20 Things To Do on a Winter Night in NYC
Here’s our hit list for warming up, chilling out and enjoying New York CIty
By: Sara Kay
New York City is one of my favorite places to be in the winter. The obvious reasons would be because of the standard holiday time merriment; the lighting of the tree, the ice skating rinks on every corner, the way the Empire State Building stands out on the skyline when it’s lit in red and green, you get the idea. But what really makes me smile every winter is the amount of things to do after the holidays have ended, when the crowds have died down a bit and the general holiday commotion has dissipated. That’s when, for me, this city gets me in the seasonal spirit.
The winter months are entirely about comforting foods, warm drinks and generally being indoors, so today, in the spirit of the season, I give you 20 things to do on a winter night in NYC. In no particular order, these are some of the most worthwhile ways to spend a winter evening in this city, from the most well-known of activities to the more unique to-dos. However you plan to spend your winter months, we hope you’ll use this guide for those nights when you want to truly enjoy the city and everything it has to offer. Cheers!
#20 Whiskey cocktails at Huckleberry Bar
If you’re a brown spirits lover like I am, then you know that whiskey cocktails of all shapes and sizes are the best to drink during these cold winter months. Huckleberry Bar has some incredible whiskey drinks on their current cocktail menu, so grab a warm seat and a drinking buddy and warm those chilly bones.
#19 Brooklyn Museum - The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier:
From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk - through February 23rd 2014
The Brooklyn Museum is the only venue on the East coast that is currently housing this exhibit on one of fashion’s influential and groundbreaking couture designer. From now until February 23rd, check out the story of Jean Paul Gaultier through his past collections, sketches, excerpts from films and documentation of runway shows, all while viewing one of the most beautiful museums in New York City.
#18 Nitehawk Cinema
December and January Brunch & Midnite
Popcorn and box candy at the movies are so five years ago, which is why watching a movie at Nitehawk in Williamsburg is the perfect cold-weather activity. The cinema currently showing old time Christmas movies for their December and January Brunch and Midnite events, bringing together two very important winter staples; cuddling up to watch a movie at night, and eating delicious food.
#17 Chocolate Martinis at Max Brenner
You’ll be hard-pressed to find many restaurants that can say with complete honesty that every single item on their menu includes chocolate. Needless to say, Max Brenner’s chocolate haven is the perfect destination for a seriously seductive chocolate martini on any chilly evening. If you’re feeling really daring, order a steaming bowl of chocolate fondue. This is next level stuff.
#16 Indoor Bocce at Union Hall
If your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon in the summer is drinking a cold beer and playing bocce at a beer garden that just happens to have a beautiful bocce court outside, than your idea of a perfect Saturday night in winter is drinking a glass of whiskey and playing indoor bocce at Union Hall. The games get a fairly long wait list which shouldn’t be a problem, since you’ll want to stay a while to enjoy a few drinks anyway.
#15 Hot Cider + Fireball at Greenwood Park
has taken the New York City bar scene by storm, most likely because it has the word whiskey in it, and yet it tastes like liquid Big Red gum, making for fairly easy drinking. Combine that hot cinnamon flavor with a warm mug of hot cider, and you’ve got the ultimate cold weather drink. Greenwood Park heats up this liquid love to order, so you aren’t getting a mug full out of a pre-mixed batch. Drink many, drink often.
#14 Mulled Wine at Cafe Ost
The mulled wine or glogg season will be in full swing in a matter of weeks, and if you haven’t had the chance to try a glass of this ultimate winter drink, get over to Cafe Ost and get yourself a glass or two. Made with red wine, a variety of spices and raisins, this is the perfect beverage to sip on inside the warmth of this cozy cafe.
#13 Ice skating at Bryant Park
The two main ice skating attractions in NYC are at Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to partake in the balancing act, I recommend heading to the Bryant Park rink (don’t worry, we’ll be heading over to Rockefeller Center soon). If you have your own skates your entry into the rink is free, and if not, $15 gets you rental skates and unlimited skating time.
#12 Window shoping on 5th Avenue
For many of us, the month of December is entirely surrounded around saving money in order to buy gifts for our friends, family, co-workers, and basically everyone who has had any impact on our lives this year. So in an effort to save money while still getting your shop on, consider taking an evening stroll up 5th Avenue, where all of the luxury shops sit pretty with beautiful window displays, all themed for the season.
#11 Macy’s on 34th windows/lights
To round out your window shopping experience, you’ll need to join the masses outside the Macy’s on 34th street in Midtown Manhattan, where the light and window displays are known and loved worldwide. This may seem like a bit of a touristy activity with many, many moments of massive crowding, but try to forget about that for a minute as you take in the beautiful artistry on both the ground floor and across the entire building for the next several weeks.
#10 Multi-course dinner at Louro
Chef David Santos opened Louro just over a year ago after a very successful run of prix fix dinners as a part of his Nossa Mesa supper club. While there is an a la carte option at Louro, you’ll want to purchase a ticket to one of his many multi-course prix fix options, which are all incredibly seasonal and feature some incredibly unique and delicious ingredients and preparations. After one dinner, you’ll certainly want to join the supper club, yet another enjoyable evening activity!
#9 New York Botanical Garden (Bar Car Nights)
Fridays & Saturdays in December
Not only is the New York Botanical Garden a beautiful sight all on its own, it also offers an equally beautiful evening event in the form of the Holiday Train Show. The Bar Car Nights give attendees the opportunity to view the exhibition while sipping on a complimentary cocktail, so save this for a unique date night.
#8 Gingerbread Village at the New York Hall of Science
through January 14th 2014
You can’t eat it and you can’t go inside it, but this gingerbread village may as well be habitable, as it has 164 structures and weighs in at over 1.5 tons. Check out this sweet creation at the New York Hall of Science to get you in the mood to build (and eat) your own gingerbread creations all winter long.
#7 Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
This is probably the most iconic of evening winter activities, and for good reason. The Christmas tree that sits high above Rockefeller Center brings onlookers every single night in the month of December, and while the crowds can get fairly fierce, it’s worth the lack of elbow room for this spectacular sight.
#6 Dark Universe at the Hayden Planetarium
If you’re looking for a truly out of this world experience, the Hayden Planetarium’s Dark Universe exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History is sure to blow you away. Filled with renderings of cosmic phenomena and incredible deep space scenes, this will give the act of star gazing a whole new meaning.
#5 Dine out at Restaurant Week - January 2014
Restaurant Week is one of my favorite times of year whenever it rolls around, but especially in the winter months. A cozy table for two at one of New York City’s finest restaurants for half the price is a fairly ideal evening activity, especially since the list of participating restaurants grows every year, with the list including more and more high-end establishments.
#4 Take in the Art on the Highline
Despite the chilly weather, a walk on the Highline can be pretty incredible in the evening. Overlooking the Hudson River you’ll get a fantastic view, and while walking the Highline you can view the current art exhibitions on display. Grab a to go cup of hot cocoa and take a stroll on this beautiful piece of NYC architecture.
#3 Fondue Sundays at Trestle on Tenth - Sundays through February 2014
The boys are back in town, as you check into ska land with our hA steaming hot bowl of melty, delicious cheese? Don’t mind if I do! Spend your next Sunday night at Trestle on Tenth for a fondue pot full of delicious cheeses, served with some excellent side dishes for the dipping, and all for $24. Pair with some Swiss beer, shots or some black tea, and consider yourself booked for every Sunday night through February.
#2 Annual Polar Dip at Coney Island
January 1st 2014
You’ve seen the people who run into the ocean on New Year’s Day, but how would you like to be one of those people? The annual Polar Dip in Coney Island is a great way to bring in the New Year, but it doesn’t have to be done during the day with the giant crowd. As long as you run into that ice cold water on January 1st, you’re a member of the club!
#1 Cassoulet Cook-Off at Jimmy’s No. 43
January 12th 2014
The Sixth Annual Cassoulet Cook-Off at Jimmy’s No. 43 may start in the afternoon, but it will take more than a few minutes to sample all of the delicious cassoulet entries prepared by the cheftestants. A complimentary glass of beer, wine or cider comes with your ticket, so buy one now before this event sells out and you’re cassoulet-less.