32 Things Every New Yorker Should Do This Winter

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We know it's cold outside and you want to burrow under the covers.

But winter in New York City is actually one of our favorite times of year, thanks to all the twinkly lights, creative holiday displays, and surplus of delicious hot food and beverages.

Plus, those sub-par temperatures keep the majority of tourists at bay after the Christmas season.

So keep reading to see your seasonal to-do list, from tonight's Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center to indulging at the best steakhouse in the city.

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Pile into Rockefeller Center with 250,000 other spectators to watch this year's Norway Spruce light up with a flick of the switch. There will also be performances by Mary J. Blige, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mariah Carey, and Kelly Clarkson.

Pile into Rockefeller Center with 250,000 other spectators to watch this year's Norway Spruce light up with a flick of the switch. There will also be performances by Mary J. Blige, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mariah Carey, and Kelly Clarkson.

Find out more information about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree here

Skip touristy Serendipity 3 and head to Jaques Torres Chocolates in DUMBO for the best hot chocolate in the city. It's so thick and delicious you just might have to share.

Skip touristy Serendipity 3 and head to Jaques Torres Chocolates in DUMBO for the best hot chocolate in the city. It's so thick and delicious you just might have to share.

Find out more info and directions here

Join drunken revelers around the city and dress up for SantaCon on December 14th. Or stay as far away as possible — certain bars and restaurants in Midtown will be banning Santas for the annual "holiday."

Join drunken revelers around the city and dress up for SantaCon on December 14th. Or stay as far away as possible — certain bars and restaurants in Midtown will be banning Santas for the annual "holiday."

Find out more info about NYC's SantaCon here

Browse some of the city's best pop-up holiday markets. Local purveyors set up shop at locations such as Columbus Circle, Astoria's Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, and Union Square to bring you great gifts and goods.

Browse some of the city's best pop-up holiday markets. Local purveyors set up shop at locations such as Columbus Circle, Astoria's Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, and Union Square to bring you great gifts and goods.

Find a holiday market near you here

Feast your eyes on Fifth Avenue’s holiday display windows. Everyone from department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue to stores like Juicy Couture compete for the prettiest window dressings on the block.

Feast your eyes on Fifth Avenue’s holiday display windows. Everyone from department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue to stores like Juicy Couture compete for the prettiest window dressings on the block.


Do yourself a favor and have a fondue night at Taureau. Not only does this SoHo restaurant have three different prix fixe options starting at $41, but their Perigord cheese in unbelievable. Plus, it's BYOB.

Do yourself a favor and have a fondue night at Taureau. Not only does this SoHo restaurant have three different prix fixe options starting at $41, but their Perigord cheese in unbelievable. Plus, it's BYOB.

See the menu and find directions here

Hit up the winding SoHo neighborhood for all the best holiday sales in the city. From discount specialty shops like H&M to bigger brand name stores like Prada, there's plenty to splurge on.

Hit up the winding SoHo neighborhood for all the best holiday sales in the city. From discount specialty shops like H&M to bigger brand name stores like Prada, there's plenty to splurge on.

Find out more about what stores are in the area and their hours here

Ogle the Rockettes at their annual and incredible Radio City Christmas Spectacular. With lots of high kicks and Christmas cheer, it's a fun performance with everything from Santa Claus to a live nativity scene.

Ogle the Rockettes at their annual and incredible Radio City Christmas Spectacular. With lots of high kicks and Christmas cheer, it's a fun performance with everything from Santa Claus to a live nativity scene.

Find out more info and buy tickets here

Crowd into Times Square with around 1 million other people to ring in the New Year as the ball drops. If all the waiting around and crowds prove too much for you, just count down at your favorite neighborhood bar.

Crowd into Times Square with around 1 million other people to ring in the New Year as the ball drops. If all the waiting around and crowds prove too much for you, just count down at your favorite neighborhood bar.

People start lining up as early as 3 PM — find out all the info you need here

Freeze your butt off at the Coney Island Polar Bear Club's annual New Year's Day swim. Hundreds of brave New Yorkers will jump into the Atlantic Ocean, with all proceeds going to a non-profit organization called Camp Sunshine in Maine for ill children.

Freeze your butt off at the Coney Island Polar Bear Club's annual New Year's Day swim. Hundreds of brave New Yorkers will jump into the Atlantic Ocean, with all proceeds going to a non-profit organization called Camp Sunshine in Maine for ill children.

Find out more info and how to sign up here

When the weather is truly awful and you don't want to go outside, stay in and make your own seasonal cocktails, like a hot toddy. Who needs to go to the bar anyways?

When the weather is truly awful and you don't want to go outside, stay in and make your own seasonal cocktails, like a hot toddy. Who needs to go to the bar anyways?

Check out some other unconventional holiday drink recipes here

Let the dancers of the New York City Ballet mesmerize you this holiday season with their annual rendition of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. The performance runs until January 4th with tickets on sale now.

Let the dancers of the New York City Ballet mesmerize you this holiday season with their annual rendition of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. The performance runs until January 4th with tickets on sale now.

Buy tickets here, or see what other ballets will be performed by NYCB this coming year

Stop by Le Parker Meridien's atrium to see their Gingerbread Extravaganza. Benefitting non-profit City Harvest, top bakeries, restaurants, and pastry chefs around the city submit awesome gingerbread structures for the competition.

Stop by Le Parker Meridien's atrium to see their Gingerbread Extravaganza. Benefitting non-profit City Harvest, top bakeries, restaurants, and pastry chefs around the city submit awesome gingerbread structures for the competition.

On display December 6th through January 6th, 2014. Find out more information here.

Sign up for a wine tasting class at Brooklyn Winery to become the oenophile you always knew you could be. They even have a special class on winter wines that complement cold weather dishes.

Sign up for a wine tasting class at Brooklyn Winery to become the oenophile you always knew you could be. They even have a special class on winter wines that complement cold weather dishes.

All classes scheduled in January, find out more info here

See the amazing plant sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show, going on now through January 12th. The exhibit features miniature New York landmarks built out of plants, including a Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

See the amazing plant sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show, going on now through January 12th. The exhibit features miniature New York landmarks built out of plants, including a Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Find out more information about the show here

A perfectly-grilled steak and a bottle of wine are the ideal heavy fare for a winter evening. One of our favorite steakhouses is Old Homestead, the New York institution that brought specialty Wagyu beef to the U.S.

A perfectly-grilled steak and a bottle of wine are the ideal heavy fare for a winter evening. One of our favorite steakhouses is Old Homestead, the New York institution that  brought specialty Wagyu beef to the U.S.

Find out more info and what it's like to eat at Old Homestead here

Lace up and go ice skating at one of the city’s seasonal rinks. There are options in Bryant Park, Van Cortland Park, Central Park, and many others around NYC. We especially recommend the outer boroughs for the less-crowded rinks.

Lace up and go ice skating at one of the city’s seasonal rinks. There are options in Bryant Park, Van Cortland Park, Central Park, and many others around NYC. We especially recommend the outer boroughs for the less-crowded rinks.

To find an ice skating rink near to you, click here

Bare it all and participate in New York Improv’s annual No Pants Subway Ride on January 12th. The idea is simple: Random passengers board a subway car without pants, but all wearing winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves.

Bare it all and participate in New York Improv’s annual No Pants Subway Ride on January 12th. The idea is simple: Random passengers board a subway car without pants, but all wearing winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves.

Find out more information about the event here

Slurp down some ramen at Ippudo, one of the best noodle joints in New York City. There are now two locations on the East and West sides of Manhattan that serve their piping hot bowls with the secret "Umami Dama" miso paste.

Slurp down some ramen at Ippudo, one of the best noodle joints in New York City. There are now two locations on the East and West sides of Manhattan that serve their piping hot bowls with the secret "Umami Dama" miso paste.

Find out more info and directions here

Take a winter stroll through one of NYC’s best parks with a cup of hot chocolate. We suggest Prospect Park for its rolling hills and lack of tourists.

Take a winter stroll through one of NYC’s best parks with a cup of hot chocolate. We suggest Prospect Park for its rolling hills and lack of tourists.

Find out more information about the Brooklyn park here

Cheer on your favorite team during the Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2nd at one of NYC’s many sports bars. A good option is 200 Fifth in Brooklyn, which has happy hour deals, bar food, and more than 100 TVs, so there’s always a place to see the action.

Cheer on your favorite team during the Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2nd at one of NYC’s many sports bars. A good option is 200 Fifth in Brooklyn, which has happy hour deals, bar food, and more than 100 TVs, so there’s always a place to see the action.

Find out more info about 200 Fifth here

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the Lunar New Year Parade & Festival in Flushing, home to one of the largest Chinese and East Asian populations in NYC. Then enjoy some dim sum nearby on Prince Street afterwards.

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the Lunar New Year Parade & Festival in Flushing, home to one of the largest Chinese and East Asian populations in NYC. Then enjoy some dim sum nearby on Prince Street afterwards.

The Chinese New Year parade will take place on February 8th this year

Party it up at The Standard Hotel's rooftop bar Le Bain during the winter months. Sure, the outdoor deck section might be closed, but the dance floor inside is adjacent to a hot tub that's open all year round.

Party it up at The Standard Hotel's rooftop bar Le Bain during the winter months. Sure, the outdoor deck section might be closed, but the dance floor inside is adjacent to a hot tub that's open all year round.

Find out hours and directions here

Stay warm in one of New York’s famous speakeasy bars. Raines Law Room is an especially cozy option with strong drinks, a truly unique entryway, and comfortable chairs to help you unwind.

Stay warm in one of New York’s famous speakeasy bars. Raines Law Room is an especially cozy option with strong drinks, a truly unique entryway, and comfortable chairs to help you unwind.

Find directions for Raines Law Room here

Befriend the new "Best in Show" dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club's 138th Annual Dog Show on February 10th through the 11th. Lots of dogs and competition drama will be brought this year to Madison Square Garden — what's not to love?

Befriend the new "Best in Show" dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club's 138th Annual Dog Show on February 10th through the 11th. Lots of dogs and competition drama will be brought this year to Madison Square Garden — what's not to love?

Find out more info and buy tickets here

Brooklyn Flea goers shouldn't despair now that it's cold outside. The hipster haven has its own indoor winter flea market in Williamsburg with 125 vendors and 75 food vendors every Saturday and Sunday now through April 13th.

Brooklyn Flea goers shouldn't despair now that it's cold outside. The hipster haven has its own indoor winter flea market in Williamsburg with 125 vendors and 75 food vendors every Saturday and Sunday now through April 13th.

Find out more info and directions here

Nix a boring dinner on Valentine's day and head to the American Museum of Natural History's annual Romance Under The Stars instead. There will be an open bar and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a night under the Planetarium's stars with an astronomer guiding you through the greatest romances of all time.

Nix a boring dinner on Valentine's day and head to the American Museum of Natural History's annual Romance Under The Stars instead. There will be an open bar and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a night under the Planetarium's stars with an astronomer guiding you through the greatest romances of all time.

Find out more info and buy tickets to the event here

Plan a long weekend and head to the Windham Mountain Resort in Catskill Mountains for a ski getaway. It has 46 trails and 9 lifts, not to mention fire pits to warm up by outside.

Plan a long weekend and head to the Windham Mountain Resort in Catskill Mountains for a ski getaway. It has 46 trails and 9 lifts, not to mention fire pits to warm up by outside.

Find out more info about Windham Mountain Resort here

Forget the freezing temps and go see lemurs and tropical birds at Central Park Zoo's Tropic Zone. You can also check out the rainforest section of the Bronx Zoo, which has cool attractions like an Amazon tree boa and a Malayan mouse deer.

Forget the freezing temps and go see lemurs and tropical birds at Central Park Zoo's Tropic Zone. You can also check out the rainforest section of the Bronx Zoo, which has cool attractions like an Amazon tree boa and a Malayan mouse deer.

Find directions and hours for the Tropic Zone here

Dine around the city for less during New York Winter Restaurant Week. This year, it will span from February 17th to March 7th, with deals including $25 for a three-course lunch and $38 for dinner (before tax and tip).

Dine around the city for less during New York Winter Restaurant Week. This year, it will span from February 17th to March 7th, with deals including $25 for a three-course lunch and $38 for dinner (before tax and tip).

Find out more info about Restaurant Week here

Once the snow finally sticks to the ground, tap into your inner child and go sledding in one of New York's parks. There are tons of spots in the city's boroughs, from Crotona Park in the Bronx to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.

Once the snow finally sticks to the ground, tap into your inner child and go sledding in one of New York's parks. There are tons of spots in the city's boroughs, from Crotona Park in the Bronx to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.

Find out more about where to go here

As winter's last hurrah before spring, break out your bright green clothes and go celebrate at the annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue. Then make your way to a local Irish pub and order a pint of Guinness.

As winter's last hurrah before spring, break out your bright green clothes and go celebrate at the annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue. Then make your way to a local Irish pub and order a pint of Guinness.

Find out more info about the parade here

In need of more ideas?

In need of more ideas?

32 Things Every New Yorker Should Do This Fall >

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