Brrrrr. Much has been said about the Super Bowl's outdoor setting this arctic winter. But no matter what unfolds at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, adjacent New York City will be fired up to host hordes of visitors.
If you've snagged tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII, lucky you. Maybe you don't have tickets but will be in town to witness the football frenzy. Or maybe you hate the sport and can only keep your game face on for so long before you seek refuge in everything else the city offers.
Here's some play-by-play action for fans -- and ideas for nonfans. And yes, there are winter festivals and events planned in New Jersey for the big week, but we're guessing you'll be spending most of your time exploring New York. Hail Mary: There might not be a dome at the Super Bowl, but you can raise the roof at the 15th annual NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at Madison Square Garden on January 31, kicking off Super Bowl weekend with headliner Patti LaBelle. The longest yard: The 50 Yard Lounge food and wine festival will take over Penn Plaza, just outside Madison Square Garden, for Super Bowl week, with a giant tent, heated roof decks and football-related culinary and sports events. Football legends such as Doug Flutie will make appearances. All-day passes begin at $400. Block party: Times Square will be transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard with a free autograph stage, concerts and photo ops with the famed Vince Lombardi Trophy. The blockslong festival, between 33rd and 44th streets, will run from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday to February 1; events are free with the exception of a toboggan run for $5. Stop by NYC & Company's booth for event and activities info or visit its website. Football at the Met: Even New York's storied museums are getting in on the action. Check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Gridiron Greats" exhibit of vintage football cards. Oompah and beer: New York has more beer gardens than you can shake a pretzel at, and the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens, is one of the oldest. Beginning at 4 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, an indoor tailgate party will kick off. Chug-a-lug $10 pitchers of frothy beer such as Stella to wash down schnitzel and knackwurst while cheering on your team. Sip and tuck: NFL personalities and legends will be huddled at the legendary Waldorf Astoria, and the hotel's illustrious Peacock Alley will be a see-and-be-scene spot to sip a specialty cocktail themed for the two teams by house mixologist Frank Caiafa. The landmark hotel, which has also had an uptick in reservations from "football widows" throughout the football season at its Guerlain Spa, will offer the "Just the Girls" spa package on Super Bowl Sunday, which includes a manicure and pedicure, massage or facial, makeup refresh and two cocktails. Booze cruise: Norwegian Cruise Line's Getaway, christened the Bud Light Hotel, will be docked next to the USS Intrepid, offering lodging and entertainment. Note: Rooms at the Bud Light Hotel are not available for purchase; consumers can win hotel rooms through Bud Light promotions. Lodging at the floating hotel will be available Thursday through the morning of February 3.
Not really into the game? Here are some ideas to intercept the Super Bowl events.
Game play: Take advantage of a Broadway Week Winter 2014 two-for-one tickets promotion. You can get a free ticket for the price of one at 26 shows such as "Pippin" and "Waiting for Godot."
Happy New Year: It's the Year of the Horse, and the 15th annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival will kick off at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday at Mott and Hester streets, with colorful floats, dancing lions and dragons and marching bands.
Super bowl: Maybe your idea of a super bowl can be found at Bowlmor, one of the city's most popular bowling destinations, with locations in Times Square and Union Square. Beyond a shadow of a doubt: February 2 also happens to be Groundhog Day, and the Staten Island Zoo will open early at 6:30 a.m. so that Chuck the Groundhog, accompanied by a band, can spy on his shadow (fingers crossed he doesn't) at 7 a.m. Kids will want to stick around to have breakfast with Chuck. Bonus: Take the free ferry ride over for mind-bending views of New York's skyline. Baseball: Maybe you do love the Super Bowl for one reason and one reason only -- it marks the end of football season, meaning baseball is on deck. Check out Foleys NY, a pub with enough memorabilia to rival Cooperstown, including 1,800 autographed balls. Make no mistake, though, this popular Irish bar will undoubtedly be a hot spot for the Super Bowl action, too.
Get a bye: There's no better day to shop than Super Bowl Sunday; the stores are practically empty. Hit up Macy's (be a sport and check out the custom NFL shop on the fourth floor) or score a deal at Bloomingdale's (Bloomie's windows will display 48 designer, haute couture helmets, part of the NFL Foundation fundraiser).
Skate around it: Twirl figure eights at one of the many outdoor rinks, including Rockefeller Center, Central Park and the Standard hotel at the High Line.
Tour the town: Sign up with On Location for a tour of the many locations for TV shows that have been shot in New York, including "Sex and the City," "Sopranos" and "Gossip Girl." Receive 15% off any tour when using the code "Super" at www.onlocationtours.com. Oh, snap: Take a private walking tour to see Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and other iconic landmarks with PhotoTrek Tours. A personal photographer will snap shots of you with New York as a backdrop (you keep the photos).