Winter on Governors Island. Photo courtesy of the Trust for Governors Island

Activities and special events celebrating the season to return

Visitors now able to bring dogs daily during Winter season

The Trust for Governors Island announced today the return of winter programming and activities starting December 1, 2023. This winter, Governors Island is a must-visit destination for local New Yorkers and tourists from all over the world with a plethora of cold weather activities including local food vendors, fire pits, holiday lights, the third annual Governors Island Ice Sculpture Show, and more special events to be announced throughout the season.

New this season is expanded access for four-legged New Yorkers. Winter Dog Days will run December 1 through April 30, 2024, with dogs welcomed to visit Governors Island every day with their human companions beginning at 10am, not just on weekends. Also new this winter is an expanded off-leash dog park opening December 1 in Colonels Row with plenty of space for dogs to run and play outside.

“We are proud to continue our winter programming for our visitors and their furry friends,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “The winter season on the Island is a magical time for visitors to experience all the fantastic year-round programming we have to offer, like our newly expanded Dog Days, and the visitor favorites of drinking hot cocoa, enjoying delicious food from our food trucks, and even sledding in the Hills—all while taking in unparalleled skyline views. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy all year round across the Island.”

“Woof, woof, woof, woof!” said Chip, Aspen, and Reed, the Governors Island working dogs, in a joint statement encouraging dogs to tell their owners to take them to Winter Dog Days.

Another great reason to visit the Island in the winter is the food. Longtime Governors Island vendor Makina Café is open daily in Colonels Row, with an expanded menu including their popular Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes along with loaded fries, chicken fingers, breakfast sandwiches, tea, coffee, and more special items. Joe Coffee Company is also open daily in the Battery Maritime ferry waiting room in Lower Manhattan, and additional food trucks and pop-up vendors will be featured at special events throughout the winter.

Upcoming fall and winter events include open hours at the Institute for Public Architecture on November 18, NYCRUNS “Go Nuts for Donuts” 5K and 10K on November 18, and the Governors Island Ice Sculpture Show on February 3, 2024. Presented by Governors Island Arts and Times Square Arts with support from the Friends of Governors Island, the third annual show provides New Yorkers and visitors from around the world with the singular opportunity to experience live ice carving. Ten artists will be chosen, and each selected finalist will be paired with a professional ice carver from Okamoto Studio for the public event. Visitors are invited to witness this real-time ice carving and vote on their favorite sculpture for the “People’s Choice Award” at the end of the event. A larger-scale version of the winning sculpture will then be carved and installed by Okamoto Studio in Times Square as a visual anchor for the district’s annual Valentine’s Day events. Artists, designers, and other cultural practitioners are invited to submit a proposal to participate online at through November 17, 2023.

Blazing Saddles is open daily in Colonels Row with bike and sled rentals, and QC NY Spa continues to be open daily on Governors Island with heated outdoor pools alongside saunas, steam rooms, relaxation treatments, massages, and a bar and bistro.

Governors Island’s award-winning park remains open to the public every day during the cold season, along with recreation activities like bike rentals, a climbing boulder, Hammock Grove, the Hills, Picnic Point, and more. Governors Island Arts public art commissions, including works from Sam Van Aken, Duke Riley, Rachel Whiteread, Mark Dion, Sheila Berger, and Mark Handforth, are also currently on view throughout the Island.

During the winter months, Governors Island is open to the public daily from 7am to 6pm. Trust for Governors Island-operated ferries run daily between the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on the Island. Dogs will require individual free ferry reservations, available online. For schedules and ticketing information, visit

Round-trip ferry tickets cost $4 for adults. Governors Island ferries are always free for children 12 and under, seniors 65 and up, residents of NYCHA, IDNYC holders, current and former military service members, and Governors Island members. Ferries before noon on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles or strollers at any time.

NYC Ferry also serves Governors Island daily on the South Brooklyn route. For ticketing information and full schedules for NYC Ferry, visit

About the Trust for Governors Island
The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust’s mission is to realize the full potential of Governors Island for the inspiration and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, demonstrating a bold vision for public space. For more information, visit

Leave a Reply