I’ve already been to Winter Village Bryant Park three times this season—it’s a magical escape located in midtown Manhattan full of holiday cheer. Even though the temperatures had dipped in NYC, it was warm in the shops and dining destinations—and even felt warmer in Winter Village than outside the park. What’s on the agenda? Iceless curling on a dedicated lane at the Curling Cafe, hanging out with friends and family in a heated dome, ice skating among the city lights and skyscrapers, and checking items off your Christmas shopping list. Ice skating on the 17,000-square-foot rink is a blast, and should be on your NYC bucket list. Admission is free, and skate rental is available. Just make sure to reserve your time slot and skates ahead of time.

Get a group together and get cozy in the heated igloos, where you can wine and dine and gaze out at the skaters doing tricks on the ice. They offer kid-friendly menus, and some geared more for adult indulgences. The domes and igloos are clear and are sanitized between groups. Food and drink packages start at $250. The domes are located inside the Curling Cafe and the igloos are next to the skating rink. 

The open-air holiday market makes shopping fun. There are more than 170 vendors in covered kiosks, including Spice Professors teas and spices; Max Brenner chocolate: Christina’s World ornaments; Brooklyn Woke Vintage; Himalayan Artwear; and Squishable toys. The shops are open daily through January 2. The rest of Winter Village is open through March 2.

Don’t miss the annual tree lighting December 6. The Classical Theatre of Harlem choir will perform, along with Olympic and world-champion skaters Mirai Nagasu, Shawn Sawyer, Meagan Duhamel and Dylan Moscovitch. Ty Jones, producing artistic director of The Classical Theatre of Harlem, will host. Fireworks and an appearance from Santa are also on the agenda. Tickets, which are free, are available by reservation only at the Bryant Park website. The event, which begins at 6pm, can also be viewed via live stream.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, West 40th St to West 42nd Street (betw Fifth/Sixth Avenue). Cozy Igloos: open Monday through Friday from noon to 9:30pm and from 11:30am to 11pm on weekends. The Curling Cafe: open from 3:30pm – 9pm Wednesday through Friday, 11:30am – 9pm on Saturday, and 11:30am – 7pm on Sunday.

Photos by Laurie Heifetz