Here are some great things to do in New York City in the winter:
Go Ice Skating
Take a spin around the iconic Rockefeller skating rink. You can show off your skills or take a lesson with a pro. Skate rentals are available. The Rink at Rockefeller Center is open until April. For hours of operation and rates, check out their website. The Wollman Rink in Central Park is a picturesque spot to play on the ice. It’s located just inside the Central Park entrance at 59th Street and 6th Avenue. If you prefer an indoor rink, head on over to the Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers. They are open year round.
Warm up with a Hot Toddy
What is a hot toddy? Start with some liquor, add something sweet, something spicy, something hot and you have a drink guaranteed to warm you up. A typical hot toddy is made with whiskey, lemon, honey and cinnamon, but there are tons of variations out there. Hot buttered rum and mulled cider are great hot toddies and brandy, rum, cloves, nutmeg and tea bags are some other popular ingredients. Metromix has a list of 5 places in NYC to get a hot toddy.
Visit the Butterfly Conservatory at the Museum of Natural History
Get a taste of warm weather at the Butterfly Conservatory. This year’s exhibition features tropical butterflies. Enjoy the lush, indoor garden while more than 500 brightly colored butterflies flutter about. The exhibit is open through May 31, 2010.
Some popular sledding hills in the city include Pilgrim Hill and Cedar Hill in Central Park. Pilgrim hill can get crowded and Cedar Hill is more of a “bunny slope” for sledders. The hill at Hippo Playground in Riverside Park is no joke (91st at Riverside) and, for a rowdier crowd, head on over to Morningside Park at Morningside Dr and 115th St. You can find some sledding maps over on Gridskipper.
Take a Walking Tour
Walking tours are offered year-round in NYC. New York is a gorgeous city rich in history, sites, smells and tastes. There are fascinating stories and legends to be heard and inconspicuous sites to see while experiencing the city in the best way to experience the city – on foot. So bundle up, grab a hot coffee to go and listen closely to your tour guide.
You can find a walking tour of just about anything in the city – neighborhoods, food (including tours for pizza lovers and chocoholics), booze, music, art, shopping, architecture, movies, and more. Check out some tours here:
Indulge in a Mug of Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate can be enjoyed inside a café or bistro, sipped while strolling around the City or while curled up in a chair with a good book. Some great places to find hot chocolate include:
The City Bakery has a nice list of flavors like banana peel hot chocolate, bourbon hot chocolate, and Chinese cinnamon hot chocolate. February is the Hot Chocolate Festival at City Bakery. A different flavor of hot chocolate is featured every day.
Max Brenner has an entire menu of hot chocolate drinks, including choctails and create your own hot chocolate experience. Drinks are served in funky mugs.
If you are staying at one of our New York Hostels, ask the front desk staff for tips on the best cafes to visit near the hostel.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
For a taste of warmer days ahead, visit the New York Botanical Gardens. Enjoy the more than one million plants inside the largest Victorian-era glass house in America. The grounds of the Botanical Gardens are beautiful any time of the year. They encompass impressive 250-acres which includes a 50-acre native forest. Check out their website for hours of operation and special exhibits.
Go to the Top of the Rock
For a spectacular view of New York City, visit the Top of the Rock. 30 Rockefeller Plaza has three viewing decks on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors. The 67th and 69th floors have indoor and shielded, outdoor view areas. For an unobstructed, 360 degree view of the city, head up to the Oberservation Deck on the 70th floor. The Top of the Rock is 8am to midnight and visitors can stay up there as long as long as they want.
Photo © dawvon
Fondue is fun and delicious! When it’s cold outside, splurge a little by filling up with a pot of melted cheese and an assortment of dippers. If you’re a chocolate lover, be sure to save room for dessert.
Visit a Museum
There is a museum in New York for just about everything. There are the usual suspects: Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim, and the Museum of Modern Art. Then there are also many smaller, but worth-the-visit museums including: The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and the New York Aquarium, American Numismatics Museum, The Museum of Sex, the Skyscraper Museum, and many more…