Exciting Things to Do in New York City This January

By Anu Kapur, Publisher, Lower Manhattan Macaroni KID & Upper West Side Macaroni KID January 10, 2024

    As we enter the new year, January in New York City offers a plethora of exciting activities to explore. Whether it's checking off items from your winter bucket list, admiring masterpieces at the Frick Collection, or surprising your senses with a unique dining experience, there's something for everyone. From rooftop ice skating to art exhibitions and immersive dining experiences, NYC has plenty to offer this January.

Winter Wonderland Activities

Ice Skating at Iconic Rinks

New York City transforms into a picturesque winter wonderland in January, offering an array of seasonal activities to indulge in. One quintessential experience is lacing up your skates and twirling around the city's iconic ice rinks. From the world-famous Rockefeller Center to the spacious Wollman Rink in Central Park, the options are plentiful for both seasoned skaters and beginners.

Warm Up at NYC's Coziest Cafes

After a thrilling session on the ice, warm up and recharge at one of New York City's coziest cafes. Whether it's sipping on a rich, velvety hot chocolate or indulging in a freshly baked pastry, the city's cafes provide the perfect refuge from the winter chill. Explore quaint spots in Greenwich Village or opt for a trendy café in Brooklyn – each destination offers its own unique charm and delectable treats to savor.

Art and Culture Exhibits

New York City is a vibrant hub for art and culture, offering a myriad of exhibits and performances that are not to be missed. Whether you're a fan of visual arts or live theater, there's something for everyone to enjoy this January.

Limited-Time Art Collections on Display

Explore the wealth of art collections on display throughout New York City. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting a captivating exhibit showcasing the work of Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas. Additionally, the Museum of Modern Art is featuring a thought-provoking collection of Picasso in Fontainebleau.

Broadway Shows Kicking Off the New Year

Experience the magic of Broadway with a dazzling array of shows kicking off the new year. From timeless classics to groundbreaking new productions, the Broadway stages are set to come alive. Don't miss the electrifying performances of "The Lion King" at the Minskoff Theatre or the enchanting tale of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" at the Lyric Theatre. For those seeking a night of laughter, "The Book of Mormon" at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre promises an unforgettable comedic experience.

Unique Dining Experiences

Exploring New York City's culinary scene can be a delightful adventure, especially in January when unique dining experiences abound. Whether you're a local looking for something different or a visitor eager to delve into the city's diverse food culture, there are plenty of options to excite your taste buds.

Dining in the Dark

Embark on a sensory journey unlike any other with New York's dining-in-the-dark experiences. Engage your senses as you enjoy a meal in complete darkness, relying on touch, taste, and smell to savor each dish. This unconventional dining concept aims to heighten your awareness and appreciation for food while fostering empathy for the visually impaired. By immersing yourself in this experience, you'll gain a new perspective on the significance of each meal. To book a dining-in-the-dark experience, check out Abigail's Kitchen.

Explore International Cuisine at Winter Food Markets

Warm up your winter by exploring the diverse international cuisine at New York City's winter food markets. Venture through an array of food stalls offering global flavors, from traditional Mexican street food to authentic Japanese ramen. Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere, savoring dishes from around the world while enjoying the seasonal festivities. Some must-visit winter food markets include the Chelsea Market. These markets not only offer a wide selection of delectable dishes but also provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in New York's culinary tapestry.

Outdoor Adventures in the City

Nature Walks in Botanical Gardens

New York City offers a surprising amount of green space, even in the heart of winter. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a serene oasis that provides an escape from the city hustle. Visitors can take a stroll through the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, admire the beauty of the Cranford Rose Garden, and marvel at the peacefulness of the Shakespeare Garden. With a variety of exotic plants and flowers, the Botanical Gardens offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature amid the urban jungle.

Bird Watching in Central Park

Central Park is not only a historic landmark but also a haven for bird enthusiasts. With over 270 bird species, it's the perfect place for bird watching. The park's diverse microhabitats provide homes to a wide variety of birds, making it an ideal spot for bird enthusiasts of all levels. Grab your binoculars and keep an eye out for red-tailed hawks, northern cardinals, and a myriad of other feathered friends. Whether you're a seasoned birder or just starting out, Central Park offers an exciting opportunity to observe and appreciate the avian diversity within the city.

Festivals and Events

Winter Jazzfest

As January unfolds, New York City comes alive with many festivals and events. The Winter Jazzfest is a must-see for music enthusiasts. This acclaimed festival features a diverse lineup of jazz acts from around the world, offering a unique and enriching experience for attendees. The festival spans multiple venues, immersing visitors in the vibrant and eclectic jazz scene of the city. 

New York Boat Show for Maritime Enthusiasts

For those with an interest in maritime culture, the New York Boat Show is a captivating event to attend in January. This show showcases the latest innovations in boating, yachting, and aquatic sports, making it an ideal outing for enthusiasts and industry professionals alike. Visitors can explore a wide array of vessels, equipment, and accessories, while also engaging with experts and fellow enthusiasts. 

Shopping and Fashion

New York City is a haven for fashion enthusiasts and shopping aficionados, especially in January when exclusive sales and events abound. Here's a breakdown of the must-visit destinations and events to indulge in the city's vibrant fashion scene.

Exclusive January Sales in NYC's Shopping Districts

Head to iconic shopping districts such as SoHo, Fifth Avenue, and Herald Square to take advantage of exclusive January sales. Many renowned stores and boutiques offer substantial discounts on designer clothing, accessories, and more. January is the perfect time to update your wardrobe with high-quality items at a fraction of the usual price.

Pop-Up Shops

Keep an eye out for pop-up shops throughout the city, offering limited-time access to unique and trendy fashion items. These temporary retail experiences often feature emerging designers, niche brands, and one-of-a-kind pieces that you won't find elsewhere. From clothing and jewelry to home decor and art, pop-up shops offer a diverse range of products to explore.

Fashion Events

Immerse yourself in the world of fashion by attending special events and showcases happening in NYC throughout January. From runway shows and designer meet-and-greets to panel discussions and industry expos, there's no shortage of opportunities to engage with the latest trends and connect with fellow fashion enthusiasts.

Family-Friendly Fun

When looking to enjoy quality family time in New York City this January, there are numerous options for family-friendly activities. Interactive exhibits at children's museums offer an engaging and educational experience for kids of all ages. The Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Children's Museum are fantastic choices, offering hands-on displays and interactive programs.

Interactive Exhibits at Children's Museums

Children's Museum of Manhattan features immersive exhibits such as "EatSleepPlay," where kids can explore the importance of healthy living through interactive displays. Brooklyn Children's Museum museum provides an enriching experience for families. One highlight is the "Neighborhood Nature" exhibit, which allows children to explore the urban environment. 

Family Workshops at the New York Public Library

New York Public Library regularly hosts family-friendly workshops and events, offering a range of activities suitable for children and parents. From storytimes to craft workshops, there's something for every family to enjoy. This January, families in New York City have an abundance of options for meaningful and enjoyable activities. 

    With the start of the new year, there are numerous captivating activities to partake in throughout New York City this January. Whether you're interested in checking off items on your winter bucket list, exploring timeless masterpieces at the Frick Collection, or surprising your senses with a unique Dining in the Dark experience, the city offers a lot of options for everyone to enjoy. Embrace the opportunities that await and make the most of your January in the vibrant and diverse surroundings of New York City.

This article was first published on Macaroni KID Lower Manhattan.