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Know Before You Go: Visiting New York City in Winter

Essential information for acing your winter trip—snow and all.

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Hi, I'm Mandy!

Mandy Hegarty is a writer who specializes in food and travel. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland, she’s previously lived in New York, London, and Montreal. She has written for the likes of Time Out New York, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines.

New York City's famously freezing winters do little to slow down the go, go, go approach of New York locals. But for visitors in town for the holiday season, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Here's how to make the most of your trip to the Big Apple, even when there's snow on the ground and a chill in the air.

Bundle up

You're going to want to stay warm.

It isn't uncommon for temperatures to drop below freezing during New York City winters, so dress appropriately and wrap up warm. Don a cozy winter coat, accessories (you'll want a hat, scarf, and gloves) to cover up any exposed extremities, and fluffy wool socks. A good pair of weatherproof boots is also a must, as NYC’s sidewalks are often covered in icy slush puddles.

Get in the festive spirit

The city sparkles at this time of year.

From the seasonal store windows of Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center’s giant Christmas tree to the Rockettes’ Radio City Christmas Spectacular, there are a lot of spectacles to admire—holiday lights tours ensure you see the best of them. Then, on New Year’s Eve, get into party mode; wait for the ball to drop in Times Square or celebrate with a dinner and fireworks cruise.

A family enjoys a warm drink at at Bryant Park in NYC.
Bundle up and make the most of New York City's festive offerings.Foto: Amanda Voisard / Viator

Try some winter sports

Take advantage of the snow and ice.

Sports may not be the first thing you associate with New York winters, but the city and surrounding area offer plenty of opportunities to get active. Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park’s Manhattan Winter Village, or Central Park’s Wollman Rink. You can also take a day trip from NYC to the mountains, where you can snowboard or ski and still be back in time for dinner.

Take advantage of the low season

You'll have a little breathing room.

Good news for visitors who brave the cold winter temperatures between mid-January and March: you’ll find New York about as “quiet” as it gets. At this time of the year, you’ll have an easier time nabbing those hard-to-get tickets for Broadway shows and in-demand restaurant reservations, plus there’ll be more elbow room while you explore NYC’s galleries and museums.

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