Come here to see what it’s like to be an NFL player, starting at the NFL Combine and stretching to eventual Superbowl victory. For starters, you’ll enjoy an exhilarating 4-D theater/thrill ride experience that can’t be beat! (pictured above)

You’ll also get to explore a gallery of artifacts from all NFL teams, try your hand at a vertical jump test, test your aptitude at NFL trivia, play around with real and digital tracking activities, and so much more.

It’s basically like being a newbie on the Patriots squad.

Getting In: NFL Experience Times Square tickets are available on the New York City Explorer Pass.

Go Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center

New  York City has a few places to enjoy the popular winter sport, so you have a few options to choose from:

ice skating rockefeller center

Ice skating at the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center might be the most quintessential winter New York City activity and it’s one of the most iconic places in the world to skate.

After some laps around the rink, warm up with a cup of hot cocoa at any of the nearby coffee shops or cafes; we like Rock Center Cafe for its prime views of the rink.

Snap a holiday card-worthy pic with the famous tree in Rockefeller Square, tour the center, and take a trip to the top of the building for sweeping winter views of the New York City skyline.

Image credit: Bryant Park Facebook page.

Image credit: Bryant Park Facebook page.

If you’d rather avoid the hard-to-navigate crowds that are sure to be at Rockefeller Center, head to the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park for free admission for ice skating every day, through January.

At Winter Village, you can get quality Skate rentals, sharpening, lessons, and there are bag checks and lockers available. Afterwards, stop in Celsius for a bite to eat and festive drinks while you warm back up.

Head to Wollman Rink in Central Park for skating with a picturesque background and a convenient location close to lots of attractions, including…

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

When: 

  • Tree lighting: November 29, 2017
  • Tree on display: November 29, 2017-January 7, 2018 at 9:00 pm

If skating isn’t your thing, Rockefeller Center Plaza is still worth checking out for its iconic Christmas tree scene.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is carefully selected each year among candidates from across the country, this world-famous tree is the best of the best.

Lights go on just after Thanksgiving, and the tree is available on display for all to see for the entire month. It’s worth a visit to Rockefeller Center for even just a glimpse of this tree.

Take a tour of Rockefeller Center for the full effect.

Getting In: It’s free to see the Rockefeller tree; Rockefeller Center Tour tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square

It’s iconic for a reason, tons of fun to be had celebrating the ball drop in Times Square.

If you are planning on attending, be sure to check out these tips for New Year’s Eve in Times Square. – it’s a long, long day waiting out in the cold, but can be all worth it if you plan properly.

Visit a World Class Museum

When-Harry-Met-Seinfeld-5 - Copy

Want to get in a little culture during your visit to New York? Head to one of New York City’s top museums.

Whether you’re looking to experience the emotional tour of the 9/11 Tribute Center, explore all things weird at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, or want to experience a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece (the Guggenheim Museum) in person, you’re bound to find a museum that suits your interests.

For a more traditional museum experience, some of our top picks are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’s most renowned art museum, with its special exhibitions during the winter months and the American Museum of Natural History which explores all things earth science and natural history.

Check Out Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium Tour in NYC is a great winter time activity

For a taste of real New Yorker life, be sure to check out the legendary Yankee Stadium with a behind the scenes tour.

You’ll learn some of the unique history that makes the stadium great (at least in the hearts of Yankee fans).

It’s a great opportunity to take photos of Yankee artifacts and exhibits, as well as the field, dugout, and other specialty areas. Indulge your love of baseball in the off season!

Getting In: Yankee Stadium Classic Tour tickets are available on the New York City Explorer Pass.

Winter Jazzfest

When: January 10-17, 2018

What started as a one day event has evolved into a full multi-day annual festival.

Jazzfest features some of the best established and up-and-coming jazz artists to make for an unforgettable event that celebrates the history and culture of all things jazz.

This year’s line-up includes some amazing local and national performers, including Antonio Sanchez, Blaque Dynamite, Don Byron, Duchess, Fay Victor, and many more.

Getting In: Admission to this event  is separately ticketed and not available with the Explorer Pass. Check online for tickets, lineup information, and more.

Under the Radar Festival

When: January 4-15, 2018

Under the Radar Festival in New York City

Photo credit: Under the Radar Festival’s Official Facebook Page

The Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater is one of the most exciting ways to experience New York City’s famous theater culture.

The annual event features diverse comedy troupes from around the world performing over a dozen shows. These performances provide high-quality cultural entertainment at a fraction of the price you’d pay to see a show on Broadway.

Getting In: Admission to this event  is separately ticketed and not available with the Explorer Pass. Check online for tickets and more information.

Empire State Building Run-Up

When: February 7, 2018

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to work out more, consider heading to the Empire State Building for a totally unique and totally challenging workout: the annual Empire State Building Run-Up (ESBRU), sponsored by Marmot

While only a quarter-mile in distance, a sprint to the top of the 86th floor is no easy feat.

The trip to the top takes visitors under a minute by elevator, and the fastest runners can do all 86 floors in 10 minutes. Start training now for this February 7th event.

Check online for more information.

If you’re interested in touring the Empire State Building but could do without the running, visit on another day to see the Art Deco interiors and amazing views from the exterior.

Getting In: Empire State Building tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

Go to the Dog Show

When:

  • Meet & Compete: Saturday, February 10, 2018
  • 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Monday & Tuesday, February 12-13, 2018
Go to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Photo: Joe Buglewicz

See some of the most talented K9s compete for best in show this year at the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The show is always entertaining and dog lovers will enjoy the chance to meet their favorite breeds at the event on Saturday before the big show.

Even if you can’t make it, the show is typically televised widely and makes for some great extended tv watching!

Getting In: Admission to this event is separately ticketed and not available with the Explorer Pass. Check online for tickets and more information.

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival

When: January 27, 2018 (3 timed sessions)

Head to New York City's annual Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ festival for some good eats and festive fun

Photo credit: Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Official Facebook Page

This traveling festival is scheduled to land in NYC in January. Admission comes with a souvenir sampling glass for unlimited bourbon and beer so you can sample your way through the day. Be sure to try the barbecue samples spread throughout the venue and there will be samples and larger portions available for purchase.

Save room for the bacon eating contest. (Nope, we’re not making that up.)

Noon – 4pm Session 1:
The Bacon & Biscuit Tasting Session

5:30pm – 9:30pm Session 2:
The Whole Hog Pig Pickin’ Session

Noon – 9:30pm Session 3:
The Grand Poobah BBQ in ‘Merica Session

Getting In: Admission to this event is separately ticketed and not available with the Explorer Pass. Check online for tickets and additional information.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Where: Radio City Music Hall

When: Now – January 2, 2018

Attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a popular NYC bucket list activity for visitors and residents alike.

The show is always a little bit different each year, making it a fun tradition for those who’ve even already seen it. It’s got nutcrackers, dancing animals, flying presents, amazing special effects, and the world-famous Rockettes® – best way to get in the holiday spirit!

Can’t make the show? Take a tour of Radio City Music Hall and go behind the scenes of the famous show.

Getting In: Admission to this event is separately ticketed and not available with the Explorer Pass. Radio City Stage Door Tour tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®

Where: New York City Ballet
When: Now through December 31, 2017

Image credit: New York City Ballet.

Image credit: New York City Ballet.

This holiday tradition is a classic for a reason. Brought to life by the genius of George Balanchine, this year’s rendition of this Christmas favorite will have shinier sets, higher leaping ballerinas, a grander tree, and even more magic to go around.

Tickets can be quite pricey, so be sure to purchase in advance or look out for discounts online.

Getting In: Admission to this event is separately ticketed and not available with the Explorer Pass.

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

So there you have it. Our list of a few things to do in New York in the winter, including holiday events, other seasonal activities in December, January, and more.

Remember, many of these options are available on the New York City Explorer Pass, where you can save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Please note, the Winter events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not available on the Explorer Pass.

We hope you plan to add a few of these fun options to your winter vacation itinerary.

New York City Explorer Pass

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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