If you’re looking for things to do in NYC in January, then stay tuned for plenty of ideas!
January isn’t ‘peak season’ in NYC, but there are still plenty of fun things to do in NYC in January.
January is one of the coldest months of the year in NYC, so finding a little guidance on things to do in NYC in January is a good idea!
In our list below of things to do in NYC in January, you’ll find lots of ideas.
Some ideas on our list of things to do in NYC in January will involve hiding from the cold weather, and others will involve embracing it! So make sure you have plenty of warm layers packed.
But first, is NYC worth visiting in January?
Absolutely! If anything, it’s a pretty great time to visit the city.
Hotel rates drop drastically after January 3rd, flights are cheaper, and attractions are much less crowded than December.
If you want to see NYC in the winter, but you’re on a budget – then visiting during January is a really great option.
Here are the best things to do in NYC in January…
Take a walk through Central Park (bonus points if it’s snowing)
Our first suggestion for things to do in NYC in January, is exploring Central Park.
Now, this is obviously outdoors, so you’ll want to wrap up! But actually, January is a pretty beautiful time to explore the city’s iconic park.
January is pretty quiet in NYC, so you’ll feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself!
If you’re lucky enough to visit NYC in January whilst snow is forecast, then walking through Central Park feel seven more beautiful and special.
It’s absolutely one of the top things to do in NYC in January.
Enjoy some Korean BBQ
If there’s one type of restaurant that will warm you up in the heart of January, it’s Korean BBQ!
So you can see why we’ve included it on our list of the best things to do in NYC in January.
When you dine at a Korean BBQ place, you’ll have your own BBQ in the middle of your table (gas or fire, it depends on the restaurant). And you’ll cook your meat yourself at the table.
It’s great fun, and it’s one of the coziest ways to have dinner in the city! This is absolutely one of our top choices for things to do in NYC in January.
Visit SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is next on our list of things to do in NYC in January. It’s one of the newest observation decks in the city and we know you’ll love it.
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is mainly indoors (great for that frosty January weather) so you can enjoy the amazing views of the city, without enduring those minus temperatures.
Another thing we love about SUMMIT One Vanderbilt? It’s really unique! Their are different views and rooms to explore, and it’s completely different to other observation decks in the city.
It’s a fantastic choice for things to do in NYC in January! Click here to book your advance tickets!
Visit the Bryant Park Winter Village
Next on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s the Bryant Park Winter Village.
This is a festive Christmas market, located in Bryant Park (right in the heart of Midtown). And surprisingly (and lucky for us) it’s open until March!
So if you fancy doing a little bit of festive shopping, and just feeling the festive spirit for a little longer, then an evening wandering around this gorgeous market is perfect for things to do in NYC in January.
There’s food available, crafts, independent sellers, and much more.
Visit Aire Spa
Next on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s visiting the amazing Aire Spa.
Aire Spa is one of the most luxurious and iconic spas int he city – but it’s actually very reasonably priced for the incredible experience on offer.
You’ll be led down into their underground ancient baths, where the light comes from the flickering candles and glistening pools.
It’s truly magical, and one of the best ways to warm yourself up in the winter months. It’s a perfect pick for things to do in NYC in January.
Read more NYC recommendations: 32 fun things to do in Soho, NYC
Go to a cat cafe
If you’re after quirky things to do in NYC in January, then a cat cafe might be the answer!
Actually, we can’t think of anything more cozy and lovely, than snuggling up in a cat cafe, with a fluffy companion and a hot drink.
NYC has quite a few cat cafes, but we do recommend booking ahead if this is something you’re interested in. Because they’re very popular! Some of the best ones are:
It’s such a lovely choice for things to do in NYC in January, you’ll love it.
Catch the last weeks of the city ice-rinks
If you’re a keen ice-skater, than you should probably add ice-skating to your list of things to do in NYC in January.
Many of the city’s festive ice-rinks remain open throughout the winter, and this includes January and even some of February.
So if you fancy taking a twirl around the ice, you’ll be in look! It’s a great option for things to do in NYC in January.
Enjoy some indoor rooftop cocktails
Next on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s rooftop cocktails!
But, saying this, we know that the open-air rooftop cocktail bars aren’t the best idea in the middle of NYC’s winter.
Instead, find yourself one of the city’s best indoor rooftop bars instead! That way, you can enjoy all the amazing views, whilst still being warm and cozy.
I love The Skylark in the winter. It’s a bar just down from Times Square, with incredible views over Midtown and The Empire State Building.
It’s also a fantastic place to spend the evening. The drinks are great, the music is brilliant and the vibe is perfect. This is definitely one of the top things to do in NYC in January!
Next on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s visiting Macy’s.
If you want to indulge in a little bit of Christmas shopping, but you don’t fancy walking around in the cold or the snow – then Macy’s is the ideal solution.
Macy’s is a huge department store, and you’ll find everything (and almost every brand) under one roof here.
There are even cafes inside the department store, so you can break up the shopping trip with coffee and cake too!
It’s a perfect pick for things to do in NYC in January.
Go sledding in Central Park
Next on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s sledding in Central Park!
If you happen to be in the city when there’s fresh snow fall, sledding in Central Park has to be the most fun you can have!
You can usually buy cheap sleds from local bodegas or corner stores, and oh my gosh – you’ll have so much fun once you get out on the slopes in Central Park!
Hunt out the city’s best Hot Chocolate
Can you think of a better way to spend the day in January, than sampling all of the city’s best hot chocolates?
We know, how great would that be!
And luckily for you, NYC has so many amazing hot chocolate stores and cafes. We compiled a list of the best hot chocolates in NYC to try, so you can just work through our list!
Watch a Broadway Show
How could we write a list of things to do in NYC in January, without including Broadway.
Actually, Broadway is the BEST way to stay out of the cold in NYC.
There’s something kind of magical about watching a Broadway show whilst the snow falls outside. It’s next level comfort and coziness!
If you want help figuring out what Broadway show to watch, we’ve written a guide about that here!
Also, read more: Our guide to what to wear to a Broadway show in NYC
Visit the New York Public Library and see the famous Rose Main Reading Room
Can you get much cozier than riding from the weather in one of the world’s largest libraries? We don’t think so!
The New York Public Library is a must-see attraction in NYC, but it’s even more magical in the winter time.
When you visit, be sure to check out the famous Rose Main Reading Room too! Spend the day getting lost in a book, and enjoying the cozy and calming atmosphere.
It’s a gorgeous choice for things to do in NYC in January!
Attend a sports game
Next on our list of the best things to do in January in NYC, it’s heading to a sports game.
Whether you’re into basketball, ice-hockey or football – there’s bound to be a game on in January you can book tickets for.
Honestly, even if you’re not into sports, it’s a great choice for things to do in NYC in January because of the fun vibes and atmosphere too!
Go shopping in Soho
If you’re found yourself with some money left over from Christmas, then we recommend shopping in Soho as another great choice for things to do in NYC in January.
Soho is one of the best shopping neighborhood in NYC, you’ll find all your favorite retailers there, alongside some fun independent ones too.
Another reason to add shopping in Soho to your list of things to do in NYC in January… You can head into the many amazing cafes and restaurants between stores!
Enjoy a bottomless brunch
If you’re looking for something a little special and indulgent for your time in NYC, then our next suggestion for things to do in NYC in January is going to be great for you!
There are so many great bottomless brunches in NYC (click that link for our ultimate list), and it’s such a fun way to spend the day with friends!
Take a stadium tour
Next up on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s taking a stadium tour.
Now, in and around NYC there are a few different stadiums you can explore and tour.
Even if sports isn’t really your ‘thing’ taking tours of the stadium grounds can still be really interesting! It’s like getting to peak behind the scenes!
Take a food tour
Next up on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s taking a food tour!
A food tour is a fantastic way to explore the city, and doing a food tour in January is great, because there are less crowds and less queuing!
There are so many amazing food tours to enjoy in NYC… Here are some of our favorites:
- Chinatown and Little Italy food tour
- Specialized Little Italy food tour
- Hell’s Kitchen walking food tour
- Lower East Side food and culture tour
- Brooklyn 3 hour food tour
- Greenwich Village food tour
Visit the Museum of Ice-cream
Next up on our list of the best things to do in NYC in January, it’s visiting the Museum of Ice-Cream.
This is a great indoor attraction, that you can enjoy on those cold days in January that NYC is famous for!
The wonderful Museum of Ice-Cream is located in Soho, and it’s a really fun exploration of color and flavor, using interactive exhibitions.
It’s a lot of fun, and a great choice for things to do in NYC in January. Click here to book your tickets!
Attend a live taping of a TV show
Another great way to escape the cold weather in NYC in January, is to watch a taping of one of the many NYC TV studios.
Most live-tapings at studios are free (which is great!) and you’ll get a few hours of entertainment out of it.
Depending on which show you decide to watch the taping for, you may even get to see some of your favorite celebrities!
It’s a really fun choice for things to do in NYC in January, and it’s one of those things that is totally unique to New York City.
Learn how to cook
Another great choice for things to do in NYC in January, is learning to cook!
There are some amazing cooking classes in the city, and cooking up a storm is one of the best ways to hide away from the cold or the snow.
It’s a great way to meet people, have fun, and learn a new skill too!
If were going to choose a certain food-type to learn to cook in NYC, it would have to be pizza! A classic NYC icon!
The Winter JazzFest
Next on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s the Winter JazzFest.
This amazing city-wide music festival happens every January, and it’ll be running from January 12th – 18th.
If you love jazz music, and you want to immerse yourself into some new artists and styles, then you absolutely need to check it out.
It’s a unique choice for things to do in NYC in January, and definitely one for the music lovers.
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
Our next suggestion for things to do in NYC in January, it’s walking across the Brooklyn Bridge!
Now, this is something to save for one of the good weather days during your trip. We don’t recommend this walk if it’s blustery, windy, foggy or misty.
BUT, if you get a lovely clear day, with that crisp winter air and winter sunshine, there’s nothing nicer than walking across the Brooklyn Bridge!
It’s a great choice for things to do in NYC in January!
Read more about Brooklyn Bridge: Top 10 places for the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge
The New York Philharmonic
If Broadway isn’t really your ‘thing’ but you still want to enjoy a show whilst you’re in NYC, then you’re going to love our next suggestion for things to do in NYC in January.
The New York Philharmonic are amongst the best musicians in the world, and taking in their music and skill, is second to none.
They usually have a few different shows in January you can enjoy, but make sure you book your tickets in advance.
This is such a lovely choice for things to do in NYC in January.
Visit the Friends Experience
Our next suggestion for things to do in NYC in January, it’s visiting the Friends Experience.
Most people we know are fans of the TV show friends, and many people who love NYC, love the city because they grew up watching it on that very TV show!
The Friends experience in NYC is a behind-the-scenes look at props, costumes, sets, and so much more.
It’s a great experience for any Friends fan, and it feels so ‘full circle’ to visit it whilst in the city itself!
Eat some amazing food!
One of the best things to do in NYC in January, is just enjoy eating your way around the city.
January isn’t a busy month in NYC, so you’ll find it much easier to get reservations (even for the super popular restaurants).
We recommend planning ahead with the restaurants you want to visit, and using the time to visit all the fantastic restaurants that NYC is famous for!
You can use some of these blog posts for inspiration:
- Top 25 best restaurants in Midtown, NYC
- 12 Epic food challenges in NYC
- Where to find the best lobsters in NYC!
- What is the best bakery in NYC?
- 15 best Japanese restaurants in NYC
- 20 of the best cheap lunches in NYC
- 50 amazing places to grab breakfast in NYC
- Top 12 best places to eat in Little Italy, NYC
Explore Grand Central Terminal
As we’ve mentioned, NYC is much quieter in January, than other times of the year. So it’s a great time of year to explore more crowded areas of the city.
We love exploring Grand Central Terminal in January, because it’s much less chaotic in January than other times.
See if you can find all the secrets of Grand Central Terminal, like the whispering walls!
Watch some stand-up comedy
Next up on our list of the best things to do in NYC in January, it’s watching some stand-up comedy.
Stand-up comedy is a great entertainment option for Jnuary, because it gets you out of the cold, and it keeps you smiling and laughing too!
There are plenty of stand-up venues in NYC, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a good place to sit down and enjoy some laughs.
It’s a great choice for things to do in NYC in January.
Visit Katz Deli
Next on our list of things to do in NYC in January, it’s visiting Katz Deli. This place was made famous for featuring in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and it’s one of the most beloved eateries in the city.
This is one of the best diners in New York City, and it’s a great place to check out when you’re in the city.
The food, the staff, the atmosphere, it’s all so much fun!
Another reason to visit Katz in January… Well, it’s less crowded and there’s less queuing! So you’ll get that pastrami sandwich even quicker!
Read more NYC food recommendations: Top 22 restaurants in Greenwich Village, NYC
Visit an outlet mall for the day
Next on our list of the best things to do in NYC in January, it’s visiting some of the nearby outlet malls.
The outlet malls aren’t in NYC itself, but they’re only a short drive away, and make a great day trip from the city.
Especially if you’re looking to grab a bargain after the holidays.
Things we would AVOID in NYC in January…
OK, now you know all the best things to do in NYC in January, maybe it’s worth knowing what to avoid!
Below we’ve included a few things to do in NYC we would recommend for the height of winter!
Let’s get into it…
A boat tour (the windows steam up, and it’s too cold!)
I decided one January to take one of the Circle-line boat tours around Manhattan. It was super disappointing.
First of all, it’s so cold outside, that all the windows steamed up. We spent the entire boat tour having to demist the windows so we could see outside even a little bit.
Secondly, the water can free around Manhattan, which can limit the route your boat tour takes. This also happened when I took a boat tour in December, and it meant our tour was cut short.
Thirdly, it’s WAY to cold to enjoy the outdoor boat deck. Which is where all the best views are.
We really don’t recommend boat tours in January!
An open top bus tour (you’ll be freezing and won’t see very much)
Open top bus tours are great ways to see a city… But not in January.
It’s unlikely you’ll have the rooftop open, and even if they do, you won’t want to be sat up there for long in the freezing NY temperatures.
Sitting on the bottom deck is obviously an alternative, but your views will be really restricted. Overall, we wouldn’t recommend doing the bus tours in the winter.
Walking the Highline
There’s nothing wrong with the Highline in winter, but we find it a little bit ‘lacking’ if we’re being completely honest.
The magic of the Highline is seeing all the amazing greenery, amongst the city. But in the winter, the trees lose the leaves, and the park feels a bit more ‘concrete’ than ‘urband jungle’.
It can also get very blustery up there too in the peak of winter.
Cycling through Central Park
This is an iddilic activity in the spring, summer and autumn, but in the winter it’s a little dangerous!
If you don’t know the roads and pathways well in the park, then you might end up on a slippery route, or an icy track.
It’s just not worth it, so please explore by foot instead, with a good pair of walking boots!
If it’s snowing, avoid the observation decks
Observation decks are kind of pointless if it’s snowing.
Snowing really makes visibility poor in the city, and you’ll find that the observation decks don’t have much of a view if it’s currently snowing the city.
You’re best to wait for the snow to stop, and the clouds to clear (this is usually the next day!).
Read more about NYC: What is the best observation deck in NYC?