New York in Winter: 10 things to see and do

When a friend from Sydney told me she was planning a trip to New York, I was pretty ecstatic. It was the perfect excuse to see her AND one of the best cities in the world. There was just one down side though…

She was visiting in early February.

When winter would be in full swing and the snow storms are legen-wait-for-it… you get the picture. But whatevs, this is Jenna we’re talking about! The woman who brightens a room with just the mere hint of a smile and her witty banter (add that to your resume J, they’ll love it).

There was no way that the threat of a cold front was going to keep me away. Not even the thought of a New York epic blizzard would stop me!

In case you’re brave like Jenna, Mr M and I, I’ve compiled a list of the awesome things we did in New York last winter.

1. It’s Quiet (for New York)

Understatement of the century: New York is a tourism hotspot. Duh. As I wait for that Captain Obvious to sink in I’ll follow up with the fact that most of those visitors are going to head over to the Big Apple when it’s warmer. 


Times Square is practically empty!

Isn’t that why New Yorkers leave the city in summer? Apart from the streets, parks and other tourist pulls being way emptier than usual, it’s the off-season! So flights and accommodation are going to be discounted to match. (Unless it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas – I wish you luck).

What’s not to love about shorter lines and spending less money?

2. Baby There’s Snow Outside

I hail from a place of no snow. At least not where I lived for most of my life. The first time I saw snow was on top of a mountain in Lucerne, Switzerland when I was about 24-years-old. I’ve adored it ever since. 


I made an angel.

New York is pretty under a blanket of snow. I say this only having witnessed a smattering of it, but it definitely makes a walk through Central Park just a little bit more special.


3. Food
Are you sensing a theme with my travel posts yet? Food is a large part of any of my trips. I still dream about the pumpkin ravioli that I ate at a restaurant in Pisa.

You’re going to be hungry after traipsing through Central Park looking for the Alice in Wonderland monument. It’s the perfect opportunity to snuggle up in one of the many restaurants on the park’s boarders for a famous New York pizza, a glass of wine, and a debrief.

Olio e Piu

Before catching our flight home we went to this cute Italian restaurant called Olio e Piu in Greenwich Village, which is gorgeous to look at and sit in, that’s even without the delicious food. 

But our little Central Park pitt stop was at Serafina Fabulous Pizza (shout out to my tiler mate Serafino in Sydney). It’s a tiny place but the pizza makes the squeeze oh-so-worth-it.

4. Drinks

It’s not exactly cocktail season, but there’s always the perfect place to get a drink in New York. For Jenna and I, both former journo’s, we found The Dead Poet. It has drinks named after… deceased bards. Yeah. I know. It’s amazing.

And it’s close to the American Museum of Natural History. Which is also a bonus.

5. The American Museum of Natural History

Speak of the devil. I do like museums, as long as I get to go through them at my own pace. In a Natural History museum, that pace is usually warp speed. I can’t even imagine how crowded this place would be in summer because it was absolutely jumping in winter. Maybe because it was warm?
Anyway, the American Museum of Natural History is the kind of place where you wish you were still a kid. Because I just wanted to run around amongst dinosaur bones, elephants and bald eagles. I highly recommend it if you have children.



6. Did I mention Central Park?

The best way to get ready to consume lots of food! There’s so much to find in there as well: Obelisks, Strawberry Fields, the aforementioned Alice, people ice skating and just dropping for some random push ups in the middle of the pathway.

Strawberry Fields Forever…
The thing I loved the most about CP though, were the dogs. So many different sizes, shapes, colours, level of shagginess, and attitude. New Yorkers have some good looking dogs.

7. Statue of Liberty

You knew this one was coming. How can anyone visit the Big Apple without sailing past Lady Liberty? We didn’t do the ferry trip to the Ellis Island, because we were only there for two days and a friend told me that it was a bit of a rip off. 


But you can always take the free ferry from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back so you get double the view! Or you can get onto the island and go right up into the Statue of Liberty‘s crown, it’s up to you!

8. See a Show

There’s no excuse for getting all the way to New York and not seeing some kind of show. On Broadway, Off Broadway, some TV show that you love (I WISH we’d lined up for Colbert). Anything! 

We didn’t get to see The Late Show *sad face* BUT we did get to see Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf (forever known as Aunt Jackie from Roseanne to me) in the stage adaption of Stephen King’s Misery

9. Washington Park

I never realised how many movies and TV shows have scenes set in Washington Park. But now I do. AND if you visit on a weekend, like we did, you get to witness some amazing pianists. Like Colin Huggins over here…

It’s just one of those things that you have to witness in real life. It’s a beautiful moment, if you stay for ten minutes or an hour. I guarantee you won’t forget it.

10. Electric Lady Studios

Last but by no means least, we have Electric Lady Studios. Now you can’t go inside, as much as you’ll want to. This is where David Bowie recorded his last album, Blackstar, where Adele made 25 and where Daft Punk put together Random Access Memories.

If only we could go inside. Picture: Mr M.

This place is music history central. Way back in the day it was a nightclub called The Generation, hosting shows by the likes of Chuck Berry, Sly & the Family Stone and B.B. King. Then Jimi Hendrix bought it in 1968 and turned it into a recording studio.

Hendrix held a grand opening part in August 1970 with muso’s including Ronnie Wood, Patti Smith and Eric Clapton. The rest is musical history.

And those were our whirlwind two days in New York.

Two days in New York | Trip to New York | New York | Winter in New York | Winter trip to New York | New York vacation | New York Holiday | 2 days in New York | Aussie | Expat | Aussie Expat in US | expat life
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Linking up this post with MummyTravels for City Tripping and Lauren on Location for Wanderful Wednesday AND last but certainly not least, The Ultimate Rabbit Hole #91.

62 thoughts on “New York in Winter: 10 things to see and do

  1. I loved New York when we visited at the end of September a few years ago and the weather was great 🙂 I have been wondering whether it's worth visiting in February/March although as a South African I do hate bitterly cold weather! #citytripping

  2. I'm going to be honest here, I don't think we'll be visiting New York in the winter. We're from Chicago which has brutal winters so we travel during February to get away from the cold. We like going to warm places when we travel during the winter. The only exception is the tree lighting. I would love to be in New York for the tree lighting. #citytripping

  3. Looks like you got a lot done in two days. I have been to New York, once in the summer, as as you say, it WAS busy. I'd love to go again in the winter. #citytripping

  4. Honest is the best Allison! I always appreciate it.
    Winter is never my first choice but because I get next to no time off at my job, it seems the only time I can travel across the other side of the country is on holiday weekends. And they're cheapest during winter.
    Believe me, I would always rather chase the sun!

  5. New York was an amazing surprise for me. I'm not a fan of big cities and crowds but I loved New York. We stayed in a dingy downtown motel just off Time Square for a few days, saw a show, climbed the Empire State building, walked Central Park and listened for hours to all the street performers. 🙂

  6. I so want to return and see the piano guy in the park. And there are so many museums I haven't visited yet in NYC (like Natural Museum of History). I just love NYC and all there is to do. Thanks for sharing your trip. Loved being reminded of all I love about the city! (And hearing the piano guy.)

  7. I imagine New York at Christmas to be an absolutely magical place! Ice-skating in central park? Drinking hot cocoa and enjoying the snow? Going shopping for presents? Yes, please!!!

  8. These are great tips! NYC is my favorite city in the world and I love visiting any time of year. I'm really glad to see you included the Museum of Natural History on the list — it is such a great museum!

  9. I'm glad you liked it Rach! I'm not usually fussed between big cities or small towns out in the country as long as there's things to see and do. I didn't get time to climb the Empire State building or 30 Rock. So I MUST get back there.

  10. I've been to NYC in November- chilly for sure but no snow, it would be fun to explore with a bit of powder. Great tips and the museum is definitely on my list when I do get back with my daughter. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  11. I have NYC envy right now. We were there in the lead up to last Christmas. It was absolutely fantastic. Then we headed to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with my bestie. It was fantastic. A winter Christmas with all the winter trimmings is something we'll never forget.

  12. A winter Christmas feels so strange though. To me at least. I'll never forget my first Christmas in London – no backyard cricket, no bbq, no swimming!
    Glad you got to enjoy NYC at Christmas time though Leanne, it would have been beautiful.

  13. While I love NYC, I don't think I'd be too fond of the winter! It's pretty snowy up in Toronto and I'd much rather be on a warm beach somewhere haha. However, I would LOVE to see Central Park with fresh snow 🙂 #CityTripping

  14. I lived in NYC for 7 years and there are so many things to see even in winter. Great list. I would also recommend going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There are so many things to see in there and you could probably stay in there for days.

  15. Love this! It's so good have a little guide of what to do someplace during the off season or when it's cold out. Definitely saving for my next NYC trip!

  16. I have visited two times in December. It was cold but not as bad as January or February. Anyway, it was way colder than Los Angeles and I was hesitant to go. Well, with the correct clothing the trip wasn't that bad. Plus, there are a lot of indoor markets, restaurants and museums. I walked the Brooklyn Bridge and went to the Top of the Rock and it wasn't that bad. #FarawayFiles

  17. I've never been to NYC, although I did make a trip to Ellis Island when I was a kid–that's as close as I got! The immigration museum was an eye-opening experience.

    I've never considered visiting NYC in the winter since I prefer to stay away from cold weather & snow, but I'm not sure I'd like the heat of summer any better! Winter might be doable since I'd want to spend a lot of time in museums anyways.


  18. An extremely cool couple of days, Kat! I've been to New York in late February and it was cold but sunny – the perfect weather for walking around and hanging out in cafés and museums. I loved it far more than in the hot summer. Some great suggestions here. It's been years since I was in NYC. Time to start planning a revisit. Thanks for inspiring me on #FarawayFiles

  19. Omg this is PERFECT!!!!! I just booked my trip to NYC for May and I was looking for some posts – so glad I ran into yours! 🙂 Thanks for joining #FlyAwayFriday, hope to see you again this week! xo

  20. Aw love this! We went to NYC in December and absolutely loved it!! We had just missed the snow tho and I wish we could have seen it covered in snow!! It would have been magical!

  21. Just stumbled upon this post! Cannot believe it gets colder than what I felt in the beginning of December! 😱 We’re off again in October, love your olio e piu recommendation, we’ll definitely head there. Thanks for the tips ☺️

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