What to do in February in New York City

This post lists activities you can find in NYC in February (updated for 2019), including a top 10 list, free things to do, nighttime activities and family-friendly events. 

 

 
 


 TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY 

Here are our picks for the Top 10 activities to enjoy in February in NYC. For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out our schedule of pay-what-you-like walking toursbus tours, and boat cruises pages. 

Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass

New York Tourist Discount Passes

If you are considering visiting many of NYC’s top attractions, then you might want to consider a tourist discount pass, which could save you considerable money.  Read our post comparing the different tourist discount passes.  


(1)  Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival

On February 17, 2019, at 1 pm, come out to welcome the Year of the Pig! This is one of the most festive days of the year for all New Yorkers, regardless of heritage. 

 

 

Chinatown will be filled with colorful floats, lion and dragon dancers, marching bands, and other types of performers. For more information and a map of the parade route, click here


(2) Take a Walking Tour with Free Tours by Foot

The Chinatown parade may leave you wanting more of this special neighborhood of New York City. On our pay-what-you-like SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown Tour we spend 45-minutes in Chinatown, a small neighborhood but with a huge amount of history that our guides share with you in a colorful and engaging way.  

 

 

If you can’t join us for a tour, or care to explore on your own, see our guide to Things to See in Chinatown

Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.

In addition to walking tours, we have food tours, bike tours, and seasonal theme tours like ghost tours and holiday lights tours. We also have self-guided tours and GPS-enabled audio tours of every neighborhood that you will likely visit as a tourist in NYC. 


(3) Attend a Sporting Event

Ice Hockey

February is perfect for seeing an ice hockey game. This month all three major New York City teams have multiple games to choose from.  For excitement off the ice, see a basketball game.

Ice Hockey

Basketball

TIP:  Often you can find great deals on sports tickets on Groupon and on Living Social.


(4) Restaurant Week  

Restaurant Week

If you are here in early February, you are in luck! This year’s Restaurant Week runs through February 9, 2019. During Restaurant Week, more than 300 of New York City’s best restaurants offer a prix-fixe menu including 3 courses for a very low price, relative to their regular prices. 

The list of participating restaurants will be available in early January. Prices for 2018 were $29 Lunch / $42 Dinner, so we anticipate the prices will be in this range. 

For advice on how to get the restaurants you want, see our post on how to make the most of Restaurant Week. 


(5) Go to a Concert 

Concert

Warm yourself up at a concert with some of the hottest stars coming to town in February. You can pick from 6 different decades – we’ve got performers from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and the ’01s!


(6) Celebrate Black History Month

Apollo Theater Harlem

All of February is Black History Month. There will be relevant events throughout the city, but the place where you will find the best events is in Harlem, one of the world’s most famous urban centers of African-American culture.

Our Guide to Harlem lists resources to find events, sights to see, where to eat, shop, see live music and more. You can see a show at the historic Apollo Theater or hear Gospel Music.

Take a deep dive into Harlem’s history and culture on our pay-what-you-like Harlem Walking Tour. If you want to move at your own pace, you can also use our GPS-enabled audio tour of Harlem any time. 


(7) Explore Grand Central
Grand-Central-Terminal-inside

This world-famous terminal is a great place to spend some time, especially on a cold day. While you can enjoy it just by walking around, you will learn secrets about this historic station by taking a tour.

There are several free tours available, including our two-hour tour of Grand Central on Sundays at 10 am and sometimes at 1 pm. If you have a different time in mind, our audio tour can be used any time, day or night.

Our guide, What to See and Do in Grand Central Station is filled with helpful information, so be sure to take a look. 


(8) National Pizza Day  

Bleecker Street Pizza

If you are in NYC on February 9, 2019, you are in the right city to celebrate this annual holiday! New York City has hundreds of places that make great pizza pies. We’ve narrowed the list down considerably. Take a look at our mouth-watering post on The Best Pizza in New York City by Neighborhood

Maybe you’d like to take a Pizza Tour? Our Greenwich Village Food Tour hits up two pizza joints, both considered among the best in the city.

If you can’t make our tour, check out Scott ‘s Pizza Tours. They are really great and that’s why we got you a $2 discount on one of his tours. Just book at Scott’s Pizza Tours and enter promo code FreeByFoot. 


(9) Go Ice Skating

Ice skating in Central Park at night

In New York City you have many choices of where to skate, at varying prices and all different hours. Of course, there is the famed Rockefeller Center Rink, Wollman Rink in Central Park, and a lesser-known but awesome rink in Lower Manhattan at Brookfield Place near the World Trade Center.  

To find out the many places you can go skating in the city, see our post on Where to go Ice-skating in New York City


(10) Commemorate President’s Day 

Federal-Hall-Wall-Street-George-Washington-Statue

Other than Washington D.C., no other city in the country has as many locations where our nation’s past and present presidents have been. Walk in their steps on President’s Day on February 18, 2019.

If you will be riding the subway this day, note that it is a national holiday so subways will have re-routings. Our post Navigating the New York Subway can help you avoid any problems. 

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY

Here are just a few of the hundreds of free things you can do in New York City in February and year round. Check our comprehensive post about Free Things to Do in NYC.  

 

 

Also, be sure to check out the other sections of this post, as many of these other ideas, such as seeing the Chinatown Lunar Parade or visiting Grand Central Terminal are free.


Valentine’s Day: Love in Times Square

At 6 pm on February 14th, head to Times Square for the heart-warming Love in Times Square. This is a mass ceremony where couples renew their vows at the crossroads of the world. 

Anyone can come and watch couples pledge themselves again to each other on the famous red steps at W. 46th Street & Broadway in the heart of Times Square. 

Before or after, take advantage of our guides, Things to Do in Times Square and 50+ Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan


Visit a Free Museum

Some of these museums may already be on your list of things to do. But did you know that some of them are always free to enter? Others offer free days or free hours. If you go on these days you save yourself a bundle!

Here is a list of the most well-known museums and their free days/hours. For a complete list see our post, Free Museums in New York.


Get Free Tickets and Tours with a City Pass

Admittedly, these passes have a cost. However, if you plan well, you will essentially get several tickets to attractions or tours each day for free. Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.   

 

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Read our post comparing the different tourist discount passes.  Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals


Carnival Day at Winter Village

Located in Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, this ‘village’ goes up before the December holidays but remains open through February.

Early in the month (date to be announced), you can enjoy Carnival Day. There will be an Ice Ball, a Skating Showcase, curling lessons, musical performances, and an outdoor Winter brewhouse & Warming Lodge. The day starts at 12 pm and goes on late until 10 pm. 

If you feel like skating, go for it! The ice skating rink at the center of the village is free to skate on, though if you don’t have your own skates, it will cost you $20 to rent a pair (free for NY Pass holders) (more information here).


See a Free Comedy Show

You can find comedy all over New York City, at all hours and prices. But we think free is a pretty good price for a whole lot of laughs. Here are some of the best venues to see free comedy or improvisation.

Upright Citizens Brigade Various days/times
U.C.B. is one of the most famous improv theater venues in the country. Founded by four comedians including Amy Poehler of  Saturday Night Live.  U.C.B. has two locations in NYC, one in Hell’s Kitchen and one in the East Village

The Irish Exit Tuesday 8 pm
You never know who is going to drop by. Previous lineups have included Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, and Michael Che and Pete Davidson, both performers from Saturday Night Live.

Poco Wednesday at 8 pm
Missy Baker and Tom Delgado host a variety of some of the best comedians in New York. Past line-ups have included performers from Comedy Central, NBC, IFC, Adult Swim, and others.

The Douglass Wednesdays at 8:30 pm
Regularly features performers from NBC, HBO, and everywhere in-between. The Douglass is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Check out our self-guided walking tour before heading over to the show.

TIP: For more venues and suggestions of how to see cheap comedy shows, see our post Stretching Your Dollar at the Best NYC Comedy Clubs.

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN FEBRUARY

Many of the activities included in our Top Ten list and the Free section above can be enjoyed at night as well. Below are just a few things you can do to enjoy NYC at night.

For even more ideas, see our post on Top 10 Things to Do in New York City at Night and our New York Night Tours

 

  
 


Broadway Week – 2 for 1 Tickets 

Though this money-saving event starts in January, it lasts until February 10th so if you are in town take advantage of this great opportunity. Tickets go on sale starting January 9th so check their website for details. 

If you aren’t here during that week, there are plenty of other ways to save big on Broadway shows. See our post on How to get Broadways tickets at discounted prices. 


Off-Broadway Week – 2 for 1 Tickets 

If you want to try something a bit different, see an “off-Broadway” show. The different terminology is not very exciting: Broadway theaters have 500 seats or more. Off-Broadway theaters have between 99 and 499 seats. The exciting difference is that off-broadway shows are often superior to Broadway shows and charge less for tickets.

From February 11–24, 2019, you can test out this theory by taking advantage of New York City’s Off-Broadway Week where you get 2-for-1 tickets for the price of one. 


Take a Romantic Valentine’s Day Evening Cruise

Nothing beats the nighttime views from a cruise on the water just off the shore of Manhattan’s sparkling skyline. There are many companies that offer night boat tours, some with a Valentine’s Day theme. 

See our post Which New York Boat Tour or Cruise is Best?

For a free nighttime ride, you can take the Staten Island Ferry 24 hours a day! Our post, How to ride the free Staten Island Ferry, has all the information you need to plan a magical, affordable voyage


Visit a Museum at Night 

Avoid the crowds and visit a New York museum in the evening. Some are free, others have a small cost. Some of these museums have special evening events for adults with cocktails and food. Here is a small sampling.

  • Whitney Museum of American Art  Friday and Saturday nights open until 10 pm. On Friday evenings they have a pay-what-you-wish admission policy from 7 pm to 9:30 pm. The Whitney is located at the start of the High Line Park perfect for an evening stroll.
  • Rubin Museum of Art  Friday nights until 10 pm for their K2 parties where you can view East Asian art, have a few drinks, nibble on some food and hear live music. A night well-spent, especially since admission, is free. (Food & Drinks are not)
  • Brooklyn Museum – On the first Saturday of every month, the Museum offers a free house-party of sorts, Roam the museum, boogie on a dance floor, watch specially chosen films and participate in arts and crafts activities.
  • Guggenheim Museum  Occasional Friday nights open until midnight for their posh ‘Art After Dark’ series. Alcohol served.

Our post, Free Museums in New York, has many more listings. 

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY

Below are just a few ideas for things to do with kids in February. Many of the activities in other sections of this post, such as the Chinatown Lunar Parade or National Pizza Day, are kid-friendly so be sure to look through all of this post for more ideas.

 

 

For lots of other activities, check out our posts Things to Do with Kids in New York City, our 3-day itinerary for families and our list of over 100 things to do in New York City which includes dozens of kid-friendly activities. 


Kid’s Night on Broadway

On February 26, children 18 and under can attend participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. Tickets go on sale in December.  Find out more here.

To save money on Broadway tickets all year long, see our post How to get discount Broadway theater tickets for all the tips and tricks. For other ways to find deals and discounts on Broadway shows, click here.  


New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival

As part of the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities, this festival is quite loud and very fun! It takes place on February 5, from 11 am to 3:30 pm in Sara Roosevelt Park. (map). At noon, 600,000 firecrackers are fired to scare away evil spirits. There will also a festival with dancers, singers, and food vendors at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Get more information here


Take a Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour   

Hop-on-hop-off bus tours are especially good for young children who can tire easily from a day of sightseeing. They have the additional advantage in February of being nice and warm – something the whole family can enjoy!

Our post The Best Hop-On, Hop-Off NYC Bus Tours can help you decide which is best for you and your family. 


Sesame Street Live!

This interactive show is back again this year from February 15-24th. This is sure to be a big hit with the little ones in your group. This year’s theme is all about Elmo’s quest to learn how to do magic so he can join in the gang’s magic show. To find out how to get to Sesame Street, check their website for dates and tickets. 


New York International Children’s Film Festival

From February 22 – March 17, 2019, the New York International Children’s Film Festival will be presenting thought-provoking movies about young people from around the globe. The films are aired at various venues and they are family-friendly. Visit their website for details.

 


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