8 NYC Winter Carnivals and Festivals That Definitely Don't Suck

Whoever said you can't have fun in winter was grievously wrong. Whoever said that probably didn't live in New York City. 

Or if they did live in NYC, they definitely didn't get out to all the festivals and carnivals NYC has to offer in the winter.

Don't be that person. Instead, be the person who says, wow, NYC is fun! Even in the winter. 

Stick with us, and you'll be the most optimistic person in your group of friends.

Let us put it this way. You can beat the winter blues and thrive in style this winter if you attend even one of the festivals and carnivals we've listed below.

There are food festivals, boozy festivals, and plenty of winter-themed carnivals. Everyone is getting wild in January and February, and you should to be getting crazy with them, right? 

Now read on to find out where these ah-maz-ing celebrations are happening this winter in NYC.

1. Irondale Flicfest (85 South Oxford Street - Brooklyn)

flicfest Movement of the People Dance Company, 1 of 6 FLICfest 2016 artists. In rehearsal for our new piece Song and Dance You. For more info: www.movementofthepeopledance.com 3 more days to support the FLICfest 2016 kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/catscratchtheatre/flicfest-2016-a-festival-of-independent-dance-in-b/description

The Irondale Ensemble are composed of 12 members of actors, directors, designers, and choreographers. Every year they put on the Irondale Flicfest, which includes six evenings of feature-length dance theater works.

This year's Flicfest will be from January 21st through January 30th.


After each showing will be a performance cabaret in the balcony lounge. FLIC's goal is to bring amazing dance performances to audiences, and to create a space for the exchange of ideas among independent choreographers.

If you get all jazzed up about dance performances, you should definitely check Ficfest out. You can get tickets here.

2. Winter Jam (Central Park Bandshell at 72nd Street)

patmilbery Last year at this time I wondered into Central Park and poached this Rock gap with NO permission. Crazy to think Only 1 year later, our whole @sognarofficial crew will be LEGALLY shredding New York City in Central Park for a FREE snowboard camp on Sat, Jan 25 for us to shred with the residents of the city.Can't wait to be back in #nyc, photo by @flashgarrison *_* #sognar #sognarworldtour #newyorkcity #winterjamnyc #snowboardcamptour #snowboarding #newyork #createordie #centralpark #exploremore

Winter Jam is NYC's ultimate snow day. It's taking place this year on Saturday, January 23rd from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's a public, revelatory event that reminds us why it's great to live in this city.

NYC Parks is going to blow lots of fresh snow onto the Central Park Bandshell at 72nd Street, so this blast of a day is not weather dependent. 

There will be snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding lessons as well as free rein to slopes, sledding, kicksledding (we're not sure what that is, but it sounds fun) and a Taste NY Winter Market, so you can eat to your fill.

There will be free equipment available on a first come, first served basis. It's going to be a really great time, and you should make sure you're there. Oh, also, we forgot to mention it's totally free.

3. Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival (608 West 28th Street)

livingstilllife Tasting dat bourbon #bourbon #makersmark #knobcreek #bookers #basilhaydens #beerbourbonandbbq

We mean, come on. We don't really need to tell you anything more about the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival than its title: it tells you everything you need to know.

If you must know specifics, here you go. This insanely decadent festival will get crazy on January 30th at The Tunnel, and if you think you even might want to go, you should buy your tickets right now. These tickets go faster than free pancakes, or like, free donuts. You know what we mean.

There are three sessions: one with bacon, one with hogs, and one with all the meat. You'll have free rein to drink samples of 60 beers, 40 bourbon, and lots of barbecued meat. It's a boozy blast, and you'll leave really drunk and really full. Get tickets here.

4. Carnival of Venice Masquerade  (60 Pine Street)

dstrktlondon On #Saturday we have prepared for all of you #Venice #Carnival #SpecialEdition. #VenetianCarnival dress code is recommended. RSVP +44 (0) 207 317 9120 #dstrkt #weekend #saturday #masks #london

Sure, yeah, Valentine's Day is the absolute worst, but there are certain cool events that can make it more bearable. Also, if you let Halmark ruin your February 14th, they've won, haven't they?

Okay, well the Carnival of Venice Masquerade is actually happening on February 13th, but it's the same weekend, so it's the same thing.


If you come to this carnival, get ready to get a little wild. It's going down in the four-story Victorian DTA, with ballerinas, acrobats, jugglers, court dancers, and live musicians. 

There will be secret rooms, lots of dessert, and a strict dress code. Really, you have to dress like it's the Victorian era, or you'll be turned away at the door. 

Intrigued? We are too. You can buy tickets here.


5. Winter Carnival at Bryant Park (41 West 40th Street)

ella_74 Another beautiful #nyc Christmas spot, the Bryant Park Winter Village. #bryantparkwintervillage #latergram

Yup, that's right. The Bank of America Winter Village is throwing down. This carnival is on the weekend of February 5th and 6th, and it's going to be sort of crazy.

The Winter Carnival at Bryant Park will have a lot going on. We guess that's what makes it a carnival. There will be dancing. There will be curling lessons and ping pong. There will be ice skating, musical performances, and an outdoor winter brew house.


Have you ever wanted to learn how to curl? That's great because the Winter Carnival will have curling lessons, and ice golf too. 

There's going to be a silent disco, lots of delicious food and hot drinks for sale, and the chance to have a really great time with your friends. Our take on the situation? You should check it out. 

6. Dance on Camera (various locations)

robinbisiofilms @bonzsi #danceoncamera #danceforcamera #nothingisordinary #dancersofinstagram with @3thanturpin

Dance on Camera will feature documentaries, features, shorts, experimental works, and music videos that combine dance with cinematography.

It's the immediacy of dance and combines it with the intimacy of film. Dance on Camera is a pretty transformative experience, and it's one of the coolest festivals happening in NYC this winter.

If you've got two passions and those two passions are dance and movies, you have to check this out. It's taking place this winter in NYC from February 12th to February 16th and plenty of different venues.

Check out the schedule here, and see which one looks the most fascinating to you.

7. New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival (Chrystie Street and East Houston)

abrandt88 Confetti, dragons, and flags oh my! #chinesenewyearNYC

It's the Chinese New Year, y'all. That means 600,000 firecrackers to scare away evil spirits, dancers, singers, and lots and lots of food vendors at Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Yeah, it's exactly as much fun as it sounds. It's happening on February 14th at 1 p.m. Yeah, it's a really good way to pretend Valentine's Day isn't happening. It starts with a Chinatown parade, which will march from Mott and Canal Streets to Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Come out and get wild for the Chinese New Year. We mean really, what do you have to lose? Answer that question, then remember what you have to gain: a really effing good time.

8. Long Island Winterfest (various locations)

toppingrosehousehotel We're thrilled to be a participating hotel for this year's Long Island Winterfest, a six week music festival on the East End. Beautiful venues include #Bedell. #regram from @bedellcellars #longislandwinterfest #eastend #liveonthevine #longisland #hamptons #northfork #venues #beautifulsky #toppingrose #musicfestival

Okay, no, it isn't strictly within the five boroughs. Still, Long Island deserves some love and still, we could all use a lungful of air that wasn't breathed in the city, right?

Long Island's Winterfest is strategically timed. It's from February 19th through March 20th, so you can enjoy its delights while winter slowly but surely thaws into spring.


What's at the Long Island Winterfest, you're wondering? Great question! This five-week festival includes music, wine, and art, and it takes place in Long Island's stunning north and south forks.

If you're wondering what goes down at the Winterfest, it's essentially incredible musical performances in genres from jazz to country and soul, plus of course wine and food events, and the chance to have a really great time. 

Check out the schedule of events here, and get ready to purchase your LIRR ticket.

Check out 7 Fantastic Indoor Things to Check Out This Winter in NYC

[Feature Image Courtesy Winter Village] 

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