A couple of years back, two of my friends and I decided to take a trip to New York in early December. The reason for the trip was that we all had vacation time to burn and we were looking for something different. Yes, we had all been to New York before, but none of us has ever gone in the winter. We knew there would be standard holiday attractions such as the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, ice skating in Central Park and toys at FAO Schwarz, but when we arrived, we were amazed at how many things there were to do.

If you’re looking for a winter getaway that’s not an all-inclusive resort, you should consider New York City. As you’ll see below, they have a ton of different attractions events going on. Best of all, the winter offers a lot of value as hotels are typically cheaper at this time of the year.

Courtesy: Julienne Schaer / NYC and Company

New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop

If you want to be part of the craziest New Year’s Eve party in the world, then head to Times Square and watch the ball drop. Unless you line up crazy early, you won’t get close to the stage, but there will be many screens set up so you can see the festivities. Let’s be realistic, you’re heading to this event for bragging rights. How many people can say they rang in the New Year in Times Square?

Hotel parties 

People who aren’t interested in the big bash should consider a hotel New Year’s Eve party instead. The Times Square Edition will be throwing three parties at 701 West, The Paradise Club, and The Terrace Outdoor Rooftop and Gardens. Each celebration includes dinner, open bar, and a world-class DJ/live music. Over at the New York Marriott Marquis you’ll have 360-degree views of the ball drop. The party includes a red-carpet entry, luxury dinner buffet & dessert bar, specialty cocktails, open bar, and VIP access to the patio overlooking Times Square.

NYC Winter Lantern Festival 

Right now until January 12th, 2020 if you head over to Staten Island, you can catch the NYC Winter Lantern Festival. The event is in their second year and takes place at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. Visitors will be able to see 50 LED installations spread over eight acres and watch live performances of traditional Chinese dance and art. 

Shows in the Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show features model trains zipping through more than 175 NYC landmarks. The event runs until January 26, 2020 so you’ve still got time to catch it. There’s also the   Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zootthat runs until January 5, 2020 where you can see wildlife-themed LED displays, custom lanterns and animated light shows.

NYC Outing

From January 21 to February 9, New York combines three of their most popular events: NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week. Known as NYC Winter Outing, these events allow guests to sample fixed-price menus at some of the top restaurants in the city and 2-for-1 tickets to some of the most popular Broadway shows and attractions.