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Local’s Complete Guide to Visiting New York City in February

Wondering if visiting New York City in February is right for you? If so then you’re in the right place.

See, I am a 30+ year local who can tell you exactly what traveling to NYC in February is really like.

This way you can decide if spending February in New York City is right for you. Sure, it will be chilly.

But, you can use this post to learn all about the weather in NYC in February, find out what to pack for February in NYC, and discover some of the best things to do in NYC in February.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Why Visit NYC in February?

A picture of me standing on the platform in front of the ceiling in Grand Central with a black coat, a hat, and my hands on the railing.

If you want to see NYC on a budget or just prefer to avoid the summer crowds then February in New York City has a lot to offer.

You’ll need to dress warmly though since the weather in NYC in February can be quite chilly.

But, winter is the best time to enjoy short lines at tourist attractions, cheap accommodations, and great deals on flights to NYC.

Just be aware that February in New York is often snowy. So, you can enjoy traditional New York winter activities like ice skating and sledding.

Or, see iconic NYC landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the snow.

Plus, when the city is transformed into a snowy winter wonderland, it makes Valentine’s Day in NYC extra romantic!

However, if you want to escape the cold weather, many popular indoor attractions in NYC, like museums and art galleries, are usually open in February.

They’re often less crowded, so you might be able to get discounts. But, check opening hours as they can vary in winter.

Additionally, many exciting NYC events take place in February, from New York Fashion Week to the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

Plus, some January events in New York City are still running in early February, like Chinese New Year celebrations and NYC Broadway Week.

This is where you can get 2-for-1 tickets to the best Broadway shows.

Prices in NYC in February

Although it’s not as cheap as January, February is still a good time for visiting NYC on a budget.

It’s the off-season and the cold temperatures deter a lot of people when it comes to traveling to New York in February. So, crowds are pretty minimal.

Now, that’s great news for budget travelers since you can find some good discounts on flights and local hotels!

You’ll get the best deals by booking flights and accommodation in advance.

You can even find more reduced prices on hotels if you look for accommodations in less-touristy areas in Brooklyn.

Generally, these hotels will be cheaper than the ones in Manhattan. But, you’ll still be within easy reach of many main tourist attractions.

What’s the Weather in February in NYC?

Me sitting in a jacket and hat while sitting at a red booth inside Ellen's Stardust Diner. I am holding a blue glass with "pepsi" on it and am enjoying one of the fun restaurants in NYC.

After the freezing temperatures of January, the weather in New York for February starts to get a little warmer.

However, it’s still pretty chilly, with average daily temperatures only reaching a high of 41°F.

The nighttime temperatures are often below freezing, so don’t forget your hat, gloves, and winter coat as part of your NYC winter packing list.

February is also the driest month of the year in NYC. So, on average, it rains for nine days during the month.

However, around 10 inches of snow will likely fall during February, with an average of four snow days in February.

Tips for Getting Around NYC in February

New York City has an excellent public transportation system that makes it easy to get around NYC.

The subway is available 24/7, with stops every 8-10 blocks, and subway tickets that coast as little as $3 per ride.

In fact, you don’t even need a Metrocard if you have contactless payment available on your phone.

However, iconic yellow NYC taxis are another great way to see the city. Hail one when its top medallion number is all lit up since this means the cab is available for hire. T

The minimum metered fare starts at $3 and goes up by 70 cents every minute or fifth of a mile, depending on traffic.

You can also book a yellow cab through the Curb New York City app and fix your fare in advance.

Additionally, Hop-on-hop-off bus tours connect New York’s major tourist attractions.

If you’re visiting the Big Apple for the first time, they’re a great way to give your feet a rest while still enjoying the sights of the city.

However, the subway is WAY cheaper and I would personally only recommend the Hop-on-Hop-Off Bus for someone with mobility issues.

Finally, pick up a sandwich or a bagel from one of Fifth Avenue’s many street food stalls (the Halal Guys are great), and you can eat lunch on the move.

Plus, don’t forget the many options for guided tours of New York City, ranging from walking tours of the Brooklyn Bridge to helicopter tours!

What to Wear in New York City in February

View of my standing pn the platform inside of the Oculus in New York City in February. I am wearing a mustard yellow coat, a plaid scarf, and a red hat and there is garland on the banister.

February weather in New York City is cold and unpredictable. You’ll likely see snow and nighttime temperatures are often below freezing, especially in early February.

On the other hand, the temperature can rise slightly towards the end of February. So, packing layers will help you feel comfortable, whatever the weather.

Therefore, take plenty of light layers, like long-sleeve tees and lightweight sweaters, plus a cozy winter jacket to keep you warm.

Now, the weather in February in NYC is usually cold and dry. But, if the forecast predicts unseasonably warm or wet weather, a waterproof jacket could be handy.

Warm socks, gloves, and a hat are a must, along with comfortable, waterproof footwear to keep your feet dry while exploring the city.

If you have room in your suitcase, it’s a great idea to pack a spare pair of shoes to change into if your feet get wet.

It’s also a good idea to take sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light bouncing off the snow.

Best Things to Do in NYC in February

Forget the cold temperatures because New Yorkers know there are plenty of exciting things to do in February in New York.

Whether you’re a fashionista, a plant lover, or just plain romantic, here are some of the best NYC events in February.

1. Valentine’s Day in New York City

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.

February in New York City means Valentine’s Day. And February 14th is one of the biggest winter events in NYC.

If you’re traveling with a loved one this Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of romantic things to do in New York, from a yacht cruise at sunset to an over-the-top celebration of romance at Watermark Pink Pier at Pier 15.

There are lots of fun things to do in NYC for couples. You could take a romantic nighttime horse and carriage ride through Central Park or head up the Empire State Building to recreate Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks’ meeting in Sleepless in Seattle.

Whether you want to share a pizza, sip cocktails, or visit one of NYC’s best restaurants, you’re sure to find the perfect place to end the evening over dinner or drinks.

2. New York Botanical Gardens Orchid Show

Historic pavilion at the New York Botanical Gardens surrounded by a pond with lily pads.

The New York Botanical Garden is a great place to visit at any time of year. But, the annual Orchid Show in February is a must-see annual event in NYC.

Inside the impressive glasshouse, you can experience diverse installations inspired by the garden’s beautiful orchids.

Now, each year’s exhibition has a new theme, and the 2024 ‘Florals in Fashion’ exhibition is a fashion-inspired celebration of everything orchids.

So, visitors will be invited to walk on an orchid ‘runway’ and show their love for these fascinating flowering plants.

Tickets will be available from the New York Botanical Garden website.

3. Brookfield Place’s Winter Biergarten

Blue luminaires that light up the palm trees at Brookfield Place. The glass ceiling also lets in a ton of light.

The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place is a stunning glass atrium featuring 60,000 square feet of marble floors, 16 giant Washingtonia robusta palm trees, and breathtaking views over the Hudson River.

So, Brookfield Place is a great spot for shopping in NYC, dining, and people-watching.

It is also a place that hosts hundreds of concerts, ballets, and other cultural events annually. Now, in the winter months, it becomes the home of the Luminaries light display.

However, once a year, the Winter Garden transforms into the Winter Biergarten for the Brews at Brookfield Place charity event.

You can enjoy craft beer on tap from some of the best breweries in New York, along with delicious bites, live music, and DJs.

4. New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week is one of the biggest and best things to do in February in New York.

See, NYC becomes the center of the fashion world for a week of runway shows, talks, and other events.

In fact, whole streets are closed off for catwalk shows debuting new collections from the biggest names in fashion.

Some of the events are open to the public, so check the New York Fashion Week schedule and book your tickets before you travel.

5. Celebrate Black History Month

Vertical and horizontal red letters say. "Apollo" above the marquis at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The white sign says "black lives matter".

Black History Month is an annual celebration in the United States that honors the contributions and sacrifices made by African Americans.

Many cultural events, concerts, and shows mark Black History Month in New York, providing opportunities to share your respect for African-American culture.

In particular, The New York Public Library has a program filled with Black History Month activities at this time of the year.

Or, you could join a guided walking tour of Harlem to learn about the Harlem Renaissance and residents like Pig Foot Mary and Duke Ellington.

You can also show your appreciation by supporting Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and coffee shops across New York City in February.

6. Bryant Park Winter Village Bumper Cars on Ice

Ice skaters at the winter village in Bryant Park during Christmas in New York City.

The Winter Village in Bryant Park is the largest and best New York winter market, with 180+ shops, kiosks, and eateries for you to explore.

It also has New York City’s largest free-admission ice skating rink. You can rent skates for just $18 or bring your own skates and enjoy the ice for free.

Therefore, visiting Bryant Park is easily one of the best free things to do in NYC in February.

But, if you want to put a new spin on ice skating, try bumping and sliding in the colorful bumper cars on Bryant Park ice rink.

It’s is a fun and family-friendly outing that is easily one of the best things to do in NYC with teens in the winter.

Afterward, you can cozy up with delicious food and cocktails at the après-themed Lodge.

Tickets roll out two weeks in advance, so be sure to book in good time for your February trip to New York.

7. Central Park’s Winter Festival

Snow along the edge of the pond and lake in Central Park. There are skyscrapers in the brackground.

Winter Jam is a free winter sports festival held in Central Park in February.

It’s the perfect opportunity to try out fun activities like ice carving, sledding, and curling.

You coudl also learn to ski, or just enjoy a hot drink from the sidelines.

You also won’t have to worry about whether or not it snows because Gore Mountain will provide guests with artificial snow.

But, if it all gets a bit too chilly, you can warm up in the heated New York Library Reading Room.

8. Visit the Most Romantic Restaurants in the City

Whether you’re visiting New York in February to celebrate Valentine’s Day or just spending some time with a loved one, dinner at a romantic restaurant is a great way to end your day.

Here are some of the best spots for a romantic meal in NYC.

  • Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn has an old-school style with martinis, an oyster bar, and romantic dimmed lighting. End your evening by sharing a Baked Alaska, topped with golden meringue.
  • Dining at Le Pavillon in Midtown East feels like you’ve entered a dream world, with its nature-inspired decor, indoor trees and greenery, and stunning views of the Chrysler Building.
  • Oysters are a famous aphrodisiac, and you can enjoy these and other seafood along with house-made pasta at Marea. You can also grab some fresh seafood at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central.

Later, head out to the Central Park reservoir and Bow Bridge for a romantic stroll.

If you visit NYC in early February, look out for NYC Restaurant Week deals at some of the best restaurants in New York City.

9. Warm Up with the Best Hot Chocolate in the City

I am holding a chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery in front of framed articles about how amazing this cookie is.

It’s hard to beat a cup of coffee from one of the best coffee shops in NYC. But, hot chocolate is a close second at this time of year.

So, when you want to warm up after a long morning of sightseeing, head into one of New York’s best bakeries or chocolate shops for a delicious cup of hot cocoa.

Visit Levain Bakery for a hot cocoa made with Valrhona chocolate and one of their signature walnut chocolate chip cookies.

Visit Maman in Little Italy for a sophisticated hot chocolate with the subtle flavor of dried lavender.

You can also take your hot chocolate to the next level with a toasted vanilla marshmallow made in-house at Mah-Ze-Dahr in the West Village.

Finally, pay a visit to Venchi for hot chocolate spiked with hazelnut spread or dark rum. It puts a fun, adult twist on a childhood classic.

10. Go Ice Skating

A photo of people skating at the rink in Rockefeller Center with the Christmas Tree standing above them.

Ice skating is one of the most popular activities in New York in February.

As well as Bryant Park Winter Village, you can also skate at Central Park’s scenic Wollman Rink, surrounded by tall trees and the NYC skyline.

Plus, Wollman Rink is open daily and offers lockers and skate rentals to visitos.

Alternatively, if you have your own skates and the ice is consistently 6+ inches thick, you can skate for free at Conservatory Water.

However, if the weather puts a halt to skating outside, or you just prefer skating indoors, public skating sessions take place at the Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers. Skate and helmet rentals are also available.

11. Go on a Winter Hike

A view of Central Park in the winter with the skyscrapers on the West Side being reflected in the lake near the Ramble.

Of course, Central Park will feature on anyone’s list of things to do in NYC in February.

When snow falls on the city’s ‘green lung,’ the landscape looks even more magical, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a winter hike.

You can download free self-guided walk maps from the Central Park website.

Central Park in February is also a fantastic spot for other NYC winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing.

Head to the Great Lawn, Sheep Meadow, and the Bridle Path to find the best spots for snowy fun.

And if you aren’t keen on active winter activities in New York, there are plenty more fun ways to enjoy Central Park in winter, from visiting Central Park Zoo to enjoying a classic horse and carriage ride.

12. Enjoy pay-as-you-wish weekdays at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

View of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and one of the tops things to do in NYC with kids.

Plant lovers and nature enthusiasts will want to visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and on winter weekdays, you can choose how much you want to pay.

Even in cold weather, there’s plenty to see at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Plus, the specialty gardens, like the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the Discovery Garden, look fabulous under a blanket of snow.

Plenty of plant life thrives in the winter weather, like crabapples, hollies, and hellebores. You might even see hawks or cardinals searching for a meal.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers pay-as-you-wish admission until the end of February, and weekend tickets cost $18 for adults.

13. Enjoy the Winter Decor at NYC Rooftop Bars

View of Serra by Birreria in the srping when it has lovely floral decor.

Visiting a rooftop bar is one of the best things to do in New York in the winter.

Even when the temperature drops below freezing, you can make yourself comfy with cozy blankets, heaters, and delicious drinks while you enjoy the fantastic views of NYC.

Here are some of the best rooftop bars in New York:

  • The Pink Winter Lounge at the Moxy Times Square features themed cocktails, pink trees, neon accents, and stunning Empire State Building views.
  • The Ski Chalet at Haven Rooftop has some of the best views in Midtown Manhattan, where you can enjoy weekend brunch, craft cocktails, and Happy Hour running from 4-6 pm Monday to Friday.
  • SERRA by Birreria at Eataly NYC Flat Iron has been transformed into a winter wonderland, perfect for toasting your winter visit to NYC.
  • Upstairs at The Kimberly is an all-year-round oasis that offers breathtaking panoramic views of Manhattan from a cozy, temperature-controlled space.

14. Go to the Winter Realms in Lake George

View od the ice castles in Lake George all lit up in the evening.

90,000 people visited the Ice Castles at Lake George in 2023, and now this popular winter tourist attraction has been re-imagined as Winter Realms.

Lake George’s winter entertainment spectacle takes place at Charles R. Wood Park, combining a fun, festive atmosphere with the magic of the Northern Lights.

Some of the highlights of this winter wonderland in New York include Santa’s village, themed ice sculptures, more than 90 Christmas trees, and over 100,000 twinkling fairy lights.

You can also skate on the Winter Realms ice rink or enjoy refreshments at the Polar Ice Bar.

The new Winter Realms at Lake George attraction is also more weather resilient. So, your visit is less likely to be canceled due to warm weather.

Tickets to Winter Realms start at $17 for adults, with an additional charge for ice skating.

Local Tip: I went this year and it was terrible. I honestly do NOT recommend going since it was super lame.

It’s also worth noting that Lake George is about a 4-5 hour drive north of NYC. However, you can deffo take a bus there from Port Authority.

15. Swim at the Heated TWA Outdoor Rooftop Pool at JFK

If you’ve got time to spare before your flight or want a break from sightseeing, head to TWA’s rooftop pool at JFK Airport to enjoy one of the most unique things to do in NYC.

The observation deck is a great spot to watch jets take off, or you can relax in the infinity pool, which is heated up to a very comfortable 95°F.

Additionally, The Runway Chalet is a retro-style Alpine chalet serving wines, beers, and cocktails alongside seasonal specialties like spiced hot toddies and creamy hot cocoa.

There’s also a menu full of snacks, lunches, and tempting desserts. Admission to the pool and observation deck starts at $25 for adults, and you don’t need to book in advance in February.

NYC in February FAQs

Looking for more info about visiting NYC in February? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Is February a Good Time to visit NYC?

February is a great time to visit New York City if you’re traveling on a budget. It’s outside the main tourist season, and is after the Thanksgiving/Christmas rush.

So, the number of tourists in the city tends to be lower. This means you can find some fantastic deals on accommodations if you shop around.

You can also find discount flights to New York City in February, but you’ll need to book well in advance for the best prices.

Most main tourist attractions, like the Empire State Building and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are also open year-round.

However, some might have shorter opening hours in winter. So, always check before you visit.

Is February a Cold Month in New York?

February is the shortest month of the year and one of the coldest months in New York, with an average daily high of 41°F.

The wind can also make it feel pretty chilly. But, you might get some shelter from the tall buildings in the city.

Nighttime temperatures in New York in February usually drop below 32°F. So, pack your winter coat, hat, and gloves!

Will NYC Get Snow in February?

Winter in New York City typically means snow from December until March. On average, New York sees four snow days in February, and the total snowfall for the month of February is 10.1 inches.

That being said, this is changing a lot due to global warming. So, I wouldn’t expect a ton of snow during your visit.

Is New York Worth it in Winter?

New York City is worth visiting any time of year, and there are some real benefits to visiting NYC in winter.

The crowds will be smaller than during Christmas or during peak season. You’ll also miss the hot, humid weather of the summer monthsm making this one of the best times to visit NYC.

he key to enjoying your February visit to New York is the purchase of a tourist discount pass. This will let you make the most of your time and budget.

That wraps up this guide to NYC in February!

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

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