Five Places to Visit in New York During Winter

One of the many great things about living in New York State is that there’s always plenty to do, with something to suit everyone’s taste. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and always feel like there’s something new to discover! While the pandemic has us doing things differently, there’s still loads of fun stuff to do this winter. Here are 5 things to do if you have a car or are planning on renting one:

1. Drive-in Movie Theaters

I can vividly remember pulling up in my family’s station wagon, dad hanging the speaker over mum’s passenger-side window, and watching “Poseidon Adventure” at Hoyts Wantirna Drive-in back in Australia. With NYC’s movie theaters currently shuttered, we’re finally seeing a resurgence of this classic movie-watching experience. NYC’s Skyline Drive-in is located on the East River and like New York State’s many drive-ins, it offers a perfect way for you and the family to enjoy a movie in the comfort of your own car! For advance ticket purchase, distancing protocols and screening schedules, please visit: NYC’s Skyline Drive-in (Bonus: a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline!) For more of New York State’s drive-ins, click here.

2. Holiday Lights

Taking a tip from close friends who fought off huge crowds to catch the dazzling holiday lights in Dyker Heights, I was intrigued by the uniqueness of the animal lanterns designs and encouraged by the timed-entry protocols on offer at the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights show. Spanning several acres, this will be only the second time since 2007 (!) that these lights will be on display. Now through January 10, the Holiday Lights will feature five different animal lantern safaris to enjoy. Check online for advance ticket purchase, car parking and distancing procedures.

3. Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing freshies at Mt. Buller, Victoria, is loads of fun, but the legendary powder in Utah’s Cottonwood Canyon resorts quickly became a habit. Due to the pandemic, we’re staying close to home this season, and will be looking to explore the slopes in New York. With ski resorts implementing strict protocols and limiting daily lift tickets, many weekends and holidays are selling out in advance. From past experience, Belleayre offers a fun day out (2.5hr drive) and we’re thinking Gore Mountain (4hr drive) could also be worth the trip this year, with an overnight stay in a local AirBnB. If you’re looking to ski or snowboard in the Northeast, here’s a list of 14 resorts to suit your day-tripping and safe-pod vacation needs. Some are out of state so “know before you go” by checking state quarantine restrictions as well as resort websites for reservations, lift-ticket purchases and distancing procedures.

4. Museums & Art Parks of New York

It’s no secret that New York State boasts some of the best museums and art parks in the Northeast. I have listed some of my favorites below, but there are many more to choose from, so take a look at NY State’s museum list. Be sure to check winter opening hours, advance ticket purchase and distancing guidelines before going:

  • Storm King Art Center (features a terrific display of Alexander Calder’s work, and “The Mirror Fence” by my neighbor Alyson Shotz)
  • Dia Beacon
  • Corning Glass Museum (where my grandma’s green bar glasses came from!)
  • Art Omi (120 acres of contemporary sculpture & architecture in Columbia County, NY)

5. New York’s Scenic Byways

Back in the late 1980s I took three months off work, flew into San Francisco with two friends and drove around 42 U.S. states in a gold-colored 1972 Lincoln Continental. This massive car, or “yank tank” as we liked to call them, had a V8 engine, power steering, CB radio and moonroof. It previously belonged to a Texas oilman and it was a real gas guzzler. I’ve likely clocked more miles driving in the U.S. than I have in Oz, and I can attest that driving in the U.S. (once you clear city gridlock) is a really pleasurable experience. If you have the time, always take the scenic routes. Fortunately for us, New York State boasts more than 20 state and national scenic byways highlighting landmarks, natural wonders, history and a variety of themes. Check here for a list of tours, landmarks and driving directions.

Together and apart, we’ll enjoy the winter wonderland! 🍎🚙

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