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  • Vegas at Christmas

New York & Las Vegas in January

Mark Written by: Mark Johnson / 9 December 2016

For many, January may be a time for recuperating from the decadence of December and making half-hearted resolutions that will crumble as the month progresses. However, some well-informed individuals see January as the perfect way to kick off a new year in style and take advantage of the quieter streets by exploring a new city and its charms. Two ways to get your year off to an adventurous start could be a Las Vegas holiday or a New York holiday. Nicknamed the Entertainment Capital of the World and the City that Never Sleeps, respectively, these two great American cities could be the perfect choice to kick-start 2017 and shake those winter blues. It may seem that the cities are worlds apart but they both share the striking distinction that both are very much alive in January!

New York

With Christmas already starting to fade in the memory, January in New York is a time of surprising tranquillity, which makes it the perfect time to visit as you can avoid the crowds! Another bonus of January is that the weather is cold, which may not seem like a plus but actually means that the travel fares can be the lowest price of the year. With every block in the city having its own distinct culture and quirks, New York is the perfect city for beginning 2017 with some diverse cultural exploration.

Metropolitan Museum

Classical Culture

You don’t have to wander far to be immersed in culture in the Big Apple. New York’s art galleries are a labyrinth of wonderments and the perfect escape from potentially chilly weather. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art to the Whitney Museum of American Art, you can warm up as you view the work of Pollack or Picasso. January in New York is also a month that revels in the history of the USA. For instance, every year since 1990 the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) hosts free programming devoted to the memory and legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights icon leader, whose birthday is observed as a national holiday on the 15th January, is honoured on Monday 16th January in 2017 by a keynote speech, followed by the music of a local choir.

New York Broadway

Extremely Entertaining

Whatever you class as entertainment, New York will leave you with plenty to keep you occupied. Each January, Winter Jazzfest brings throngs of music lovers to a variety of downtown venues for five nights of musical magic. Although New Orleans may be the home of jazz, New York is its winter retreat. The signature event is the Greenwich Village marathon where you can hear old masters and rising stars alike. If jazz isn’t your thing, then why not celebrate the Year of the Rooster at two main neighbourhood parties organised by the Better Chinatown Society. The Chinese New Year is certainly celebrated with a bang, with a New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony on the 28th January that will see hundreds of thousands fire crackers light up the city.

You also can’t miss the cultural festival with live dance performances in Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

If your first love is the sea and you have the heart of a sailor, then you’ll want to check out the New York Boat Show from the 25th to 29th January in the Javits Center. This nautical convention features a wide array of yachts, sailboats and other things that float, alongside activities and seminars geared towards helping you find your sea legs. Of course, we couldn’t mention entertainment in New York without talking about Broadway or sports! January is jam-packed full of musical shows from The Lion King and Cats to Avenue Q and the much-discussed Hamilton. It is a month full of sporting theatrics also with The New York Nicks and New York Rangers hosting several must-watch games.

No Pant Subway

The Offbeat

New York is a paradise for the strange and bizarre and January is certainly no exception. The most noteworthy event is the No Pants Subway Ride, staged every year by Improv Everywhere. This is a day (TBA) each January where brave souls mount the New York subway minus their trousers! What a perfect way to show off your new underwear you got for Christmas. You may have seen the videos on YouTube and Instagram already. You may even want to participate, all you need to do is show up in one of the meeting spots in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in your underpants.

Ice Skating

The Great Outdoors

January is still the perfect time for ice skating in New York, with the Trump Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park being one of the city's chief outdoor rinks. Trees and rocks surround the rink, setting the scene for a peaceful skating experience. Central Park is also home to the Winter Jam, where snowmaking machines cover the park with a wonderful white blanket of snow, making it perfect for skiing and snow angels! If you are really keen on getting your skates on though, The Rink at Rockefeller Center is a city landmark and you may just beat the crowds and queues because its January.

New York Food

The Food

New York City's restaurants delight many travellers every winter by reducing their prices to allow them to sample their many delicacies during NYC Restaurant Week, taking place from the 23rd January 2017. Contributing restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus and specially-priced lunch and/or dinner. If you’re a fan of fine dining, this one is definitely for you!

Brooklyn Flea Market

Bargain Hunting!

The Brooklyn Flea is one of New York’s most quintessential marketplaces, crammed with crafts and culture and located in Industry City in January. Among the many trinkets and bargains sold by over 100 vendors, you’ll find antiques and vintage clothing as well as handbags and artisanal food stalls that will leave you wanting more.

New York Spa

Rest and Relaxation

The winter chill isn’t always kind to your skin. Why not pamper yourself by visiting Aire Ancient Baths, which is a luxury Spanish bathhouse in Tribeca. Treat yourself to thermal baths and the steam room. If that’s not enough, Spa Castle Premier 57 in Midtown blend Japanese bath culture with German-style hydrotherapy and a Korean beauty parlour.

Central Park Zoo

Creature Features

New York is lucky to be home to two great zoos. In the Central Park Zoo’s Tropic Zone, you can escape the January chill and view the many-coloured tropical birds. You may also spot a lemur or two! You can also trade the Concrete Jungle for a more exotic one at JungleWorld at the Bronx Zoo, which is home to over 800 Asiatic animals in a natural jungle habitat.


Las Vegas

Las Vegas is an evergreen tourist location and although it doesn’t have a high or low season in the traditional sense, January is still the perfect time to go if you want to face fewer crowds.

Atomic Museum

Culture Vultures

Las Vegas is a hotpot of weird and wonderful attractions and there’s always plenty to see. Going to Vegas in January doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on cultural attractions from all around the world; quite the opposite in fact. Las Vegas pays tribute to global landmarks with its many themed hotels. Why go to Paris when you can see the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas followed by a gondola ride at the Venetian? There's also The Atomic Testing Museum gives scary insights into Nevada’s history as a test site for nuclear weapons.

Cirque du Soleil

The Entertainment

Sin City is renowned as a city of decadence and a visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Caesars Palace and the Bellagio. In terms of atmosphere, there are few casinos who can match them for atmosphere and you never know, if you get lucky this January, it might set you up for the rest of the year! There are also plenty of shows to enjoy in January, without the usual bustle of the crowds. From Cirque du Soleil and Penn & Teller’s magic show to the Blue Man Group, there is something for everyone.

Grand Canyon

The great outdoors

It’s hard to forget the wild that surrounds Las Vegas but being in the desert there’s always a retreat if the city lights become too bright. From Rancho Drive, which details the best of old Vegas to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, which contains a botanical gardens and nature trails there is plenty to do to embrace nature in January. Just outside Vegas, the Fly Geyser in Gerlach, Nevada is a beautiful nightmare. A combination of human error and mother nature, the rainbow-coloured geologic attraction makes for a great January photo to make your friends on social media jealous. If that’s not enough, there’s also the Grand Canyon to explore!

Las Vegas Food

The Food

Vegas holds a plethora of culinary delights in January. From delectable steak house and seafood restaurants to Asian, Italian, French and Indian dishes. January also plays host to Big Dog’s Winterfest, with the draft house showcasing over 40 beers brewed in-house.

VR Fest Las Vegas

The Offbeat

Everyone knows about the Vegas wedding chapels. Beside those, if reality gets too much for you, there is always the VR Fest. This Virtual Reality Festival takes place in Vegas from the 5th to 7th of January 2017 and exhibits the best new immersive entertainment technologies.

Spa Las Vegas

Rest and relaxation

Start the New Year with a well-rested body by treating yourself to a massage at the Sahra Spa & Hammam at the Cosmopolitan. From facials to thermal spaces, it’s the perfect cleanse. The gigantic Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace are also a great way to relax whilst paying homage to the Roman Empire and their love of baths. Alternatively, if you want to try the polar opposite of a sauna, the Arctic Ice room is a great treat that’s a little bit different.

Tiger Las Vegas

Creature Comforts

January 2017 is the perfect time to discover Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. Here, you can come face-to-face with beautiful white lions and tigers as well as leopards and dolphins. There is plenty of interaction with these exotic creatures to be had. It certainly beats a drab January in the UK.

Final Thoughts

Take advantage of the post-Christmas quietness in January by exploring one of these two great American cities. Wherever you choose to visit, both Las Vegas and New York have plenty to offer in January to suit the whole family and give them a memorable start to the New Year!

Mark Johnson 

Blogger Profile - Mark Johnson

Mark is an avid traveller and loves to explore the world with all of its varied cultures. He is also an adventure sport enthusiast and has tried everything from Skydiving to Scuba Diving!


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