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The Top Things To Do In New York City For Christmas

Christmas in New York City is something that should be experienced by everyone. The lights and decorations everywhere and so many holiday events make New York City come alive like no other time of year.

This year we were able to enjoy about 30 hours in NYC and that was enough to make this year one of my favorite Christmas seasons. Here are some of the best activities to enjoy during a trip to New York City for the holidays.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is one of the most famous trees in the entire country and is a quick way to put anyone in the Christmas spirit. It’s generally a very crowded spot, but it’s worth braving the crowds to see. The tree lighting happens every year on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and is a televised event watched by millions of people.

After admiring the lights you can go skating at the iconic ice skating rink.

See The Holiday Windows Displays

Strolling Fifth Avenue to see the holiday windows is another free Christmas activity in New York City. The displays at Saks, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Bergdorf Goodman are all worth seeing.

Enjoy Live Christmas Music

The big apple is filled with live Christmas music. Beyond the popular Radio City Christmas Spectacular, there are choirs, orchestras, ballets, and other Christmas performances.

If you enjoy Jazz you can enjoy Big Band Holidays at Lincoln Center. On Broadway, you can see A Christmas Carol – The Musical. New York City Ballet performs The Nutcracker every year. The list goes on and on of spectacular performances.

You can also find free entertainment like the Holiday Choirs performing in the lobby of the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel just blocks away from the Rockefeller Center.

See The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

If you’re looking for a show to see, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is an iconic Christmas staple in NYC. The show has been running for over 75 years and is a must-see for anyone visiting during the Christmas season.


Visit The Christmas Markets

If you’re looking to do some shopping, the Christmas markets in Bryant Park and Union Square are both great places to find unique presents. The markets are open from around November 20th until December 24th.

Bryant park includes shopping and food kiosks and a free ice skating ring, where you have to pay for your skate rentals.

See The Nutcracker

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), the New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is a must-see. The show has been running for over 70 years and is one of the most popular Christmas traditions in the city.

Visit Central Park

There are a lot of activities in Central Park during the Christmas season.

Santa’s Village is an area where you can see Santa Claus, ride on horses, and eat food. There’s also ice skating at the Wollman rink if that’s something you’re interested in doing. And you can just walk around to see the Christmas lights. You can also go for a horse-pulled carriage ride through the parks while sipping on some hot chocolate.

Dyker Heights Brooklyn Lights

Rachel L’Heureux, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most popular Christmas light displays in the city is the Dyker Heights Brooklyn Lights. The neighborhood puts on a show with over 100,000 lights. It’s definitely worth seeing if you’re in town for Christmas.

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