The atmosphere around New York really changes with the seasons, and when it snows it can really feel magical, especially the nighttime atmosphere that’s created with all the holiday lights and decorations.  Also, there are some fun seasonal activities around the city, and I’d like to share some of the ones I really enjoy.

One thing I always look forward to is the Holiday Market. They setup markets at the Columbus Circle entrance of Central Park, around the ice skating rink in Bryant Park and in Union Square. It can be a lot of fun browsing the various vendors and a great way to find some unique gifts. I particularly like getting snacks from the food vendors, because one of my favorite Turkish bakeries (mmm…enfes) usually sets up in the Bryant Park market and their fresh made Golzeme are delicious. Breads Bakery is another good place that setup in one of the markets and sold different flavored croissant pretzels with dipping sauces, which were really good, but you can find all sorts of tasty treats in the different locations.

When there’s fresh fallen snow one thing that’s always fun is to go to Central Park for a leisurely stroll or even some sledding. It’s a beautiful sight, and you might get lucky like we did and find a discarded sled that you can use to join the kids and other adults sledding. Or you could simply join in on a snowball fight with other people there also looking to have some fun. It’s a good lighthearted and free way to spend a snowy afternoon.

There’s also all sorts of special winter events happening around the city. One of my favorite is December 5th, Repeal Day, which is the anniversary and celebration of the end of Prohibition. Various whiskey brands host events with free whiskey tastings and you can easily find all sorts of themed celebrations at bars, rooftops, and anywhere else that happens to serve whiskey and other cocktails. There’s almost always live music, sometimes even burlesque, and everyone’s in high spirits so you’re guaranteed a good time!

Something I discovered this year were the fun Fondue filled yurts at the Standard Hotel in the East Village, but they’re supposed to have them at the High Line location too, which has a cute little skating rink as well. It’s a bit pricier than you might expect because it’s a hotel, but they’ve created a very cute setup in their garden area. You might even make some new friends with whoever you’re sharing the yurt with. It’s a nice intimate and cozy environment that’s good for both friends and dates.

Another staple of the winter season is SantaCon, which some love and some hate. I went once, which was fun, but, personally, that was enough for me. However, I have friends that really enjoy it and have been several times. Simply put it’s a pub-crawl of people dressed as Santa and other Christmas characters. If it’s your first time going I recommend going early for the initial gathering and group photo, because from there you can start the pub crawl and because not everyone has come out yet the lines to get into bars and to get drinks hasn’t gotten too bad yet. It’s a high energy crowd, which is fun, but the later it gets the more crowded and chaotic it can get. It’s an experience and can be a lot of fun, so if this sounds like your thing join in the fun!

These are just some of the many things happening around New York over the holiday season, so there are many many more to discover! Enjoy!