Credit: @thepixelmedley on Instagram

Snow-dusted streets, dazzling light displays, and splendid ski slopes aplenty, it’s the most magical time of the year in New York State. Whether you prefer a wintry outdoor Adirondack adventure or a cozy fireplace and cup of cocoa in the Catskills, New York has a getaway for every winter-goer and every budget. Put on your hat and gloves and get ready to experience all that the Empire State has to offer this season.

JUMP TO: Adirondacks | Thousand Islands-Seaway | Catskills | Finger LakesChautauqua-Allegheny | Hudson Valley | Central New York | Greater Niagara | Capital-Saratoga | New York City | Long Island

Saranac Lake (Adirondacks)

Fireworks light up the sky above a rainbow ice castleCredit: @kylevt on Instagram


If you’re craving a “forever wild” winter experience, plan a getaway to Saranac Lake. Settle into the Sara Placid Inn & Suites where rates start around $99/night. Choose from one of the four cozy lodging options (including pet-friendly accommodations), plus you’ll unlock majestic views of the surrounding mountains and starry night skies. 


For outdoor adventure seekers, there’s plenty to do. Mount Pisgah offers 15 acres for skiing (and night skiing), snowtubing, and snowshoeing ($15/person for half-day, $25/person for full day. Ski lessons are also offered twice a week. At the Saranac Lake Civic Center, you can skate for free every weekend until March. Rentals are just $5. Paul Smith’s VIC has 25 miles of free trails for walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. If you prefer to stay indoors, check out the nature museum and art gallery.


Get some holiday shopping done in the village where you’ll find local shops selling everything from books and board games to paintings and pottery. Grab a bite to eat at Blue Moon Cafe or for a refreshing beverage, stop by the lively and inviting atmosphere of Bitters and Bones


Experience winter magic at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (pictured), which kicks off February 2-11, 2024 with sparkling ice castles, fireworks, and more — all for free! 

Watertown (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

A child in a blue and yellow jacket and helmet with goggles is standing on skis and holding ski poles at the top of one of the Dry Hill Ski Area's slopes with a view of the resort and snow-covered trees below in the distanceCredit: @emburgess8 on Instagram


A magical snowy getaway awaits in Watertown. At the Best Western Watertown Fort Drum, rates start around $88/night providing a comfortable and affordable homebase. 


Skiers should be sure to hit the slopes at Dry Hill where tickets start at $25/person on non-holiday Wednesdays and Thursdays (free for children under 5, $15 for seniors). If you’re still up for a high-speed winter adventure, snow tubing tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for juniors. There’s also free live music every Friday from 6pm-9pm during Music @ the Hill. For those who seek beautiful snowy views without the adrenaline rush, Thompson Park and Tug Hill are great free destinations for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and hiking. 


On December 21, Tug Hill puts on its Winter Solstice Forest Celebration at the Joseph A. Blake Wildlife Sanctuary featuring candlelit forest walks, discussions of solstice celebrations from around the world, and nature crafts. 


Warm up indoors at the Jefferson County Historical Society Museum (tickets range from $4-$6), take a tour of the 19th Century Paddock Mansion, and explore the local history and artifacts of the area. For a riverside bite, have a meal at Maggie’s on the River or stop by Garland City Beer Works for local brews. 

Windham (Catskills)

A picture of Windham Mountain in the winter with snow covered treesCredit: @menlaretreat on Instagram


Cozy up in the Catskills at Albergo Allegria where rates start at $139/night (for mid-week stays) and vintage-style rooms come with their own electric fireplaces. 


Rent a pair of snowshoes ($28/day including poles) from Windham Mountain Outfitters and get to know the area on foot. Elm Ridge Wild Forest, CD Lane Park, and The Windham Path, which has a stunning covered bridge overlook, are all free and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Up for a challenge? Hike the Windham High Peak from the Elm Ridge Trail. It’s the highest peak in the Catskills! Learn about the Catskill area at the Mountain Top Arboretum and explore 179 acres of gardens and forests from 2,400 feet above. Events like holiday centerpiece making, guided winter walks, and tree identification tours are offered throughout the season. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is encouraged. 


Warm up in town and pay a visit to local gems like Briars & Brambles Books, Carole’s Gift Emporium, and Catskill Mountain Country Store. For an enchanting evening, head to the Magic on Main show ($25-$30) where you’ll witness close up parlor magic. After you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by Chicken Run for comfort food favorites and live music every weekend. 

Corning (Finger Lakes)

trees decorated in bright holiday lights surround a clock towerCredit: @thepixelmedley on Instagram


Live out your Hallmark movie dreams in Corning. Check into the comfortable Staybridge Suites Corning where rates start around $120/night. 


Take a scenic stroll through the charming Gaffer District (pictured) — rated one of Country Living’s 55 bucket list-worthy Christmas towns for 2022. Explore the area in style on a Holiday Horse and Carriage ride, offered select days through December 17 ($5 for kids, $10 for adults). Grab a bite and a brew at Market Street Brewing Co & Restaurant, found in a restored historic building. Corning is also centrally-located between the Keuka and Seneca Lake Wine Trails offering plenty of opportunities to take in snowy vineyard views of Finger Lakes Wine Country


You can’t visit Corning without making a stop at the famed Corning Museum of Glass ($22 for adults, 17 and under are free). The museum goes all out for the holiday season with a tree of life glass Menorah, a glass ornament Christmas tree, and make your own glass ornaments. Explore the evolving story of America through the eyes of artists at the Rockwell Museum ($12 for adults, free for 17 and under). Better yet, for $30.30 you’ll get admission to both museums for the price of one. 

Ellicottville (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

An overhead view of the ski slopes and buildings at Holiday Valley Ski Area.Credit: @holidayvalley on Instagram


Gear up for a thrilling winter adventure in Ellicottville. Make your first stop at Wingate by Wyndham Ellicottville, a great homebase with rates that start around $113/night. 


Head over to Holiday Valley for your fill of outdoor winter activities. For those looking to take their first steps into downhill skiing, access to the Creekside beginners area is $30/person. Cross country skiers and snowshoers can explore the scenery with a two-ride lift pass ($20). Fly down one of the 20 snow tubing lanes in the snow tubing park ($30/adult, $12/children under 42”). There’s even a conveyor lift to bring you back up the hill. 


Take a stroll through the cozy ski village and explore charming shops, restaurants, and locally-owned businesses. Stop by the Ellicottville Brewing Company for casual bar bites, local brews, and a lively atmosphere or Winery of Ellicottville for a flight of wine and charcuterie. 


Be sure to add one of the village’s free festivals to your trip itinerary like Winter Blues Weekend (January 18-20, 2024), Winter Music Jam (February 23-25, 2024), or the Holiday Valley Winter Carnival (March 9-10, 2024).

Kingston (Hudson Valley)

A street covered in snow lined with colorful shops


A lively yet historic getaway awaits in Kingston. Check in at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kingston-Ulster where rates start around $147/night. 


Hit the streets and explore the historic city that was once New York’s first capital decorated in the wonders of winter. History buffs and casual visitors will want to partake in a historic self-guided walking tour of the 1658 Stockade or Rondout Historic Districts which feature the city’s notable landmarks. Kingston’s historic four corners is also a must-stop, where the buildings on all four corners were all constructed pre-Revolutionary war. Warm up indoors at the Hudson River Maritime Museum ($6-$9/person) and learn about the Hudson Valley’s rich riverside history. 


After your history lesson, shop ‘til you drop at a variety of local businesses selling everything from antiques to menswear to apothecary. If you’re up for ice skating, grab your skates and glide across the ice at the Rondout Ice Rink ($15/person, additional $5 to rent skates). Wind down with a brew and bite to eat at Kingston Standard Brewing or go for a warm slice at Lola Pizza


Add some holiday cheer to your getaway at the Hudson Valley’s largest holiday lights spectacular night event, A Frosty Fest, all from the comfort of your own vehicle! 

Cooperstown (Central New York)

Exterior of Brewery Ommegang in the snowCredit: @breweryommegang on Instagram


With outdoor winter adventures, renowned museums, and dazzling seasonal events, Cooperstown is a homerun for everyone. Get comfy at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cooperstown where rates start at $119/night. 


Your first stop in the home of America’s favorite pastime has to be the National Baseball Hall of Fame ($28 for adults, $17 for kids), where you can learn about some of baseball's greatest. The Fenimore Art Museum ($15 for adults, 19 and under are free) houses one of the country's most comprehensive and exceptional collections of American folk and fine art as well as the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. At Glimmerglass State Park, participate in winter activities including ice skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snow tubing (January-February, $5/person). Refuel at the Doubleday Cafe with something for the whole family or Brewery Ommegang with bar bites and Belgian-style ales. 


While the Farmers’ Museum is closed for the season, you can stop by for their Glimmer Lights event through December 30, where the living history museum is decked out in dazzling light displays ($15 for adults, $10 for kids 3-17). In the new year, the Cooperstown Winter Carnival celebrates the winter season with four days filled with hot chocolate, fireworks, a craft bazaar, sledding and skate parties, and more (February 1-4, 2024).  

Niagara Falls (Greater Niagara)

Frosted trees surrounded Niagara Falls with a pink and orange sky in the background during winterCredit: @julitmart on Instagram


There’s nothing quite like the roar of Niagara Falls surrounded by winter bliss. Settle into the centrally-located Wyndham Garden at Niagara Falls where rates start at $75/night. 


Start your trip off right at Niagara Falls State Park, entry to explore the park is free and there’s free firework shows every weekend through December 16 and every night from December 22, 2023 until January 7, 2024. For $10-$14/person, you can traverse the Cave of Winds. Journey under the sea at the Aquarium of Niagara, where admission is $14.95-$19.95. Travel back in time at Old Fort Niagara ($20 for adults, $12 for kids) and witness live reenactments throughout the winter as well as festive events like Castle by Candlelight ($25-$30/person) where you can tour the Great Lakes’ oldest building illuminated entirely by candles (December 9 and 16). 


Defrost at Platter’s Chocolate Factory with a warm cup of hot chocolate or grab a local brew at Prosper Brewing. Sit down for a meal at the Niagara Culinary Institute’s student-led restaurant, Savor. On weekends through December 17, the institute holds Gingerbread Wonderland with life-sized gingerbread houses, crafts, and chances to meet Santa Claus.  

Saratoga Springs (Capital-Saratoga)

A bench looking out at a building covered in snowCredit: @wadamczackphoto on Instagram


Home to world-class dining, superb snowy scenery, and one of the top rated main streets in the country, Saratoga proves to be a wonderful winter getaway. Get comfortable at the Saratoga Hilton, where rates start around $114/night and you can take a dip in the indoor pool. 


Take a stroll through Congress Park covered in a blanket of dreamy white snow or go snowshoeing on one of the trails at Saratoga Spa State Park ($10/day for rental). For $30, you can go snow tubing down Willard Mountain as many times as your heart desires for two hours. Lace up those skates and head to the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink for public ice skating offered various dates throughout the season (admission is $5, $5 for rentals). 


Just steps from your hotel is Saratoga’s famous main street, Broadway, lined with award-winning shops and restaurants like Country Corner Cafe and Druthers Brewing. Grab a homemade snack and peruse local crafts, plants, produce, and more at the Saratoga Winter Farmers Market. Unwine-d and dine after a long day of fun with a glass and a warm meal at Saratoga Winery


Ring in the New Year at Saratoga’s annual weekend-long New Year’s Fest (December 29 - January 1, 2024). If you’re visiting in February, check out the Saratoga Chowder Fest (February 10) with over 80 of Saratoga County's top restaurants and finest chowders ($2/sample).

New York City (NYC)

Rockefeller Center


There’s snow place like New York City in the winter time. Make your way over to the Radio Hotel Washington Heights where cozy standard rooms start just under $200/night. 


It’s no secret that New York City turns into a festive wonderland for the holidays. Head over to Rockefeller Center and gaze up at the illuminated 80-foot Christmas tree! Admiring the Saks 5th Avenue window displays dazzlingly decorated for the holidays is also a must-do activity. Live out your rom-com dreams and stroll through a snowy Central Park. The park’s Grand Army Plaza is also home to the world’s largest Menorah. Explore winter markets selling handmade crafts like the Union Square Holiday Market or the Bryant Park Winter Village where you can go ice skating for free (skate rentals start at $18) or drive ice bumper cars ($20-$25). 


There’s no shortage of exciting events in the Big Apple, but be sure to check out Lightscape at Brooklyn Botanic Garden ($17-$34/person, off-peak days, until January 1), Winter Lantern Festival ($17.99-$25.99/person, until January 7), and NYC Broadway Week (January 16-February 4) where you can get some serious deals on tickets. 

Garden City (Long Island)

Blue airplane with U.S. Navy yellow lettering suspended inside the Cradle of Aviation MuseumCredit: @vtom61 on Instagram


All kinds of winter fun await in Garden City. Check in at the Hampton Inn Garden City where rates start around $132-$140/night and it’s within walking distance from the LIRR. 


Have some classic winter fun at Iceland Long Island which holds public skates throughout the season ($10/kids under 10, $12/over 11, $6/skate rental). Garden City is also home to Long Island’s largest shopping mall, Roosevelt Field, the perfect place to do any holiday shopping. Warm up with a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s Garden City or dig into a delicious burger at The Burger Spot.


Garden City is well-known for its museums so be sure to make stops at the high-flying Cradle of Aviation ($16/child, $18/adult) and Nassau County Firefighters Museum ($7/person). If you’ve got little ones in tow, the Long Island Children’s Museum ($17/person) has interactive exhibits and art spaces to let young minds run wild. 


If you’re up for the 30-minute drive, Huntington puts on a Holiday Spectacular, where the town transforms into a page out of a storybook with a holiday market, visits from Santa, and Long Island’s largest Christmas tree.

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