Winter in New York City is the prettiest time of the year to visit. The Big Apple can offer several kinds of winter vacations: festive, cozy, old-school, or straight-up Hallmark. The best way to get in the spirit is to know where to go and what to do.

NYC Parks In The Winter

Central Park is the first and most obvious place to go in the winter. If it's snowing, there's plenty of opportunities to sled, make snow angels, and build snowmen. Glistening in the day and gleaming at night, the grass, trees, bushes, and lakes are frozen over. Illuminated by the glowing city lamps, the park is a gorgeous sight. At the right spots at the right time, Central Park is the closest to Narnia as one can get in New York.


The horses stomp their hooves on the stone, while steam rises off their backs. A carriage ride through the wintry park is an excellent way to channel that old-school New York City vibe.

Of course, for an experience to be truly meaningful, it helps to do it comfortably and on a full stomach. Food carts all over the park serve delicious beverages, hot soups, and warm, tasty eats at all times of the day.

Note: Careful of slippery surfaces. Thousands of New Yorkers get injured slipping on icy roads every year.

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Washington Square Park is another must-see destination in the winter. The fountain in the middle of the park freezes over, and the iconic arch is lit up with festive lights. Kids are building snowmen in the grass that overly excited dogs in sweaters are toppling over, while some spirited New Yorkers are hurling snowballs at one another across the fountain. Get a hot chocolate and warm crepe from one of the food trucks and soak in the atmosphere.

Winter Jewels Of New York

For local residents in the know, Chinatown is one of the best places to visit in the winter. The main attraction here is the food. Commemorate the winter by walking into one of the many hole-in-the-wall Chinatown restaurants and warm up those frozen fingers with hot pot, soup dumplings, congee, or tea.

Apart from food, Chinatown takes on a unique atmosphere in the winter. Luminous neon lights consort with the foggy air, while the above-ground train roars in the distance, reflecting the scene below on its glossy, metallic shell.

Do not miss the opportunity to visit Roosevelt Island in the winter. There's a brilliant view of the skyline from the island, but one can argue that the main reason to visit the island is the journey there. An aerial tramway floats above the river, giving riders a magical panorama of the city that is not replicable by any other means. Gentle snow melts against the glass as the tram glides above the shimmering Hudson River; skyscrapers and bridges twinkle in the foreground; a halo of light emanates from the farther reaches of the city in the background.

Anyone who marvels at the bridges of New York from afar should take the next step and get on the middle of one. All of New York's bridges are pedestrian-friendly and picturesque, from within and without. If there's only time to walk across one of them, The Brooklyn Bridge is the best one. Catch the view of downtown Manhattan on one side, and Dumbo on the other, all while the American flag flutters gloriously in the wind above, and boats sail past in East River below. Crossing the bridge also provides visitors with the opportunity to explore a precious Brooklyn neighborhood. Dumbo, Brooklyn is where the riverside parks, restaurants, and artwork can all be enjoyed with a clear view of the Manhattan skyline.

NYC Winter Classics

Anyone who's watched Home Alone 2 knows that New York in the winter is best represented by Midtown Manhattan. The Rockefeller Tree is symbolic of the luxury and soft power inherent to the area. The Tree is erected and lit up at the end of November, so it's available to behold for a solid period of time.

In general, the festive city decorations of Midtown Manhattan are up for the whole month of December. Times Square is at the epicenter of New York's winter festivities, and in many ways, it is the backbone of America's global identity. Dancers, singers, artists, and superheroes brave the freezing temperatures to keep the ambiance exciting and energetic. Bask in the LEDs and feel the pizzazz of this square that typifies the hopes and ideals of millions around the world.

Note: Blue salt is used to melt ice on the sidewalks. Avoid tracking it indoors, as the blue substance can stain wooden floors.

While most people prefer to stay warm in their apartments, the city has always adhered to certain traditions that draw lively crowds. At the end of November, the annual Macy's Parade is a wintertime classic. Or if visitors find themselves in the city on New Year's Eve, the ball drop is worth enduring the cold for. Most New Yorkers will agree that it's something everyone should do at least once in their lives - but only once.

Winter in New York is the best time to visit. Make the most of the city by enjoying its cozy food, fabulous beauty, and colorful spirit.

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