Don’t shy away from winter’s chill: Embrace it with a fun outing in New York State! From a day dedicated solely to chowder to multiple ice castles – the events to look out for this month will keep you buzzing with excitement.

Empire State Winter Games

Empire State Winter Games

Getting excited for the Winter Olympics, kicking off in PyeongChang, South Korea on February 9? Get a sneak preview at the Empire State Winter Games in Lake Placid, which hosted the Games in 1932 and 1980. Athletes from New York State and beyond come to compete in more than 30 events, from bobsledding and broomball to ice hockey and winter biking. Bring the kids to Athlete’s Village for snow tubing, live performances and tons of yummy snacks.  Lake Placid; February 1 - 4; free

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival  - Photo by NYS ESD

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival has been an Adirondacks tradition since 1897. This ten-day extravaganza is the longest-running event of its kind in the eastern U.S., and it includes two parades, indoor and outdoor movies, and three fireworks displays. But the most popular and iconic (and Ista-worthy) attraction at the Festival is the Ice Palace. Made of ice harvested from nearby Lake Flower and decorated with twinkly lights, this huge ice sculpture is the centerpiece of bucket-list worthy celebration of the season. Saranac Lake; February 2 - 11; free


Lumagination at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Photograph: Joe Diebold 

You might think Buffalo is pretty far from the Atlantic, but visitors to the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens will find themselves in an oceanic wonderland at this month's Lumagination installation. Designers from the UB Theatre & Dance Department and Luminated Landscapes joined forces with the garden to transform its greenhouses using specially designed light and sound. Throughout the month, the garden will host special events for families, first responders and more. Check the website for details. Buffalo; various dates through February 24; $14, children and students $6 - $12

Saratoga Chowderfest

Saratoga Chowderfest
Photograph: imagst

Come celebrate 20 years of chowder -- all varieties! -- this year’s Chowderfest in Saratoga. With more than 80 vendors, this family-friendly event includes live musical performances, DJs, fun activities and of course– tons of delicious soup to sample for just a buck a cup. And be sure to pick up a ballot from participating local vendors to vote for your favorites! While you're tasting all that delicious chowder, stop by Sperry’s ice bar for a cocktail, Farmers Hardware for live music or the Yard Bar for a giant game of Jenga! Saratoga; February 3; free ($1 per chowder)

Cooperstown Winter Carnival

Ice Bar Otesaga - Cooperstown Winter Carnival

Be amazed with the diverse range of family friendly activities at this year’s Cooperstown Winter Carnival. Find fudge tasting, trivia, a candlelit ghost tour, bowling tournaments and bourbon tasting… and this isn’t even the half of it. Bring the kids and spend the weekend exploring the best of Cooperstown. Cooperstown; February 9-11; free

Albany Wine and Chocolate Festival

Albany Wine and Chocolate Festival

Wine and chocolate. Sounds like a perfect pairing! Sample some of the best of each during this year’s Albany Wine and Chocolate Festival. There will also be samples from New York State distilleries and cideries for all you non-wine lovers to enjoy throughout the event, as well as other tasty treats like cheese. Albany; February 10; tickets start at $30

Syracuse Winterfest

Syracuse Winterfest

Get ready for 12 days of pure fun during Syracuse Winter Fest! Over 100,000 people attend this famous Finger Lakes event that includes cook-offs, a cornhole tournament, ice carving, fireworks, a martini mix off, silent discos and more! Think of it as the ultimate ten day block party. Syracuse; February 15 - 25; prices vary by event

Lunar New Year events

Lunar Parade and Festival

Expect eye-popping visuals, exciting live performances, and delicious authentic food at the Lunar New Year Parade and Festival in Manhattan's Chinatown on February 25, when the neighborhood rings in the year of the dog with a parade and festival. But things kick off with a literal bang on February 16,  with a Firecracker Ceremony and Festival, followed by Flushing, Queens, which celebrates the New Year with its own parade and festival on February 17. New York City; free

Snowtown USA

Snowtown - february event

Celebrate the snow this winter at the Thousand Island’s Snowtown USA event. Beginning with the opening ceremony of fireworks, the celebration continues all week long with ice carving, free skating, skiing, bowling, crafts, dog sled rides and more. Watertown; February 16 - 25; free

Winter Ice Festival

Winter Ice Festival
Photograph: Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau

Experience the best of Chautauqua’s winter fun at the Winter Ice Festival. Get ready for snowball fights, a snowman building contest, snowmobile rides, and, if the weather permits, carriage rides. And an ice castle will be constructed -- which will be lit up all night long! Chautauqua; February 16-18; free

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