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A winter guide to New York

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Serving up twinkling lights, exciting events and flurries of snow, a winter holiday in New York is pretty special. Spending Christmas in New York is a bucket list dream for many – but that’s not your only option. You could enjoy a December shopping trip, or kick-start your year with a city break in January or February.

Tempted? Read our winter guide to New York to find out more about the weather, things to do, events, and more.


It’s no secret that New York’s winters are bitterly cold. Between December and February, daytime temperatures hover close to freezing, and the wind chill can make it feel even colder. Snow is common, too, with the city regularly seeing several inches of snow in a day. So, even if you’re only travelling with hand luggage, make sure you pack warm shoes and plenty of layers.

On the plus side, the cold weather means that January and February are also the quietest months in NYC. So you can enjoy your New York holiday with minimal crowds.


There’s always a long list of things to do in New York but, at Christmastime, things really step up a gear. The Big Apple is shinier than ever, thanks to dozens of Christmas trees, glittering lights, and festive shop windows.

You can do your present-shopping in world-famous stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, or browse the city’s Christmas markets for handmade gifts. Admire Fifth Avenue’s dazzling light installations – Saks usually has the best – and see the Rockefeller Centre’s iconic Christmas tree. And, if you want to get in the festive spirit, make sure you grab tickets to see The Nutcracker or the famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Alternatively, why not try ice-skating in Central Park?


Winter in New York isn’t just about Christmas – there’s a lot going on in January and February, too. Despite the chill, January is a great time to visit New York. It’s quieter, it’s cheaper, and it’s an exciting way to start your year. You can go along to Winter Jazzfest in Greenwich Village, where 100 bands and musicians play across a number of venues. And foodies will love Restaurant Week. In mid-January, this city-wide event sees more than 300 restaurants offer a fixed-price menu – so you can enjoy top-notch food for a fraction of the usual price.

Or, why not visit in February? You could celebrate Valentine’s Day, or watch the colourful Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. And, throughout January and February, theatre tickets are often cheaper than normal – the perfect opportunity to see a dazzling Broadway show.


The Big Apple is notoriously pricey, but there are lots of free attractions to enjoy. You can wrap up warm and go for a stroll around Central Park. Walk through Brooklyn Botanic Garden which, in winter, is free to visit Tuesday to Friday. Explore one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, New York Public Library, or take a moment to reflect at the 9/11 Memorial. And make sure you step inside Grand Central Terminal to admire the splendour of its chandeliers and celestial ceiling.

Some of New York’s museums are free to enter at certain times. The Guggenheim is free on select Saturdays between 4pm and 6pm, and the New York Historical Society is free on Friday evenings. New York Aquarium, on Coney Island, is also free on Wednesday afternoons.


Sports fans will be in their element on a winter holiday to New York, as the USA’s basketball, football and ice hockey seasons are all in full swing.

You can cheer on the Rangers in a frenzied game of ice hockey at their iconic stadium inside Madison Square Garden. Or, if basketball’s more your thing, why not go along and support one of New York’s teams? You can take your pick from the Knicks in Manhattan, or the Nets in Brooklyn.

Alternatively, for the full American experience, grab tickets to an NFL game to see the Giants or the Jets in action at the MetLife Stadium. And, if you’re in New York on the second Sunday of February, make sure you watch the Super Bowl in a sports bar.  


Take a look at our New York hotels to start planning your dream getaway. And check out the best apps to download for an easy holiday

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