Best New York City Winter Experiences

Just because the holidays are over and the calendar has turned to January, it doesn’t mean the fun’s about to stop in New York City. That’s right, New York City is the place to be regardless of the time of year, and getting out and about in the city that never sleeps during the dreary days of January can be an invigorating experience.

If you’re ready to explore all that New York City has to offer during the wintertime, be sure to check out our list of best things to do in NYC throughout January and beyond.

View of the Empire State Building as seen from the Top of the Rock

Empire State Building

The most celebrated skyscraper located anywhere on the planet is an essential stop for any visitor to New York City no matter the time of year. New York is known for its iconic observation decks, and they don’t come any more famous than the not one, but TWO observatories found here on the 86th and 102nd floors of this marvelous building. The Empire State Building offers a variety of tours featuring an eclectic assortment of informative exhibits, and you can rest easy knowing that even if the weather outside is frightful, you can bask in the spectacular views on display.

Get Lost in a Great Museum

Few cities in the world can rival New York when it comes to museums. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a New York City museum out there that’ll pique your curiosity. New York’s museums are huge hits the whole year ‘round, but they’re an especially good idea when there’s a chill in the air and you don’t necessarily want to spend too much time and energy braving the outdoors. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the most popular museums in New York, but if you’re looking for some guidance, consider one of these classic spots:

Madison Square Garden

New York loves to obsess over the fates of its sports teams—so if it’s January that can only mean one thing: everyone’s attention is focused on Madison Square Garden, the landmark arena home to the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks and the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers. Seeing a game live at this fabled stadium is a genuine bucket-list ticket for many sports fans from all over the world. Even if the teams aren’t home while you’re in town, you can still take a tour of Madison Square Garden—or check out whatever other concert or event might be taking place that night.

Indulge in an Afternoon of Shopping

Sure, the holidays are over and you may have already blown through your budget buying presents for family, friends, and that co-worker whose name you can never remember. Still, don’t overthink it. You’re in New York City, in the midst of world-famous stores and unparalleled shopping opportunities. Go for it! Treat yourself to an afternoon strolling Fifth Avenue, or browsing SoHo, or window-shopping wherever your heart desires. January is actually a great time to shop in New York, as plenty of places have post-holiday sales and markdowns running throughout the winter months.

Statue of Liberty

Is any trip to New York really complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty up close and personal? If you answered anything other than a resounding “No” . . . well, then you need to take a moment and consider what you’d be missing out on. For nearly 140 years the Statue of Liberty has stood proudly in New York Harbor, welcoming visitors from all over the world. A ferry will take you from Manhattan to the statue’s home on Liberty Island—as well as Ellis Island, where you can also tour the National Immigration Museum. It’s a trip well worth your time, even in January.

Revel in Rockefeller Center’s Many Pleasures

There’s plenty to do at Rockefeller Center even through the long winter months. If you’re an inside person, then you’ll naturally gravitate toward a tour of this shopping, dining, and entertainment hotspot. You’ll also not want to miss Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Situated on the 70th floor of Rockefeller Center, it’s a wonderful spot for sightseeing and snapping that perfect selfie. If you’re not afraid of the elements, then you’ll definitely want to go ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. You’ve seen it on TV—the chance to be there in person isn’t to be missed out on!

Madame Tussauds

It’s January, and you find yourself in New York City: the temperatures are frigid, the skies threaten snow, and the kids could use a pick-me-up. Sometimes you’ve just got to get inside, kick back, and do something fun! Madame Tussauds is the world’s most famous wax museum, and the New York branch of this iconic brand is a thrill for all ages. Take your picture next to a replica Marvel superhero, imagine yourself the star of a legendary Broadway musical, or pretend to be a guest on the Tonight Show. All these sets and more are yours to enjoy at Madame Tussauds.

Explore the Wonders of Central Park

Whether you’re a longtime local or a first-time visitor, Central Park is among the most beloved attractions in New York City—so don’t skip out on experiencing just because it’s January! There’s so much to see and do there. The ultimate wintertime activity in Central Park is probably ice staking at Wollman Rink. It’s an absolute can’t-miss destination this time of year, but that’s not all there is to do, of course. If you’re game, bundle up and rent a bike, go on a walking tour, or check out the Central Park Zoo. You won’t regret any of these fantastic attractions.

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