- 1 The Best Winter Festivals in New York City 2022-2023
- 2 Holiday & December Festivals in NYC
- 2.1 Winter Lantern Festival
- 2.2 Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
- 2.3 Lightscape
- 2.4 Union Square Holiday Market
- 2.5 Amaze Light Festival
- 2.6 Holiday Train Show
- 2.7 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- 2.8 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
- 2.9 Holiday Nostalgia Rides
- 2.10 SantaCon NYC
- 2.11 Christmas at The Cloisters
- 2.12 The Governor’s Victorian Holiday Ball
- 2.13 Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
- 2.14 New Year’s Eve in New York City
- 3 January Festivals in NYC
- 3.1 Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge
- 3.2 El Museo’s Three Kings Day Celebration
- 3.3 Winter Jazzfest
- 3.4 New York Jewish Film Festival
- 3.5 Black Comic Book Festival
- 3.6 Brooklyn Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
- 3.7 New York Boat Show
- 3.8 Meet the Breeds
- 3.9 Restaurant Week
- 3.10 NYC No Pants Subway Ride
- 3.11 Broadway Week
- 4 February Festivals in NYC
- 5 More Resources For Visiting New York City in the Winter
- 6 Winter Festivals in New York City: Wrap-Up
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From Christmas markets to ice skating rinks, arts events, celebrated dining programs, and more, New Yorkers love to find reasons to celebrate during the colder months.
Aside from the traditional Christmas markets that dominate NYC’s early winter events, some of my favorite winter festivals in New York City are later into the cold season.
If you’re planning to visit the Big Apple this winter, make sure to go out and experience some of the famous NYC winter festivals.
The Best Winter Festivals in New York City 2022-2023
|Winter Lantern Festival||4 different sites around NYC and New York state||October 21, 2022 - January 8, 2023
|Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park||Bryant Park||October 28, 2022 - January 2, 2023|
|Lightscape||Brooklyn Botanic Garden||November 16, 2022–January 8, 2023|
|Union Square Holiday Market||Union Square||November 17 – December 24, 2022|
|Amaze Light Festival||Citi Field in Queens||November 19, 2022 - January 8, 2023|
|Holiday Train Show||New York Botanical Garden||November 19, 2022 – January 16, 2023|
|Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade||Central Park West to Macy’s in Herald Square||November 24, 2022|
|Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony||Rockefeller Center||November 30, 2022|
|Holiday Nostalgia Rides||Manhattan||Last Year's Dates: Sundays from November 25 - December 30, 2021|
|SantaCon NYC||All around NYC||December 10, 2022|
|Christmas at The Cloisters||The Cloisters||Last Year's Dates: December 16, 2021 - January 4, 2022|
|The Governor's Victorian Holiday Ball||King Manor Museum||December 17, 2022|
|Hanukkah Menorah Lighting||Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn||December 18 - 26, 2022|
|New Year's Eve in New York City||All around NYC||December 31, 2022|
|Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge||Coney Island||January 1, 2023|
|El Museo's Three Kings Day Celebration||East Harlem||January 6, 2023|
|Winter Jazzfest||All around NYC||January 12 - January 21, 2023|
|New York Jewish Film Festival||Lincoln Center||January 12 - January 25, 2023|
|Black Comic Book Festival||Last Year's Location: Virtual||Last Year's Dates: January 13 - January 15, 2022|
|Brooklyn Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.||Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)||January 16, 2023|
|New York Boat Show||Jacob K. Javits Convention Center||January 25 - 29, 2023|
|Meet the Breeds||Jacob K. Javits Convention Center||January 28 - 29, 2022|
|Restaurant Week||All around NYC||Mid-January through Mid-February|
|NYC No Pants Subway Ride||All around NYC||Last Date: January 12, 2020
|Broadway Week||Theatre District||End of January through Early February 2023|
|Winter Jam||Rumsey Playfield in Central Park||February 4, 2023|
|New York Fashion Week||All around NYC||February 9 - 15, 2023|
|Lunar New Year Parade & Festival||Chinatown||February 12, 2023|
|Governor's Island Winter Ice Sculpture Show||Colonels Row on Governor's Island||Last Year's Date: February 26, 2022|
|New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show||New York Botanical Garden||Last Year's Dates: February 26 - May 1, 2022|
Holiday & December Festivals in NYC
Winter Lantern Festival
- Dates: October 21, 2022 – January 8, 2023
- Location: 4 different sites around NYC and New York state
Starting in early November, the Winter Lantern Festival takes over four locations in the New York metropolitan area.
You can find more than 1,000 made Chinese lanterns filling the SIUH Community Park on Staten Island with dazzling lights and beautiful colors, all created by artisans who have spent decades perfecting their craft.
At the Nassau County Museum in Roslyn, experience the festival’s only drive-thru event as you wind your way through beautiful holiday lights and lanterns.
Over at the Smithtown Historical Society in Suffolk County on Long Island, this immersive Lantern exhibition displays handcrafted lanterns in the shapes of flowers and animals.
At the Queens County Farm, the festival illuminates the farm with Larger than Life animal lanterns.
Or, if you happen to be visiting Washington DC this holiday season, the winter Lantern Festival’s last location is at the Lerner Town Square at Tysons II in Virginia.
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
- Dates: October 28, 2022 – January 2, 2023
- Location: Byrant Park
The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is the city’s most famous holiday market.
Open from the end of October through New Year’s Day, there are more than 90 different shops and delicious food stalls in the open-air market.
Inspired by the style of European Christmas markets, artisans and local businesses from all across the five boroughs set up an outpost in Bryant Park’s market.
Make sure to spend some time shopping handicrafts by local artisans at the different stalls around the park and grab a snack at The Lodge before leasing up your skates.
Bryant Park’s outdoor ice skating rink, open until the beginning of March is the only one in the city with free entry–as long as you bring your skates. Otherwise, you can rent a pair.
- Dates: November 16, 2022 – January 8, 2023
- Location: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden hosts an incredible lights show called Lightscape every year.
Walk along a 1-mile path through the garden’s 52 acres after dark, where you’ll be dazzled by the colorful twinkling lights and soundscape as you explore the famous gardens in a new way.
You’ll also have the chance to experience displays like the Fire Garden, the Field of Light, the Winter Cathedral Tunnel, and other light works developed by Brooklyn-based artists.
Union Square Holiday Market
- Dates: November 17 – December 24, 2022
- Location: Union Square
Usually, the Union Square Greenmarket is one of the largest farmers’ markets in New York City.
It has a fantastic selection of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers, and hosts live performances and entertainment throughout the year.
However, during the winter, the market transforms into the Union Square Holiday Market hosted by Urbanspace.
More than 150 vendors line the park from mid-November to Christmas Eve, showcasing and selling delicious foods, artworks, and their handcrafted goods.
You can visit their website for current hours and information on this year’s vendors.
Amaze Light Festival
- Dates: November 19, 2022 – January 8, 2023
- Location: Citi Field, Queens
You can find the Amaze Light Festival at Citi Field in Queens (the home of the New York Mets).
Visitors can enjoy an immersive holiday adventure at this magical Christmas light show. They also have their own holiday market for you to explore.
Enjoy yourself with your friends and family during the holidays and enjoy some holiday cheer.
You can check their open dates and buy general admissions and VIP tickets online.
Holiday Train Show
- Date: November 19, 2022 – January 16, 2023
- Location: New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Gardens has hosted its Holiday Train Show for over thirty years.
Miniature trains move through a tiny replica of New York City, with famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, and many others.
While there, you can also explore the gardens and view GLOW, a 1.5-mile path that winds through the Botanical Garden’s grounds at night for their outdoor light and color show.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Date: November 24, 2022
- Location: Central Park West to Macy’s in Herald Square
The last true fall festival in New York City is the start of the holiday season!
The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes over Manhattan on its namesake holiday each year.
The streets surrounding the Natural Museum of History are dedicated to the Parade on the day before Thanksgiving.
Here, you can actually watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being blown up, starting at about 1 p.m.
There are so many balloon animals that the process often continues well into the evening.
It was once considered a more niche, local activity for New Yorkers, but has recently become more popular.
On Thanksgiving morning, go out and see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in person!
While the parade actually starts at 9 a.m., you absolutely need to wake up and get to the parade route early for a good spot, since this is a major NYC event for locals and tourists.
The parade route starts at Central Park West and ends at Macy’s Herald Square, taking about three hours from beginning to end.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
- Dates: November 30, 2022
- Location: Rockefeller Center
Topping everyone’s Christmas in New York bucket list is visiting the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
One of the most iconic symbols for Christmas that New York City has, the tree is lit every night during the holiday season, making this one of the most popular tourist attractions in NYC.
However, the annual tree lighting is an all-out winter event in NYC.
Hosted by NBC, there are performances by musical acts, the Rockettes, and figure skaters before the countdown to illuminate the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for the first time each year.
If you’re interested in seeing the event for yourself, you can go to Rockefeller Center and enjoy the experience of standing in the crowd.
Or, you can book this excellent holiday excursion and see the tree-lighting ceremony from above.
Holiday Nostalgia Rides
- Last Year’s Dates: Sundays from November 25 – December 30, 2021
- Location: Manhattan
On Sundays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the New York Transit Museum partners with the MTA to run the Holiday Nostalgia Rides every Sunday.
Starting from the 145th Street B line and heading downtown, vintage NYC subway cars from the 1930s through the 1970s are brought out of their retirement to make up the holiday train.
People come dressed up in their finest throwback outfits and herald back to when subway riding was a refined activity.
Since the holiday train only runs a few times during the season, look at the train’s schedule on the New York Transit Museum’s website to plan ahead.
- Dates: December 10, 2022
- Location: All around NYC
You have never seen so many Santas in your life than at SantaCon NYC.
This crazy one-day event is the ultimate holiday bar crawl. Thousands of people dressed from head to toe in festive wear follow a pre-outlined path through New York City, drinking and holidaying the day away.
People create elaborate costumes for the occasion, and everyone follows the “Santa Code” to stay respectful of the city during the day’s bedlam.
You can buy your tickets on their website, which is a tax-deductible charitable donation.
On the day, make sure you bring your ticket, cash for the bars and food, a fully-funded MetroCard so you can travel from stop to stop, your best Christmas costumes, and your holiday spirit.
Christmas at The Cloisters
- Last Year’s Dates: December 16, 2021 – January 4, 2022
- Location: The Cloisters
A magnificent museum called The Cloisters is located in Upper Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, which takes visitors back to Medieval Europe.
This outpost of The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses more than 5,000 works of European art dating from the Byzantine period to the early Renaissance and was constructed in the medieval European monastery style by architect Charles Collens.
The halls are adorned with historic Medieval ‘Christmastide’ decorations yearly to celebrate the season.
Garden staff and volunteers work for weeks handcrafting the locally-sourced holiday furnishings, including evergreen trees, holly, ivy, and other plants used to celebrate Christmastide, the 12-day Medieval festival between the Nativity and the Epiphany.
This is a fantastic place to explore during the year. Still, if you have ever wondered what a Medieval holiday celebration would look like, this is the place to go.
You can see the architecture and learn about the era when you wander the holiday halls.
The Governor’s Victorian Holiday Ball
- Dates: December 17, 2022
- Location: King Manor Museum
The King’s Manor Museum in Queens is hosting The Governor’s Victorian Holiday Ball this holiday season.
To celebrate the year’s end, attend an evening reminiscent of an authentic ball from the Victorian era.
Appropriate clothing is encouraged, and there will be historic dancing, cocktail-making, music, and a raffle to end the evening.
Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
- Dates: December 18 – 26, 2022
- Location: Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn
The world’s largest Hanukkah menorah lighting celebration happens in Park Slope Brooklyn every season.
This NYC winter festival is a stunning representation of Jewish culture. Featured in Brooklyn since 1985, you can find the massive lighting ceremony on each of the eight nights.
In addition to the lighting, enjoy live music, hot latkes for the adults, and gifts for the kids attending.
The evening ceremonies are free to attend, and all are welcome.
New Year’s Eve in New York City
- Dates: December 31, 2022
- Location: All around NYC
One of the most famous winter festivals in New York City is its massive New Year’s Eve celebration.
The city comes alive on the last night of every year for the renowned Ball Drop in Times Square. Musical guests, speakers, and hosts perform all night in the historic plaza.
If you’re interested in attending, be ready to stand outside in the winter cold for hours at a time–once you leave the gated area, you can’t go back in.
And finally, at the stroke of midnight, when the ball drops, the New Year’s Eve fireworks shoot out into the sky. Each year, the fireworks are set off from either the East River or the Hudson River.
This means, of course, the best views of the fireworks are from the water.
If you are in New York City this New Year’s Eve, try this all-inclusive Party Cruise to celebrate the start of a new year.
January Festivals in NYC
Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge
- Date: January 1, 2023
- Location: Coney Island
The first of the year means jumping into a cold body of water!
The Coney Island Polar Bear Club hosts the New Year’s Day Polar Plunge each year.
Throw your body into the frigid Atlantic Ocean for charity and to celebrate new beginnings on January 1.
You can find more information about this year’s plunge on their website.
El Museo’s Three Kings Day Celebration
- Date: January 6, 2023
- Location: East Harlem
Although Three Kings Day isn’t a main American celebration, it’s a significant holiday in many other countries worldwide.
Also known as The Ephiphany, January 6 honors the day the three wise men delivered gifts to baby Jesus.
The El Museo del Barrio annually hosts a parade through East Harlem featuring puppets, music, and dancing.
Check out their website to learn about this year’s parade route.
- Dates: January 12 – January 21, 2023
- Location: All around NYC
Since its inception in 2005, the Winter Jazzfest has brought together some of the leading contemporary jazz musicians performing today.
Music fans from across the United States and more than 20 countries come together for this 9-day winter festival around New York City.
The festival takes over music stages across the five boroughs featuring more than 150 performers in their primes.
It showcases innovative artists and how the musical genre has transformed since it was born out of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s.
You can check the Winter Jazzfest website for this year’s performance schedule.
New York Jewish Film Festival
- Dates: January 12 – January 25, 2023
- Location: Lincoln Center
New York has many film festivals, but the New York Jewish Film Festival stands apart.
For more than 30 years, The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center have partnered to produce this film festival that centers on the Jewish experience worldwide.
The series is an important look into modern-day Jewish life and culture presented in various formats with a presentation of documentaries, short films, and narrative projects.
Tickets and this year’s schedule are available on the Film at Lincoln Center’s website.
Black Comic Book Festival
- Last Year’s Dates: January 13 – January 15, 2022
- Location: 2022 Virtual
Founded in Harlem in 1925, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture explores African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. It’s one of the New York Public Library’s research institutions.
The Center celebrates the extraordinary history and tradition of black comic books and their artists every year.
The 3-day festival brings animators, independent publishers, and writers together with their readers to connect through seminars, workshops, and cosplay.
You can see the speakers at this year’s upcoming amazing event and the rest of the schedule on their website.
Brooklyn Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
- Date: January 16, 2023
- Location: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
As the United States celebrates Martin Luther King Day around his birthday every year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts an annual tribute.
The special event features musical guests, dance performances, and speeches from leading activists and speakers of our time.
The two-hour free festival takes place in their BAM Howard Gilman Opera House.
New York Boat Show
- Dates: January 25 – January 29, 2023
- Location: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Do you thrive on the water? Learn more about all things boating at the Progressive New York Boat Show.
You can meet with boat vendors, attend seminars, and learn more about what companies are doing to make the Boating industry more sustainable and better for the environment.
And kids can learn how to build their own toy boat and take it home as a souvenir.
Purchase tickets, look at the vendor list, and see their seminar schedule on the New York Boat Show’s official website.
Meet the Breeds
- Dates: January 28 – 29, 2022
- Location: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Find your new furry best friend at Meet the Breeds.
Hosted by the American Kennel Club, Meet the Breeds is your chance to actually meet pups of all different types and sizes.
You’ll learn about hundreds of different dog breeds, like variations of hypoallergenic or purebred dogs, and meet dogs from breeds that most people haven’t heard of before.
And the best part? That’s right, you get to play with the dogs!
You can check the American Kennel club’s official website to learn more and purchase tickets to this two-day festival.
NYC Restaurant Week is one of my favorite things to do in New York City in winter–and in the summer!
Some of the best restaurants across the five boroughs participate in this bi-annual affair.
They usually offer a pre-fixe menu you order from, which comes at a discounted price than what they would otherwise charge.
It’s a tremendous opportunity to taste-test excellent foods made by some of the top chefs working in New York City today.
And since Restaurant Week happens twice yearly, you have double the opportunities to try outstanding cuisine!
NYC No Pants Subway Ride
- Last Date: January 12, 2020
- Location: All around NYC
New York City really does host some wild winter festivals. Thousands of people board the New York City subway each January without pants.
What began as a prank by seven guys in 2002 has turned into an international affair with thousands of participants.
Hosted by Improv Everywhere, an NYC-based improvisational theater troupe, the annual event celebrates silliness.
Everyone participating wears otherwise completely normal clothes for winter in New York City–hats, gloves, coats, shirts, and shoes–just no pants.
Since the date changes every year, you can check the official no pants subway ride page on the Improv Everywhere website.
Information will be announced early December if you want to participate this year.
- Dates: End of January through Early February 2023
- Location: Theatre District
One of my best suggestions when buying Broadway tickets is to get them a discount–and NYC Broadway Week is one of the best times of year to do just that.
This bi-annual event allows theatergoers to purchase tickets from predetermined Broadway shows at a two-for-one price.
That’s right, you can see everything from a niche new show to Hamilton at a 50% discount by going with a friend.
Since BroadwayCon moved from an annual NYC winter festival into the summer season, this is the new best winter Broadway event.
Insider Tip: Once you’ve decided on the Broadway show, how about dinner? Check out a list of my favorite restaurants in the Theatre District here.
February Festivals in NYC
- Dates: February 4, 2023
- Location: Rumsey Playfield in Central Park
Even if it hasn’t snowed yet in New York City this winter, the New York City Parks Department transforms Rumsey Playfield in Central Park into a winter wonderland.
In partnership with Gore Mountain, the ski resort brings a mountain of snow into the city for some winter fun.
At this NYC annual winter sports festival, you can go sledding, ice bowling, curling, or just run around and play in the snow.
And with food and drinks available to buy at the outdoor event, you can truly spend a day outdoors enjoying all the best of winter right in the heart of Manhattan.
You can find all of this year’s details on the NYC Parks website.
New York Fashion Week
- Dates: February 9 – 15, 2023
- Location: All around NYC
If you love fashion, there are a few places in the world you probably dream of seeing—Paris, Milan, and New York City.
NY Fashion Week is your opportunity to see and be seen with the most fashion-forward people in the world.
Watch the runways set up all over NYC debut the latest season’s styles for iconic brands like Michael Kors, Coach, and Fendi, as well as LoveShackFancy, Veronica Beard, and Connor McKnight, among others.
The dates and locations for this year’s Fashion Week are on their official website.
And if you can’t make it in person, or you can’t secure a ticket inside, you can find information for streaming the runway shows online.
Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
- Date: February 12, 2023
- Location: Chinatown
If you want to see an authentic Asian festival, head down to this historic New York City neighborhood on the Lunar New Year.
The neighborhood celebrates this important day in Chinese culture with a massive parade and street fair.
Along with the parade featuring Dragon dancing, martial arts, historical clothing, and other performances, walk through the festival featuring local businesses in Kimlau Square.
You can see this year’s date for the cultural celebrations and parade route on their website.
Governor’s Island Winter Ice Sculpture Show
- Last Year’s Date: February 26, 2022
- Location: Colonels Row on Governor’s Island
Governor’s Island Winter Ice Sculpture Show
Governor’s Island is home to several excellent activities throughout the summer, from glamping to a luxury spa. But you won’t want to miss this exciting opportunity to experience the Winter Village on Governor’s Island.
Ice sculpture artists take over Colonels Row and compete to carve a stunning creation live before a judging panel.
You can also find a variety of activities, including a live performance from the Ice Theater of New York, food vendors, children’s activities, and more.
New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show
- Last Year’s Dates: February 26 – May 1, 2022
- Location: New York Botanical Garden
This winter festival at the New York Botanical Garden showcases the beauty of the orchid flower.
In years past, the Orchid Show was designed by renowned artist Jeff Leatham, artistic director of the Four Season Hotel George V in Paris.
He brought his stunning floral creations to life in a spectacular display of flowers, trees, and greenery at the historic Enid A Haupt Conservatory.
You can find the artist behind this year’s Orchid Show display and more information about how to visit on the New York Botanical Garden’s website.
More Resources For Visiting New York City in the Winter
- In charge of planning your complete Christmas itinerary? I have a full guide for planning your itinerary in NYC this Christmas.
- Trying to find a perfect hotel for your Christmas trip? Here are all the best places to stay in New York City during the Christmas season.
- Are you interested in all the most Instagramable romantic spots? Be inspired by my list of the best Christmas photo spots all around NYC.
- Trying to find some other wintery activities? Check out my list of awesome winter activities in New York City.
- Interested in taking a holiday-themed tour? Check out my list of the top Christmas tours throughout the five boroughs.
- Are you hoping to see snow this Christmas season? Find out here if it snows in New York at Christmas.
- Are you visiting New York City this winter with your significant other? Be inspired by my list of the best winter dates all around NYC.
- Looking for more ideas this holiday season? Take a look at my complete New York at Christmas bucket list.
Winter Festivals in New York City: Wrap-Up
You can find everything from the ultra silly to honoring unique artistry and cultural moments throughout the many winter festivals in NYC! Which one will you attend this winter season?