If you’re hoping to catch some winter fun after work or on your days off, you won’t have to go far.
The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park has a full schedule of events, including skating lessons with figure skaters, a tree lighting with Alan Cumming and Johnny Weir and one-on-one time with Santa, set for this winter — all smack dab in the middle of Manhattan.
With free or low-cost events and happenings in mind, here’s what to check out at Bryant Park during the cold months:
Free skating and ice sports, like curling and broomball
The Rink is the only free admission skating rink in the city, so don’t worry about stopping by the ATM if you’ve got your own pair of skates. Otherwise, rentals start at $20 and you can skate however long you’d like. The Rink is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through March 3.
From time to time, The Rink will host free events like Skate Fest (Nov. 6). U.S. figure skaters will offer free skate lessons and give out prizes throughout the session from 10 a.m. to noon.
On Nov. 7, a game of pickup broomball (or hockey without skates) will start at 5 p.m.
Every Thursday morning, starting on Jan. 10, The Rink has “Exerskate,” a free ice-skating-based exercise class led by trained figure skaters and hockey players, which gives skaters a workout while sharpening skills on the ice for those who are already competent skaters.
For those who want actual skating lessons, you can get them for $40-$50 per lesson or $130 for four.
Events that will make it OK that it’s cold outside
Every year in February, The Simulacrum of Yore Society puts on the Ice Ball at The Rink. It’s not a Bryant Park program, but it’s a fun night of “dancing” in a “ballroom,” aka The Rink, in fancy clothing.
Between Jan. 26 and Feb. 3, the FrostFest opens up curling and broomball, skating lessons, a Silent Disco and more. You can check out an “ice castle” on the Fountain Terrace or head into the Warming Lodge or the Outdoor Winter Brew House.
Shopping at more than 150 stores
No need to worry about where you’ll buy your holiday gifts — there are more than 150 different stalls selling handmade crafts, artisanal food and goods from around the world, including rugs, jewelry, yogawear, ceramics, body lotions and teas from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends (some are open even later). Check out shops like Sabon, Lucid New York, Kizmet Yogawear, Kate Laine Jewelry, Miss tea and more.
Plenty of holiday events
Get into the holiday spirit easily with the park’s annual tree lighting and “skate-tacular” on Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. with Alan Cumming, who will host the event, and performances by Olympic skaters Johnny Weir, Kaetlyn Osmond, Megan Duhamel, Eric Radford and Jeremy Abbott. Each year, skaters do a performance of “The Lights Before Christmas,” which is an original story about the Light family, a group of characters made out of light. New Yorkers (the skaters) show Star, the youngest member of the family, how to shine.
Later on, check out the 400-person Notre Dame marching band concert on Nov. 16 at 4 p.m., visit Santa at 1 p.m. on any day between Dec. 16 and 23 and stay for New York City Opera’s caroling on Dec. 18 at 6 p.m.
Winter bites a plenty
Some of the eateries you’ll see this year include Wafels & Dinges, Bun Ramen, DO, Arancini Bros, Crepe Cafe, Mr. Bing, City Sandwich, Big Mozz, CousCous, The Vegan Bowl, Casa Toscana, D’Abruzzo, Doughnuttery, Mian Kitchen, Enfes NYC, TopArepa, Baked Cheese House, Chick’nCone and so many more.
You can also head into the Lodge by Urbanspace, which has a festive cocktail bar surrounded by eateries, including Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery, Pierogi Boys, Good Stock, Todaro Bros, Chimney Cakes by Stackery, a S’Mores Bar by Squish, and an outdoor beer garden, which will offer beer, glühwein, and comfort food. That’s open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. through March 3.
Head over to bryantpark.org for more information and scheduling.