Located in the heart of manic Manhattan, Central Park welcomes around 37.2 million visitors annually. With holiday decorations, sporting events, and other fun activities, the park is particularly lovely to visit during New York City’s winter season. From snowboarding to enjoying the snowy scenery, there’s something for everyone when touring this sprawling 834-acre park. And if you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple during the colder months, here are the best wintertime activities that you’ll find in Central Park.

Ice Skating

Lace up your skates and hit the rink at one of Central Park’s two skating areas.

One of the best ways to enjoy the cold city temperatures of winter is to bundle up, lace up your skates, and head to the nearest Central Park rink! There are two main ice skating rinks in the park:  Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. The 33,000-square foot Wollman Rink is located in the southeastern part of the park and hosts ice hockey, skating parties, and even skating lessons. Lasker Rink is located in the mid-section of Central Park between 106th and 108th Streets and is composed of two oval-sized rinks. Hockey players use one of these rinks exclusively, while the other rink is open to everyone. And no matter which rink you choose, you’re bound to have a memorable time when gliding around one of these NYC rinks.

Central Park Zoo

For those of you who love snow leopards, polar bears, penguins, or sea lions, head on over to the Central Park Zoo on 64th Street and 5th Avenue. Not only do these animals love the colder weather, but they become much more energetic during the winter season as well. There’s also an impressive indoor 4D theater in the zoo where you can relax and warm up before braving the city’s wintry chill once more.

Winter Jam NYC

One of the most famous winter festivals held in Central Park each year is the Winter Jam. And whether or not the weather provides a dusting of snow, the NYC Parks Department always supplies plenty of white fluff on the ground for this fun event. A few popular activities held at the Winter Jam include snowshoeing, snowboarding, sledding, and, as the name suggests, incredible live music. Both equipment rentals and professional lessons are entirely free for festival participants; all organizers ask is that guests bring a positive attitude with them when signing up for winter sports. And with an ice lodge, winter market, ice bowling, and even a Doggie Snow Zone, it’s the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Sit back and relax on a snowy ride through Central Park’s winter wonderland.

Last but not least, why not take a romantic, winter horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park? Just imagine it: the snow lightly falling, a cup of hot cocoa in your hands, and your loved one seated beside you, all while taking in the beauty of America’s finest park in wintertime. Most horse-drawn carriage rides last around 45-minutes and cover all the major tourist draws. You’ll pass by Cherry Hill, Strawberry Fields, the Carousel, and more. And if you’re looking to surprise someone special, you can always purchase add-ons such as boxes of chocolate, photos, or even flowers. Because these rides are extremely popular in the winter season, make sure to reserve your ride online before heading to NYC.

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