From our office overlooking Central Park, we get a great view of all the action going on in the park year-round. Winter is a special time in the Park, with so many ways to stay active and get outdoors or enjoy some of the Park’s unique features. If you’re looking for some wintertime activities, here are a few ways you can make the most of what Central Park has to offer this season.
View Winter Fun in NYC’s Central Park in a larger map
Ice skating is a beloved tradition in Central Park. From November to March, taking a spin around one of the Park’s two seasonal skating rinks is one of the best bets for winter fun in Manhattan. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced skater, you’ll love the exhilarating feeling of the fresh winter air at either Wollman Rink or Lasker Rink. The rinks are located in different areas of the Park; Wollman to the south offers great views of the skyline, with Lasker to the north is a great value for families. Skates and lockers can be rented at both locations, which are operated by the Trump organization.
The Ice Festival
One of the more recent additions to the slate of winter activities in Central Park is the Ice Festival at Belvedere Castle, held this year on Saturday, January 19 from 11:00 to 3:00 pm. You can watch master ice sculptors from Okamoto Studio carve a replica of the castle and Central Park surroundings from ice. Hot chocolate will be served during the family-friendly activities.
Over 200 species of birds make their home in Central Park and with the leaves off the trees, winter is the perfect time to spot the resident species that don’t migrate. If you need binoculars, you can borrow a pair for the day at the Belvedere Castle. Dr. Zevon is a dedicated birder and is happy to answer questions about birdwatching in the Park.
Sword Dancing Performances
Enjoy an ancient winter celebration on Saturday, February 15, as the Half Moon Sword women’s team presents their annual New York Sword Ale. Sword dancing was traditionally practiced in northern England to ensure good luck for the coming year. The hour-long performances by teams from across the country begin at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Dana Discovery Center.
Central Park Carriage Ride
Winter is the perfect time to bundle up and take a carriage ride around the park. You bring your own gloves and hat and you’ll be provided with blankets for your ride. Most tours run around 45 minutes long and are led by knowledgeable guides.
Cross Country Skiing
Yes, you can ski in Manhattan! Cross country skiing is allowed in Central Park when there is at least 6 inches of snow on the ground. The large meadows in the Park are perfect for this timeless winter sport; try the Sheep Meadow (which we can see from our waiting room) or the Great Lawn.
Swedish Marionette Theater
When it’s a bit too chilly for outdoor fun, enjoy one of the truly unique Central Park attractions, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater. Built in Sweden in the 1870s for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, it was reassembled in Central Park and now hosts one of the last public marionette troupes in the U.S. Starting January 15, the puppet troupe will perform Pippi! Pippi, an update on the classic children’s tales about Pippi Longstocking.
Although it’s cold outside, there are so many ways to enjoy Central Park in the winter. We encourage you to brave the weather and experience this wonderful time of year in the city. We hope to see you out there!