Things to Do on New Year's Day in NYC

new years eve nyc times square
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Don't spend New Year's Day on your couch nursing your hangover and binging on your latest streaming obsession. You're in New York City, start 2019 off right with these five top things to do on New Year's Day, whether you want to explore the outdoors or enjoy the heat inside some of the world's best museums.

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Go Ice Skating

Ice skating at Bryant Park, Manhattan, New York City, USA
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Don't let another winter slip away before you have a chance to get out on one of Manhattan's atmospheric ice skating rinks. Mostly all of them are open on New Year's Day: Glide under the Rockefeller Center tree, the soaring 30 Rock tower, and good-ole gilded Prometheus at the splurge-worthy Rockefeller Center Rink, enjoy a great atmosphere at Bryant Park's Winter Village rink  (bonus: it's free, apart from skate rentals); or whirl around Wollman Rink's  urban retreat within Central Park.

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02 of 05

Go Out for Music, Booze, and Good Eats

Bloody Mary
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A little hair of the dog that bit you can help lift you out of that New Year's Day fog. Celebrate "National Bloody Mary Day" at the landmark Manhattan bar where the boozy brunch's favorite sidekick was born: the King Cole Bar at The St. Regis New York.

Options for booze- and music-fueled meals are plentiful across town. Try the Swingin' New Year's Day Brunch at City Winery, with an unlimited brunch buffet and the live, swinging and bluesy sounds of Paul Shapiro's Ribs & Brisket Revue. The Smoke Jazz & Supper Club is hosting the Harold Mabern Quintet featuring Eric Alexander with special guest Steve Turre as part of a two-night John Coltrane festival. Smoke's Jazz Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. and is a great accompaniment to spectacular music.

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Visit a Museum

Museum of Natural History, Manhattan, New York, USA
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While some museums shut their doors on New Year's Day, quite a few remain open, with excellent exhibitions to boot. Among the highlights: the American Museum of Natural History; the Whitney; MoMA; and the New-York Historical Society.

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Check Out Holiday Lights Displays

Rockefeller Center, New York City.
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Maybe you didn't manage to gather any steam until nightfall on New Year's Day. No problem! Venture out into the darkness for optimized viewing of some of the season's best holiday light displays, before their lights go out for good. Have a last look at the Rockefeller Center tree and surrounding illuminations, Fifth Avenue storefronts, the festive Winter Village at Bryant Park, and the "Holiday Under the Stars" installation at the Shops at Columbus Circle. 

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Hit Up a Park

USA, New York, New York City, Central Park, The Mall in winter
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While the rest of the city is still in bed, start off the new year right by filling your lungs with a breath of fresh(ish) air. Central Park's grand expanse is best explored minus the crowds, so bundle up and head here on New Year's Day for a brisk and rejuvenating jog, bike ride, or stroll. The park is even hosting special hikes to help motivate you (at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., free). Or use the day to explore the full expanse of the High Line—its landscapes were built to reflect all four seasons.

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