Despite what enthusiasts might tell you, exploring New York in sub-freezing temperatures isn’t exactly ideal. Sure, there are some benefits, like ice skating in Central Park or the hot chocolate at City Bakery, but winter imposes an entirely different strategy to any visitor’s itinerary. Forgot the spontaneous strolls of summertime and prepare a detailed schedule of your walking routes - cocoa breaks included.
Though many are intimidated by New York’s colder months, the best way to explore the city in wintertime is still by foot. In snow or rainfall, locals agree that to see New York, is to walk New York.
So we asked our go-to New Yorkers to give us their best tips for walking the city in winter. The unanimous answer? A great playlist.
“There are a lot of things to do in New York, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. Midtown is a great place to start, but it also means you’ll hit all the crowds first. When I know I’m going to be walking through a busy area of the city, I listen to a calming playlist that gives me a good contrast to the chaos around me. A lot of my friends do this when commuting on the subway, too. Finding calm through music is a great way to survive the city’s busier moments. My current peaceful playlist is This Is: Laura Marling. Her indie folk music goes perfectly with a New York winter morning.”
“Maybe I’m a little more old-school, but nothing sounds more New York to me than jazz. In winter I’ll either listen to the classics like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker or I’ll go for something more contemporary like Shades of Blue or a fusion playlist like Jazztronica. It definitely has a warming affect.”
“I like to listen to local artists when I travel. When I’m home in New York I listen to everything, but if I’m on a particularly long walk my front-runner is LCD Soundsystem. Their new album American Dream is pretty perfect for exploring the city streets - even in winter. Plus, they’re from Brooklyn, so can give yourself extra points for listening to a local band.”
“I was pretty excited when I discovered the 90’s NY Hip-Hop playlist. It’s really long - I listen to it on my way home most days and I still haven’t made my way through the whole thing. But it has all of the greats that wrote and lived about the city in the golden age of hip-hop.”
“Upbeat, fast-moving music gets me pumped for my day - especially when it’s cold outside. I tend to work odd hours, so having a playlist that I can listen to in the early morning or late at night on my way to the location is really important. Metropolis is a good all-around city playlist. Even on my off-days I like to walk around with music in my ears that makes me feel like I’m dancing. It’s a great feeling to have each step move with the music. This playlist does that.”