8 outdoor activities to try this winter in NYC

By Ian J. StarkSpecial for Newsday

New York City fun needs no introduction and even in the coldest months of the year there is plenty to do and see in the Big Apple. From ice skating to winter sightseeing cruises, here are eight things not to miss this season.

COVID restrictions vary by location; be sure to check what is currently in effect before visiting.

See the city from the Circle Line

The Circle Line tour company has been in business since 1945. Credit: Circle Line Cruises

This tourist travel agency is currently offering three daily excursions until March 18. The boats also feature climate-controlled interior spaces, an onboard cafe, and free Wi-Fi. The quickest tour is the 90-minute “Landmarks,” which focuses on the Manhattan sights of the East and Hudson rivers, as well as the Statue of Liberty. The two-hour “Harbor Lights” cruise departs at dusk on a water chase to see the city lights. The 2.5-hour “Best of NYC” cruise circumnavigates Manhattan Island, a journey that travels the East, Hudson and Harlem rivers and passes under 20 bridges. Prices vary by date; tickets are available in advance.

NEWS Cruises depart from Pier 83: W. 42nd St. and 12th Ave., Manhattan; 212-563-3200, circleline.com.

Bumper cars on the ice at Bank of America Winter Village

Drive bumper cars, ice skate and more at Bank of America Winter...

Ride in bumper cars, ice skate and more at the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park. Credit: Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Another way to take advantage of the season is to hop in a single-seat bumper car. You must be over 7 years old and at least 42 inches tall. The rides last 10 minutes and run daily at set times (2-8pm Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm Saturday-Sunday), but if you’re nearby between 6-8pm February 26, the hours extend. mornings and late evenings (8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily) before closing for the season on February 27. Tickets are $20; $25 on Saturdays and Sundays; tickets can be purchased in advance at wintervillage.org.

NEWS 40th-42nd Sts., Fifth-Sixth Aves. ; 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org.

The Polar Lounge at Harriet’s Rooftop

The Polar Lounge at Harriet's Rooftop at 1 Hotel...

The Polar Lounge at Harriet’s Rooftop at the luxury 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge has seating and decor carved out of ice and serves drinks in ice-based glasses. Credit: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Check out this lounge with seats carved out of ice, serving drinks in glasses made from ice and ice sculptures, located on the tenth floor of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, a luxury hotel with views of the bridge and the skyline of Manhattan. The standing area is open to the general public until the end of February (5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Sunday). Those making reservations can also step into the indoor Harriet Lounge if they need to warm up. General admission: $25, VIP tables a minimum of $200. Reservations for general admission and tables must be made in advance.

NEWS 60 Furman Street, Brooklyn; 347-696-2500, 1hotels.com.

Visit a zoo

A Japanese macaque, also known as a snow monkey, is...

A Japanese macaque, also known as a snow monkey, is seen at the Central Park Zoo during the winter season in Manhattan. Credit: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Anadolu Agency

New York has four zoos to visit: the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan (64th St. and 5th Ave.; 212-439-6500), the Queen’s Zoo (53-51 111th St., Flushing; 718-271-1500), the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn (450 Flatbush Ave.; 718-399-7339) and the Bronx Zoo (2300 Southern Blvd.; 718-220-5100). There are all kinds of animals to see this season such as king penguins, snow leopards, snow monkeys and you may even spot a snowy owl in one of the zoos. Timed admission tickets are $9.95, $6.95 for ages 3-12 at Queens and Prospect Park Zoos, $19.95/$14.95 at Central Park, and $30.95/$22.95 $ in the Bronx.

NEWS wcs.org.

Ice skating in Central Park

People skate on the ice at Wollman Rink in Central...

People skate on the ice at Wollman Rink in Central Park. Credit: China News Service via Getty Images/China News Service

Lace up and slide around Wollman Ice Rink (at 59th St. and Sixth Ave.), where visitors can also experience the new clubhouse. Open until early April at 10 a.m. every day (until 2:30 p.m. Monday to Tuesday, 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 9 p.m. Sundays). People can also skate on the water conservatory pond (between E. 72nd-E. 75th Sts.) in Central Park for free when conditions are good (when ice is reliably 6 inches thick). Tickets are $14 Monday through Thursday, $23 Friday through Sunday and holidays; $6 for ages 11 and under (and non-skating spectators) per day. Skates are $11 to rent; people must bring their own skates to Conservatory Water.

NEWS centralpark.com.

City Skate pop-up concerts

The Ice Theater in New York is preparing a series...

New York’s Ice Theater is hosting a series of pop-up performances at a select group of ice rinks around New York City during the winter of 2022. 1 credit

Bryant Park’s ice cream also serves as the stage for the final shows in a series of short shows hosted by the New York Ice Theater this winter, which focuses on the art of ice dancing. Each five-minute lunchtime pop-up takes place at 12:40 p.m., with the remaining dates in February every Tuesday and Thursday until February 17, and all are free and open to the public. Keep an eye on the program’s final week as the 2020 Youth Olympics bronze medalist Alexa Rakic should appear.

NEWS 40th-42nd Sts., Fifth-Sixth Aves. ; 212-768-4242, icetheatre.org.

Tobogganing on Governor’s Island

Take your sleds to Governor's Island and race down the...

Take your sleds to Governor’s Island and race down the snowy hills. Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images/Education Images

If you’ve ever dreamed of sledding down a snowy hill while admiring sights like the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, you can make it happen by gliding down mounds on Governor’s Island known as of The Hills. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own sleds, but Blazing Saddles bike rental shop on the island (19 Hay Rd.; 917-440-9094, blazingsaddles.com) has some on hand as well. Tobogganing is weather dependent, so check for snow before heading out.

NEWS govisland.com; ferries depart from 10 South St., Slip 7, Manhattan.

‘Bird’ and ‘Wander’ at Green-Wood Cemetery

Snow covers the ground around the headstones at Greenwood Cemetery...

Snow covers the ground around the headstones in Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. 1 credit

A National Historic Landmark dating back nearly 200 years, its nearly 480 acres of space is the final resting place of several famous historical figures. Visitors can take part in “Winter Wanders,” 90-minute walking tours that take place around the grounds on Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. until March 13. Attendees can admire the view while learning the meaning of certain images and symbols around the cemetery and hear stories about some of the permanent residents. Birds frequent the cemetery and on Sunday mornings you can take part in a “Birding in Peace” session (until March 6, with a final session on March 20) which takes place at 6:45 or 7:00. Participants may spot birds such as nuthatches, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches and waterfowl. Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance; check-in takes place at the meadow near the main Fifth Ave entrance. and 25th St.

NEWS 500 25th Street, Brooklyn; 718-210-3080, green-wood.com.