Brooklyn Winter Activities that Don’t Involve Going to a Bar

Brooklyn Winter Activities that Don’t Involve Going to a Bar
Photo by Karen Stahlros on Unsplash

It’s cold out, y’all, and it’s time for winter activities. How about some saunas,  ice skating, holiday shopping or volunteering (or all of it in reverse order?). Get in the holiday spirit and have fun, all without having to hit up the neighborhood bar.

Bathhouses and Saunas

Rejuvenation, relaxation, and selfcare all in a warm, steamy room? Um, yes, please!

HotBox Mobile Sauna is a safe and positive alternative self-care space to feel good: catch their special queer schwitz parties for queer women, trans, and non-binary people! They have a mini-bar, a heated tent with pillows, and is NYC’s only wood-burning sauna on wheels.Address: 26 Vandervoort Place, BushwickHours: Check schedule here!

Bathhouse is a modern spa situated in a renovated 1930s soda factory. The spa (and restaurant) offers many treatments from massages to sensory deprivation tanks. Enjoy both dry and tropical saunas, a starlight steam room, three thermal pools, heated marble hammams, and cryotherapy.Address: 103 N 10th Street, WilliamsburgHours: Daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., for packages and services go here.

Mermaid Spa is a staple in South Brooklyn, a Russian Banya continuing the tradition of winter wellness and health. It has three steam rooms, a scorching dry sauna, a Turkish bath, two tile pools that are machine-fed with chopped ice and a circular Jacuzzi inside a lodge-like wooden hall. Mermaid Spa also offers Russian platza with soap or venik — a leafy bundle of birch or oak twigs.Address: 3703 Mermaid Avenue, SeagateHours: Weekdays 7 am to 10 pm, weekends 7 am to 10 pm

Ice Skating

Industry City Ice Rink. Courtesy of IC.

Warm up this season with an active pastime!

Industry City just debuted their ice-skating rink the weekend of thanksgiving. Check out their winter wonderland and hit the ice to warm-up on these brisk days! There’s a ski-lodge themed outdoor tent to hang in, and an outdoor bar designed to look like a gingerbread house. Try a themed skating night, too, like “Disco Forever.”

Address: 51 35th Street, Enter through Innovation Alley, Courtyard 5/6, Sunset ParkHours: schedule here.Aviator Sports offers an NHL-sized ice skating rink indoors, 365 days a week, the only of its kind in New York City. You can grab drinks and snacks at their lounge for a break from the ice.Address: Floyd Bennett Field, 3159 Flatbush AvenueHours: Schedule here.The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside offers ice skating, figure skating, curling, hockey and broomball in the winter, in lieu of roller skating, biking, boating and water play we enjoyed in the  warmer months. The Bluestone Cafe has hot chocolates and ciders to warm up in between your ice-skating routines.Address: The rink is located near the Lincoln Road and Parkside/Ocean Avenue entrances to Prospect Park.Hours: Schedule here.

Holiday Markets

FAD Market Holiday Pop-Up. Photo by Stephen Yang/FAD Market.

Shopping is always fun, but better when you support your local businesses!

Brooklyn boasts an array of holiday markets, featuring local artisans and crafters. You can support your neighbor and local economy, while finding unique, one of kind gifts for this holiday season. This year, Brooklyn has everything from  social justice-oriented markets to queer-operated ones. Find a market near you by clicking here.

Don’t forget to check out Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies across the borough, many accompanied with hot cocoa, photos with Santa, and more.


Warm the hearts of others, consider helping a neighbor in need this winter season.

Coat Drives: As the temperature drops consider helping a fellow New Yorker out with a winter coat. You can donate a new one or lightly used one at one many Brooklyn drop-off locations. Don’t have time? You can also donate $20 to provide a coat for someone in need. These coats go to social service agencies, public schools, transitional housing shelters, and more. Find where to donate your coat here.

Toy Drives: Join a Brooklyn Toy Drive this winter to help families and their loved ones to celebrate the holidays this season! By joining one of these charitable drives you support children in need. Many accept books, clothing, and new or gently used toys. Find a toy drive near you here.

Stand-Up Comedy

A great way to combat the winter blues is by laughing it off.Open Flame is a queer and inclusive stand-up comedy show and biweekly open mic, free and for all.You can check out their upcoming shenanigans and stay in touch here.  Their December shows are at Bushwick’s Mood Ring bar on December 9 at 8 p.m. and at Littlefield performance venue in Gowanus on December 19 at 8 p.m.Friends and Lovers in Crown Heights offers monthly and weekly themed curated comedy shows for all. Check out their Brown Privilege showcase, every third Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. providing an unique perspective and hosted by Saurin Choksi w DJ Sareen Patel. The critically acclaimed Speak American, where comedians make The Immigrant experience funny, every first Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Find one of Brooklyn’s longest-running comedy shows Ed Sullivan On Acid at The Backroom at Freddy’s in South Park Slope, now hosted by stage veterans Calvin Cato, Justin Murray, and Richard James, featuring a broad assortment of up-and-coming comedians. First and third Monday each month, 9.30 pm.