We gave you ample reason to stay indoors this season, but now it’s time to explore what the great outdoors has to offer. From catching a Broadway shows to taking a hike in Harriman State Park, there’s no end to what you can do in the winter wonderland that is New York. Here’s our list of things to do while you’re in the state. Have a great NYC winter!

1. Ice Skating


Photo taken by Roman Kruglov/Flickr

New York City may not seem like the most viable place for winter outdoor activities, but there are actually loads of activities available to not only keep fit but also have fun! Ice skating is an all time favorite activity in NYC. Whether you’re with kids, friends, or a date, an hour around the rink is an hour well spent. If you’re not that great at skating (like me) and it takes almost all control in your body to stay upright, a few rounds around the rink will definitely get your heart rate up. It’s a fun, sometimes embarrassing, workout! Ice skating is available in several of the city’s parks including Bryant Park, Central Park, Prospect Park, and the famous Rockefeller center.

2. Cross Country Skiing


Photo taken by Greenland Travel/Flickr

You don’t have to take a train  out of NYC to go cross country skiing. Although the chances of the snow being deep enough are slim, cross country skiing can be done in the parks (and sometimes the streets). Flushing Meadows Park in Queens is one of the best places to go cross country skiing. Snowshoeing is also a great alternative if you (like most New Yorkers) don’t have space at home for skis. With higher rates of snowfall upstate, your options increase tenfold. If you don’t mind the travel, we recommend Rockland State Park, Mohonk Mountain House, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, and Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

3. Polar Bear Club


Photo taken by Kim/Flickr

There’s no better way to get the blood pumping than diving headfirst into below freezing waters. Take the subway to Coney Island and join the Polar Bear Club in their annual New Year Day’s festivities at the beach close to 146th street. If you’d like to do more than just ring in the new year with a cold dip, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club  holds a swim EVERY SUNDAY from November through April. All proceeds for swims go toward charities. This New Years Day event’s proceeds will go to Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Brave the cold for a good cause and take a dive with the club!

4. Sledding


Photo taken by Tom Giebel/Flickr

When it starts snowing, the sleds are sure to come! Most NYC parks will set up barriers and fences for sledding. Central Park’s Pilgrim Hill (near the 72nd St. and 5th Ave entrance) and Cedar Hill (76th st and 5th Ave entrance) are great options for sledding in Manhattan. Bring (or make) your own sled, grab a thermos of hot cocoa, and indulge in this timeless activity! You’ll work up a sweat clumsily climbing up hills with your sled in tow and you’ll have loads of fun!

5. Hiking


Photo taken by Missmarek/Flickr

In the mood for a brisk walk? Winter is the perfect time to see your everyday neighborhood parks in a monumentally different way. If Central Park is a little too touristy for you, get away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and enjoy what the other boroughs have to offer. Check out winter wildlife the Salt Marsh Nature Trail in Marine Park, or walk the .7 mile White Trail at Alley Pond Park. If you’d like a longer hike and a more “upstate New York” feel, Red Trail at Greenbelt in Staten Island is four miles long.  Want to get out of the city and head for the more challenging great outdoors? Check out Bear Mountain State Park, Whiteface Mountain, Mashomack Preserve, and Willowmec Wild Forest in the Southwest corner of Catskill Park.




Photo taken by El Condor/Flickr

Of course, there’s more to New York than just New York City. The state of New York offers a range of outdoor winter activities from skiing to horseback riding. With an extensive list of parks and nature trails at your fingertips, you’re sure to find the perfect winter getaway. Stay warm, stay happy, and stay fit!


Featured photo taken by A. Strakey/Flickr

About The Author

Content Manager

A Hong Kong-native with a penchant for good food and drinks, Kelly Lo has always had a love-hate relationship with fitness. In the past, Kelly has backpacked across a good portion of the Nakasendō trail, gone mountain-biking in New Zealand, and white-water rafting in Australia. Now she dabbles in yoga and kickboxing in her new home, New York City. Kelly enjoys writing about her experiences, as well as promoting the Fitness Luxe mission of health and happiness.