Things to do in New York in Winter

Things to do in New York in Winter

There so many great things to do in New York in Winter.  If you’re thinking of visiting it really is a great time to go.  Yes, daylight is shorter but so are the queues and, whilst the weather is colder, rooms are often cheaper than at other times of the year.  

This means you can save yourself a lot of time and money.  What’s not to like? 

New York is a great city.  There are no two ways about it.  It’s packed with everything you’d expect from a major city.  Shops, restaurants, parks, hotels and museums.  Many of the world’s most famous brands have their flagship store here.  We certainly found lots of things to do in New York in Winter.  Here are just some of our favourites.

Take in the views from the Empire State Building

We were delighted to find no queue around the block here! And it took us less than 15 minutes from the sidewalk, through security and admission gate, to reach the top in the elevator!  We’d recommend timing your visit for an hour or two before sunset.  That way you get the views in day light…

…at sunset and… 

…at night.  Getting those night time views so early makes this top of our list of things to do in New York in Winter. 

Stop by for a little treat in Little Italy

Walk or hail a cab or take the subway to Greenwich Village and Soho and stop in Little Italy for coffee.  

It’s definitely worth a stroll through Chinatown and down through City Hall Park.  The Civic Centre of Manhattan, it’s home to some interesting buildings such as New York City Hall and the Courthouses and was pretty quiet when we visited in Winter.

Walk across Brooklyn Bridge

So iconic this just has to be on the list of things to do in New York in winter.

It’s over a mile across to Brooklyn and you get views here unlike any other place in the city.

Visit the Statue of Liberty

This is the big one. Literally.  Such an unforgettable experience. Not just getting up close and personal to the Great Lady…

…but the memory of standing in Liberty’s crown looking across the Hudson to Manhattan is never forgotten.  

Visitor numbers are limited so if you are planning on doing this book as soon as possible.  We managed to book tickets for the Statue of Liberty which gave us access to the crown.  

Tickets include the ferry from Battery Park to Liberty Island.  When we booked it was necessary to choose a time slot and all Adults were required to present Passports for entry.  Liberty Island is well maintained (although when we visited there was building work being carried out) and has a café, gift and book store.  We weren’t allowed to take any bags in to the Statue but there were lockers available for a fee. 

An added bonus of a visit to Liberty Island is that you get great views of Liberty on the way there…

…and lower Manhattan on the way back.

Ground Zero & 9/11 Memorial

Ground Zero and the area around it is quiet, peaceful and poignant.  The memorial is open 24/7 and free to visit but there is an entry charge for the museum.  Amongst the things to see here are St. Paul’s Chapel, a memorial to the survivors, the Sphere sculpture that survived 9/11 and One World Observatory. 

Shop on Fifth Avenue

Even if you don’t like shopping, Fifth Avenue is still very interesting.  Most of the world’s biggest brands have their flagship store here.  

Nintendo New York, in Rockefeller Plaza just off Fifth Avenue, was, at the time we visited, the only Nintendo store on the planet.  Selling video games and merchandise including clothing exclusive to the store you also have the opportunity of playing games on massive screens and there’s a display of Nintendo game systems from the past.  

Fifth is home to the original Tiffany’s store which is worth a look around, even if just for the history.  There’s an Apple Store at the junction of Fifth Avenue and Central Park opposite the Plaza Hotel.  

Trump Towers, with it’s Ice Cream Parlour, coffee shop and Grill restaurant, is also on Fifth Avenue and Central Park, the Plaza Hotel and the Rockefeller Centre are all within a stone’s throw from here.

Explore Central Park

At over 840 acres Central Park is gigantic and it’s open every day between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m.

What makes it one of the great things to do in New York in Winter is the Ice Skating Rink.  Fun if you want to get on it but just as enjoyable to observe if you don’t.

The Chess and Checkers House and the Alice in Wonderland statue  are just another couple of the many things to see or do here.

American Museum of Natural History

Opposite Central Park on Central Park West between 77th and 81st streets is The American Museum of Natural History.  The museum is the star of Night at the Museum and the largest natural history museum in the world.  You can easily spend a full day here.  And if you choose to there are plenty of places inside to eat and drink.  The museum is made up of permanent and temporary exhibitions dedicated to Earth and Space, Fossils, Animals, Environment, Humans amongst other things. 

We’d read that during the late afternoon there does appear to be a more relaxed approach to admission charging.  It was around 4.30 in the afternoon when we visited and we got in for free.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park in New York in February

Bryant Park is a small green space near the foot of the Empire State Building just off Fifth Avenue.  You can skate, sit or play table tennis here.  There’s also a great cafe where you can get a hot drink.

Times Square

Times square in New York in February

Probably no visit to New York is complete without a visit to Times Square.  It’s usually very busy but not too bad early in the morning.  You’ll find the TKTS Ticket Booths which sell theatre tickets at discounted prices here if you fancy hitting broadway.  Good Morning America is also filmed here and you can see it live through the studio window.  If you’re early enough and lucky enough you may get asked if you want in to the studio!  

Times Square is worth a visit just to see the big screens and experience the hustle and bustle.

More things to do in New York in Winter

There are loads more things to do in New York in Winter but we still haven’t got around them all!

There are also things to do in New York in winter that we’ve done before which are not mentioned here.  Such as taking in a show on Broadway, a helicopter ride over the Hudson, shopping at Macy’s and Bloomingdales, and riding the Staten Island ferry.  There are still lots of things we want to do in New York such as the Highline.  But that’ll have to wait until next time!

Planning your trip to New York in Winter

Check Skyscanner for the best up to date prices on flights to New York and booking.com for places to stay.

We got our dollars for the Post Office and this guide really helped us

For more information such as how to get there and how to get around visit our New York page. 

Check out our other city posts below

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