Winter in New York shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Sure, it may be cold, but you can still have a great time out and about. In this article we cover some fun things you can do in New York when Old Man Winter decides to visit. Remember to dress warmly!

Sledding and Snow Tubing

Depending on where you’re from, you may or may not have ever gone sledding or snow tubing before. If you’re in New York City between late November and early March and there is snow on the ground, then you should definitely make it a highlight of your stay. For sledding, the New York City Parks Department has some good suggestions for where to start though it’s also good to remember that you are allowed to sled in any park in the city.

If you need a sled but are on a limited budget, don’t fret. You can make an impromptu sled out of any of the following items: smooth trashcan lids, pool floats, or flattened cardboard boxes. Basically, just remember that you can sled on anything that’s flat and smooth.

Snow tubing is similar in concept to sledding but you ride on an inflated tube instead of a hard sled so you will likely have a smoother ride overall. It’s possible to bring a snow tube to any city park that people are sledding, but it’s even more fun to head over to one of the nearby ski slopes located just outside the city limits where you can not only rent tubes but also go down designated snow tubing lanes so you can be confident you won’t run into anyone else. And since you’re at a ski slope, they have lifts so you don’t have to trudge back up the hill after each run.

A couple of good options to check out for snow tubing are:

Campgaw Mountain: It’s about a 45-minute drive from Manhattan and makes for a great day trip. They have 10 lanes for tubing and night lighting so you can slide down the mountain even after the sun goes down.

Mountain Creek: This spot is about a 15-minute drive from Manhattan and they have 30 lanes for tubing. Be sure to make your reservations in advance as slots fill up quickly.

New York Snow Day

Another great thing to do when it snows is to attend an official New York Snow Day put on by NYC Parks. The Manhattan Snow Days are held at Morningside Park at 110th Street. Use one of the complimentary sleds and take a ride down the hill, compete in a snowman building contest, flop in the snow and do your best snow angel impression, lob a wintry surprise at an acquaintance in a friendly snowball fight, and then warm up with some complimentary hot chocolate afterwards. You won’t soon regret it.

Ice Skating in Manhattan

Ice skating is a quintessential winter activity that you should try. Sure, you might feel a little awkward at first but you’ll soon get the hang of it if only you’re willing to step out on the ice.

One of the best places in the City to skate is the iconic skating rink at Bryant Park, located between 40th and 42nd Street at 5th Avenue. The rink is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day and best of all the admission is free! If you need a set of skates, you can rent them for $15 at the rink. There are a number of other rinks, both indoor and outdoor, scattered across the city though they often require that you pay admission between $10–30 per person, which is why we like Bryant Park. However, if you’re interested in the other options, check out The Rink at Brookfield Place or visit South Street Seaport’s Ice Rink at Pier 17.

Winter Village at Bryant Park

Whether you call them Winter Villages, Holiday Markets, Christmas Fairs, or something else, these winter shopping events are always a good reason to put on your coat and venture out into the snow. There’s a great one at Bryant Park around the skating rink with more than 100 different vendors in attendance. Make sure you visit the weekend of the Winter Carnival held at the end of January when you can shop, play a game of ice golf, enjoy some hockey, and get a warm beverage to round things off.

Snowball fights and beyond!

snowball fight

Obviously, there are plenty of other things to do in New York in the winter beyond just those mentioned above. You can always resort to an old fashioned snowball fight with some friends in Central Park or build a snowman. So, check the winter weather forecast, grab a scarf and a pair of gloves, and get out and see the City!