What’s on in New York this Winter


By Eloise Barker for British Airways Holidays

Title photography by Steve Kelley

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Updated August 2018

Have a fairy tale in New York this winter. There’s plenty to do in Manhattan when it’s crisp and chilly, from one cool jazz festival to the endless skating rinks. Watch the forecast and hope for a perfect snow day in Central Park.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

This is old school entertainment. At Radio City Music Hall, The Rockettes dance troupe perform with precision and glamour – a chorus line in top hats, sparkling leotards and heels. They put on a Radio City Christmas Spectacular every year – sometimes up to five shows a day – after months of training. They do it all with slick costume changes, sentimental show tunes and a twinkle in the eye. Look out for the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers which includes a perfectly choreographed show fall of 36 Rockettes. You’ll probably fall for this show too, as the musical numbers come thick and fast.

When: 9 November 2018 - 1 January 2019

Where: Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, 1260 Avenue of the Americas

Nearest Subway: 47th-50th/Rockefeller Center

Where to stay: The massive Roosevelt hotel is right around the corner from the Rockefeller. You can’t miss it - it takes up a whole block. The fancy lobby, friendly service and even the name (after the 32nd President) epitomise a classic all-American experience.

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Time for some January jazz in the legendary blues bars of Greenwich village. Don’t get the winter blues anywhere else.

  • NYC Winter Jazzfest. ©Jati Lindsay.

    Sliding scales

    Hitting all the right notes, the NYC Winter Jazzfest will tingle your earbuds and tangle your headphones.

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  • Ice rink at Bryant Park Winter Village. ©Colin Miller.

    Get your skates on

    Circle under the skyscrapers at Bryant Park Ice Rink.

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  • "The parade of the wooden soldiers" - Radio city music hall Christmas spectacular show in New York. ©Sam Dao / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Want to be a Rockette?

    You’ll need to be a girl with all the gifts, a pro at ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance, and between 5’6” and 5’10½” tall.

    Read our travel guide

Holiday Train Show

A winter tour of New York is hard when the mercury is in the thirties – if you don’t fancy pounding the streets why not settle for the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden? Kids will be captivated by the model railway. The trains steam past 150 iconic New York buildings, all nestled in a winter scene. Bark, leaves, and other natural material render the bricks, tiles and stone of New York’s most famous landmarks. The creation is set under the glass roof of the Victorian Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

When: 17 November 2018 - 21 January 2019

Where: Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Bronx Park Rd, Bronx, NY 10458

Nearest Subway: Botanical Garden

Where to stay: Le Parker Meridien has an infamous burger bar. After a big trip to the Bronx, a slider from The Burger Joint in the hotel lobby might be the best thing you eat in New York.

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  • Children enjoying The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. ©NYBG.

    Under glass

    The Holiday Train Show uses all natural materials to make its festive cityscape. It takes place in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a beautiful wrought iron greenhouse inspired by two London buildings; Crystal Palace and the Palm House at Kew Gardens.

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  • Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night New York. ©Taylor Davidson.

    Shhh…

    Make the most of a dark evening and a quiet city – join the Unsilent Night procession through the streets of New York.

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  • Times Square, New York. ©pidjoe.

    Times Square

    The bright lights of Broadway culminate in a bombardment of billboards on Times Square. Book two for one tickets during Broadway Week.

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NYC Winter Jazzfest

Time for some January jazz in the legendary blues bars of Greenwich village. NYC Winter Jazzfest is experimental, genre-bending and very, very good. A jazz marathon is the signature event – a solid two days of frenetic music. Look out for artist in residence Nicole Mitchell, spellbinding as she scales the notes on her jazz flute. In 2019 the BBC and the PRS Foundation will oversee a special UK Jazz stage. Expect some powerful performances that resonate long after the final downbeat. Don’t get the winter blues anywhere else.

When: January 2019 - 12 January 2019

Where: Venues around Greenwich Village

Nearest Subway: West 4 Street/ Washington Square Station

Where to stay: Standard Highline is in Greenwich Village and has gorgeous views out over the Hudson River.

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Unsilent Night

All is calm, all is bright – but in 1992 American composer Phil Kline decided that New York was a little too quiet, and so Unsilent Night was born. Phil created a 45-minute musical work in four parts, designed to be played on cassette, phone or boombox by a procession of people, families and friends walking through the streets. It’s not your average carolling – the piece is glittering, eerie – and firmly secular. Anyone can join in. Follow Phil and be a part of a moving musical soundscape.

When: TBC

Where: Washington Square park

Nearest Subway: West 4 Street/ Washington Square Station

Where to stay: Book studio suites at the Shelburne Hotel if you’ve got the family in tow. This boutique hotel has enough space for the kids, too.

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Broadway Week

Broadway Week comes but twice a year and it means two for one tickets. They go on sale early in January and get snapped up fast. Look out for Broadway musicals selling for a song. This year look out for tickets to Broadway’s perennial favourites, like Chicago, Book of Mormon, and The Lion King. Keep your eyes peeled in case the box office-busting theatre adaptation of Mean Girls has discounts, or just go anyway: the teen film has had rave reviews in its Broadway debut, and is currently running up until July 2019.

When: TBC

Where: Broadway

Nearest Subway: 49th Street

Where to stay: The Hilton Garden Inn Central Park South is near to the Broadway theatres, so returning after a big musical night out is a breeze.

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