Destination Deep-Dive 9 MINS READ

16 Best Things To Do In NYC This Week: December 2020/ January 2021

16 Best Things To Do In NYC This Week: December 2020/ January 2021

Destination Deep-Dive 9 MINS READ
things to do in NYC this week in December 2020

We’re always traveling for happy places, aren’t we? Somewhere we can fill our visits with picturesque views, delectable cuisine and fascinating adventures! So, what if we told you the city of New York offers all this and more? 

From the age-stained Statue of Liberty to teeming Christmas bazaars, there’s a myriad of things to do in NYC this week! You could spend your afternoons foraging through charming markets and evenings basking in the beautiful scenery. Its famously succulent food fare ensures one also always eats well here. And even as things remain different this year, the Big Apple continues to boast an enviable range of historic staples and hidden gems.

So, hop on as we scour New York for iconic landmarks, COVID 19-free attractions, mouth-watering dining options, and all other things to do in NYC this week. 

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols and operating hours before you visit any site in NYC.

Things To Do In NYC Tomorrow: Dec 2020

1. Visit The Rink at Brookfield Place 

the rink in New York in December 2020

Head out to The Rink in Brookfield Place with your friends and family to enjoy an evening of classic NYC festivities! Tucked away in Lower Manhattan, The Rink is known for its scenic views of the waterfront and skyline. 

Here you can indulge in holiday activities such as ice skating, free gift wrapping services and art installations. For children and adults alike, we recommend trying out Reindeer Roundup, a playful activity that takes you on a quest to help Santa look for his absconding animals! 

And once all this adventure works up your appetite, spend the rest of the evening on a diet of creamy Christmas cakes and foamy lattes. 

COVID safety measures:

  • All activities are hosted outdoors. 
  • Young skaters can opt for a private skating rink that permits only 5 children at a time.
  • The main ice skating rink is bigger than most in the area, allowing more social distance among visitors.  

2. Head to Winter Village in NYC

Winter Village at Bryant Park in New York City

Winter Village at Bryant Park in NYC is a hot favorite for every New Yorker looking for colorful Christmas markets. It houses a gigantic ice skating rink that’s free of cost if you carry your own pair of skates. It also features an arsenal of pop-up shops and holiday bakeries. However, what the Village is most famous for, is its vibrant dining and drinking scenes along with its festive menu that will spoil you for choice!

COVID safety measures:

  • The village features fewer shops and restaurants with a restricted number of skaters on the ice rink.
  •  Skaters are recommended to bring their own skates. 
  • Visitors are required to book time slots in advance.  

3. Check out the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center

Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City

The Rockefeller Center in New York City is widely popular for its breathtaking scenery from Top of the Rock. Among the most fun things to do in NYC right now — and this time of the year — is witnessing its larger-than-life Christmas tree! You can also venture to the Plaza, practice skating on the rink, and guzzle up some foamy eggnog.

Don’t forget to also keep an eye out for some classic NYC comedy gigs that will keep you thoroughly entertained!

COVID safety measures:

  • The Winter Village is operating on a reduced capacity.
  • All activities and events are hosted outdoors. 
  • All reservations must be made online.

4. Plan a day in Coney Island

coney island in NYC

Coney Island is NYC’s go-to hangout spot for a lazy afternoon by the beach. You’ll find tourists cozily soaking in the sun and sipping on cheeky Pina Coladas, as children keep themselves busy building sandcastles. In winters, however — particularly this year — things are different. The island gets isolated and rather quiet, although making it a great option to wander off to from the city’s heaving crowds! 

No matter what time of the year, you can bank on the island to keep you entertained with its endless list of things to do in New York this week.

We also recommend grabbing some beers at Coney Island Brewing Company, taking a stroll across the Atlantic Ocean Boardwalk and experiencing the Christmas Nights of Lights 2020. 

If you’re looking for a comfortable weekend home this holiday, also check out the best rates on CuddlyNest.

COVID safety measures:

  • The number of visitors is regularly recorded. 
  • The Coney Island Wiener Stand remains closed. 
  • All waterparks and water slides remain closed.

5. Reconnect with NYC’s wildlife 

Child feeding deer at Bronx Zoo in New York City

Much has been spoken about the neon glitz and glamour of New York City, but a lesser-known fact is that it is also home to some of the world’s most unique zoos and animal parks! 

The Bronx Zoo, Staten Island Zoo and Queens Zoo are among the popular ones. You can plan a day observing a variety of unusual species and watch live performances.

Some zoos in NYC are also known for hosting special events with celebrities. So, ensure that you call them up to find out more details before leaving the house. 

COVID safety measures:

  • Most zoos have opened single-way paths for visitors.
  • Visitors are permitted in a limited capacity.
  • Visitors must purchase tickets in advance. 

Free Things To Do In New York This Week

6. Walk along the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge in NYC

With the bustling Brooklyn Bridge quieter than usual, now is a good time to take a gentle stroll here and soak in the city’s picturesque skyline. Grab a cup of coffee and head to NYC’s iconic landmark that connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. You’ll find bicyclists enjoying a ride as other patrons capture stellar views from the bridge for their Instagram feed.

We also recommend visiting the Brooklyn Museum, which is NYC’s third-largest museum, while you are in the vicinity.

COVID 19 safety measures:

  • Choose to go at a time when there are fewer people. 
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Avoid touching walls and other surfaces.

7. Hang out at NYC’s iconic park

Central Park during winter in New York

One of the best things to do in NYC this week to escape its crowded sidewalks is taking a quiet walk through the grassy lawns of Central Park. Arguably the most peaceful and picturesque haunt in the city, it is known for its sprawling playgrounds and hypnotic fountains! Along the way, you’ll also spot intricately designed statues, sculptures — and during the holiday season — a postcard-perfect ice skating rink!  

COVID safety measures:

  • Before you sit on a bench, carefully sanitize it yourself. 
  • Choose to go at a time when there are fewer people. 
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.

8. Revisit the Statue Of Liberty in NYC

Statue of Liberty at NYC

Located in the Lower Eastern region of New York City, the Statue of Liberty continues to be among the most sought-after activities in New York this week. Steeped way back in American history, it stands tall at 305 feet and is usually brimming with eager tourists! 

If you are looking for the best things to do in NYC, hop on the Staten Island Ferry, from where you will be able to admire the statue free of cost.

While you are in the area, also plan a visit to Red Hook in Brooklyn, and board the widely-popular IKEA water taxi at Pier 11.

COVID safety measures:

  • The statue is currently admitting fewer visitors. 
  • All tickets can be purchased online.
  • Social distancing is being carefully followed.

Things To Do In New York This Week: Drinking & Dining

9. Dig into Hershey’s Chocolate

Hershey's Chocolate World in Times Square in New York

Hershey’s Chocolate is a classic dessert that everybody with a sweet tooth should have in their arsenal. Head to Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square to indulge in the world’s widest variety! This year, you can also check out the Hershey’s Chocolate Holiday House, adorned with delicious candies and cookies.   

Don’t forget to sample decadent choco-filled brownies or chocolate cookies, and wash it down with the creamiest milkshakes!  

You’ll also find a gigantic candy machine, as you dig into freshly-baked bread and cakes at the bakery section.

COVID safety measures:

  • The venue is operating on reduced capacity.
  • Entry tickets are available online
  • Visitors can opt for free-timed tickets. 

10. Explore NYC’s High Line 

High Line in New York City

Manhattan’s famous High Line is an artistically designed, elevated park that sits on an old railway line, and overlooks the Hudson River. Furnished with manicured grass, comfortable seating and ample space to lounge, this is the perfect place to stretch your legs and unwind at. 

Surrounded by an array of charming eateries and shops, the High Line also features some of the most eclectic art installations in the city. 

COVID safety measures:

  • Restaurants and bars remain shut. 
  • Visitors can opt for free-timed entry.
  • Limited entry and exit points to maintain social distance. 

11. Plan an evening at The Greens, Pier 17

The Greens in Pier 17 in NYC

The Greens at Pier 17 is famous for its vibrant drinking and dining events in NYC. This year, however, it is offering a new experience with a socially-distanced restaurant and manicured lawns turned into tiny cozy cabins. It also includes a heated floor plan, a virtual fireplace and tantalizing views of the East River Waterfront.

Don’t forget to also sample festive bites and Christmas cocktails at The Greens. 

COVID safety measures:

  • All cabins must be booked in advance, and for not more than 90 minutes.
  • All cabins are carefully sanitized between each reservation.   
  • Patrons have to opt for contactless payments.

12. Grab a drink at NYC’s Christmas pop-up bars 

Christmas pop-up bars in New York City

Besides its local street fare, New York City also offers a range of widely popular festive pop-up bars every Christmas season. With their glittering decor, themed cocktails and enthusiastic bartenders, you can count on them for some Christmas cheer and fun things to do in NYC in December 2020. 

With many entrants into the fray, our all-time favorites remain Miracle on 35 West 8th St, Rofl in 281 Third Avenue and Sippin’ Santa’s in 13 First Avenue. 

COVID safety measures:

  • Make reservations when there are fewer people. 
  • Ask for an isolated table. 
  • Use contactless payment methods. 

13. Enjoy the privacy of a heated igloo in NYC

Heated igloo and mulled wine in New York City during holiday season

Want to maintain social distance? Take refuge inside a heated igloo! 

The 230 Fifth Rooftop has acquired an inevitable reputation of the best igloo bar in New York City, hosting a rooftop area with panoramic views of the skyline, in addition to an exclusive heated igloo. 

While on particularly colder nights, the hot chocolate or mulled wine are staples here in NYC, we recommend you also gorge on their brunch menu that offers an exquisite spread of vegan options. 

COVID 19 safety measures:

  • It is mandatory for all guests to have their masks on until seated. 
  • 1 igloo can accommodate no more than 10 people. 
  • Patrons must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet, even while sitting.

Things To Do In New York This Week: Hidden Gems

14. Catch the Say Their Names Installations 

Black Lives Matter art installations in New York

Among other best things in NYC, is The Public Theatre Facade in the East Village of NYC. Home to top-notch comedy shows, it is showcasing visually-striking installations, dedicated to victims of police brutality and white supremacy such as George Floyd. The installation, which is not on a chargeable basis, features works of 10 artists and is also streamed live for online audiences.   

COVID safety measures:

  • Choose to go at a time when there are fewer people. 
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Keep your masks on at all times.

15. Witness NYC’s wall art

Wall art in NYC

If you are an art enthusiast who’s still in election mode, one of the best things to do in NYC this weekend is heading to witness the city’s enthralling artworks across the streets of Soho! You will witness gigantic murals that illustrate various aspects of American politics and real-world issues such as the Coronavirus.  

The creators of the wall art are also hosting a fundraiser with the aim to curate more murals, and make this among major NYC events today. 

COVID safety measures:

  • Choose to go at a time when there are fewer people. 
  • Maintain a social gap of at least 6 feet.
  • Keep your masks on at all times. 

16. Enjoy a self-guided tour at NYC’s Industrial City 

art tour in NYC

Mulling over what to do in NYC this week? You might want to check out Industrial City that is hosting a walking tour, featuring 14 captivating murals by local artists. The art pieces intricately depict all major events that have taken place in 2020, including the Coronavirus, self-isolation and racial disparity.

COVID 19 safety measures:

  • Visitors must scan the QR code to receive notes and the map. 
  • The route is sprawled across three courtyards to maintain social distance. 
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet.

With so many events and best things to do in New York this week — even amidst the pandemic — be sure to never be disappointed by the city. And while you continue rediscovering its beauty, also keep an eye out for exciting travel deals in 2021!     

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