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15+ EPIC Things to Do in New York City in January (2024 Guide)

bryant park christmas, Visiting New York City in January

If you’re visiting New York City in January, you’ll be happy to learn that there’s never a shortage of great things to do. My name is Alejandro and I live in the Big Apple. I’ve learned that NYC is quieter in January, largely thanks to the seasonal dip in tourism. Lines are shorter, restaurant reservations are easier to score and the city’s top attractions run some great 2-for-1 deals.

So, if you’re planning on visiting New York City in January, allow me to share my personal roundup of the best things to do in NYC in winter. This is the exact same list I share with my own family and friends when they visit during the winter months, hope you enjoy!


Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +3 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.


Perks of visiting New York City in January

  • Cheaper flights and hotels
  • Discounted events (Broadway shows, restaurants, etc.)
  • The city is less crowded

Disadvantages of visiting New York City in January

  • Inclement weather
  • Shorter days (4pm sunsets are rough)
  • Packing for the winter weather (bulky jackets, tons of sweaters makes it harder to pack light)

Christmas Tree at Washington Square Park, Things to do in New York City in January

Best Things to Do in New York City in January

Table of Contents

Momofuku Ramen NYC, Things to do in new York City in January

Warm Up with Michelin-Quality Ramen at Tonchin

Website: Tonchin
Neighborhood:Midtown & Williamsburg
Addresses: 13 W 36th St., New York & 109 N 3rd St, Brooklyn

Founded in Japan in 1992, Tonchin is the passion-project of two brothers, Katsuhiro and Motohiro Sugeno. Folks couldn’t get enough of this ramen, so when Katsuhiro’s son decided to open a flagship location New York City location, nobody was surprised when they won a Bib Gourmand from Michelin.

Bib Gourmand restaurants are renowned for offering great quality cooking at a good price. Having tried 30+ ramen spots in New York City, I can confirm that Tonchin’s ramen comes out on top.


Bumper Cars at Bryant Park Winter Village, Things to do NYC in January

Ride Bumper Cars on Ice (at Bryant Park)

When was the last time you found yourself in a bumper car? If it’s been too long, head to Bryant Park to bump, slide and spin on the ice (ages 7+). After the holiday season ends, Bryant Park dusts off the beloved bumper cars and opens up the 17,000-square-foot ice rink exclusively for this fun winter activity in NYC.

Local’s Advice: I strongly recommend booking in advance, since this is one of the most popular things to do in New York City in January.


Enjoy the Three Kings Parade in East Harlem

Website: El Museo
Date: January 6th, 2024
Address: 1230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029

A tradition dating back 40 years, El Museo del Barrio (a musuem dedicated to celebrating the heritage of Latin cultures) has hosted the Three Kinds Day Celebration annually on January 6th. The parade is led by giants puppets of the Three Kings, as they wind through the streets of East Harlem (known as El Barrio) to live music, colorful costumes and floats.

Seeing the parade in person while visiting New York City in January is a no-brainer. Starting at 11am, the parade route begins at 106th St and park Ave and ends at El Museo del Barrio where a concert takes place. This year’s theme is ‘Tradiciones: Keeping Our Stories Alive.’


NYBG Holiday Train Show, best things to do in New York City in January
Image Courtesy New York Botanical Garden

Visit the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden

Website: New York Botanical Garden
Dates: Through January 15, 2024
Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

A cherished winter activity in New York City, the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show is not to be missed while visiting NYC in January. The garden is transformed into a magic wonderland featuring 175+ miniature city landmarks meticulously crafted from natural materials (like leaves, twigs and bark).

Model trains (from steam engines and trolleys) navigate half-mile of train tracks as they wiz past New York City landmarks. Attracting 250,000 visitors a year, there’s no denying that experiencing the Holiday Train Show is one of the best things to do in New York City in January for kids (and train enthusiasts alike!).


Beacon Theatre NYC
Things to do in January in New York City

Admire Jerry Seinfeld at the Beacon Theatre

Website: Beacon Theatre
Dates: January 12 – 13, 2024
Address: 2124 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

Jerry Seinfeld probably needs no introduction. Best known for the hit TV show, Seinfeld (the sixth-best TV show of all time), Seinfeld will be performing four shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York City in January 2024.

A native New Yorker (he currently lives in the Upper West Side), Seinfeld is considered one of the best comedians at all time. Tickets won’t last long, so purchase them in advance to avoid missing out on this unique January activity in NYC.


Madison Square Garden, Visiting New York City in January

Catch a Sports Game at Madison Square Garden

Address: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001

One of the best things to do in New York City in January is to check out a live sporting event! NYC is home to the New York Rangers and New York Islanders (hockey), New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets (basketball) and the New York Giants and New York Jets (football).

My favorite place to catch a sporting event is the Madison Square Garden (love seeing the Rangers & Knicks!). If you’re visiting New York City in January consider attending a game as an excuse to get out of your hotel and cheer for the home team.

Local’s Tip: If cost is a concern, might be helpful to know that tickets to basketball and hockey games are typically less expensive than football games. The seasons are longer, so there’s less demand.


Learn About Cheese & Champagne at Eataly

Website: Bubbles & Cheese at Eataly
Date: January 18, 2024 (5:30pm – 7pm)
Address: 101 Liberty St, New York, NY 10007

One of the best things to do in New York City in January (especially for foodies) is to take a class at Eataly. This popular Italian marketplace is part-grocery store and part-restaurant venue, and hosts some of the best culinary classes in NYC.

This year’s class is called Bubbles & Cheese. Learn about pairing Italian cheeses with sparkling Italian wines from a professional cheese monger and Eataly’s beverage director. You’ll be guided through Italian regions, producers, production methods and the various aging processes.

Something to note: Eataly has two locations in NYC but the Bubbles & Cheese Class is being hosted only at the downtown location.


Enjoy the Winter Jazz Fest

Dates: January 10 – January 18, 2024

Celebrating 20 years, the Winter Jazz Fest attracts top-talent and sells out most shows. The festival has become so popular that it evolved into a week-long festival that takes place in 20+ jazz clubs in NYC in January. Featuring more than 500 musicians (including world-famous names and up-and-coming stars), you can see the full lineup and events here.


Visiting New York City in January, Wollman Rink

Go Ice Skating in Central Park

New York City transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. With over a dozen ice-skating rinks in New York City, there’s one you can’t afford to miss — Wollman Rink in Central Park.

Ice skating is one of the most popular things to do in New York City in January, and few locations are as iconic as the Wollman Rink. The stunning Manhattan skyline serves as a breathtaking backdrop and offers the most picturesque setting for ice skating.


The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Concert

Date: January 15, 2024 (1:30 – 3:30pm)
Address: 235 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

The Harlem Gospel Choir was founded in 1986 and is considered one of the most talented gospel choirs in the world. On January 15th the choir will come together at Sony Hall to pay homage to Martin Luther King Jr.. Get tickets for a unique NYC January experience you won’t soon forget.

The event is open to all ages and faiths, and is one of the best things to do in New York City in January. Tickets are available now and start at $33 plus fees.


Visiting NYC in January with Kids? Learn About Disney on Ice

Website: Disney on Ice
Dates: January 18 – January 21, 2024
Address: 620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn hosts one of the best winter events in New York City for families, Disney on Ice. Watch beloved Disney characters glide, sing and perform popular movies live on the ice.

Miguel from Coco, Rapunzel from Tangled, and Moana all will sing their songs (and you’ll find it hard not to sing-along) in a performance called Into the Magic. Expect tons of dancing, games and crafts your kids will be sure to remember.

Local’s Tip: There’s a pre-show Character Experience you can purchase where your little ones get to interact with characters before the show starts.


2024 January Events in New York City

To mitigate the impacts of the slow tourist season, the city of New York partners with businesses to offer locals and visitors a chance to score some deals. Here’s a roundup of cool winter events in NYC you should know about.


Restaurant Week

Website: Restaurant Week
Dates: January 16th – February 4, 2024

Foodies rejoice! Restaurant Week is one of the best reasons to visit New York City in January. Restaurants across the city offer 2-3 course prix fixe meals for $30-60 per person (excluding drinks) during the weekdays. Different restaurants offer meals for lunch and dinner (sometimes both!).


Hotel Week

Website: Hotel Week
Dates: January 3 – February 4, 2024

Similar to Restaurant Week, Hotel Week also provides another reason to visit New York City in January. To celebrate 2024, guests will get 24% off their stays at some of New York’s best hotels. This is also great for any locals looking to book a staycation and splurge a little bit.


NYC Must-See Week

Website: Must-See Week
Dates: January 16 – February 4, 2024

One of the best things to do in New York City in January is to take advantage of Must-See Week. Starting January 16th you can book tickets to some of NYC’s biggest attractions while scoring 2-for-1 tickets. Many of the city’s top attractions are up for grabs — observation decks, museums, tours and popular performances. Tickets go on sale on January 10th and they will go fast.


Broadway Week

Website: Broadway Week
Dates: January 16 – February 4, 2024

During Broadway Week folks are able to score 2-for-1 tickets to select Broadway shows. If you’re a Broadway geek (like me) this makes visiting New York City in January twice as fun! Tickets go live January 9th and sell out quickly.


Public Theater Under the Radar Festival

Website: Under the Radar Festival
Dates: January 5 – January 21, 2024

The Public Theater makes theater more accessible and shines a light on up and coming talent. The Under The Radar Festival takes it up a notch – it showcases new plays from all around the world. Tickets and information available online.


Things to Avoid While Visiting New York City in January

  • Observation decks when the weather is bad: This isn’t so you won’t be cold, I tell you to avoid them because you won’t be able to see anything! Check the weather app and be sure to steer clear of fog.
  • Forgetting to make reservations: I suggest checking each and every place for reservations before trekking out into New York City in January, this is so you can avoid waiting in cold (and rainy) lines outdoors.
  • Open air bus tours: The cold weather is only exaggerated when you’re seated on the top floor of an open air bus, the experience feels like a permanent wind chill. The inside of the bus is seldom any better because of foggy windows.

Average Temperatures in NYC in January

Averages: highs 39°F | lows 26°F | Rains on average 8 days of the month

If you’re visiting New York City in January you should be prepared for cold (and sometimes snowy) weather. Insulated and wind-proof clothing are non-negotiable if you want to enjoy yourself without freezing. 

Keep in mind the sun sets early this time of year, so plan your outdoor activities while you still have daylight. If it snows during your visit you’ll want to get an early start on the day. This way you can enjoy a pristine, freshly powdered New York City before pedestrians and cars turn the snow to slush. 


best winter coats for New York City, New York City in January

Tips for Visiting NYC in January

Be sure to read: What to Pack for New York in Winter (+Outfit Ideas) for helpful suggestions.

Bring winter shoes: It’s no secret that January in New York City is cold, pack accordingly! I recommend insulated/waterproof boots (here’s the pair I live in). Check out: The Best Shoes for Walking Around New York City (By Season).

Portable charger: Cold weather depletes batteries (both cellphones and camera) quicker than you’d expect, so when heading out for the day make sure you’re at full charge and pick up one of these bad boys.


Visiting New York City in January (Post Summary)

  1. Warm Up with Michelin-Quality Ramen at Tonchin
  2. Ride Bumper Cars on Ice (at Bryant Park)
  3. Enjoy the Three Kings Parade in East Harlem
  4. Visit the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden
  5. Admire Jerry Seinfeld at the Beacon Theatre
  6. Catch a Sports Game at Madison Square Garden
  7. Learn About Cheese & Champagne at Eataly
  8. Enjoy the Winter Jazz Fest
  9. Go Ice Skating in Central Park
  10. The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Concert
  11. Visiting NYC in January with Kids? Learn About Disney on Ice
  12. Restaurant Week
  13. Hotel Week
  14. NYC Must-See Week
  15. Broadway Week
  16. Public Theater Under the Radar Festival
Frequently Asked Questions
Is NYC worth visiting in January?

NYC in January offers a unique experience with winter festivities, cultural events, and a quieter atmosphere, but the weather can be cold, so long as you’re bundled up you’ll have a blast.

Is January too cold for New York?

January in New York tends to be cold, with temperatures often ranging from freezing to below freezing. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting, pack appropriately and explore the city!

Is it better to go to New York in December or January?

The choice between December and January for a visit to New York depends on preferences; December features festive holiday decorations and events, while January offers a quieter atmosphere and potential winter festivities.

Is New York cheaper in January?

January in New York can be relatively cheaper for tourists, as it falls in the off-peak season with lower hotel rates and fewer crowds.

Does it snow in Manhattan in January?

Yes, it is common for Manhattan to experience snowfall in January, contributing to the winter atmosphere in the city.


Map of New York City January Activities


Things to Do in the Winter: 30+ Worthwhile Winter Activities in New York City

What to Pack for the Winter: What to Wear in New York City in the Winter (+Packing List)

The Best Winter Coats: 3 Essential Winter Coats New Yorkers Swear By (Helpful Local)

When to Visit: The BEST Time to Visit New York City (And The Season to Avoid!)

Where to Stay: 10 Best Places to Stay in New York City (+3 Neighborhoods to Avoid)


And there you have it, folks! My list of the best things to do in New York City in January. I hope you found it helpful.

Cheers and happy new year.

Elliott S.

Friday 5th of January 2024

Lovely list, I'm so excited about restaurant week! This will be my first January in NYC and I'm looking for fun things to do. Sounds like it's a great time to catch a Broadway show too (I've been trying to score Lion King tickets for months, no luck). I was worried about the weather, but seems like there will be plenty to do that doesn't revolve around drinking which is great.

Erick S.

Thursday 4th of January 2024

Great read! I've been meaning to check out Pier 57, will make plans to visit and maybe even take a class or something.

Matt M.

Thursday 4th of January 2024

I went to Tonchin on your recommendation and wow! The best meal I had during my trip last January. Referring to your list again this year to see what else I should do (I travel to NYC in January for work) and will try a few more spots on your list. Thanks so much for putting this together!