If you're visiting New York City during the winter, be prepared for cold weather or even snow. Although it isn't the coldest destination you could visit, you're likely to spend a lot more time outside than you might at home, so warm clothes and shoes are essential.
Here is a list of great things to do when it's snowy or cold in New York City during winter, with options where you can embrace the cold and snow or escape it, depending on your preference.
Sure, ice skating is a cliche winter activity, but New York City's ice skating options are pretty spectacular. If you don't mind braving the crowds, you can skate at the Ice Rink at Rock Center, but if you want to experience New York City as a winter wonderland, you might prefer to try ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park. From the rink in Wollman Park, you can see skyscrapers surrounding the potentially snow-covered treetops of Central Park. There is also a free ice skating rink in Bryant Park and several other ice skating rinks around New York City.
Spend the Day at a New York City Museum
One great way to escape the cold and snow in New York City is to visit one of New York City's fantastic museums. It's easy to spend an entire day (or even several days) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the American Museum of Natural History, but many smaller New York City museums offer wonderful collections, as well as a perfect way to warm-up for a few hours, including the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Frick Collection. There are also many free & pay what you wish days at NYC museums.
Take a New York City Boat Tour
Taking a boat tour might not be the first thing you think of when you are looking to escape from the cold or snow of New York City's winter, but it can actually be a great way to relax and stay warm, while still seeing the city. All boat tours that operate during the winter have closed-in areas, but keep in mind that tour schedules are more limited during the winter months, so call or check the schedule online before you head to the dock.
Stay Warm While You Shop
Winter in New York City is actually a great time of year for shopping. Post-Christmas sales offer great savings, and while a cold day in New York City might not be the best one for popping in and out of Madison Avenue shops, it's easy to waste away the hours in one of New York City's great department stores or even the Shops at Columbus Circle.
Catch a Show on Broadway
Warm up while catching a Broadway play or musical. The cold weather means that lines at the TKTS Booth tend to be shorter, but if you're not into braving the cold to save some money, you can buy tickets directly at the box office (sometimes even with a discount, if they offer standing room only or student rush tickets).
Warm up at a Movie in New York City
New York City is a wonderful city for film-buffs. With so many interesting movie theaters, there is a far wider array of movie-watching options than you might find in your hometown. There are also yearly film festivals around the city for true cinephiles.