A person in a red coat walking through Times Square in the snow

With the winter season coming up, here’s a refreshed guide for how to do any holiday in NYC, the “right” way.

1. Attend events hosted by the city
The Bryant Park ice skating rink at night

New York City is truly a melting pot of people and cultures. Because of the diversity, every holiday, whether large or small, will be celebrated here. So, I suggest you start every holiday by looking into the events hosted across the city. Most of them will be free to attend, which will be a great way to explore a new area. Some of my favorites include the world’s largest menorah lighting Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, the Bryant Park Winter Village, and Off-Broadway Week where you can find 2 for-1 tickets to shows that are, well, off-Broadway!

There’s always something to do, see, or try–but how do you even find these events? My best advice is to follow an Instagram account focused on NYC activities or to do a quick Google search of “events near me this weekend.” If you want to keep it simple, you can also read the student newspaper, Washington Square News, which curates a weekly column called “The Daybook” that lists events happening across the city.

2. See what NYU is hosting

There’s always something happening in the city, but there’s also always something happening on campus – plus, you paid tuition, so why not take advantage of the benefits? For every holiday imaginable, offices across campus will provide more free opportunities for students to supplement what’s going on around us. For example, some of the residence hall celebrate Lunar New Year by giving out red envelopes and decorating the lobbies. Each February, the university hosts MLK Week to honor Black History Month through a series of panel discussions. Meanwhile, IRHC hosts everyone’s favorite winter activity, Flurry, a night of free ice skating and snack at Wollman Rink in Central Park.

However, the best part of the holidays at NYU is the food! NYU Eats is currently operating a grab-and-go winter treat shop where you can grab cookies and mini cakes, but they offer festive foods year-round to those willing and eager to try them!

3. Stay in and watch a movie!
A bingo sheet for the movie Home Alone.

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Is 10 Things I Hate About You the best Valentine’s romcom? Should you watch a movie for every holiday? Obviously YES!!

To celebrate a holiday, you don’t always have to go out. One of the easiest ways to get in the spirit is to stay in and watch a movie with friends. Some of my best college memories are of laughing and sharing snacks with the people around me, so I’d highly recommend it!

Additionally, the weather won’t always be great, so sometimes plans need to adjust. As much as I love drinking hot chocolate in the cold, there’s something cozy about staying in with friends, and playing Home Alone bingo to spot all the iconic NYC filming locations.

4. Don’t have FOMO

I know I just gave you suggestions for things to do year-round all across the city but don’t develop a fear of missing out. The best part about being in NYC is that everything you may want to try will happen again at some point, so don’t feel pressured to say “yes.”


Part of what makes any holiday fun is the excitement and anticipation, so it won’t be a great experience if you feel overtired or stressed. If you don’t feel up to exploring or trying something new, say no and spend the holiday with yourself! Use the time to decorate your space, learn about the history of the day, or deep clean and refresh for whatever comes next. Not every holiday has to be spent with friends for it to be worthwhile!

I’m Ryan, a senior in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration on the intersections of Photography and Themes of Justice and a minor in Print Journalism. On campus, I’m an Admissions Ambassador, a resident assistant in Brittany Hall, and have an internship! Outside of class, I love exploring the city with friends and grabbing waffles at brunch. Most importantly though, above all else, I’m a military kid who’s moved every two years and lived worldwide!