While you may typically think of a winter vacation as going skiing or relaxing on a beach somewhere, New York City in the winter is an exciting and fun travel destination. There is no place like NYC during the holidays, and after the holidays, some attractive prices are available at restaurants, attractions, and hotels, making NYC a more affordable winter travel destination.
In December, I loved ice skating at Rockefeller Center and browsing all the elaborately decorated and animated windows on Fifth Avenue. After the holidays, it's a great time to take advantage of Broadway Week with two-for-one tickets to hot shows. For almost a month in January and February, more than 300 restaurants participate in Restaurant Week, when meals are dramatically reduced. Hotels now are getting in on the action with Hotel Week, when you can find dramatically reduced rates in January at select hotels.
The Rockefeller Center Ice Rink is beautiful and a great venue for skating during the daytime and at night. Although it is the smallest skating rink in the city and only capable of handling 150 skaters at a time, the rink is centrally located, and for me, was a lot of fun, even though it had been years since I had been on skates. It is open from October to April, and the cost is $19 for adults and $12.50 for kids for a 90-minute session.
Other ice skating options in NYC are Citi Pond at Bryant Park and Wollman Rink in Central Park. Known as Citi Pond at Bryant Park, this skating rink is the only free skating rink in Manhattan and is open from October to March. This has been a very popular spot for the past eight years, especially for New Yorkers, but it is also a perfect place for winter visitors to the city. Both daytime and night skating are available here.
Located at the southern end of Central Park, Wollman Rink is by far the largest ice skating venue, at 33,000 square feet. Admission is $11 to $17 for adults and $6 for children, and it's open from November to March for daytime and nighttime skating. Wollman Rink has long been a tradition for ice skating in New York City.
There is nothing like seeing a play on Broadway, and during the last week of January and the first week of February, 19 shows offered their performances at two-for-one prices. It's a great opportunity to see some of Broadway's biggest shows, like "Rock of Ages," "Mamma Mia," "Jersey Boys," "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark," and more. From personal experience, "Spiderman" was totally awesome. You will not get to choose your seats, but these theaters are small, so most seats are good seats.
For a period of approximately one month in January and February, more than 300 NYC restaurants participate in what is now a tradition known as Restaurant Week. These establishments offer three-course lunches for $25 and dinners for $38, excluding tax and tip. It is a prime opportunity to dine at some of New York's finest restaurants at a fraction of the cost. Early reservations are recommended, as they fill up early. These restaurants usually post menus on their websites as to which entrees are included in this promotion.
This is only the second year that NYC has instituted the promotion known as Hotel Week, and it seems to be a great success. January is usually a slow month in NYC for tourism, so this year, 26 hotels participated in discounting room rates during the weeks of Hotel Week. Some hotel room rates in Manhattan were as low as $100 a night, with others at $200 and $250 compared to a normal rate of $500.
Planning a winter vacation can be fun and also affordable if you know where to go. Next year, check out New York City for your winter travel destination.
- Ice Skating
- Travel & Tourism
- Wollman Rink