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15 Magical Things to Do during Christmas in New York

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

New York is one of the best places to be during the Christmas season! From its Christmas decorations and holiday markets to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and 5th Avenue, New York is a winter wonderland full of holiday cheer! Let us go over some of the best things to do in New York during Christmas time to put you in the holiday spirit.

1. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111

Lighted Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Ice Skating Rink from the 2021 Holiday Season

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a beacon of bright lights and holiday cheer, stands tall as a New York Christmas icon, drawing crowds to its dazzling display and the ice rink below. This famed spot, captured in the finale of Disney+'s Hawkeye series, embodies the spirit of the season and offers more than just the iconic tree - it is also home to Top of the Rock, an observatory boasting stunning city views, making it an ideal visit during Christmas or any time of year. Do not miss the chance to make cherished memories and snap a heartwarming photo with Santa Claus, adding to the festive joy that fills the air at this beloved location in Midtown Manhattan.

2. Macy's

Address: 151 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001

One of Macy's Window displays from the 2018 Holiday Season

The world's largest Macy's, situated in New York, enthralls visitors each Christmas with its stunning holiday window displays, a tradition dating back to 1874 that continues to captivate audiences. These whimsical showcases, often glimpsed during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast, adorn the building and interior, adding festive magic to the bustling city streets of Herald Square. Inside, Santaland on the 8th floor transforms into a winter wonderland, inviting guests of all ages to meet Santa amidst twinkling lights and live elves—an enchanting experience worth securing reservations for, adding to the joyous holiday tradition at Macy's Herald Square.

3. Fifth Avenue

Address: Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York City

Blurred background image of the Saks Fifth light show and a focused mobile shot of the light show

Fifth Avenue during Christmas is a spectacular sight with designer shops like Bergdorf Goodman showcasing festive window displays inspired by the iconic Macy's Christmas tradition. However, the showstopper along this famed street is the renowned Saks Fifth Avenue light show, enchanting crowds with its dazzling spectacle running every 10 minutes between 5 and 11 pm. Moreover, on select dates in December, Fifth Avenue transforms into a pedestrianized holiday haven known as "The Gift of Fifth," featuring exclusive retail experiences, delectable food, live entertainment, and a festive atmosphere perfect for celebrating the season.

4. Bryant Park Winter Village

Address: 42nd Street and, 6th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Bryant Park Lighted Christmas Tree and Ice Skating Rink

Bryant Park's Bank of America Winter Village invites visitors to immerse themselves in holiday cheer, offering an array of activities from ice skating on the 17,000 square foot rink to indulging in festive treats, including hot chocolate, at the Lodge Hall. Rent a cozy igloo for a unique hangout, or try your hand at curling at the Curling Café and Bar. Additionally, the European-inspired open-air holiday market within Bryant Park caters to all your seasonal shopping needs, providing a delightful winter wonderland experience for friends and family.

Some other great Christmas markets to visit in New York include Union Square Holiday Market, Columbus Circle Holiday Market, and the Grand Central Holiday Fair, located at the Grand Central Station for unique gifts and festive treats.

5. Hudson Yards

Address: 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

Vessel and Small Hot Air Balloon outside The Shops at Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards transforms into a dazzling Christmas spectacle with over 2 million shimmering lights adorning the property, including a 32-foot hot air balloon floating inside The Shops. Embrace the holiday spirit as you explore a Christmas wonderland, complete with festive shopping, delightful dining, and the opportunity for a complimentary photo with Santa, creating a perfect blend of seasonal magic and shopping excitement. At Hudson Yards, festive cheer abounds, offering everything from ice skating at New York's highest skating rink at Edge to Santa's Secret speakeasy, ensuring a bright and joyful holiday experience for all visitors.

6. Wollman Rink

Address: 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065

Wollman Rink in Central Park, New York

In the southern part of Central Park, Wollman Rink offers an enchanting setting to skate amid Manhattan's skyline, making it a prime spot where the magic of the holiday season blends seamlessly with New York City's winter beauty. Do not miss the chance to meet Nordstrom Santa at Wollman Rink on select dates in December or experience the cozy comfort of Rink Side Igloos, offering a delightful escape with electric fireplaces, soft lighting, seating for eight, and delectable food and beverages—an ideal way to embrace the wintry charm while enjoying the festive atmosphere.

7. Radio City Music Hall

Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020

Radio City Music Hall decorated with a giant Christmas tree of lights

The Radio City Music Hall stages its annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular, headlined by the famed Radio City Rockettes, running from November 17, 2023, through January 1, 2024. This enchanting 90-minute extravaganza showcases over 140 performers, blending original musical scores, impressive choreography, and beloved holiday scenes, offering a festive celebration that captures the essence of the holiday season in New York City.

Moreover, you can explore the magic behind Radio City Music Hall with the Radio City Stage Door Tour, a 75-minute immersive experience that unveils the secrets of the iconic "Showplace of the Nation." Get an insider's look at the theater's inner workings and even have the chance to meet one of the famed Rockettes, offering an up-close encounter with the glamour and history of this legendary entertainment venue.

8. Lincoln Center

Address: Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023

A women looking at the Lincoln Center's beautiful glass windows in the front facade

The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a celebrated global stage for music, theater, dance, and more. With 11 resident arts organizations offering a rich tapestry of performances and 30 versatile indoor and outdoor facilities, the center welcomes approximately 5 million visitors annually seeking a diverse range of entertainment experiences.

Furthermore, the New York City Ballet brings to life George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® to the Lincoln Center, treating audiences from November 24 to December 31 to a spectacle featuring 150 delightful characters, captivating sets, and enchanting costumes—a sweet and waltzing journey perfect for the entire family.

9. New York Botanical Garden

Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

New York Botanical Garden close up image of some leaves on a tree facing the top of the roof of the greenhouse

At the New York Botanical Garden, the Holiday Train Show® rolls into action from November 17, 2023, to January 15, 2024, boasting an expanded display that includes a new outdoor train exhibit. Wander through outdoor landscapes perfect for holiday snapshots before witnessing nearly 200 iconic New York landmarks come to life with trains weaving through them inside the Conservatory. As daylight fades, immerse yourself in the enchanting NYBG GLOW experience, where the grounds and historic structures light up, and for a memorable night out, embrace the Bar Car Nights—21-and-over affairs blending the Holiday Train Show, curated cocktails, music, delectable cuisine, and immersive experiences.

Tourist Activities

There is more to New York than just Christmas! You can enjoy the above locations throughout the year for their observatories, tours, performances, and shopping. However, here are six other things to do in New York during your Christmas visit or any time of the year.

10. Edge

Address: 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

View of New York City from the Edge Observation Deck

Edge NYC at Hudson Yards presents an unparalleled experience as the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, inviting visitors to the 100th and 101st floors of 30 Hudson Yards. Suspended in mid-air, this breathtaking deck aptly named "Edge" offers a unique sensation of floating in the sky with remarkable 360-degree vistas of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Encounter the thrill of looking down 100 stories through the transparent glass floor, lean out over the city from angled glass walls, and elevate your experience with a champagne toast in this awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind space, providing an unmatched perspective of New York City.

11. Chelsea Market

Address: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Los Taco No. 1 at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market, nestled in New York City's vibrant Chelsea neighborhood, offers a dynamic mix of culinary delights and shopping experiences akin to destinations like Armature Works in Tampa or Time Out Market in Chicago and Boston. With its diverse array of merchants, this bustling hub boasts global cuisines and local favorites, earning accolades for standout offerings like Los Tacos No. 1. Open daily from 8 AM to 9 PM, Chelsea Market serves as an enticing spot for New Yorkers and tourists alike!

12. Statue of Liberty

Address: New York, NY 10004

Statue of Liberty on her Pedestal

The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and a gift from France to America stands proudly in New York, accessible via ferry through Statue Cruises. Visitors can explore the statue and Ellis Island Museum by purchasing tickets in advance, with options to access the Pedestal or even the Crown, requiring months-ahead planning due to high demand. With various ways to experience this iconic monument, from the Statue of Liberty Pedestal offering interior access and an outdoor balcony to the immersive Statue of Liberty Museum showcasing interactive galleries and the original Torch, it is a journey through history and symbolism worth planning for in advance.

13. 911 Memorial

Address: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007

Memorial pool for one of the Twin Towers

The 9/11 Memorial is a poignant tribute to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, offering a moving and somber experience for visitors. The memorial commemorates the lives lost in both the 2001 and 1993 attacks, with the museum delicately portraying the impact of 9/11 and its enduring significance. At the heart of the Memorial are two expansive pools occupying the footprints of the former Twin Towers, adorned with the largest manmade waterfalls in North America, creating a serene yet powerful tribute to honor the victims and their families.

14. Times Square

Address: Manhattan, NY 10036

Times Square in NYC

Times Square, a vibrant neighborhood and bustling commercial hub nestled in Midtown Manhattan, stands as New York City's iconic landmark, renowned for its dazzling neon lights and lively ambiance. Offering many attractions such as Broadway shows, museums, street performances, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, theaters, bars, and restaurants, it remains a pulsating center filled with entertainment options for locals and visitors alike. With its dynamic mix of culture, nightlife, and live performances, Times Square is an energetic epicenter capturing the essence of the city that never sleeps.

15. Empire State Building

Address: 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001

Empire State Building Towering from the New York Skyline

The Empire State Building invites guests with its famous Art Deco style, impressive height, and sought-after observation decks on the 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors. Drawing in about four million visitors annually, it is a must-see spot in New York City, providing stunning views that showcase the city's beauty. Moreover, the Empire State Building's lights have been an iconic fixture in the New York City skyline since 1976, transforming in color to commemorate various holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and New Year's Eve.

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New York City Skyline

It is the most wonderful time of the year, and New York is the perfect place to celebrate the festive season! From the Rockefeller tree and holiday displays at department stores to ice skating and holiday markets, the Big Apple is full of holiday fun for everyone.

Have you been to New York during Christmas time? If so, let us know in the comments below - we want to know about your experience! If you have not gone, is it on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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Katelyn Amanda Belser
Katelyn Amanda Belser
Dec 06, 2022

NYC at Christmas is on my bucket list! Saving this for when I go!

Dec 06, 2022
Replying to

🗽🌃 Happy to help!

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