Planning a trip to NYC at Christmas? I compiled the best things to do in New York City during Christmas everyone will love! Read this before taking your next holiday trip in NYC.
New York City is one of the most magical places to be during the holiday season. With dazzling lights, extravagant window displays, and towering Christmas trees … it really does feel like being in a movie!
But with so much to choose from in such a busy city, it can be really overwhelming when trying to plan the best New York City Christmas vacation. So after researching high and low for the best things to do in New York City during Christmas, I compiled a comprehensive guide for you to follow on your next holiday trip to the Big Apple!
Keep reading to find out what to do in New York City at Christmas!
Where to Stay
Before we get into all things Christmas, you should know where to stay during your trip. While there are plenty of hotel options within the city, I suggest opting for an Airbnb. Choosing AirBnB allows you to stay in prime locations–like the heart of Manhattan–without breaking the bank.
You save tons of $$$ by staying at an AirBnB over a traditional hotel stay. Click here to get $55 off your Airbnb stay and experience. You won’t regret saving the extra cash… more pocket change = win!
Things to Do in NYC during Christmas:
1. See the Rockefeller Center Tree.
If you didn’t see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center did you even go to NYC during Christmas? Each year an impressive Christmas tree towers over Rockefeller Center. You really have to see it in person to grasp the magnitude of the tree.
2. Browse the Christmas Markets.
Another thing to put on your New York City Christmas bucket list is hitting up the Christmas Markets! There are so many little gift booths and food carts scattered throughout the parks. Union Square caters to gifts, while Winter Village in Bryant Park has tons of food and drink options.
3. Visit the Plaza Hotel.
Such an iconic spot, the Plaza Hotel is a must-see for any “Home Alone” fan! Take a walk through the lobby and explore the Eloise shop. You can also have tea in the upscale Palm Court hotel restaurant, or go the casual route and grab a hot chocolate in the downstairs food court. Both are excellent options.
4. Admire the Window Displays on 5th Ave
Don’t forget to stop and admire the creative window displays on 5th Avenue! I love how you can tell how much effort is put into each window display. My favorite window displays were from Coach and Tiffany’s. The themes are different every year, so make sure to check them out!
5. Send a Letter to Santa and Explore Santaland at Macy’s.
There is so much to explore in Santaland at Macy’s! Head up to the second floor of Macy’s to craft your own letter to Santa! When you’re done, pop it in the iconic red mailbox. You can also walk around and admire the store’s decorations (it reminds me of the movie “Elf”!).
6. See the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
This is a classic Christmas must-do when visiting NYC! If you haven’t seen the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular, put it on your list. You will love the upbeat magical show.
Pro tip for scoring cheap tickets: head over to the TKTS Booth in Time Square to get mega discounts on shows. You have a better chance of snagging tickets if your party is small. And don’t worry about where your seat is in Radio City Music Hall. We sat alllll the way in the back of the theater and still had an excellent view. There’s really not a bad seat in the house.
7. Ice Skate for Free in Bryant Park.
It’s true! You can go ice skating in Bryant Park for free! The only fee is for skate rentals, which is $20. But it’s still cheaper and less busy than skating at Rockefeller Center.
8. See Outrageous Christmas Homes in Dyker Heights.
Talk about Christmas to the max… these houses are amazing! Dyker Heights, located in Brooklyn, puts on an annual Christmas light tour that is 100% worth taking. It is not you’re average neighborhood Christmas light show though. These houses are decked from top to bottom and are popular Christmas attractions.
There are various tours, some walking and some minibus. So shop around for one that suits you and your group. Here are a few:
- Dyker Heights Christmas Tour
- Orginal Dyker Heights Christmas Light Bus Tour
- Dyker Heights Christmas Light Walking Tour
9. Complete your Christmas Shopping in Time Square.
If you’re a shopper, Time Square is the place to hit up all your favorite stores. Be cautious of the hiked up prices though. Time Square is still a tourist trap!
10. Take a Tour AT Tiffany’s.
This is a lesser-known free Christmas themed activity. The store has several Christmas trees all decorated differently. You can explore the store’s history and related props from the movie. It’s basically a little free museum! You can also have breakfast at Tiffany’s in the Blue Box Cafe! Just make sure you reserve a table.
11. Take a Carriage Ride.
If the weather isn’t too bad then a horse carriage ride through either Central Park or Bryant Park would be a great way to take in the city. It’s also a nice peaceful activity if you need a break from all the hustle and bustle!
12. Play with the Giant Piano at FAO Schwarz
If you’ve ever wanted to slide on a giant floor piano, visit FAO Schwarz! This toy store has the cutest Christmas decorations and toys galore. Grab a picture with the “toy soldiers” outside the store too!
13. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The architecture is magnificent and the interior is decorated beautifully for Christmas. You can light a candle and admire all the poinsettias.
Christmas in New York City
Are you going to NYC this Christmas? Which activity are you looking forward to the most? Tell me in the comments! I love reading your responses.
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