1. Wollman Ice Rink
830 5th Avenue, , 10065
The iconic ice skating rink in Central Park opened in NYC back in 1949. To this day, it is still one of the most popular places in the city to enjoy winter recreation. Just because it is cold outside doesn't mean you can't get in a heart pumping workout! (fyi - skating is one of the best cardio activities!). The beautiful setting with the cityscape and peaceful park scenery in the background creates a picture-perfect setting.
Movie buffs will also recognize this rink's appearance in several movies, most notably Home Alone 2 and Serendipity. Add in festive holiday music, occasional snowy scenes of Central Park, and the consistent chance of snow, and you have one of the county's premier holiday destinations. Located right in the heart of the city at 59th Street and 6th Avenue in Central Park, you are just steps away from world-class museums, historical landmarks, and the top entertainment venues in the country.
Note - it's cash only.
2. Nestlenook Farms
66 Dinsmore Avenue, , 03846
A hidden gem in the quaint White Mountains of Jackson NH, Nestlenook Farms is one of New England's most enjoyable winter attractions. Nestlenook Farms is an amazing place to enjoy a little recreation in the most enchanting winter wonderland setting, even on the coldest of days.
With horse-drawn carriage rides, an old-fashioned 3 acre Victorian ice rink, a warming center with hot cocoa, and miles of trails for snowshoeing, there really is no better place to work up a sweat on a cold New England day. Jackson is home to a number of charming historic inns. Or opt to stay at Grand Victorian Manor or Victorian Village Townhomes (both offer great views of the mountains) and step right outside to enjoy all the amenities of Nestlenook.
3. The Rink at Rockfeller Center
600 5th Avenue, , 10020
Skating at Rockefeller Center is amongst the pricier winter activities, but also one of the most memorable. Located in beautiful Rockefeller Center with a prime view of the country's grandest Christmas tree, it's no wonder that so many locals and visitors flock to this rink. So many tourists flock to NYC each Christmas season that it is nearly impossible to get on the rink without a reservation. Skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center (originally called the "skating pond") has been a tourist and local favorite since opening day back in 1936.
While gorgeous both day and night, you really cannot beat skating in the evening with the festive tree all lit up in the background. It's an experience like no other. If you are short on funds, consider simply viewing the magnificent tree which is free to everyone. Although insanely crowded basically every day throughout the winter months, it's worth the hassle to see the prettiest and most famous tree. Bundle up, grab a hot cocoa, and enjoy a tradition that dates back to 1933.
4. National Elk Refuge
675 E. Broadway Avenue, , 83001
While Jackson Hole is most famously associated with being home to one of the country's top ski resorts, there are also plenty of activities for anyone with a fear of toppling headfirst down a hill. A safe bet for anyone scared of heights, a sleigh ride at The National Elk Refuge is a wonderful choice for just about anyone.
The refuge was established in 1912 to provide a safe habitat for thousands of elk who migrate to the area each winter in search of food. In 1965, the refuge began offering sleigh rides to the public. The Grand Tetons are home to one of the largest elk herds in the country. Along with seeing hundreds during your visit, you will enjoy snow covered vistas of the mesmerizing Grand Tetons.
This is a wonderful winter experience for everyone, especially non skiers seeking a fun & scenic alternative. After your ride, check out downtown Jackson Hole, home to the famous antler arches (as the elks naturally shed their antlers, they are collected and added to the arches.)
5. Bretton Woods Nordic Center
210 Mount Washington Hotel Rd., , 03575
Bretton Woods Nordic Center, in the beautiful White Mountains National Forest, is one of the largest cross country skiing centers in the East with 100km of groomed trails. The trails here are especially picturesque as you meander through a gorgeous spruce-fir forest.
Trails are diverse, with options for advanced and beginning skiers. The center hosts many events over the course of the winter season, including the famous Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon.
Perhaps best of all, the center is located on-site of the gorgeous Mount Washington resort. Although the Nordic enter is open to non resort guests, it's worth staying at the resort if you have the funds to splurge on a beautiful mountain property. In 2020, Ski Magazine ranked the Nordic Center #1 for grooming and the resort #1 scenery in the East.
6. Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
101 S Christopher Columbus Blvd., , 19106
Philadelphia's premier winter festival opens in late November each season in the beautiful Old City neighborhood. This festive seasonal event is located within walking distance of "America's most historic square mile." If you are visiting the city for the historical attractions, also be sure to enjoy the winter festivities. Note - the rink transforms into a roller skating rink during the spring/summer months. Either way, it's a great opportunity to get in a workout in a beautiful historic setting.
Featuring a world-class ice rink along the Delaware riverfront (the most scenic in the state), firepits, warming centers, hot cocoa and S'mores, festive lights, and a whole lineup of events including a wonderful NYE Skating under the fireworks celebration, this is definitely one for the winter buck list. Even if you are not a skater, there's lot to do here. Simply enjoy a wonderful coffee from local roaster La Colombe. Watch the skaters glide by and enjoy the twinkling lights as you relax on a rocking chair with a cozy blanket.
7. Arizona Snowbowl
9300 N. Snowbowl Rd., , 86001
Northern Arizona is one of the best winter destinations in the country. This may come as a shock to many who have only visited the Sonoran desert in the southern half of the state. Flagstaff, the hub of Northern Arizona, sees over 200 inches of snow per year.
Arizona Snowbowl (260+ inches of snow, 2300 ft vertical drop) is the top ski resort in the state, and one of the best in the Southwest. The resort features Arizona's only high speed, 6 person lift. Being home to the largest beginner terrain in the Southwest, Snowbowl is a perfect choice for newbies.
Other activities include snowshoeing the high altitude trails (Kachina Trail and Aspen Loop are perfect for solitary snow adventures), ski biking, and simply taking a winter walk on the wonderful trail system.
8. A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Road, , 19348
Longwood Gardens is one of the most stunning arboretums in the country. With over 1077 acres of gardens, an incredible 4 acre glass conservatory, special events throughout the year, fountain shows, and on-site hiking trails, this should be near the top of your botanical gardens/arboretums bucket list.
Located just an hour outside of Philly, it's the perfect daytrip when you tire of the hustle and bustle of city life. The premier time to plan your visit is during A Longwood Christmas. Featuring more than half a million lights in the outdoor gardens, festive fountain shows, caroling performances, thousands of poinsettias, and dozens of perfectly decorated Christmas trees, this is easily one of Pennsylvania's best holiday events.
9. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Constitution Ave NW &, 7th St NW, , 20408
Washington DC is a surprisingly wonderful place to be during the winter season. The temps are brisk enough to walk around comfortably without sweating your butt off, most of the tourist crowds have begun to die down, and there are plenty of indoor museums if you need a break from the frosty air.
Ice skating, a favorite winter pastime of locals and tourists in pretty much any city, is also popular in the nation's capital. DC is home to a number of beautiful rinks, the best being a seasonal outdoor rink at the Sculpture Gardens of the National Gallery of Art. The historic setting alone sets this one apart.
Skating surrounded by beautiful architecture and national landmarks is a pretty unique experience, and it will only set you back 9 bucks ($4 fee for skate rentals). Afterwards, do stroll around the magnificent Gallery of Art, featuring more than 150,000 works of art.
10. Arizona Nordic Village
16848 US-180, , 86001
Flagstaff is a winter wonderland like no other. Every weekend, hundreds of Southern Arizona locals flee 2 hours north to escape the harsh heat of the desert. In the winter, they come to hit the slopes, sled, build snowmen, and enjoy some traditional frosty air.
Featuring 40km of groomed trails in a picturesque setting, the Nordic Center is one of the best winter attractions in the Southwest. It's the perfect alternative for anyone who prefers cross country skiing to downhill (note - snowshoeing rentals also available). The gorgeous Coconino National Forest, home to the largest strand of ponderosa pine trees, creates the most magnificent setting. The mountain views are fantastic and on a clear day you can see all the way to the Grand Canyon.