Winter Events and Festivals in NY

Fantastic winter events and festivals throughout New York in 2021 and 2022

new york winter events header

The most wonderful time of the year is approaching, meaning the time for holiday lights, snow days, cozy nights by the fire and family time are almost upon us! Although winter signals that colder days are in store, it’s still a beautiful season to get outside and admire people’s creativity.

Winter in New York is particularly special, considering the great surplus of iconic winter festivals and events. Take Amtrak this winter season and check out these wonderful upcoming winter events.

Lunar New Year Parade

Lunar New Year Parade and festival

It’s no secret that New York City took quite the hit in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Luckily, NYC is on the rise again with plenty of exciting events in store. One iconic winter parade and festival returning in 2022 is the Lunar New Year Parade and Festival. Being the year of the Tiger, there’s no better time than the present for New York to make its fierce return.

Beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, the Chinese New Year is an important holiday in Chinese culture. In celebration of the holiday, the parade will take place on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022 and will be open to the public.

The parade starts at 1 p.m and runs until 5 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to dress in bright colors to match the vibrant energy of the parade. Set in Chinatown, numerous vendors will line the streets alongside the parade’s famous trademark, the New Year Dragon. The parade is also free for all to attend, making it accessible and even more worth the trip.

Teatown Hudson River Eaglefest

Teatown hudson river eaglefest

Distance from Croton-Harmon Station (CRT): 4.4 miles

Aside from classic holiday festivals, the winter season also hosts plenty of fun, unique events for anyone to enjoy. One annual event that steals the show each winter is the Teatown Hudson River Eaglefest.
Representative of the freedom this country fought for, the bald eagle is both a national symbol and a majestic species.

Luckily for us New Yorkers, this gorgeous bird claims our state as one of its many habitats. Teatown Lake Reservation in Westchester County, NY is home to its own bald eagle population. Paying homage to this great species, the reservation hosts the Teatown Hudson River Eaglefest each year.

Going into its 18th year, the Teatown Hudson River Eaglefest will be a hybrid event, featuring both online and in-person events. This year, the festival will take place through Feb. 4 – 6 at the reservation in Ossining, NY. While attending the festival, you can look forward to food trucks, bird-of-prey shows and a multitude of environmental organizations. Concerned about the cold weather? The festival has your comfort covered with heated tents on site.

Visit Eaglefest and find out what makes our nation’s bird so special!

A Frosty Fest

A Frosty Fest

Distance from Poughkeepsie Station (POU): 13.6 miles

Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at POU and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Poughkeepsie office: +1 845-485-2222

Calling all Christmas lovers and enthusiasts! If you celebrate Christmas, this festival is the perfect event for you. Brought to you by the organizers of the Headless Horseman Hayrides, A Frosty Fest is an annual Christmas staple in Ulster Park. Though Ulster Park is one of the further destinations on this list in regard to Amtrak, you can rent a car through Enterprise directly from Poughkeepsie Station.

A Frosty Fest runs through Nov. 26th to Dec. 17th and recurs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in between. Due to its great popularity, attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets to the event in advance.

While attending the event, you can expect classic holiday photo opportunities with Santa Claus, snowmen and more! Additionally, the festival hosts incredible light shows that can be witnessed either on foot or from the comfort of your car. Alongside these fantastic attractions, there are plenty of immersive activities that’ll be sure to get you and your family in the Christmas spirit!

Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas

Distance from Rhinecliff-Kingston Station (RHI): 2.4 miles

Looking for a fun twist on the typical Christmas experience? Originating from the Netherlands, the Sinterklaas festival has been celebrated in the Hudson Valley for 300 years. Throughout the past three centuries, this Rhinebeck holiday festival has continuously developed into the immersive parade it is today.

Each year, the Sinterklaas parade takes place on the first Saturday of December. In 2021, the parade will occur on Dec. 4th. The parade is the perfect event for families, as children are crowned the Kings and Queens of the day-long festival. On Dec. 4th, the parade will begin at 11 a.m. with music and shows. The festival commences at twilight with a fabulous parade. Because of its close proximity to Rhinecliff-Kingston Station, Sinterklaas is an accessible way to engage in the Dutch history and culture of the Hudson Valley.

Saratoga Chowderfest

Saratoga Chowderfest

Distance from Saratoga Springs Station (SAR): Various

The cold weather of the winter season calls for warm soup and chowder. Returning in 2022, Saratoga Chowder Fest ‘n Tour is the perfect way to support local businesses and treat yourself to delicious meals this winter.

This Saratoga classic returns on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, and will run all day from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. Saratoga Chowderfest is a soup and chowder lover’s dream with plenty of hearty options to consume throughout the day. Unlike the other events on this list, this festival is held at various locations. You can participate in Chowderfest by visiting participating restaurants. Highly favored among Saratoga locals, Saratoga Chowderfest advertises 80 participating vendors.

Chowder Tour will take place from Jan. 29th to Feb. 5th, which will be separate from the afternoon of Chowderfest.

Chowder lovers, get your soup spoons, or small spoons if you’re like me, ready. It’s time to get your chowder on!

Ice Castles at Lake George

Ice Castles at lake george

Distance from Lake George Bus Stop (LGG): 1 mile

Lake George is, without a doubt, one of New York’s most popular getaway destinations. With its close proximity to water parks, Six Flags Great Escape and plenty of other exciting summer activities, it’s no surprise that so many of us venture here each summer. Even my family took trips every summer to enjoy the area. Though this is such a popular summer destination, Lake George does an amazing job setting itself up for an interactive winter.

New to Lake George and even New York, Ice Castles are popular attractions that have been featured in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin. The Ice Castles feature tunnels to explore, ice slides to enjoy and a maze to navigate through! This event is fun for all ages and is being held from Jan. 2022 until Feb. 2022! Keeping an eye on the weather when planning to attend is key. The Ice castles will only be open when the weather is nice. Visit Lake George this winter for a new, breathtaking experience! You won’t be disappointed!

Lake George Winter Carnival

Lake george winter carnival

Distance from Lake George Bus Stop (LGG): 0.1 miles

If you need more convincing to visit Lake George this winter, the Lake George Winter Carnival is back for its 60th year in 2022. The carnival runs every weekend in February and is a fan favorite with locals. 

Throughout the duration of the carnival, there are plenty of tournaments, cook-offs, games and activities for families to enjoy. Visitors can expect s’mores and hot chocolate on the beach every Saturday night of February. Be sure to stick around later for a wonderful fireworks display. I accidentally saw it in person while visiting the area and it was gorgeous! In addition to these great activities, you can attend a Make Your Own ice cream sundae each Sunday.

So, whether you decide to come one weekend in February and experience both the Ice Castles and the Winter Carnival, or just the Carnival, there are plenty of winter festivities to help enjoy the beauty of winter and the cold weather.

Holiday Stockade Stroll

Holiday Stockade Stroll

Distance from Schenectady Station (SDY): 0.2 miles

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Christmas is not too far behind. One of the best ways to get into the Holiday spirit is by checking out the Holiday Stroll in Schenectady.  

This is a night time event which will take place Dec. 14th from 6 – 9 p.m. The event entails a walking tour around the town in which you’ll be able to spend a magical night with Christmas lights in a historic area. The atmosphere is perfect for a date night or to get children excited for the upcoming holidays.  

On the walk itself you will learn about how people from previous generations celebrated the holidays. The event is only $11 for the three hours you will be there with light refreshments. Also, the beautiful scenery can not be missed. The event is definitely a great way to get into the holiday spirit. 

Syracuse Winter Fest

Syracuse winter fest

Distance from Syracuse Station (SYR): 2.8 miles

People are drawn from all over New York to come and see Syracuse Winter Fest. The festival averages about 100,000 people in attendance and is known for being a great time. In 2022, the festival will be taking place on Feb. 17th and will conclude on the 27th.   

The Syracuse Winter Fest has plenty of indoor and outdoor events to keep people of all ages engaged in activities. There is even a crowned “Miss Winterfest,” a cornhole tournament, plenty of cocktail mix-offs, ice carving and trivia with plenty more festivities which have been favored in its 30+ years of being held.  

During the festival, which runs for 10 days, there are two nights of wonderful firework displays to kick off the festivities and to close it out! Come check out this wonderful winter wonderland and attraction in Syracuse NY, which is highly accessible by Amtrak!

Winter Wonderland at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

winter wonderland at buffalo and erie county botanical gardens

Distance from Buffalo Exchange Street Station (BFX): 5.2 miles

Botanical Gardens are always breathtaking to visit and explore. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens have turned the gardens into a majestic winter experience. Open Dec. 5th through Dec. 12th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this event requires tickets to be purchased electronically and in advance.

All visitors are required to wear their masks regardless of their vaccination status. Once in Wonderland, there is an activity book to lead you around the premises for a scavenger hunt. Upon completion, your activity book can be turned in for a fun prize!

This event is an educational experience with BioFacts tables around the site. In addition to learning this year, carriage rides will be added to the festivities for an additional fee. Be sure to bring a blanket to ensure maximum coziness. The gardens are also the perfect place to drop off your letters to Santa!

For many of us, winter signifies more than the holiday season. These events located conveniently along Amtrak ensure you will have a very engaging and beautiful winter season for 2021 and 2022! 

Further Information Regarding Travel

Amtrak has taken several initiatives to ensure the safety of its passengers. They have committed to requiring face masks for all passengers, converting the cafe car to takeout only, adding social distance signage, and much more.

Learn More Information Here

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