Things to do in New York at Christmas

Things to do in New York at Christmas

Experience the Magic of Christmas in New York City

There’s a certain magic that cloaks New York City as the holiday season approaches. The city, adorned in twinkling lights and spectacular displays from late November to New Year, is an enchanting haven for holiday enthusiasts. You’ll find an array of captivating events, stunning parades, and resplendent window displays that truly illuminate the spirit of Christmas. This guide will help you unwrap the very best that New York has to offer at Christmas. It’s truly a magical time of year in the Big Apple.

new york at christmas

Dancing on Ice in Central Park

Skating on the frosted expanse of an ice rink as snowflakes fall around you is an essential New York winter experience.

Several glistening ice rinks are sprinkled across the city, but the one that truly stands out is Wollman Rink in Central Park. Framed by towering skyscrapers and the park’s leafless trees, the rink occupies a prime spot on the east side of Central Park, between 62nd and 63rd Streets.

Glide along the ice with the cinematic backdrop often featured in films and television such as Home Alone 2 and Serendipity —a truly unforgettable way to celebrate the season.

wollman ice-rink, central park

Behold the Majesty of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Gaze up at the splendour of the iconic Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, which soars up to 100 feet tall.

This tradition, which dates back to 1933, is a must-visit spectacle during the holiday season. Adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and a dazzling array of decorations, the tree’s lighting ceremony is a grand event eagerly anticipated each year.

The tree arrives shortly after Thanksgiving on the 25th of November, and its brilliant illumination follows in a mesmerising ceremony. It’s an iconic Christmas landmark that makes for a photo-op that is sure to make the instagram-grid!

new york at christmas - rockefeller tree

A Fifth Avenue Holiday Stroll

Your Christmas visit to New York wouldn’t be complete without an evening stroll down the city’s most famous shopping artery—Fifth Avenue.

Underneath a canopy of twinkling lights, you’ll be mesmerised by the legendary window displays that transform the avenue into an outdoor winter wonderland.

The dazzling Bergdorf Goodman display is a must-see, but don’t forget the equally enchanting exhibitions at Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, and Bloomingdales. You may even decide to treat yourself to some early Christmas gifts while browsing the area.

new york at christmas - central park

Deck the Halls at Dyker Heights

For lovers of extravagant Christmas lights and decorations, a visit to Dyker Heights, the vibrant Italian-American enclave in Brooklyn, is a delightful experience.

Made famous by TLC’s “Crazy Christmas Lights,” the neighbourhood becomes a glittering spectacle of holiday cheer.

Witness homes adorned with an abundance of lights and extravagant lawn displays that range from awe-inspiring to hilariously over-the-top—it’s a whimsical Christmas adventure unique to New York.

dyker heights christmas lights

Discover Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park transforms into a charming Winter Village that captivates both locals and visitors alike.

From ice-skating to sipping hot cocoa and shopping for unique holiday gifts at the artisan stalls, there’s a festive activity for everyone.

Open from October to March, the ice rink welcomes skaters of all levels, while the holiday shops, opening from the 28th of October, offer a curated selection of crafty and delicious delights. Perfect to pick-up some truly unique and wonderful stocking fillers.

bryant park winter village

Experience Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular

A glittering jewel in New York City’s cultural crown, Radio City Music Hall, steeped in history and artistic prestige, decks its grand halls during the holiday season for the annual “Christmas Spectacular.”

This show, an institution in itself since its inception in 1933, features the legendary dance troupe, the Rockettes.

The Rockettes, an iconic emblem of New York City since the 1920s, are known for their synchronised high kicks, precision dance routines, and stunning costumes.

Their Christmas Spectacular performance is an amalgamation of classic favourites and innovative new numbers. It’s a holiday treat that lures spectators from all over the globe and is a must-see when in town.

The demand for tickets to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes is typically quite high due to the show’s popularity and longstanding tradition. Tickets usually go on sale in the summer and it’s advisable to purchase them as early as possible, especially if you are seeking tickets for prime dates and times closer to Christmas.

Discover More…

If you’re yearning for more insider information to make your Christmas visit to New York City as enchanting as possible, don’t hesitate to speak to one of our travel experts. Our team of expert travel agents are on standby, eager to assist you in curating the perfect holiday experience. Having navigated the sparkling city streets and frequented its festive hotspots numerous times, they possess a wealth of knowledge on all things New York City during the Christmas season.

Beyond advice, we also offer an array of fantastic holiday deals tailored to a diverse range of budgets and interests. Whether you’re planning a romantic Christmas getaway, a fun-filled family holiday, or a solo exploration, we can help you find the best accommodation, transportation, and event deals in the city that never sleeps.

Let us take the stress out of planning and make your Christmas in New York City a memorable experience.

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By Paula McMullan

Personal Travel Planner

Favourite Destination: New York City

I love a trip to New York City, the big apple never disappoints. A must see destination with incredible diversity, vibrancy and entertainment, There’s truly something for everyone in New York. Personally I love to eat in Little Italy or just spend the evening watching the world go by in Greenwich Village while sipping a glass of red in one of their many bistros. The energy and pace of this fantastic city that will capture you heart immediately, the shopping is not bad either!