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NYC in winter: the frost-bitten essentials

New York City welcomed a record-breaking 58 million travellers last year despite Hurricane Sandy. 2013 in the Big Apple won’t disappoint, so why not get a head start and visit in winter? We’ve got at least five good reasons why winter is the best time to visit this city.

Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is without a doubt one of the highlights of winter in New York. Chinatown gets decked out in red and gold and this year February 17th, 2013 will mark the lunar new year. Welcome, Year of the Snake! 200,000 flock Canal Street to watch the dragon parade, enjoy the street food and watch the fireworks display.

Restaurant Week

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Foodies, listen up! This is one festival you do not want to miss if you’re planning a holiday in NYC this year. From January 14th to February 8th, enjoy prix-fixe three-course meals at some of the city’s best restaurants. It costs $25 for the lunch menu and $38 for dinner and we promise you will not be disappointed. Tips are not included.

Brooklyn Winter Flea

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Who comes to New York and doesn’t go shopping? In winter the popular Brooklyn Flea is held inside the old Williamsburg Savings Bank. Think art-deco interior and old bank teller windows! The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-6pm and is hosted by over 100 vendors. Address: 1 Hanson Place at Ashland Place.

Outdoor ice rinks

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Ice skating is a huge part of enjoying New York in the winter. For the tourist experience, the rink outside the Rockefeller Center is always a good choice although it’s quite small and always packed. It’s also pricey at $25 to skate plus $10 for skate rentals. Instead, try the Wollman Rink in Central Park. It’s huge and has great views of the Midtown skyline. To save, go skating Monday to Thursday when it costs $11 to skate plus $11 to rent. Skating on Bryant Park’s Citi Pond is free (skate rentals are $14) and is quite the magical wintery setting.

Hot Chocolate Festival

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What’s better after an afternoon of ice skating than getting cosy in a cafe with a big mug of hot chocolate? Not much! Introducing the Hot Chocolate Festival held at Chelsea’s City Bakery. 21 years running, this little festival sees a new hot chocolate flavour served everyday in February. Other notable places to sip hot chocolate: Bryant Park Cafe, Max Brenner near Union Square and La Maison du Chocolat. Mmmm…

One last bit of advice, make sure you pack for the weather. It can get pretty chilly here so wool socks for walking outside and don’t hesitate over that extra sweater.

Have you ever visited New York in winter? What was your favourite part about it?

Imgs: global jet, tmcNYC, xbettyx, roboppy, smaku / Flickr cc.

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