February is my favorite time of year said no one ever. OK, it's got Valentine's Day, but it can be a long, grey slog until spring. We can help you get through the month with panache. Check out our list for events that will warm your spirits (if not your feet). Here's what to do in New York in February.
Lunar New Year Festival—Metropolitan Museum of Art
First off, celebrate the Year of the Rat with a day of events at the Met on February 1, from 11 AM-5 PM. Start the celebration off with a parade by the Chinese Center in Long Island Lion Troupe in the Museum’s Great Hall. Throughout the day, visitors can choose from such performances as the Sesame Street Puppeteers taking on Lunar New Year; it’s followed by a photo op with them. Participants will also find a calligraphy workshop on zodiac signs, as well as a workshop on making moveable dragon toys. Demonstrations by a tea master, complete with bubble tea tasting, as well as a hand-pulled noodle demonstration, will make sure visitors’ hunger is sated.
Next, the month of February offers numerous ways to celebrate Black History Month. Check out the Harlem Fine Arts Show at the Riverside Church. Inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, it brings together artists and collectors to celebrate the African diaspora. Or try out a Harlem walking tour—Taste Harlem’s Historical Food Tour offers plenty of soul food as well as Caribbean and African cuisines, plus stories about Harlem’s architecture and rich history. These are great options for what to do in New York in February.
Snow Day! This free (yes, free!) winter festival in Central Park on includes a mountain of homemade snow, and it’s worth it just to see it. Plus, of course, there's plenty you can do on and in that snow. Presented by NYC Parks, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, I Love NY, and I Ski NY, the festival offers snowshoeing and sledding, dodgeball and flag football (?!), curling and ice bowling. Someone please try ice bowling. Plus, visitors will find photo ops with bobsleds and snowcats (large enclosed vehicles deigned to move on snow). There’s also puppet making (not sure where the snow fits in) as well as a heated New York Public Library Room, for those who like to observe their snow from a distance, from somewhere it’s warm and cozy.
This year, the Chinese New Year Parade and Festival will be heading down Mott and Canal Streets at 1 PM, and lasting until 4 PM. It culminates on Grand Street near Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Dragon dancing, martial art performers and of course, gorgeous costumes, are the draw here, along with a festive atmosphere and chance to ring in the Year of the Rat.
Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like naming a roach for your beloved. This year, the Bronx Zoo gives you the option of attending “Roach Romance,” an after-hours program for adults on Valentine’s Day that includes wine, chocolate, and the chance to meet some of the animals up close. Bear in mind, part of the program takes place outside, but all paths are wheelchair accessible. If you decide just to go for the name-a-roach-option, you can certainly do that as well, along with purchasing roach-themed goodies like candles and socks. Do think carefully, however, about what this will say about your relationship...
Who says visiting the Empire State Building is just for the warmer months? The weather may be slightly nippier during the winter, but you’ll have the same great views, and generally fewer crowds to contend with. Make sure to visit one of the observation decks to get the famed 360 views—you’ll be able to see Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, and more. While you’re there, don’t forget the second-floor exhibits that guide visitors through the building’s construction and its more recent role in pop-culture history. Check out how you can use your New York Pass here.
After Dry January, it's no wonder that Wine-Fest February is close behind. Brooklyn Wine Fest offers the chance to explore wine samples of hundreds of new wines from around the world, along with food, live music, and interactive games. (Better go easy on the wine, then.) Participants receive a souvenir five-ounce tasting glass, and can sample any wine on offer. You'll need a nibble or two with those drinks. Food offerings from vendors including Chavas Empanadas, Taste of Poland, Bang Cookies, and many more will also be available.
Looking for more ways to celebrate February in New York? Why not discover The New York Pass?