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Local’s Guide to NYC in January with Everything You Need to Know for 2024

Real talk? NYC in January is EPIC! Yes, it is cold but it is the official start of the low season since everyone spent all their money on holiday gifts (aka Christmas in NYC) and can’t afford to travel.

So, visiting New York City in January is a fantastic idea if you don’t mind the cold, hate crowds, and want to save gobs of money on hotels and flights.

Additionally, as a 30+ year local, I personally love January in NYC since you can check out cool, money-saving promotions like Broadway Week, Restaurant Week (THE BEST), and more.

You can even attend rad events like Winter Jazzfest and visit seasonal holiday decorations without the crowds if you plan your trip for the start of the month.

I mean, I love checking out the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in January in New York City since NO ONE is there.

But, time is a tickin’ and you’re a beyond busy human.

So, let’s continue with this local guide so that you better understand what New York in January is really like and get insider tips on everything you need to know about January in New York.

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Why Visit New York City in January?

A view of central park in winter with skyscrapers in the background and Wollman Rink in the middle with ice skaters skating in the winter and a cloudy sky.

The weather outside might be frightful, but there’s a lot to love about visiting NYC in January.

I mean, the cold NYC winter weather is a put-off to a lot of tourists. So, if you’re willing to dress up in warm clothes then you can benefit from cheap flights and fantastic hotel deals.

Now, it isn’t the best time of year to visit New York City’s parks, although they do look beautiful under a blanket of snow (imagine Central Park in winter and you get what I mean).

However, museums, art galleries, and other indoor attractions will be less crowded and often offer discount prices.

If the weather forecast predicts snowy weather in New York in January, you can enjoy the sight of iconic NYC tourist attractions like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island under a blanket of snow.

And even if it’s freezing outside, that’s just a great excuse to find a cafe and warm up with a hot chocolate or Irish Coffee!

Prices in NYC in January

Besides the first week of the New Year, January is probably the cheapest month to visit New York.

Demand for flights, hotels, and attraction tickets tends to be lower this time of year. So, prices are usually lower.

With a little searching, you can find some excellent online deals for your January trip to New York City.

You’ll even discover that most museums, landmarks, and other attractions are open as usual in January.

However, compared to the main tourist season, the crowds are smaller, and the lines are shorter, making it a great time to plan 2 days in NYC.

How is the Weather in NYC in January?

View of a bridge covered in snow in central park in the winter.

One thing’s pretty certain – you can expect cold weather in New York.

January sees average daily maximum temperatures that only reach 39°F (4°C) and average daily minimum temperatures can drop as low as 26°F (-3°C).

On average, there are about 6 days of snowfall each January in New York City. Still, the snow usually tends to clear up pretty quickly unless there’s a real blizzard.

There’s also a good chance that the sun will shine on your January visit to NYC, so you really need to be prepared for all kinds of January weather in NYC!

Local Tip: Most people think it snows ALL THE TIME in NYC but that’s not really true. So, don’t freak out too much about the snow.

If you do see snow in the forecast, be sure to bring high, waterproof boots since large slush puddles can form and they are SUPER deep. Yeah, no one wants to step in one and get wet feet in NYC in January.

Tips for Getting Around NYC in January

Me standing in a pink skirt looking out at the Brooklyn Bridge from South Street Seaport during January in NYC.

Getting around New York City is cheap and easy, thanks to the excellent public transportation. The subway runs 24/7 and can cost as little as $3 per ride.

Yeah, I literally have never owned a car in NYC when I lived there because you just don’t need it.

Besides, parking is expensive, and on-street parking rules are so complicated that you need to be Albert Einstein to understand them.

The hop-on, hop-off buses are a cheap way to see the city, or you could hail a famous NYC yellow taxi for less than you think.

That being said, the subway is easily the best way to get around NYC – or walking. The subway is cheap, takes you EVERYWHERE, and doesn’t get delayed in traffic like buses do.

Anyway, if you wrap up warm, walking tours are another great way to explore New York City in January.

What to Wear in NYC in January

Winter in New York City can often be chilly, and the weather can also be unpredictable. So, if you plan to visit NYC in January, wearing layers is the key to staying warm in changeable weather.

But, if you’re not sure what to wear in NYC in winter then start with a cotton t-shirt or long-sleeve tee and layer a sweater over the top.

Take a winter jacket to keep you cozy and a lighter, waterproof jacket for mild and rainy days. If you want to wear a skirt or dress, thermal tights will help keep your legs warm.

Be sure to pack warm socks and waterproof footwear that will be comfortable for long days exploring the city on foot.

No one likes having cold, wet feet, so if you have enough room in your suitcase, pack a spare pair of shoes or boots in case one pair gets soaked.

Gloves, scarves, and a hat that covers your ears will help keep you feeling cozy, even when the temperature drops.

And don’t forget sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light bouncing off snowy pavements.
Clever packing will make sure you’re prepared for whatever the weather forecast brings.

And if the weather is unseasonably warm, you can just leave your extra accessories and layers back at the hotel during your 4 days in NYC.

Best Things to Do in NYC in January

There are many fun things to do in January in New York, whether you wrap up and brave the cold or prefer to stay inside where it’s warm.

Here are some of the best things to do in NYC in January.

1. NYC Broadway Week Shows

Times Square during 4 days in New York itinerary

Catching a Broadway show is one of the best things to do in New York in January.

If you visit the city in late January, NYC Broadway Week is a fabulous opportunity to cut the cost of your trip with 2-for-1 tickets to new shows and long-running musicals.

The most popular shows sell out quickly, so be ready to buy your tickets as soon as possible.

You’ll find that most 2-for-1 seats tend to be at the side of the auditorium or in balconies and mezzanines.

However, you can also pay a higher fee for premium seats and still save significantly on the regular ticket prices.

Most Broadway shows take part, and the full list is confirmed when tickets go on sale in early January. Visit the NYC Broadway Week website to see the line-up and book your tickets.

Local Tip: If you want to attend a Broadway Show but can’t visit the city during Broadway Week then use the TodayTix app to get great deals on MOST Broadway shows.

You won’t have to spend hours waiting in line and can save up to 50% on tickets to most Broadway performances. I use it all the time and love it.

Winter Jazzfest Jazz Festival

A jazz band playing the sax and other instruments in a smokey room with blue and red lights in New York City in January.

If you love jazz and happen to be visiting New York City in January, you definitely need to check out Winter Jazzfest.

New York’s largest jazz festival has been running for over 20 years and now attracts performers and fans from all around the world.

You can enjoy some of today’s most exciting contemporary jazz music with well-known and new musicians from the genre.

Friday and Saturday night marathon shows carry on into the small hours of the morning, and they’ve become a popular part of the New York City nightlife.

You can also visit the Winter Jazzfest website to find out all about this year’s line-up.

Post-Christmas Holiday Sales

The Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center in NYC

If you’re in the mood for some holiday sale shopping, visiting New York in January is the ideal opportunity for picking up post-Christmas bargains.

So, after seeing some of the last Christmas lights in NYC, hit up some of the best places to shop in NYC on a budget.

Yeah, there are so many great places to go shopping in New York, from the artistic charm of SoHo to the cool boutiques in the Meatpacking District near the High Line.

And, of course, you can’t talk about shopping in New York without mentioning iconic Manhattan stores in like Macy’s on 5th Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Tiffany’s.

These are world-renowned shopping destinations, but if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, they’re perfect locations for window shopping, too!

Explore Central Park in Winter

A view of the charming visitor's center in Central Park. Stop by if you want to visit new York in Janaruy. It has a vintage vibe with a steepled roof and gray panels.

When the snow falls, Central Park turns into a winter wonderland that’s definitely one of the best things to do in New York in January.

You could download a free self-guided walk map from the Central Park website, but a guided walking tour of Central Park with a local expert guide will give you a better insight into the park’s history.

Or, for the ultimate way to experience Central Park in January, why not book a traditional Central Park horse and carriage ride?

Go Ice Skating in NYC

January in NYC offers a fantastic opportunity to experience skating at rinks throughout the city.

The iconic Rink at Rockefeller Center is only open until the end of December, but you can enjoy ice skating on the Rink at Bryant Park until mid-January or at Wollman Rink in Central Park throughout January.

The indoor Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers is another excellent place to go ice skating in NYC, and all of these rinks offer skate hire if you don’t have your own skates.

Local Tip: The rink at Rockefeller Center is super small, very expensive to use, and is super crowded. Save money and enjoy a better experience at either Bryant Park or in Central Park.

New York Restaurant Week

New York Restaurant Week takes place twice a year, in summer and again in January. It’s a fantastic opportunity to dine at some of New York’s best restaurants for a very reasonable price.

You can enjoy prix-fixe menus at over 400 New York restaurants throughout the five boroughs, including Italian, Chinese, US, and even some Michelin-starred establishments.

Full details of the restaurants taking part and deals on offer are published on the Restaurant Week website in early January.

I love Restaurant Week and use it as a chance to visit unique restaurants in NYC that I otherwise could not afford.

Generally, you can dine during lunch or dinner and can expect to enjoy a 2/3-course meal for as little as $27.00 per person. It’s super popular though so DEFFO make reservations.

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Chinese New Year in New York is colorful, noisy, and one of the best things to do in NYC in January.

The first day of the holiday sees an amazing parade and celebration through the streets of New York’s Chinatown, one of the biggest Chinese quarters in the United States.

Thousands of people watch from the sidewalks as giant dragons and dancers in brightly colored costumes dance through the streets, accompanied by drums and cymbals.

You can also celebrate Chinese New Year in one of Chinatown’s 200+ restaurants, representing a wide variety of China’s diverse cooking styles. Visit the Better Chinatown USA website to find out more.

Enjoy Final Christmas Celebrations

Garland with red bows hanging above the escalators at Grand central terminal in NYC.

Even if you don’t spend Christmas in New York City, you can enjoy the end of the Christmas celebrations in New York in January.

The Three Kings Day parade celebrates Dia de Los Reyes, or the Feast of the Epiphany, which falls on January 6.

The parade is organized by El Museo del Barrio and has been running for over 45 years.

Thousands of visitors gather to enjoy live music and watch the Three Kings parade through the streets of East Harlem, accompanied by giant puppets, school groups, local businesses, and community organizations.

Try the “No Pants Subway Ride”

For a true New York City experience, why not take part in the annual No Pants Subway Ride?

This fun annual event was started by Improv Everywhere in NYC and has spread to cities worldwide.

The No Pants Subway Ride is exactly what it sounds like: people ride on their local subway or rapid transit while not wearing pants.

Of course, with the January weather in New York being pretty chilly, you’ll probably want to ensure you’re wearing a warm winter coat, hat, and gloves.

Visit the official No Pants Subway Ride website to find out more and check the date for the next event.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Times Square crowded with people

If you arrive in New York City before New Year’s Eve, Times Square is the iconic place to welcome in the New Year.

Hundreds of thousands of people gather there every year to enjoy live music performances and watch the giant ball on top of the One Times Square building drop as the clock strikes midnight.

If the crowds at Times Square don’t appeal, you could celebrate New Year in Central Park, take a boat tour, or attend one of the many New Year’s Eve parties held across NYC.

Local Tip: New Year’s Eve in Times Square is cold, crowded and terrible. You also have to get there at like noon since they close the streets off and won’t let you leave.

Definitely go if you want but just know that I have done and personally hated the entire experience.

Visit New York’s Top Attractions at the Best Price During Must-See Week

Up close view of the Statue of Liberty in green while she holds her torch with a yellow flame. The background is at twilight.

Visiting New York City can be expensive, but you can find great discounts on some NYC bucket list attractions during Must-See Week.

This event runs in late January/early February, and you can grab 2-for-1 tickets on NYC attractions like Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square, and National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey.

Visit the official Must See Week website in early January to find out which attractions are taking part and book your tickets.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the US. It marks the civil rights leader’s birth on January 15, 1929, and is observed on the third Monday in January.

In fact, many offices and local businesses are closed on Martin Luther King Day, including banks.

So, if you’re in NYC on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you might want to pause and reflect on his work or visit a museum to explore the history of Civil Rights in the United States.

Harlem is another great place to go since this neighborhood was historically inhabited by people of color and is a great place to learn about black history in America.

You can even book a Harlem Heritage walking tour and explore the area with a knowledgable local guide.

Check out The Top Museums in NYC

If the weather forecast says it’s going to be rainy, or you want to escape the chilly air for an hour or two, why not head to one of the best museums in NYC?

There’s a museum to suit everyone in NYC, whether you’re a history buff, a science fan, or an art lover.

Some of the top museums in New York City include the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Museum of Natural History, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the MET.

You can explore on your own, or book onto a guided tour to get an expert’s view of the exhibits.

NYC in January FAQs

Does It Snow in New York City in January?

Okay, so it does anow in January. Generally, January and February are NYC’s snowiest months since the city receives around 7 inches of snow each month. The next snowiest months are December and March.

However, NYC is not that snowy IMHO. If you are lucky you might experience one snowstorm in NYC in January but that’s about it.

Most likley, any snow will be fairly minimal and won’t cause any major disruptions in the city.

Is January Too Cold for New York?

No, January in NYC isn’t THAT cold. Yes, it will be cold (think well below freezing). And, yes, you’ll DEFFO want to bundle up. But, wear the right clothes and you should be fine.

It’s also worth noting that Manhattan is an island. So, the majority of the cold comes from the wind chill since the wind comes off the water and blows through the streets in between all the skyscrapers.

Just think of NYC as one giant wind tunnel. So, come preparerd when visiting New York in January.

There you have it! That wraps up this local’s guide to NYC in January.

Tell me, did your picks for the best things to do in NYC in January make the list? If not then let me know now.

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