What to Do with Your Kids this Winter in New York
More than 80 things to do in the winter in NYC, Rockland County, Westchester County, Long Island, and beyond!
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See your favorite Disney characters on ice.
The Disney on Ice tour typically stops at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, for a few days in late November.
Find your perfect Christmas tree and cut it down.
Make this Christmas special with an early December trip to cut your own Christmas tree at one of the farms in Rockland County!
See a menorah lighting near you.
Rockland and Bergen counties host a handful of menorah lightings each year to celebrate the start of Hanukkah. Find one near you.
Celebrate and visit with Jolly Old St. Nick
The Historical Society of Rockland County opens the doors to the 1832 Jacob Blauvelt House in New City to welcome children of all ages to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. Each child receives a special treat in his or her shoe from St. Nicholas, and everyone can visit with St. Nicholas and his horse, enjoy refreshments, and visit the society’s current exhibition.
See RYDE’s performance of the Nutcracker.
Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble presents the classic Christmas tale, The Nutcracker, in early to mid-December. If you plan to head into the city for a Christmas show, too, check out our top picks.
Go snowboarding or skiing.
Grab your gear and pack up the kids for a day of skiing or snowboarding at one of the area’s family-friendly resorts.
Find your local sledding hill and go for a ride.
When the flakes start to fly, pull out your Flexible Flyer and get set for some snow day fun. But before you head out to your local sledding hill, be sure to check out our sledding safety tips.
Rock out with The Bossy Frog Band.
The Bossy Frog Band is performing at various venues throughout the winter, so bust out your dancing shoes! Before you go, see tips from Bossy Frog’s Rockland-based bandleader Jeffrey Friedberg (who is also a certified music therapist) on how to make the most of your child’s concert experience.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Kick off the New Year by celebrating at a New Year’s Eve event for kids or find a venue to spend New Year’s Day at.
Burn off some extra energy at an indoor trampoline space.
Keep the kids active in the cold months at Bounce! Trampoline Sports, an indoor play space at 612 Corporate Way in Valley Cottage that has tons of fun trampolines and foam pits.
Volunteer in your community.
Give back to the community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in mid-January. You can learn more about volunteer opportunities in the Rockland area too.
Check out LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester.
Escape from the cold and head to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester in nearby Yonkers. Among its attractions, LEGOLAND boasts several themed building stations, rides, and MINILAND, a miniature re-creation of the New York metro landscape.
Attend a Celebrate! Party Showcase!
If you’re planning a bar or bat mitzvah, sweet 16, or quinceañera, you’ll want to stop by the Celebrate! Party Showcase, typically held in late January at the Park Ridge Marriott in Park Ridge, NJ.
Challenge yourself to an indoor ropes course.
When it’s a little too cold outside or your kids are up for a high-wire adventure, head to the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack for Palisades Climb Adventure. The 85-foot tall ropes course features more than 75 unique challenges—and it has options just for tykes.
Explore the universe at the Town of Ramapo Challenger Learning Center.
Build a Rocket at the Town of Ramapo Challenger Learning Center on a Thursday night in January and/or February. All skill levels welcome for ages 10 and older or ages 6-9 with a parent.
Get out of the house and visit an indoor play space.
If you need a change of scenery and want to give your kids some socializing time, stop by an open play time at one of the various indoor play spaces in Rockland or Bergen counties.
See the antics of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Catch the famous Harlem Globetrotters in mid-February, when these world-class ball-handlers show off their skills on the basketball court at the Wildwood Convention Center in Wildwood, NJ.
Taste some fresh, 100% pure maple sugar.
Do you love syrup on your pancakes? See where the sweet stuff comes from during a maple sugaring event at The Nature Place Day Camp in Chestnut Ridge. You’ll learn how to tap a tree and boil down sap into syrup. Find more details, plus other locations that host maple sugaring events in February and early March.
Family-Friendly Things to Do in Winter on Long Island
Chop down your Christmas tree.
Cut your own Christmas tree at Mike’s Christmas Tree Farm in Manorville, late November through Christmas Eve. Choose your favorite tree and chop it down yourself, making it feel like a country Christmas. Find details on Mike’s and more tree farms near you in our u-pick guide.
Dust off your ice-skates.
Go ice-skating at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, voted best outdoor skating rink on Long Island by the viewers of News 12 Long Island. Enjoy the 200-foot rink, surrounded by forest, from November through March (weather pending). If you're looking for more skating fun, check out these additional indoor and outdoor rinks across Long Island.
See a local performance of The Nutcracker.
It’s not hard to find performances of The Nutcracker in late November and early December, but there’s only one version done by the Long Island Ballet Theatre. Savor the local spin on this classic ballet in Port Washington Thanksgiving weekend. Tickets are much less expensive than Lincoln Center, too!
Attend a tree or menorah lighting festival.
Christmas tree lighting festivals, like the one at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport in late November, can make even the Scroogiest among us embrace the holidays. Enjoy cookies, hot chocolate, carolling, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Clause, and ornament making. Or check out another tree or menorah lighting in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Check out local art.
On select dates in late November and early December, the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead will host their Country Parlor Holiday Folk Art Show. This is a holiday gift show with approximately 25 folk artists who are selling their merchandise in the historic Naugles Barn!
Make your holiday gifts.
Love the old-fashioned, understated look of a single candle lighting each of your home’s windows during the holidays? Head to Paint a Piece in Commack to create your choice of scented candle (the pottery and glass creations make great holiday gifts, too).
Celebrate Charles Dickens.
The Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson in early December is a holiday treat that celebrates the author of A Christmas Carol. From costumed characters to Victorian entertainment and food, this event will surely bring out the Christmas spirit.
Spend the afternoon sledding.
When the snowflakes fly, take advantage by going sledding. The hill in Eisenhower State Park in East Meadow is ideal because of its gentle slope and thrilling length—perfect for the littlest snow bunnies. You can find sledding spots all over the island! Just be sure to brush up on sledding safety first!
Hit the slopes.
Head to a nearby mountain for skiing and snowboarding. Belleayre Mountain in Highmount is great for families because of its Learning Zone, a designated retreat for first-timers ages 8 to adult.
Check out the firefighters museum.
Honor our everyday heroes (and learn essential fire safety) at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center in Garden City. This destination teaches all about the work and sacrifices of firefighters by letting visitors put on actual firefighter uniforms and go through obstacle courses.
Taste and vote for your favorite soup.
You don’t need to know how to run or tackle to be part of Port Washington’s Souper Bowl. All you need to do is make a stop at each of the soup stations, taste as many different soups as you can—all of which are donated by participating Port Washington restaurants—and then vote for your favorite soup. The festival is held in late January or early February; check pwguide.com for details.
Go on a seal watching cruise.
Seal Cruises in Freeport, aboard the Captain Lou Fleet, show families these beloved creatures in their natural habitat. Bundle up: January is when the sightings are best. Learn about the biology and behavior of seals and other marine life on this scenic junket. Cruises are presented by The Riverhead Foundation and board on select weekend dates through April.
Chill out at a wintry festival.
The Harborfrost festival in Sag Harbor in early February is a celebration of winter in Sag Harbor highlighting fire and ice. There will be live ice carving demonstrations, ice sculptures, live music, and indoor children’s activities.
See brave (read: crazy) people jumping in freezing water.
Watch the most hardcore people jump into the freezing Atlantic Ocean on Super Bowl Sunday when the Long Beach Polar Bear Club raises money for charity. Maybe you’ll even want to join them!
Have a spa party.
Princesses-in-training can get pampered at Darlings & Divas in Amityville, which hosts special events throughout the year, including pampering parties near Valentine’s Day. Activities typically include manicures, glittery makeup, and dress up.
Burn off extra energy with laser tag.
Any kid will say lasers are awesome. So Long Island Laser Bounce in Levittown is a no-fail way to thrill the kids on cold winter days. The arcade includes a laser tag arena filled with glow-in-the-dark obstacles and cool special effects lighting systems.
Visit the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
Highlighting the island’s contributions to flight, which many people don’t know about, The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City aims to get kids excited about the science and beauty of flying planes. Make a day of it by stopping by the nearby Long Island Children’s Museum and Historic Nunley’s Carousel.
Bounce around an indoor trampoline space.
By the time February rolls around, everyone is getting a case of cabin fever. Have the kids jump off the stir-crazies at Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Syosset. Aside from plain old jumping, they can play trampoline basketball, dodgeball, and fly into ginormous foam pits. Talk about a cure for cabin fever!
Play in a treehouse.
A real eucalyptus tree brought in from California stands at a height of 18 feet in Once Upon A Treetop in Plainview. Playing in the treehouse makes summer seem that much closer. Little ones can also roam around in a pint-size village complete with a train station, grocery store, and other interactive “stops.”
See a puppet show.
The Long Island Puppet Theatre in Hicksville gives your kids a taste of entertainment you probably enjoyed all the time as a kid. The shows use both marionettes and traditional hand puppets. Craft workshops are also available.
Attend Long Island Winterfest.
This five-week music, wine, and performing arts festival is typically held February-March at various venues across Long Island, including vineyard tasting rooms, breweries, theaters, hotels, and historic venues on the East End. Check website for specific events, dates, and venues.
Family-Friendly Things to Do in Winter in Upstate New York
Celebrate Adirondack wintertime activities.
Every weekend in February, Lake George Village offers a month-long celebration of winter during Lake George Winter Carnival, an annual family-friendly event at Shepard Park. Attendees can relish the warmth of tasty samples during the chowder, chili, barbecue, and chicken wing cook-offs; be entertained by the always hilarious and fun outhouse races; slip down the giant ice slide, enjoy a tethered hot air balloon ride, or snowmobile sleigh ride; and visit a historical re-enactors’ encampment of the 1700s.
Honor Presidents Day with winter activites.
Each February, Mayville hosts the President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival. The town’s Lakeside Park comes alive with fun events for all ages including horse-drawn wagon rides, contests, fireworks, a flare parade, and a bonfire. Shop at many vendors and enjoy the weekend’s winter landscape.
Enjoy a full day of fun in Inlet.
Bring the family for a full day of fun at Frozen Fire & Lights, usually held the last Saturday of February! There is free sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Other event highlights include a pancake breakfast and rummage sale, a book sale at the Inlet Public Library, a Cardboard Sled Race, and kite decorating and flying. At night, eventgoers can go to Arrowhead Park after 5pm for a bonfire, treats, and a spectacular display of fireworks at 7pm.