One of the best things to do in winter is attend an amazing winter carnival where you can sip hot cocoa, munch on savory dishes, go ice-skating and ogle beautiful snowscapes. The city and other places in New York state are hosting epic festivals and events during the colder months, so mark your calendars and start planning all your weekend getaways now. We’ve ranked our favorite winter carnivals and festivals below.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to winter getaways from NYC
Find a winter carnival in New York State
At the always-festive Winter Carnival at Bryant Park, you can take free curling lessons, drink hot chocolate and enjoy some of the best seasonal ales at the Outdoor Winter Brew House. There’s special skate performances including a strong lineup of entertainment: Folks can don their fanciest formal wear (and skates) for the waltz-soundtracked “Ice Ball.” Dine on mouthwatering fare from local vendors and play some board games once the post-skate exhaustion sets in. Date TBA(wintervillage.org/visit/wintercarnival); Free
The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months with Winter Jam, its annual winter sports festival in Central Park. Attendees can learn or take part in snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding on the manufactured white stuff. (Or they can just sip hot chocolate and enjoy the outdoors.) Jan 28 11am–3pm; free.
Lake George Winter Carnival
If toasting marshmallows on the beach, warming-up with a steamy bowl of chili, flying a massive kite on ice, riding on a dogsled and learning how to dive in frozen water piques your interest, Lake George is calling. There are new events every weekend in February that are perfect for folks seeking adventure or a life of leisure. Saturdays & Sundays in February (lakegeorgewintercarnival.com); various prices.
For ten days, this fete attracts more than 100,000 people to dozens of displays, parties and competitive events. Join in on a treasure hunt (there’s a plastic medallion hidden somewhere in Onondaga County, and you could win $1,000 if you find it), a chowder cook-off, and team trivia. February 15–25 (syracusewinterfest.com); various prices.
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Itching to plan a getaway next month? We recommend taking a trip to Saranac Lake for a weekend of cold-weather fun. Some events are free (like the Gala Parade, winter carnival parade, bands’ sound-off and a fireworks display), while others require a small fee, like Snowshoe Softball and the Lion’s Club Chili Sale. Make sure to bring your camera and explore the Ice Palace (a massive walk-through igloo-type castle) so you can act out Disney’s hit movie Frozen IRL. February 2–11 (saranaclakewintercarnival.com); Free.
Long Island Winterfest
From winter to spring, Saturday nights heat up with some cool jazz on Long Island’s East End. Live On the Vine brings top-notch musicians to the area’s storied wine-tasting rooms and with 90 exciting events over a five-week period, you have plenty of opportunities to drink and jam out to awesome bands. Dates and schedule TBA Jan 1 (longislandwinterfest.com); various prices.