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Beat the January Blues | © StockSnap / Pixabay
Beat the January Blues | © StockSnap / Pixabay

12 Ways to Beat the January Blues in New York City

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 10 December 2017

We won’t sugarcoat it: January in New York City can be bleak—but your social calendar doesn’t have to be. From retro arcade games to discounted Broadway shows to a hot chocolate festival, New York knows how to heat up the drab winter months. Warm your hearts and your bodies with the best ways to beat the January blues in the Big Apple.

Take a No Pants Subway Ride

For one day this January, forget that “courtesy count” as you join thousands of your fellow New Yorkers in what may be the most memorable commute of your year. The 17th annual No Pants Subway Ride will take place on January 7, 2018, and will accommodate thousands of commuters sporting New York City subway standards such as headphones and winter coats as well as a not-so-standard sartorial choice: no pants.

Snag two-for-one theater tickets during NYC Broadway Week

Need something to sing about on those gray January days? The two-for-one deals on select shows during NYC Broadway Week are sure to put some pep in your step. Abandon the gray for the Great White Way anytime between January 16th and February 4th.

Get inspired at Outsider Art Fair

Get inspired at this alternative art event, where coloring outside the lines is encouraged behavior. The refreshing Outsider Art Fair, returning to New York City from January 18th through January 21st, showcases work from self-taught artists and moves beyond the mainstream.

Winter Carnival at Bank of America Winter Village

If you can’t escape it, embrace it: show New York City snow some love at the Winter Carnival at Bank of America Winter Village. Here, you’ll skate at New York City’s only free-admission ice skating rink, play winter sports, warm (and drink) up at an on-site brewhouse, and burn off any blues at a silent disco dance party in Bryant Park.

Spend a night at the museum

Pint-sized city slickers get the blues too! Take yours on a dreamy adventure at the American Museum of Natural History’s “A Night at the Museum” sleepover. Taking place on January 5th and January 27th, this unique event includes a flashlight tour of the museum’s halls, a 3-D film showing, and plenty more family-friendly fun.

Eat the best for less during NYC Restaurant Week

Warm your stomach and your heart this January with a meal deal courtesy of NYC Restaurant Week. From January 22nd to February 9th, 300 restaurants across the city will offer three-course lunches and dinners at discounted prices, granting you a five-star dining experience for an out-of-this-world low price.

Winter Jam

Nothing heats up a cold January day like a little friendly competition. At the annual Central Park Winter Jam, frosty fun includes arctic golf, ice bowling, live ice sculpting, and much more. If sports aren’t really your jam, the event also hosts a market and warming station and several winter-related workshops.

Enjoy old-fashioned fun at the Holiday Train Show

Kids and kids-at-heart will love this enchanting annual attraction at New York Botanical Garden. Feel-good fun at its finest, the Holiday Train Show features timeless model trains zipping through a nearly half-mile display of 150 New York City landmarks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center, each constructed entirely from bark, leaves, and other natural materials.

Watch a great bad film at Bad Film Fest

So bad they’re good—the flicks screened at January’s Bad Film Fest are sure to put a smile (and perhaps some confusion) on your face. Held January 27th and 28th at Cloud City, this outrageous entertainment source specializes in low-budget, no-budget, and boldly bad films.

Have a pizza party at the International Culinary Center

The amateur cooking classes at the International Culinary Center are always in season—after all, ICC graduates include the bakers behind New York’s famous Milk Bar and Dominque Ansel Bakery—but are particularly tasty attractions come winter. On January 6th, you can join the best bakers’ ranks at ICC’s “Homemade Pizza” class, where you’ll whip up pizza Margherita, tarte flambée, and more from scratch.

Valrhona Hot Chocolate Festival

When all else fails, drink hot chocolate. The 3rd annual Valrhona Hot Chocolate Festival will take place from January 20th through February 4th at locations across the city. During this time, you can while the winter away sipping artisanal hot chocolate from the likes of Ladurée, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, and Lafayette.

Play old-school arcade games at the Museum of the Moving Image

This January, enjoy a blast (or 23) from the past at Queens’ Museum of the Moving Image. The Video Arcade exhibit at this Astoria attraction ends on January 28th, leaving you plenty of time to brush up on its 23 old-school arcade games, including Donkey Kong, Frogger, Ms. Pac-Man, and more.