What to Do in January in New York City

Christmas and New Years Eve have come and gone, and now New York City is gearing up for a cold winter. But for those willing to brave the elements, January is a prime time to visit the city and avoid the crowds. Here's how to get the most out of a winter visit to the Big Apple.

What to Do

Now that the crowds are departing, it's easy to visit one of the city's skating rinks and get some prime time on the ice. The rink at Rockefeller Center is a beloved tradition, and is open late all the way through April. In Central Park, Wollman Rink is great for families and couples alike (imagine skating surrounded by snowy trees and the skyscrapers of Fifth Avenue and Central Park West), and is open until 10 p.m. most nights. (It will remain in the park through April.) The rink at Bryant Park, meanwhile, is also open through April and stays open late...and is also close to shopping and all the midtown attractions. 

When the weather gets cold, the sidewalks are much clearer for walking, so this is a prime month to do some strolling and window shopping. Or real shopping: This is a great time to take advantage of post-holiday deals at many of the top stores along Fifth Avenue and all over town. 

What to See

Several new Broadway shows are either in previews or about to begin them soon, making it easy to be among the first to see an upcoming hit. Fans of classic rock will want to catch Beautiful, the Carole King Musical at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, which opens officially on January 12. (Broadway baby Jessie Mueller stars, and if her performances in On A Clear Day... and Into the Woods were any indication, she'll make the show extra special.

Sports fans, meanwhile, will want to head to Circle in the Square to see Bronx Bombers, a new play about the Yankees and their connection to New York—from the days of Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter. 

Pulitzer-winnr John Patrick Shanley (most famous for Doubt) has a new play opening at the Samuel Friedman Theater starring Debra Messing (of “Will & Grace” and “Smash” fame) and Tony-winner Bryan O'Byrne. Outside Mullingar, a dramatic comedy (or maybe comic drama?) about Ireland and family and romance. The play is currently in previews and begins performances on January 23.

And Tony-winner Jason Robert Brown has a new musical opening at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater based on a much-beloved novel: The Bridges of Madison County stars Broadway icons Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale as star-crossed lovers in this adaptation of Robert James Waller's novel. 

At 54 Below, Oscar- and Tony-nominee and Emmy-winner Jeff Daniels is performing his original songs in a limited engagement. (Song titles include “If William Shatner Can, I Can Too”, “You Can Drink An Ugly Girl Pretty”, and “Have a Good Life (Then Die).”) Edward Hibbert, late of Fraiser and many Broadway shows, will also perform a cabaret of classics (written by icons like Noel Coward and Cole Porter) at the venue later in the month.