What To See In The Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park is one of NYC’s most beloved landmarks — an oasis of lush grass and ample seating in a hectic, towering part of the city. In winter, the park becomes even more special, hosting the months-long Winter Village. The village is a great NYC tradition, filled with special holiday shops, an ice rink and countless events – just blocks from Hotel 48LEX. Here’s your guide to the best of the best at this year’s Winter Village.

(And if you want to scope out the scene at the Winter Village before heading over, check out the park’s webcam, showing a livestream of the skating rink here.)

The Skating Rink

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Image from @samnicoleco on Instagram

The centerpiece of the Winter Village is undoubtedly the ice skating rink, the only one in NYC with free entry (you have to pay for the skates though!). With skating from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. now thru March 5, there’s plenty of time to hit the ice. The rink makes for a great date night, but it was also designed with families in mind. There’s a reservable Polar Lounge for kids’ parties as well as ice skating coaches dressed as polar bears and penguins to skate with children under 10.

The Shops

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Image from @aidanomics on Instagram

Surrounding the rink on every side is a wide array of boutiques, each enclosed in heated, jewel box-style kiosks that look like mini greenhouses. The setup is inspired by European open-air markets and the wide selection will make you feel you’re at a buzzing international trading post. Some stalls not to miss:

-Silly Puppets: This New York-based company sells a jaw-dropping selection of puppets, from hand-held to life-size, high-quality enough for the pros and enticing enough for the kids.

-Goddess Godette: This boutique sells high-quality genuine Alpaca fur products, from capes to hats to children’s toys, and is also focused on environmental and social justice along every step of its supply chain.

-Gomez & Petrov: This stall, named for the New York artists who create each piece, sells quirky, one-of-a-kind artwork, often using irreverent, humorous original designs superimposed on recycled classical art pieces. They’re best known for their collage-paintings, but they work in a wide variety of other mediums as well.

The Food

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Image from @edog_eats on Instagram

Anchoring the village’s food selection is the brand new Public Fare, a ringside restaurant serving delicious food all day, with coffee during the day and alcohol at night. But for something out of the ordinary, check out some of these food vendors:

-Perros y Vainas: If you’ve never tried an over-the-top Venezuelan hotdog — which places few limits on the allowable toppings — this is your chance. From the people behind the sensation Wafels and Dinges, this stall will let you create a one-of-a-kind hot dog that could count as any meal of the day.

-Baked Cheese Haus: This Wisconsin-based artisanal cheese company has one simple mission: melt cheese on everything. Serving classic Alpine-style Raclette melted onto ciabatta, cured ham, or sausage, the Baked Cheese Haus might introduce you to the comfort food you never knew you needed.

-Coney Shack: Winner of the 2015 Vendy Award (it’s what it sounds like) for rookie of the year, this innovative shop out of Brooklyn specializes in unique mashups of Mexican-American and Southeast Asian classics, like the five-spice calamari taco and beer-battered crunchy fish taco.