Christmas in New York is such a joy, and if you are wondering if it’s worth visiting during this beautiful season, we have the answer. And it’s definitely a yes. During the holiday season, there is so much to see and do in New York, and nothing compares to the incredible skyline of New York City. People seem friendlier, there is a lot of holiday cheer, and the vibe is unmatched.
If you are planning a winter vacation and don’t know what to do or what to visit, we have a list of fun things you can do in New York during the Christmas holiday season, so check it out. These activities will activate your Christmas spirit.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
New York City's Rockefeller Christmas Tree has been a holiday tradition for decades. The first time it was put up was in December 1931, when construction workers used their money to put up a 20-foot tree because they were glad they had jobs during the Great Depression. Since then, everyone has been able to enjoy the tree in Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan.
The tree appears in the Plaza in the middle of November, is lit in late November or early December, and remains lit until the beginning of January.
Are you eager to see the tree? Be one of the first to admire the enormous tree when the lights are turned on by attending the lighting ceremony at the beginning of December. To guarantee a seat and watch famous artists and the Radio City Rockettes perform live, arrive as early as possible.
Visit Macy’s Santaland
Macy's Santaland is a free winter village that takes over the eighth floor of Macy's Herald Square each year. It's a fantastic holiday experience for kids and adults alike, with lights, model trains, and Santa, of course.
Santa Claus arrives at Macy's at Herald Square after the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade to usher in the holiday season. After that, Santa sets up shop at Macy's Santaland NYC, where he and his elves put in a lot of hard work getting ready for the big day. On Christmas Eve, Santa goes out to leave the presents and doesn't return until the following year. Reservations are required for this popular attraction due to the high demand.
Bryant Park is one of the city's most well-known locations for ice skaters. Bryant Park is surrounded by skyscrapers, office buildings, and the New York Public Library in one of Manhattan's most cosmopolitan areas. However, the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park transforms the park into a natural winter wonderland during the winter months. One of the best places in New York City to ice skate is Rockefeller Center's ice rink, especially during the holiday season when the enormous tree is illuminated from top to bottom. Skating at the Rink at Rockefeller Center is one of the most popular winter activities in New York, and you can visit it until midnight.
See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Since 1933, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been a New York City tradition. This 90-minute dancing show features the legendary American dance group Radio City Rockettes and other artists. Tickets tend to sell out quickly, so act soon if you want them, especially if you have a tight schedule because the show always puts you in the holiday mood.
Watch a Broadway Show
Broadway in New York City is the most famous theater district in the world. And when in New York, winter is a great time to snuggle up in a warm, heated theater.
The street that the district is centered on gets its name from. Broadway runs the length of Manhattan and is the longest street in New York City. Times Square, about halfway up the island, is where the city's most famous theaters are and where the world's most famous plays and musicals are performed.
Shop at a Holiday Market
One of New York City's most popular winter activities is going to holiday markets. If you're looking for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and keepsakes, head to a Holiday Market in New York City. There are a lot of vendors at the markets selling the work of local artists, holiday decor, and, of course, delicious food and drinks. The following are some of New York's most popular holiday markets:
Winter Village Bryant Park
Are you looking for a Christmas market that looks like one in Europe? Then go to one of the favorite places: the Winter Village in Manhattan's Bryant Park. This is an outdoor market where vendors sell one-of-a-kind holiday gifts in tiny, bespoke booths. Because of the wide range of food and drink options, this is one of the tourist's favorite markets. The market is open from the beginning of November to the beginning of January.
Grand Central Holiday Fair
Watch as Grand Central Station's Vanderbilt Hall transforms into a holiday shopping center packed with extraordinary gifts. Crafts, decorations, and everything else you need for the holidays that you didn't know you needed are here. Typically, the fair is open from mid-to-late November until December 24.
Watch the Bright Lights of Brooklyn
The spectacular Christmas light display put on by the Brooklyn neighborhood is free! You most likely haven't seen anything like it before! You will be amazed at the quantity and size of the decorations because more and more households have joined over time.
From 83rd Street to 86th Street, head to 11th to 13th Avenues for the best view of the lights. It is truly an extravagant display of holiday lights that New Yorkers and tourists enjoy.
Try the hot chocolate
You can’t visit New York and miss its famous hot chocolate. The city’s most well-known hot chocolate isn’t even hot at all. The movie Serendipity made the “frozen hot chocolate” famous, and today it’s a favorite for visitors and locals. It is presented with a scoop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It’s so popular that you’ll need to wait in line for this treat, so book it ahead of time.
Enjoy the Holiday displays on shop windows
Do you want free holiday fun? Then, take a stroll down the most expensive street in New York City and take in the stunning holiday window displays in the stores' windows. Every day, tens of millions of people come to New York City to enjoy the holiday spirit at these windows. All high-end department stores go above and beyond when presenting their street-facing window displays with festive and fun holiday decorations. You don’t wanna miss the Saks Fifth Avenue display, which never disappoints.
Saks Fifth Avenue
After being awestruck by the enormous size of Rockefeller Christmas Tree, visit Saks Fifth Avenue to view their stunning holiday window displays, which are adored by customers of all ages. On 5th Avenue, between 49th and 50th Streets, the display can be found in front of the store. In 2019, Louis Vuitton celebrated with an installation that covered the entire corner facade of Fifth Avenue with brilliantly colored sculptures and life-size images of the brand's icon. Saks Fifth Avenue collaborated with Disney to create the world of Frozen in its windows.
At Bergdorf's, Christmas traditions in New York are glittering displays of presents and penguins, dancing sugar plum fairies, and frozen hot chocolate.
There are numerous ways to celebrate Christmas in New York City, whether you want to be mesmerized by moss-covered miniature trains at the Botanical Gardens or take in the sights from a warm yacht on the Hudson River. If you have the chance to spend the holidays in New York, don’t hesitate to do so, you won’t regret it.