This post covers things to do in January in New York City in 2023.
We include family-friendly, nighttime, and free activities.
- Top 10
- Nighttime Activities
- Free Things to Do
- Tourist Discount Passes
- How's the Weather
This is our list of the ten best events and things to do in NYC in January. For even more suggestions, see our comprehensive guide to things to do in NYC.
Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out the following posts:
1. Go to a Concert
Though January doesn't bring in the arena bands, you can find some excellent smaller gigs of tried and true performing artists.
See what's on in January in addition to these select shows below.
- Billy Joel | January 13th
- Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular | January 18th, 19th
- Dru Hill | January 28th, 29th
- Meshell Ndegeocello | Janaury 10th - 15th
- They Might be Giants | January 13th, 15th, 15th
The New York Philharmonic will also be playing, at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, on January 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 28th.
2. Attend a Sports Event
If temperatures become uncomfortably cold, head indoors and see some athletes sweat! This month, you can see ice hockey inside an arena or a football game.
Though football stadiums are outdoors, the boisterous, electric atmosphere at a Giants or Jets game is worth braving the elements.
Sports events are also a great way to spend an evening.
They are also a family-friendly activity.
You can see what other sports games are playing during the winter months by checking here.
TIP: Madison Square Garden offers All-Access Tours so you can see how this iconic arena has become a world landmark.
3. Take a Walking Tours with Free Tours by Foot
January is a fine time to take a walking tour, believe it or not! Weather can be surprisingly mild, and comfortable if dressed appropriately.
If you want to keep warm we have several tours of Grand Central Terminal, an NYC gem that is both beautiful and warm!
We also offer food tours, bike tours, and occasional special theme tours like our ghost tours and holiday lights tours.
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.
We also have GPS-enabled audio tours and self-guided tours of many neighborhoods that you will likely visit as a tourist in NYC.
4. See a Broadway Show
Winter (except around the holidays) is off-peak time for shows. You may find that Broadway ticket prices are lower in the colder months.
Here are a few of the best productions taking place this month:
- Funny Girl
- Book of Mormon
- Lion King
- Six the Musical
- Moulin Rouge the Musical
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Throughout January 2023 is Broadway Week. You can often get two-for-the-price of one tickets to many Broadway shows.
5. See a Stand-up Comedy Show
New York is one of those cities that tends to attract some of the biggest names in comedy.
And even in January there will be a few famous comedians performing stand-up in the city that never sleeps.
Here are a few of the best comics to see this month:
- Jim Gaffigan | January 5th, 6th, 7th
- Capitol Comedy | January 13th
- Louis C.K. | January 28th
- Nikki Glaser | January 28th
- Mike Epps | January 28th
- Romesh Ranganathan | January 28th
For even more options, make sure to check this list of stand-up comedy shows in New York City.
6. Winter Jazzfest
This annual festival usually takes place the midway through January and features 100 bands and musicians playing at multiple venues in Greenwich Village.
The festival runs from January 12th-18th, 2023.
Buy a day or weekend pass. Let these smoking hot jam sessions warm you up this winter. See their website for the details.
Also, take some time to explore the neighborhood using our guide, Things to Do in Greenwich Village.
We also have an audio tour you can use at night before or after you see a show!
7. Look into a Tourist Discount Pass
A tourist discount pass affords you discounted entry into most of NYC’s most popular attractions.
While the passes themselves certainly aren’t free, if you plan your itineraries well, you will end up getting one or two attractions for free each day.
There are several different types of passes, so be sure to read our comparison post to learn about how you can save the most money on your trip.
8. Go Ice Skating
All the ice skating rinks in NYC are open in January, including the famed Rockefeller Center Rink and the Rink at Bank of America Winter Village.
You can even go ice-skating at night for a magical experience.
Ice-skating in NYC is also an ideal activity for the whole family.
To find out the many places you can go skating in the city, see our post on where to go ice skating in NYC.
9. Visit Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park
Winter Village at Bryant Park is one of the best holiday markets in NYC to shop for one-of-a-kind items including handmade winter clothing, sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves, decorative items and more.
It is open throughout the month of January in 2023.
Check out our guide on 50+ Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan.
10. Eat a 5-star Meal for Less During Restaurant Week
Enjoy a 5-star meal at a top New York restaurant and pay 1/4 of the regular cost!
During Restaurant Week, more than 300 of New York City’s best restaurants offer a prix-fixe menu for a very low price, relative to their regular prices.
The list of participating restaurants will be available in early January.
Pre-fix meal prices in 2022 were $30, $45 or $60. We anticipate the prices will be in this range, perhaps a bit higher due to inflation.
The 2023 dates have not been released yet, but we expect that it will run again from mid-January to mid-February.
For advice on how to get the restaurants you want, see our post on how to make the most of Restaurant Week.
HONORABLE MENTION: After Christmas Sales at Woodbury Commons
Woodbury Commons is one of the best outlets in New York and it is only one hour north of New York City and worth the easy ride to get there.
Our post, How to Get to Woodbury Commons, has everything you need to know to get there, including bus company recommendations as well as directions on how to go by train.
This huge outlet mall has 220 stores including many upscale stores.
You can find post-holiday sales offering 25%-65% off everything from clothes, household goods, accessories and much more.
There are also several other NYC outlets where you can save money this January.
HONORABLE MENTION: Take a Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
Hop-on-hop-off bus tours are a good way at any time of the year to see a lot of the city in a little bit of time.
In January, a bus tour has the additional enticing feature of keeping you warm on days that are especially cold.
Since they stop at the popular attraction locations, you can use the bus to move from destination to destination and it is a lot more interesting to look out a bus window then stand in a crowded subway.
HONORABLE MENTION: Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
On January 29th, 2023, at 1 pm, come out to welcome in the Year of the Rabbit (specifically, the Water Rabbit)!
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.
Below are a few ideas for keeping yourself entertained at night.
Also, be sure to check out all the sections of this post, as you'll find other great nighttime activities, like going ice skating, seeing a concert or Broadway show or attending a sports event.
See the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Lucky for those coming to New York City the first week of January, you get a chance to see the stunning and gigantic Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.
The tree typically remains illuminated from 5:30 am to Midnight every day until Mid-January.
See our full post on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree for much more information.
While you are there, think about visiting the Top of the Rock where you get unparalleled views of New York City.
See New York City Sparkle from Above
Head to one of the five observation decks in January.
You'll have an easier time getting tickets for your preferred time slot and won't fight the crowds to get to the windows.
- Empire State Building | until 10 pm
- Top of the Rock | until 11 pm
- One World Trade Center Observatory | starting in September - until 8 pm (20:00)
- Summit One Vanderbilt | until 12 am
- Edge Observation Deck | until 10 pm
Winter Antiques Show
The 2023 Winter Antiques Show takes place from January 20th – 29th, with an opening night party on January 19th.
This is the most prestigious antique show in America.
It is held at the historic Park Avenue Armory and the show highlights an eclectic mix of works dating from ancient times to the present day.
The Armory itself is a gorgeous location to showcase fine works of art. Going to the Winter Antiques Show is worth it just to see the building.
Click here for information on hours, directions to the Armory and more.
Shop at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
The Winter Village at Bryant Park is one of the best holiday markets in NYC to shop for one-of-a-kind items including handmade winter clothing, sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves, decorative items and more.
Though the market closes January 2nd, 2023, the ice rink stays open until March 5th.
Our post on things to do in NYC at night has loads of other after-dark activities, so be sure to take a look.
Here are just a few free things you can do in NYC in January.
We list some free activities in other sections of this post, such as taking a pay-what-you-wish Grand Central Terminal tour or ice-skating at the Rink at Bank of America Winter Village.
Check our comprehensive post on free things to do in NYC for even more suggestions!
Hear Some Gospel Music!
Since January is a non-tourist season you will have a much easier time getting into one of the top Gospel services in New York City.
On Sundays, the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem is one of the most popular services to attend to hear this inspirational music. It's free to attend!
Find out more about this church as well as others where you can hear Gospel music in New York, read our post, Gospel Music in Harlem and the Rest of New York City.
If you're interested in learning more about Harlem, we also have a walking tour of the neighborhood.
Take a Free Tour of Grand Central Terminal
On an especially cold day, kill two birds with one stone by visiting Grand Central Terminal.
You'll be nice and warm while you take in the splendor of this historic train terminal, a true icon of New York City.
There are a number of several free tours you can take.
If you pop into the Terminal spontaneously, you can try our audio tour, which can be used at any time!
Our guide to Grand Central Terminal is filled with helpful information, so be sure to take a look.
Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
In 2023, this national holiday falls on January 16th. Some museums and venues that will likely have shows or exhibits dedicated to Dr. King are:
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
- The Museum of the City of New York
- Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Apollo Theater
Both the Apollo theater and the Schomberg Center are located in Harlem, the perfect neighborhood to visit on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Take a look at our A Harlem Visitors' Guide for suggestions of things to do there.
Attend a Free TV Show Taping
Totally free, totally fun! And totally easier to get a seat in January when the tourist season is over.
Our post of New York TV Show Tapings explains how you can get free tickets to shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, and many more.
No Pants Subway Ride
Get ready to freeze your behind during the annual Improv Everywhere event the No Pants Subway Ride, expected to take place around the first week in January.
On the designated date and time meet up with hundreds of sparsely clad others.
You'll receive instructions from an Improv Everywhere representative, which is basically to start riding the subways…but leave your pants behind.
Our free things to do in NYC post has many more activities that won't cost you a dime.
Below are just a few ideas for things to do with kids in January.
Many of the activities in other sections of this post are kid-friendly, such as going to a sports event, ice skating and taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.
For more family-friendly activities, see our post on things to do with kids in New York City.
Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden
This fantastic annual show is running until January 16th, 2023.
It's worth taking a bit a slightly longer subway train ride to the Bronx to see these G-scale mini-trains circle 150 of New York City's landmarks along a half-mile of track.
Annual Three Kings Day Parade
This is a fantastic event for kids! This free parade, now in it's 45th year is taking place on January 6, 2023.
It features children wearing crowns, music, dancing, puppets, sheep and even real camels!
This parade is organized by the El Museo del Barrio is to honor those who contributed significantly to the Latino community.
The parade is from 11 am–12:30 pm. It starts at 106th St and Park Ave and ends at 115th St and Park Ave. in Harlem.
TIP: The El Museo del Barrio is one of many museums you can visit for free. See our post listing free museums in NYC.
Take a Disney on Broadway Tour
Fans of Disney musicals will definitely want to consider taking this unique tour of Broadway focused on their shows.
Not only does this outing include a behind-the-scenes look at a popular theater, but you'll also have the chance to try on actual props and costumes used in productions like The Lion King and Mary Poppins!
Even if you can't make it out to see one of these musicals, chances are that you and your entire family will enjoy this Disney on Broadway tour.
- $72/Adults, Students | $55/Children
- Winter/Spring Availability: Mon, Fri & Sat at 9:30 am
- Summer/Fall Availability: Mon, Thu-Sat at 9:30 am
- Includes admission to New Amsterdam Theatre.
- Includes the opportunity to try on actual costumes and props.
- Purchase tickets or learn more.
Visit an Attraction or Museum without the Crowds
Below are indoor, kid-friendly experiences that will keep your little ones warm and entertained. These attractions are quite fun for grown-ups too!
Be sure to see our Museums and Attractions section in our post Things To Do with Kids in NYC.
- Madame Tussauds
- Ripley's Believe It or Not
- Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
- New York Transit Museum
- Tenement Museum
National Geographic Ocean Odyssey
Stay warm while you take a deep dive into the ocean.
Using photo-real animation with giant projection screens and immersive sound, your simulated ocean voyage will feel real.
This is a great activity for families with children as there is a great deal of interactive technology including touch screens, holograms, and games involving ocean conservation/research. Get all the information here.
Find out about more family-friendly activities from our post on things to do with kids in NYC.