Best Christmas activities in New York – discover festive things to do

New York City is known for its bustling energy and vibrant atmosphere, and it becomes even more magical during the Christmas season. From dazzling lights and decorations to festive activities and events, the Big Apple offers endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. Here are some must-do activities to make the most of your Christmas in New York.

From visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to getting on the best restaurants here are the best Christmas activities in New York. The city brings to you memorable moments and incredible gifts to carry to your family or friends. Find out the top NYC things to do on Christmas.

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Christmas Lights and Decorations in New York:

  1. Admire the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a symbol of the city’s holiday spirit.
  2. Stroll through Dyker Heights, a neighborhood in Brooklyn known for its extravagant Christmas light displays.
  3. Don’t miss the holiday windows at Saks Fifth Avenue, known for their elaborate and enchanting displays.
  4. Visit the New York Botanical Garden for their annual Holiday Train Show, featuring miniature trains running through a replica of New York City’s landmarks.

Ice Skating in New York at Christmas:

  1. Lace up your skates and take a spin at the famous Rockefeller Center ice rink, surrounded by stunning views of the city.
  2. Enjoy ice skating in the picturesque setting of Wollman Rink in Central Park.
  3. Explore the Winter Village at Bryant Park, complete with a picturesque skating rink and unique holiday market.
  4. The Rink at Brookfield Place offers a festive atmosphere with views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty.

Christmas Markets in New York:

  1. Shop for unique gifts and souvenirs at the Union Square Holiday Market, featuring over 150 vendors.
  2. Don’t miss the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, known for its curated selection of high-quality handmade goods.
  3. The Grand Central Holiday Fair is a must-visit for its stunning backdrop of the iconic train station.
  4. Head to the Winter Village at Bryant Park for a European-style holiday market experience with a variety of vendors and festive activities.

Christmas Shows and Events in New York:

  1. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a beloved holiday tradition, featuring the world-famous Rockettes and their high-energy performances.
  2. Watch a classic holiday ballet, The Nutcracker, at Lincoln Center’s iconic theater.
  3. The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is a must-see for train enthusiasts and families alike.
  4. Experience the holidays in a historic setting with a performance of A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House Museum.

Key Takeaways:


  • Experience the enchanting holiday magic of New York during Christmas time with its festive atmosphere and iconic landmarks lit up with twinkling lights and decorations.


  • Take a stroll through the city and marvel at the stunning Christmas displays and decorations, including the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and department store windows.


  • Go ice skating at one of New York’s many outdoor rinks, such as the world-famous rink at Rockefeller Center or the picturesque Wollman Rink in Central Park.

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The Magic of Christmas in New York

Experience the Magic of Christmas in New York with enchanting activities like ice skating at Rockefeller Center, witnessing the dazzling holiday window displays, and strolling through the magical Winter Village at Bryant Park.

Other delightful options include attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and marveling at the grand Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

Christmas Lights and Decorations in New York

Discovering the magic of Christmas lights and decorations in New York is an unforgettable experience. Be amazed by the enchanting displays at Rockefeller Center, where the towering Christmas tree shines with thousands of lights. Take a stroll through Dyker Heights in Brooklyn to admire the extravagant festive decorations that adorn the neighborhood. And be sure not to miss the holiday window displays at iconic department stores like Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, featuring elaborate and captivating Christmas scenes.

Ice Skating in New York at Christmas

Ice skating in New York during the Christmas season is a highly sought after activity, providing a truly enchanting experience in iconic locations such as Central Park’s Wollman Rink, the Rink at Rockefeller Center, and Bryant Park’s Winter Village. Gliding across the ice while surrounded by the city’s festive decorations and lights is sure to create an unforgettable holiday memory. It is essential to secure tickets in advance due to the high demand during this time of year. For more information on things to do in New York at Christmas, check out this article.

Christmas Markets in New York

Experience the joy of the holiday season at Christmas markets in New York, where you can find unique gifts, seasonal treats, and festive entertainment. Don’t miss the Union Square Holiday Market for handcrafted goods, Bryant Park’s Winter Village for ice skating and artisanal finds, and Columbus Circle Holiday Market for global cuisine and local artwork.

The tradition of outdoor Christmas markets dates back to the 19th century in Germany and has since become a beloved tradition across Europe, and now in New York and other parts of the world.

For a list of the best things to do in New York at Christmas, check out this reputable source.

Christmas Shows and Events in New York

During the holiday season, New York City hosts a plethora of captivating Christmas shows and events. The city comes alive with festive performances such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the holiday market at Union Square, and the enchanting window displays along Fifth Avenue. Visitors can also enjoy the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the charming holiday lights of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn.

If you happen to be in New York during Christmas, make sure to catch the dazzling Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and explore the magical holiday village at Bryant Park. Immerse yourself in the festive spirit by taking a stroll through Central Park’s Winter Wonderland and attending the delightful holiday concerts at Carnegie Hall.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-visit spots in New York City during Christmas?

Some must-visit spots in New York City during Christmas include the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the Plaza Hotel, and the Dyker Heights display.

What are some popular activities to do during Christmas in New York?

Visiting decked-out department stores, seeing the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and admiring the twinkling lights all over the city are some of the top activities to do during Christmas in New York.

Where can I find the best hot chocolate in New York during the winter months?

Sant Ambroeus and Gramercy’s Rolf’s restaurant are popular spots for indulging in decadent hot chocolate during the winter months.

What are some unique holiday-themed experiences in New York City?

Some unique experiences in New York City include helicopter rides, salt cave sessions, and afternoon tea at the Lotte New York Palace hotel.

What are some of the best places to see festive holiday decorations in New York City?

5th Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and the Nintendo Store are just some of the must-visit spots for stunning window displays and festive decorations during the holiday season.

What are some recommended indoor options for those visiting New York City during the winter season?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Neapolitan Christmas tree and Lincoln Center’s holiday-themed performances, including the New York City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” are great options for indoor activities during the winter season. Many who enjoy outdoors, must have visit the museum as one of the Christmas activities in New York. recently posted about Best Hiking Trails on Long Island for an Adventurous Outdoor Experience (updated 2023). Find out more.