Winter in Warsaw: attractions and things to do in Warsaw in the wintertime
Warsaw has many rinks to explore. And it’s not just during Christmas that you can get your skates on, as there are plenty of ice skating rink options from the end of November until February/March.
The first ice rink in Warsaw (Torwar in the city center, an indoor rink) usually opens in September and is open until May! Most of the ice rinks in Warsaw are open from the beginning of December until February/March, weather permitting. Our post Ice skating rinks in Warsaw includes info about 20+ rinks in different districts of Warsaw, including free, outdoor, indoor, and… did you know that in Ursynów there is an indoor ice rink open 24/7?
Skate rentals operate at most of the ice rinks in Warsaw, so you don’t need your equipment (there are also usually available skate supports for skaters needing extra help).
You can read more about 20+ ice rinks in Warsaw (locations, opening hours, photos) in our post: Ice skating rinks in Warsaw.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides are a unique winter attraction in Poland. Usually, they are associated with the mountains but in the vicinity of Warsaw, we can also go for a sleigh ride! It is great fun and an opportunity to spend time in nature – with family or friends. Of course, a tiny little detail – snow is needed. However in most cases when the weather changes and the snow melts, there is an option to ride a wheeled carriage.
In our post Sleigh and horse carriage rides near Warsaw, we present several options for organizing a sleigh ride in the vicinity of Warsaw – you can contact all the organizers in English.
Photo source: www.bryczki-kampinos.pl
When it starts to snow we often are asked where is a good place to go sledding in Warsaw. Each district in Warsaw has several smaller and larger hills where you can go sledding.
Most of such spots are in Warsaw parks (eg. Park Górczewska in Bemowo, Las Bielański Park/forest in Bielany, Park Morskie Oko in Mokotów, Park Szczęśliwicki in Ochota, Park Skaryszewski in Praga Południe, Park Praski in Praga Północ, Las Bródnowski in Targówek, Park Sowińskiego in Wola).
Other hills, which are used for sledding in winter, were created after the completion of street construction and renovation or remained after the construction of the metro in Warsaw (eg. Kopa Cwila and Górka Kazurka in Ursynów).
In our post Where to go sledding in Warsaw you will find a rundown of some popular places to go sledging in Warsaw by the district.
Photo source: Dzielnica Wilanów
Traditionally, Christmas illuminations on the streets of Warsaw and a huge Christmas tree on Plac Zamkowy are lit in the first week of December and are on until mid-February.
The largest Christmas tree in Warsaw is lit on Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy) in Warsaw’s Old Town.
27-meter Christmas tree, the largest in Warsaw (and in Poland), is lit on Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy) in Warsaw’s Old Town. The main attractions on Warsaw streets are focused on “The Royal Route”, from the Castle Square/Plac Zamkowy (including the Christmas tree), Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, Nowy Świat Street to the de Gaulle roundabout (Rondo de Gaulle’a). The Old Town is also decorated (including Piwna Street, Świętojańska Street, Old Town Square, Nowomiejska Street, Freta Street, New Town Square, Kościelna Street to Podzamcze).
Apart from the free illuminations you can admire in Warsaw’s Old Town, there are three illuminations outdoor displays (with paid entrance).
- “Magical Botanical” in the center of Warsaw, next to the famous Łazienki Park. Location: Botanical Garden of the Warsaw University (Ogród Botaniczny Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego), Aleje Ujazdowskie 4 Street (city center), location on Google Maps.
- Illumination exhibition referring to fairy tales and cartoons (in the 2023/2024 season – The Smurfs) in the botanical garden in Powsin, on the southern outskirts of Warsaw. Location: Botanical Garden in Powsin, Prawdziwka 2 Street, 02-973 Powsin (location on Google map).
- “The Royal Garden of Light” in Wilanów, in the garden of the Palace/Museum. Location: the garden of the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace (Muzeum Pałacu Króla Jana III w Wilanowie), Stanisława Kostki Potockiego 10/16 Street, location on Google map.
You will find detailed information (locations, tickets, opening hours, photos) about Warsaw illuminations festivals in our post: Light displays in Warsaw: festive illuminations, lights festivals, and Christmas decorations in Warsaw.
The photos below show Christmas illuminations in Warsaw in previous seasons:
Photo source: Urząd Miasta Warszawa
There’s no point beating around the bush – winter in Warsaw is a time when you spend a lot of time indoors. Fortunately, there are many options for both children and adults – restaurants with cuisines from all over the world in food courts, children’s playrooms, exhibitions and museums, bowling, swimming pools, an indoor ice rink, escape rooms.
Our post Indoor things to do in Warsaw includes a list of ideas for indoor (fun!) activities in Warsaw.
Yes, skiing in Warsaw is possible! You can enroll yourself or your children in a ski school or, for example, warm up before a longer ski trip. The ski slope in Warsaw is located in the Ochota district of Warsaw. The slope is called in Polish Górka Szczęśliwicka and is located in the center of the Park Szczęśliwicki. It’s the highest (152 m) hill in Warsaw. It’s an artificial ski slope. The height of the ski slope is 74.9 m, the length of the run is 227 m, and a plate lift and a chairlift are available. The ski season lasts from October, and from the time of the first frost, the slope is artificially snowed. There is a ski and snowboard equipment rental and a ski service on site. Website and Facebook. The contact list of ski and snowboard schools working on the Górka Szczęśliwicka.
Photo source: Aktywna Warszawa
Below are some options and ideas for those who want to enjoy the Christmas and holiday atmosphere in Warsaw.
Outdoor Christmas Market in the Old Town
Open from the end of November until January 6/7. Location: Warsaw Old Town, the Warsaw Barbican area, opposite the Royal Castle. Souvenirs, gifts, local crafts and food like pierogi, hot chocolate. Facebook page in Polish.
A winter walk in the center of Warsaw: Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat Streets a car-free zone
December weekends and the first weekend of January. Nowy Świat and Krakowskie Przedmieście streets (from rondo gen. Ch. de Gaulle’a to Miodowa Street) change into a car-free zone, accessible only to pedestrians and cyclists. It is part of the so-called Royal Route, a historic part of Warsaw, leading from Rondo de Gaulle’a (the famous traffic circle with a palm tree) to Castle Square with Sigismund’s Column and the Royal Castle. It is worth going for a walk there, especially after dark, when the Christmas illuminations are already on!
Christmas folk concert and dance show (“Polish Bethlehem” / “Betlejem Polskie”) by Mazowsze – the oldest and biggest Polish folk dancing and singing group
Location: Matecznik “Mazowsze“, Świerkowa 2 Street, 05-805 Otrębusy (a village about 25 km from the center of Warsaw), online tickets. More about the Mazowsze group in English.
Flavors of Polish Christmas – dumplings cooking class in English and dinner
Location: Pierogi & More cooking school, Stawki 3 Street (city center). During this 4 course Christmas dumplings cooking class and dinner you will taste the most popular Christmas food. Moreover, you will learn how to make the famous Polish dumplings. Taste beetroot soup with mushroom-stuffed dumplings, MAKE pierogi with sauerkraut and last but not least, indulge yourself in the festive poppy seed dessert. More in English and online registration.
Gingerbread cookies baking and decorating class for all ages – cooking class in English
Location: Pierogi & More cooking school, Stawki 3 Street (city center). Book the gingerbread cookies baking class to learn how to bake, decorate and store „pierniczki”. Then, you will learn how to make your own gingerbread spice mix. Last, but not least, you will find out how to turn gingerbread cookies into beautiful Christmas tree decorations or unforgettable presents for your loved ones. More in English and online registration.
The Great Elf Factory (Wielka Fabryka Elfów) – indoor Christmas playing areas for children aged 3-10
Open from the second half of November until mid-January. Location: PGE National Stadium, Ks. Jozefa Poniatowskiego 1 Street, entrance – gate no. 5 (Praga). Ten playing areas with attractions for kids (eg. inflatable playground) – children help elves and in the end, they meet Santa. The games and attractions take about 2 hours. Individual visitors: Monday-Friday 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm, weekends 9 am – 6 pm. Recommended age of children: 3-10 years old. Ticket prices depend on days and hours and start from 65 PLN. 1 ticket is admission for one child and one guardian. The ticket for the additional guardian is bought on the spot and costs half the ticket price for the child. Visiting the Elf Factory for groups of children is possible in English – you need to report such a request in advance (+48 583 501 638, firstname.lastname@example.org). Website in Polish. Facebook. Instagram.
Christmas attractions & meeting with Santa at Smart Kids Planet – an edutainment center with playing zones dedicated to children aged 0-10
Open from the second half of November until mid-January. Location: Smart Kids Planet, Fabryka Norblina, level -1, Żelazna 51/53 Street (Wola/city center). Smart Kids Planet is open daily. It is recommended to buy tickets online – to avoid crowds, Smart Kids Planet has entry limits per hour. Website in Polish, website in English.
Immersive multi-sensory Nutcracker based on ballet by Piotr Tchaikovsky
Location: Fabryka Norblina, Art-Box Experience, Żelazna 51/53 Street (city center/Wola), level 2+. Online tickets (children under 3 years old free entrance). More in English about the Exhibition. Photos on Kids in the City’s Instagram.
Santa Claus House – 50 minute-drive from Warsaw
Open from the second half of November until mid-December. Location: Odnaleziony Dom Świętego Mikołaja, Rezydencja Miętowe Wzgórza – Mansion House, Trębki Nowe 90, 05-170 Zakroczym. Location on Google Maps. Santa Clause House (Polish name of this attraction: Odnaleziony Dom Świętego Mikołaja) is located northwest of Warsaw. Attractions include visiting the House of Santa Claus, Christmas scenery for taking magical photos, a visit to the Elves’ workshop (here you will be able to write your letters to Santa Claus and decorate them with Christmas decorations), Santa’s maze and slide, Santa Phone: Christmas phone booth, and alpacas. Entrance ticket for one person – PLN 49, entry ticket for children up to 3 years old – PLN 39. Food zone: pizza, traditional Christmas dishes, bonfire with sausages or marshmallows, mulled wine, warming tea and hot chocolate. Individual visitors: Saturdays and Sundays, 12 pm – 6 pm. Kindergartens and schools: Monday-Thursday, booking required. Due to the large number of visitors, it is advised to contact the House of Santa Claus by phone or e-mail so that they can recommend the best time to visit and avoid long queues. Contact info: +48 781 200 400, email@example.com. Facebook, Instagram, website. Photos in our post on Kids in the City’s Instagram.
Our monthly ‘What’s on in Warsaw’ posts with detailed info on events and things to do in Warsaw in December, January, and February
To help you plan and enjoy your time in Warsaw, we publish our ‘What’s on in Warsaw’ post every month. These posts include a list of interesting events in Warsaw in a given month, e.g. concerts, fairs, exhibitions, festivals, guided tours. You will also find there some new ideas for things to do in Warsaw, for one-day trips around Warsaw, or news and updates from the life of the capital.
Please note that these posts are updated before the start of the given month to ensure that the information is as up-to-date as possible.
Subscribe to the Kids in the City’s weekly newsletter in English. The newsletter called What’s on in Warsaw for Kids & Families is emailed every Thursday and covers things to do in Warsaw with children and all kinds of family matters – information, tips, resources in English.