Complete Guide to What To Do, Buy and Eat at Bryant Park Winter Village in NYC
Wondering what to do, shop or eat at the Winter Village at Bryant Park? This Winter Village guide will show you the best activities, food vendors, and shops at Bryant Park this winter.
New York City is known for its festive winter holiday season with all sorts of holiday decorations, Christmas trees and lights as well as holiday markets. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is perhaps the best holiday market in NYC that you simply cannot miss.
Starting at the end of October, the Winter Village comes to live with ice skating rink, shops, food stalls, and many more activities and things to do for both adults and kids. I visit Bryant Park’s Winter Village multiple times every winter since well, I used to work at Times Square so it’s an easy visit after work.
Whether you are a local or someone visiting New York City in the winter, you would love all that Winter Village at Bryant Park has to offer.
Check out all my other articles on winter activities!
These articles include the best photo spots in NYC during Christmas, best holiday markets, most festive pop up Christmas bars and restaurants and many many more!
What is the Winter Village at Bryant Park?
The Bryant Park Winter Village is an European style open-air holiday market sponsored by Bank of America. The village takes over most of Bryant Park, which is located on 42nd Street and between 5th and 6th Avenue in the middle of Manhattan.
Starting in 2001, Bank of America has been transforming Bryant Park into a fun filled winter village and providing extra holiday cheers to New York City.
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park features a 17,000 square foot ice skating rink, bumper cars on ice (starting in January), over 120 shops by Urbanspace Markets, 30 food and drink stalls and a bar and food hall.
In addition you can find cozy igloos (reservation needed) to enjoy your food and drink in private and a large Christmas tree full of lights and ornaments.
When does the Bryant Park Winter Village open?
Bryant Park Winter Village will be open on October 27, 2023.
Every October Bryant Park will start working on setting up the Winter Village starting October. They have to transform the large center lawn at the park into an ice skating rink and set up all the wooden shops!
Winter Village is one of the earliest holiday pop-up events to open in New York City (although the rink at Rockefeller Center opens the third week of October!).
So if you are trying to do some early Christmas holiday shopping and want to find some unique gifts or trinkets then Bryant Park Winter Village is the absolute best option for you since it opens before all the other holiday markets in the city.
The Bryant Park Christmas Tree will be lit on Tuesday, November 29, 2023 at 6pm.
There will be performances by world class skaters, singing, dancing and even fireworks! To prepare for the lighting ceremony, the rink at winter village will be closed at 2pm that day and resume after the show, around 6:45pm.
If you want to see the Bryant Park Christmas Tree lighting, you will need to go before 4pm to wait, first come first serve.
When does the Winter Village at Bryant Park close?
Bank of America Winter Village will run from October 27, 2023 to January 2, 2024.
The rink will remain open until March 3rd and after early January they will add Bumper Cars on Ice activity as well.
In addition the Lodge will remain open until March 3, 2024.
So even after the shops close out, you can still enjoy the rink and the Lodge as a fun winter activity in New York City even after the holiday season.
What are the hours of operations at Bryant Park Winter Village
Winter Village at Bryant Park is open all day everyday regardless of weather, so you can visit pretty much anytime you want. Ice skating rink hours and the shop hours at Winter Village are a little bit different so you can see the actual hours below.
Ice skating Rink Hours
- 8am to 10pm daily
- 8am to midnight during November & December weekends and holidays
Winter Village Shop hours
- 11am – 8pm Monday – Friday
- 10am – 8pm Saturday & Sunday
The Lodge Bar + Food Hall Hours
- 10am – 10pm daily
Longer hours mean more fun! You can literally go there after a whole day of sightseeing in NYC to enjoy the rink.
So the best way to spend your day at Bryant Park this winter is to go ice skating in the morning before the shops open, then shop and eat, do some other sightseeing in NYC and come back late night for the bar and snacks!
Map of Winter Village at Bryant Park
As you can see in the Bryant Park Winter Village map above, the large Christmas tree at Bryant Park is on the eastern end of the park, opposite of the famous New York Public Library. As you walk around the park to explore all the holiday shops, you will inevitably come across this large beautiful tree.
Near the Christmas tree you will find the cozy igloos, as well as the Lodge on the other side. To be honest, the park is not that big so you will be able to find everything just by walking around.
Cost of Bryant Park Winter Village
Great news! It is absolutely free to visit Bryant Park Winter Village, even the ice skating rink is free (rental costs money though).
Since it is a public park, you can walk through the village, admire the Christmas tree and ornaments, check out all the pop up shops and watch people ice skate.
In fact one of my favorite things to do during Christmas time in NYC is to just walk through Bryant Park on a weekday to check out different stores. I always purchase one new Christmas tree ornament every year from Winter Village.
Of course you will need to pay extra if you want to purchase food or drinks, rent the igloo, ride on the carousel, or purchase any souvenirs from the shops.
Things to do at Bryant Park Winter Village
Ok now you kinda know what’s happening at Winter Village, let’s talk more detail about what you can do there.
Ice Skating at Winter Village in Bryant Park
The free rink at Bryant Park is one of the biggest draws every winter. It is the only free rink in New York City so you can imagine how popular it gets.
There are other things you can pay to rent, such as socks and skate sharpening.
Keep in mind that every hour of half there is an “ice cut” that takes 20 minutes. Everyone needs to be off the rink during that time.
Bumper Cars on Ice
Not a fan of ice skating? No problem! You can do Bumper Cars on Ice at Winter Village starting in January in the rink, they will block out part of the rink on the west side to do bumper cars on ice.
Unfortunately if you have kids you will not be able to take them on the bumper cars on ice, as only one person is allowed per car, and they have to be 7+ years old, at least 42 inches tall and under 300 pounds.
Tickets go on sale at the end of 2023.
Igloos became so trendy in NYC after the pandemic so you bet you can find igloos at Winter Village as well.
These igloos are heated and transparent, located on the western end of the ice skating rink near the Christmas Tree.
Each igloo can fit up to 8 people and by reserving (and paying), and you have 90 minutes to enjoy the igloo during your stay.
The food serviced at the igloo includes:
- Carafe of Hot Chocolate or Hot Apple Cider
- Chicken Fingers or Lil Hot Dogs or Bavarian Pretzel or Charcuterie or Hummus Dip Plate or Sweet Plate
- Crispy French Fries
For a party of 1-4 guests, the igloos are either $215 or $265 depending on the day; for a party of 5 to 8 guests, the igloos are either $430 or $530.
Curling Cafe and Bar (with the Igloos)
Right next to the igloos are curling lanes, which you can reserve with friends. With the curling cafe reservation you also get access to the igloo with food for 90 minutes for up to 8 people.
Curling costs $300 and more during the popular holiday weekends. It’s a good idea since you get entertainment and the igloos with drinks and food.
Bryant Park Carousel
The famous carousel at Bryant Park is not specific to Winter Village but it is a beautiful addition to the holiday cheers in the winter.
The carousel is not big but it is cute, with the classic French carousel design and music. It is open daily even on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.
It costs $4 per ride and you can get a 10 ride discount card for $30. If your kids are under 42 inches they will need to be accompanied by an account but the adult does not need a ticket.
Be aware that during the holiday season especially on the weekend the line is very long! I’m not sure how little kids wait in such a long line in the cold, so if you are taking kids to Winter Village, avoid the weekends.
Shop at Bryant Park Winter Village
The holiday shops at Bryant Park are a great place to shop for holiday decorations, trinkets and holiday gifts. You will also find a lot of home decor, art work, clothing and other types of shops.
In particular Bryant Park Winter Village have store under these categories:
- Apparel and accessories
- Health & Beauty
- Holiday decoration
- Kids & Games
As you can expect, there are no chain shops or large brands at Bryant Park Urbanspace market. The shops are generally owned by local creative individuals or entrepreneurs who are trying to build a brand for their products. So it is very important to them that visitors support their shops.
A lot of the jewelry shops you find at Winter Village feature handmade designs that make a thoughtful gift. There are other lifestyle brands that sell bath and home products like candles and soaps, etc.
Some of my personal favorite stores at Bryant Park include:
- Stone Flower: selling jewelry and kids’ gloves (SO cute)
- Santa’s Workshop: TONS of Christmas/ holiday ornaments
- St. Petersburg Collections: Holiday decorations and Russian style decorations
- The Truffleist: the best place to buy truffle oil and anything truffle related
- United Chocolate Works: Tool shaped chocolate gifts
There are so many cute stores it’s hard to name them all (or even remember all the names). I saw stores selling hand-made leather goods, alpacas, toys, art work and a lot more, so you will definitely find something you like.
Other Things to Do at Bryant Park
- Juggling Class: Bryant Park offers free juggling classes in the park a few times a week! These one hour classes are open to drop ins and you can learn or simply watch.
- Le Carrousel Extravaganza: a series of kids-friendly events such as magic shows, story telling, singing, science experiments and others
- Morning Boot Camp: if you can get up early then join this boot camp in front of the NYPL at 5th avenue terrace and do some crunches and planks
What to eat and drink at Winter Village in Bryant Park
When it comes to food options at Bryant Park Winter Village, you will find a diversity of different food stalls and restaurants at Bryant Park. From the pop up food vendors to the Lodge bar and food hall to the permanent restaurants and stands at Bryant Park, you can find pretty much any cuisines and desserts you want.
If you want to have a warm place to eat and sit, then head right over to the Lodge, where you will find 3 different bars for some beer and cocktails, mulled wine, a couple of different dessert places like S’mores N’More and Sweet Tooth as well as other food while watching the skaters in the rink.
One note worthy dessert at the Lodge is the chimney cake, it’s not only delicious but also instagram worthy. Another drink that’s worth trying is the Frangelico hot chocolate.
As you walk around Bryant Park, on both sides of the rink you will find a variety of different food stands, including burgers, Indian food, Mexican food, Greek food, hot dogs, dumplings and baos, empanadas, German sausages, cheesesteaks, crepes, hot chocolate and many more.
The Food I would Recommend Trying at Bryant Park Winter Village:
- Pork bun and dumplings from Destination Dumplings
- Hot Coca Boba Fusion from Tada Noodles
- Hot Chocolate from United Chocolate Works
- Rainbow Toastie from Toastieland
- Cheese Curds from Curds the Word
- Portuguese egg tarts from Joey Bats Cafe
- The fries with queso and bacon from Bel Fries
- Crepes from Crepe Cafe
- Hot chocolate or Smores from S’more N More (longggg line because only one person toasts the marsh mellows in front of you)
A few things I would like to try next time:
- Pasta Cheese Wheel
- Lobster Roll from Seapak
- The Laksa Shop
- Lemak Malaysian Kitchen
Lastly, there are permanent food stalls such as Wafels & Dinges, Breads Bakery (don’t miss the chocolate babkas), Le Pain Quotidien, The Porch, and Bryant Park Grill. These are at Bryant Park all year round!
Tips to Visiting the Bryant Park Winter Village
- Winter Village is super crowded on the weekends, especially in December. It’s so crowded that you can’t even push a stroller through! If you don’t want to wait in line for over 30 minutes for food, it’s better to visit on a weekday
- Early in the morning or later at night are also good times to visit to avoid the crowd
- Bryant Park is much prettier at night with all the lights
- Book your ice skating sessions early and bring your own skates
- Book the igloos NOW. Those get booked up super fast especially in December
- Check out the bathrooms at Bryant Park. There is usually a long line but it’s supposed to be very nice
Things to do Near Bryant Park Winter Village
If you are wondering what else there is to do near Bryant Park besides Winter Village, here is a list for you!
- New York Public Library: the famous library featured in the film The Day After Tomorrow. Take a free tour to check out the beautiful Rose Reading Room as well as the real Winnie-the-Pooh collection.
- Hop one block over to Times Square, the most dazzling place in New York City. Tourists love it, locals avoid it. Times Square is good to see once and that’s it!
- Do Rise NY or THE RIDE, both are tourists’ favorites at Times Square. Or check out Madame Tussauds or Dave & Buster’s.
- Walk a couple of blocks east to see the beautiful Grand Central Terminal as well as SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, the newest observation deck in New York City.
- Grab a drink at one of the many rooftop bars nearby, such as The Skylark, Elsie Rooftop, Refinery Rooftop, St. Cloud Rooftop, Top of the Strand, Bar 54, etc.
- Walk up Fifth Avenue and see all the Christmas decorations (or just do some window shopping).
- See the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and Radio City, only 1 subway station away on the F train (or you can walk 7 blocks up Fifth Avenue).
- Check out the famous Macy’s at Herald Square, one train stop south from Bryant Park on the F or M train (or you can walk down 8 blocks).
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