Making the Most of Winter in New York City

Is there anything to do in New York City during winter? YES!

Snowy Washington Square Park.

For many students, attending NYU is their first chance to experience all four seasons. So prospective students often wonder what it’s like to live in New York City in the wintertime. For example, they’ll ask, 

  • Does it snow a lot?
  • Will the whole city shut down if it does? 
  • How long can I make it before I have to get a winter coat?

“It depends,” is the answer to all these questions. For instance, I see brave students every year rocking shorts and T-shirts long after I switched to the coat that makes me look like an animated sleeping bag. That said, there’s one question I can answer with 100 percent confidence:

  • Is there anything to do in New York in the winter?

YES! Whether NYU students are seeking food, fun, or fresh air, New York City offers unique experiences that will add wonder to their winter.

Times Square at night.

Arts and Entertainment

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are among the most popular times for tourists to visit New York City. With increased demand, tickets to the hottest Broadway shows may be out of budget for many, but not you! Through NYU ScholasTix, you have access to world-class theatre, music, dance, and even professional sports year-round at a deep discount (sometimes FREE!).

Earlier this month, the Academy Awards announced their 2022 nominations. As always, I will root for our NYU nominees! In New York City, you have the opportunity to watch practically every nominated feature on the big screen, even those that left other theatres months ago. With some of the city’s premier independent and state-of-the-art movie houses mere blocks from campus, you can choose from dozens of films to fill those long breaks between classes. Bonus: ScholarsTix offers discounted movie tickets, too!

Bryant Park ice skating rink at night.

The Great Outdoors

Whether you’re a second grader or a second-semester senior, there is no thrill quite like learning that tomorrow is a snow day. Should winter weather cancel in-person campus activities, try to carve out some time to (safely) frolic in the snow! As any New Yorker will tell you, city snow is best enjoyed the first day. 

While NYU’s New York City campus locations are fairly flat, quality sledding is just a short subway ride away. Central Park is home to both Pilgrim Hill and Cedar Hill. Brooklyn MetroTech residents have an even sweeter setup, with Fort Greene Park not far from campus. Sleds can be found in the city for less than $10. However, don’t fret if they’re sold out. Last winter, my family and I enjoyed hours of sledding with reused poly bubble envelopes.

If the 2022 Winter Olympics woke up your inner Nathan Chen, Bryant Park offers FREE ice-skating for those who bring their own blades (there are also skates available to rent). The rink is open from late October through early March, so you can toe loop and salchow to your heart’s content!

Although Washington Square Park is not ideal for sledding, it is the perfect backdrop for one of NYU’s best “unofficial” traditions: a snowball fight!

Food, Glorious Food!

Every January, NYC Restaurant Week gives students access to some of the world’s best restaurants at special prices. Depending on your palate and budget, you can choose a two-course lunch or a three-course dinner across all five boroughs.

Winter is peak soup season. And New York City is home to the biggest range of broths from around the world. From matzo ball to marag, wonton to pozole, and gumbo to borscht, you can explore the culinary global network without the jet lag.

If you prefer to warm up with a hot beverage instead, there are dozens of coffee, tea, and cocoa purveyors throughout campus. For those who are missing their pets from home, you can visit a cat cafe on the Lower East Side or in Brooklyn Heights. There, you can enjoy a snuggle between sips or even consider adoption (if you live off campus).

A pink neon sign reading, “Coffee and cats, please.”

Getting Around

A subway car whizzing by a student waiting on the platform.

One of the most incredible things about winter in New York City is that the majority of public transportation options remain available on even the most blustery days. 

Locally, we are eternally grateful to NYU Client Services! Check out this amazing behind-the-scenes look at the tireless work that goes into making our campus safe and accessible when it snows.

So, whether Groundhog Day 2022 had you falling for Punxsutawney Phil (and six more weeks of winter) or cheering on Staten Island Chuck (and an early spring), New York City will keep your hearts and calendars full all winter long.