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A woman at Rockefeller Center in NYC - the best Christmas activity for December 2021

It’s no secret that New York City is one of the most fascinating and magical places during the Christmas season. From the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to the festive lights in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood, there are a lot of fun NYC Christmas activities for all to experience!

Ever since I was a baby, my parents would take me to New York City to see the Tree at Rockefeller Center, the Radio City Rockettes, and all the enchanting 5th Avenue store windows. Even at a young age, there was always a special feeling that ran through me during Christmas in New York!

A woman having mulled wine at Rolf's - what to do in NYC in December 2021

From admiring the city skyline and all its lights from across the Hudson River in New Jersey to taking the Ferry, the entire journey into NYC was always so exciting for me during the holiday season.

A lot has changed over the years, and nowadays, in 2023, there are a lot of amazing new Christmas trees, shows, ice skating rinks, decorations and pop-ups that have emerged throughout the five boroughs. Because of that, doing a NYC Christmas trip should be added to your travel bucket list!

A woman standing in front of the Christmas lights - one of the top things to do in NYC

In this article, discover the best activities and things to do in NYC at Christmas.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time exploring the holiday magic in NYC, Sonder hosted me in one of their Battery Park apartments for two nights.


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50 Best New York City Christmas Activities

How to Get Around NYC during Christmastime:

A woman standing on the subway platform in NYC

There are countless ways to travel to experience NYC Christmas activities in 2023. Even though the city looks small on a map, it’s HUGE in reality!

In Manhattan alone, there are 262 blocks. Then you have Brooklyn, which is even more extensive; and then Queens, which is even larger than that, as well as The Bronx and Staten Island.

The most affordable and convenient way to travel around New York City is by taking the New York City Subway, which is run by MTA. Discover how to navigate the NYC Subway! (There is also a city bus that is run by MTA.)

A woman at the Tree at Rockefeller Center - the best thing to do in NYC during December 2021

Other ways to get around are by taxi or rideshare (Uber or Lyft). You could also take your own vehicle into New York City (or rent a car), but embrace that journey since there is a lot of traffic and parking is expensive.

(It is easier to find free parking outside of Manhattan. Please also note that parking officials do not play around; if you park illegally anywhere in NYC, your vehicle will get towed and the ticket isn’t cheap.)

New York City is a HUGE international hub, so you won’t have trouble finding flights to and from the Big Apple. The three major airports in the New York City area are John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Laguardia Airport. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

(Click here if you are planning a road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

If you are traveling locally, it is most convenient to take public transportation to see all the Christmas decorations in New York City. The train is one of the most popular ways locals from the Tri-state area travel into NYC for Christmas activities.

The Metro-North (run by MTA), which travels from the Hudson Valley, West Chester and Connecticut, goes into Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street. NJ Transit, which travels from New Jersey, and the Long Island Railroad, which travels from Long Island (and is also run by the MTA), goes into Penn Station on 34th Street.

A woman standing in Grand Central Terminal in NYC

For those traveling from Jersey City, Hoboken, Newark or Harrison in New Jersey, you could also take the PATH train (run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) from Newark-Penn Station, Harrison Station and Hoboken Station as well as Journal Square, Grove Street, Newport and Exchange Place in Jersey City into World Trade Center, Christopher Street, 9th Street, 14th Street, 23rd Street and 33rd Street in Manhattan.

In addition, for travelers visiting by train from farther destinations and other major cities like Washington D.C., Boston, etc., it’s best to take the Amtrak train into the Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station.

The bus is another way to travel to New York for Christmas. The buses that travel into the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street, outside of Times Square, are listed here.

My favorite way to travel into NYC is by taking the ferry! From Weehawken, NJ (Port Imperial), I enjoy sailing with the NY Waterway into either Midtown/West 39th Street or Downtown/Pier 11 Wall Street.

Overall, the NY Waterway also has terminals in Edgewater, Hoboken and Jersey City, NJ as well as Battery Park in Downtown Manhattan. You can access a bus service around Manhattan when you purchase a NY Waterway ticket.

Hoboken Terminal

There is also a NYC Ferry that travels between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx, and there’s a separate ferry for Staten Island.

Other ferries that go to and from Manhattan are the Trust for Governors Island (to and from Governors Island), Liberty Landing Ferry (to and from Jersey City), NY Water Taxi (a hop-on-hop-off water taxi), Seastreak (to and from Monmouth County beaches in New Jersey, as well as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts), and Statue Cruises (to and from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum).

When the holiday season is in full swing, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, it’s best to plan ahead. The city boasts a lot of tourism from late November through early January, so be prepared for heavy traffic and delays and arrive early for reservations, shows, etc.

Where to Stay during Christmas in New York:

A woman on a Sonder rooftop in NYC during the Christmas season

Sonder is one of the best places to stay in New York City to enjoy all the magical Christmas activities and taste what life is like as a New Yorker. During Christmastime 2020, I stayed at a Sonder in Manhattan’s Battery Park area in the Financial District.

Sonder manages short-term rentals around the world. You can choose from a few locations in New York City; each apartment is cozy, clean and in a safe neighborhood.

Overall, Sonder apartments feature a modern design, contact-free service and check-in as well as exceptional comfort with extra space to live, work and play!

A woman eating pizza at her Sonder apartment

Not only did my Sonder have an awesome pizza sign (there was an iconic Artichoke Basille’s Pizza around the corner), but my apartment also had one bedroom with a comfy, full-sized bed, a flat-screen television, a cozy living room with a sleeper sofa, closet space, a full-size kitchen, dining area and one full bathroom.

The apartment was professionally cleaned when I checked in and there was 24/7 support. My Sonder building also had a lounge area, rooftop and fitness center.

Best NYC Christmas Activities: How to Spend Christmas in New York

The Rockefeller Center Tree in NYC - things to do in NYC during December 2021

Visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Ice Rink:

A woman ice skating at Rockefeller Center during the Christmas season in NYC.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between West 50th and West 51st Streets

The number one of 50 things to do in NYC in December is to see the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

If you’re in NYC during the last week of November 2023, you could catch the annual tree lighting ceremony by NBC with live performances from famous music artists and celebrities. The annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting will occur on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. It’s the best NYC annual holiday tradition!

(Please note that the lighting ceremony attracts large crowds, so it’s best to be prepared and arrive early if you want a good viewing spot.)

The tree will be up from November 29, 2023, through January 13, 2024. Depending on the weather, ice skating will be available from November 4, 2023 through mid-March to early April 2024.

In addition to seeing the most famous NYC Christmas tree surrounded by stunning angels, you could also go ice skating at the iconic Rink at Rockefeller Center. This renowned ice skating rink is also where the Radio City Rockettes perform during the tree lighting.

It’s one of the most memorable NYC Christmas activities in December! Make sure you book tickets in advance to ice skate at Rockefeller Center.

At Rockefeller Center, you can also book rinkside chalets for a 50-minute cozy experience overlooking the ice rink and Christmas tree. At the Après Skate Chalet, presented by Balsam Hill, you can enjoy food and beverages served by Other Half Brewing.

See the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall:

A woman standing outside of Radio City Music Hall - one of the best Christmas activities in NYC during December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), between West 50th and West 51st Streets

Another one of the top things to do in Christmas in New York is to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes and presented by QVC. As a former competitive dancer, I always love seeing the Rockettes perform, whether in the Christmas Spectacular show that I’ve seen a few times or in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which I usually watch from home on Thanksgiving morning.

Seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is among the best NYC Christmas annual traditions and should be on your December bucket list.

Take Pics in front of the Giant Red Ornaments, Christmas Lights & Candy Canes:

A woman standing in front of the red ornaments on 6th Avenue - one of the top things to do in NYC during December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), between West 48th to West 50th Streets

While exploring all the holiday magic in Midtown, you must see the giant red ornaments, Christmas lights and giant candy canes around Rockefeller Center, across from Radio City Music Hall.

These festive decorations are some of the most photographed and truly fascinating to see in person during Christmas in New York.

Warm Up to Mulled Wine at City Winery Igloos:

City Winery igloos at Rockefeller Center - best NYC Christmas activities in December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – Rockefeller Plaza on West 51st Street

One of the best places to sit down, relax and warm up at Rockefeller Center is City Winery’s Outdoor Wine Garden and Private Winter Domes (igloos) that overlook the beautiful Christmas tree!

Citys Winery’s primary location is situated downtown in Tribeca, but every December in NYC, they set up their holiday wine experience in Midtown. The outdoor wine garden offers first-come, first-serve seating in an open-air space with outdoor heaters.

There are Private Wine Domes that are heated and intimate, which must be reserved in advance. At City Winery’s Outdoor Wine Garden and Private Winter Domes, you could enjoy mulled wine and cider as well as hot chocolate, coffee, regular wines from the winery itself and local beer from Torch & Crown Brewing Co.

Cozy Up with a Warm Beverage at Ralph’s Coffee Truck:

Location (Midtown) – Rockefeller Plaza on 5th Avenue

An iconic coffee pop-up stand in Rockefeller Center is Ralph’s Coffee Truck. This photogenic coffee truck is decorated for Christmas and it’s the perfect spot to pick up something warm to fuel you for the day while you take on the best NYC Christmas activities.

Enjoy the Saks Fifth Avenue Windows and Theatrical Light Show:

A woman enjoying Saks Fifth Avenue Show - best NYC Christmas Activites.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between East 49th and East 50th Streets

Every year, Saks Fifth Avenue does a fantastic job decorating its storefront windows with holiday apparel. These windows pay tribute to the talent of those within the fashion industry.

In addition, Saks also does an incredible 10-story light show every year that starts in late November and goes through the beginning of January. (The first light show will occur on November 20, 2023 and the last on January 5, 2024.)

Overall, the Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show runs every night between 4:35 pm and 10:35 pm. Each light show is repeated at regular intervals of around 10 minutes. The only days without a show will be November 29, 2023, for the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and Christmas Eve.

The Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show has a different theme each year. In 2022, it was Elton John-themed. Visit NYC to see the Christian Dior theme this year!

Tune into the Real Meaning of Christmas at St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

St. Patrick's Cathedral during Christmastime - the best Christmas decorations.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between East 50th and East 51st Streets

For all of us who celebrate, it is essential to remember the true meaning of Christmas. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located across from Rockefeller Center, is a beautiful neo-Gothic Catholic cathedral in which to spend Christmas in New York City.

While you explore and enjoy all the wonderful NYC Christmas activities at Rockefeller Center, try not to skip out on visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

During the month of December, visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral to view all the beautiful nativity scenes and Christmas décor and also attend a Christmas mass. The breathtaking mass on Christmas Eve should be added to your bucket list!

Admire the Holiday Décor at Lotte New York Palace:

A woman in front of the Christmas tree at Lotte New York Palace.

Location (Midtown) – Madison Avenue, between East 50th and East 51st Streets

Not only is Lotte New York Palace one of the most beautiful hotels to stay in during your Christmas trip to NYC, but admiring the stunning Christmas tree should be on your bucket list. In fact, Lotte Palace has one of the best Christmas trees in the city to see.

What is excellent about Lotte New York Palace is that it’s across the street from the back of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s also steps away from Rockefeller Center, the Theater District, Central Park and all other fun NYC Christmas activities Midtown offers.

Not only can children write letters to Santa Claus during a stay at Lotte New York Palace, but families can also admire a gingerbread mansion in the Grand Lobby; enjoy a Holiday Brunch in the hotel’s Villiard Restaurant for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day; meet the Rockettes on December 2, 9 & 16 from 10 am to 1 pm in the Grand Lobby; say hi to Santa on December 3, 10 & 17 from 10 am to 1 pm, do a St. Patrick’s Cathedral VIP tour; warm up to holiday cocktails and hot chocolate at the hotel’s Winter Bar in the courtyard and stay in the Palace Holiday Suite, which is decorated with a Christmas tree and has homemade cookies.

View the Magical Window Displays Along 5th Avenue:

A woman enjoying the holiday decorations on 5th Avenue in NYC.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue in Midtown, from 34th Street to the Start of Central Park

Fifth Avenue is where all of New York City’s high-end fashion shops and famous department stores are located. It’s similar to Paris’ Champs-Élysées, Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive, etc.

One of the best things to do in New York City at Christmas is to stroll along 5th Avenue and see the decorative storefront windows that beautifully showcase different fashion items and trends while celebrating the holiday magic.

Other 5th Avenue stores with beautiful Christmas decorations, which you must check out in NYC during December 2023, are Bergdorf Goodman, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Tiffany and Co., Coach, Christian Dior and Harry Winston, to name a few.

Experience the Magical Decorations at The Peninsula Hotel’s Lobby:

A woman admiring the beautiful Christmas decorations at The Peninsula Hotel in NYC.

Location (Midtown) – On the Corner of 5th Avenue and West 55th Street

Staying at The Peninsula Hotel during a New York City Christmas is extra special since they boast idyllic decorations and offer guests great holiday packages to make a family getaway to the Big Apple special.

The Peninsula New York is one of the best places to stay in NYC at Christmas! Below are the magical Christmas in New York packages you can book at The Peninsula New York:

  • Holiday Fun with FAO Schwarz: The Peninsula New York partners with FAO Schwarz to provide a magical experience for those with young children. When you book this package, you’ll stay in the holiday-themed Grand Suite filled with FAO Schwarz’s most popular seasonal toys and get $500 USD worth of gifts on a private toy shopping excursion.
  • Nights Before Christmas Package: During a stay at The Peninsula Hotel, you can make memories during an in-room candy cane scavenger hunt, decorate gingerbread cookies, enjoy FAO Schwarz holiday gifts as well as admire the festive decorations.
  • Holly Jolly New York Holiday Package: With this package, you can appreciate beautiful Christmas décor in your room, along with a 5th Avenue windows display tour, VIP access to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and welcome drinks for two at Salon de Ning rooftop.
  • New Year’s Eve: Located at Salon de Ning, at the top of The Peninsula New York, a New Year’s Eve rooftop gala is held and includes lighted dance floors, live music, delicious food, a cocktail bar and more.

Transport to the Swiss Alps at Chalet de Ning:

A woman enjoying the Swiss Alps-themed Chalet de Ning at The Peninsula New York - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (Midtown) – Salon de Ning on the rooftop of The Peninsula Hotel

During the holiday season, The Peninsula New York’s Salon de Ning has their Chalet de Ning. This enchanting rooftop experience transports guests and visitors to Switzerland’s cozy, snow-capped mountains.

You must book your tickets in advance for this experience. Enjoy holiday-crafted cocktails and seasonal dishes inspired by the Engadin region of the Swiss Alps.

Get The Christmas at The Plaza Hotel Experience:

A woman in front of The Plaza Hotel's Pulitzer Fountain in NYC during the holiday season.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between West 58th and West 59th Streets (at the start of Central Park)

The Plaza Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in NYC. A few famous movies filmed at The Plaza were Christmas at The Plaza, Home Alone 2, Plaza Suite and Eloise at The Plaza, to name a few.

One of the best NYC Christmas activities to enjoy at The Plaza Hotel is an English high tea experience. From November 1 through December 31, 2023, you can enjoy festive flavors while sipping elegant tea and finger sandwiches in The Plaza’s Palm Court. The entire venue is also decorated beautifully for Christmas.

You must book your high tea experience at The Plaza Hotel 30 days prior to your preferred dining date. Hotel guests can make reservations with the concierge anytime before their check-in date.

The holiday packages The Plaza Hotel offers are Home Alone 2: Escape to New York, which allows you to experience NYC as Kevin did, and the Suitest Season of All, which lets you enjoy a festive luxurious suite with floral arrangements. The Plaza Hotel also has a Thanksgiving Buffet, Champagne Bar Holiday Dining and a New Year’s Dinner.

Below are other special holiday events you won’t want to miss at The Plaza:

  • The Plaza’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony (Tuesday, November 28, 2023, from 5-7 pm)
  • Eloise Tea at The Palm Court (Santa Claus visits on select days.)
  • Tappy Hour (On November 28 and December 7, 14, and 21, 2023, former Radio City dancer Purdie Baumann performs in the lobby from 4-5 pm, alternating between The Palm Court and The Champagne Bar.)

Go Back in Time in Central Park:

A woman walking in Central Park.

Location (Uptown) – 59th to 110th Streets and Central Park West and 5th Avenue

No matter the time of year you visit New York City’s grandest park, it’s always beautiful! Between the spring cherry blossoms, sun-filled summer days, fall foliage and a winter wonderland, there is always something to do in Central Park.

If you visit NYC’s Central Park during Christmas in NYC, I suggest ice skating at Wollman Rink, taking a horse and carriage ride around the park and seeing all the stunning holiday lighting. It’s one of the most memorable NYC Christmas activities!

If you are lucky to be in New York City during a snowstorm, there is nothing more picturesque than being in Central Park! Discover the most Instagrammable spots in Central Park.

Attend the New York Botanical Garden GLOW and Train Show:

Location (The Bronx) – 2900 Southern Boulevard

Every year, New York Botanical Gardens in The Bronx (located near Fordham University’s campus) has a dazzling train show and light experience during the holiday season.

The New York Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Train Show is one of the most fascinating train shows in the world. The train display features nearly 200 iconic New York City landmarks.

Also located at the New York Botanical Garden during Christmastime is NYBG GLOW, where you can enjoy the gardens illuminated with magical light displays.

For those 21 and over, you can also participate in Bar Car Nights, which boasts holiday cocktails, live music, food and more. Visitors can also enjoy a festive farm-to-table dinner at the Hudson Garden Grill.

Watch the New York City Ballet Perform The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center:

Location (Upper West Side) – Lincoln Center on Columbus Avenue, between West 62nd and West 63rd Streets

Lincoln Center is a leading performance venue and one of the best Christmas shows in NYC is George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, performed by the New York City Ballet.

You can see The Nutcracker anytime from November 24 through December 31, 2023. You will be captivated by the talented dancers, Tchaikovsky’s music, the stunning costumes and the gorgeous sets.

Stroll around the Columbus Circle Holiday Market:

Location (Midtown) – Columbus Circle at the Southwest Entrance of Central Park

Known as one of the most elegant and beautiful places for holiday shopping in New York City, the Columbus Circle Holiday Markets should be on your list of things to do during your 2023 NYC December trip.

You can find everything from art, jewelry, food and clothing at these holiday markets. Also located in this area are The Shops at Columbus Circle. You can shop from stores like Alo, Diptyque, J Crew, and Tumi, dine at iconic restaurants like Momofuku Noodle Bar and enjoy seasonal events.

Venture to Queens to see the NYC Winter Lantern Festival:

A woman at the NYC Lantern Festival - a fun Christmas activity.

Location (Queens) – Queens County Farm Museum, Little Neck Parkway

One of the best NYC Christmas activities is venturing to Queens to experience the magical NYC Winter Lantern Festival. At this festival, you can wander through a world inspired by Chinese myths and legends. Admire large, handmade lantern displays and walk through different holiday light tunnels.

Overall, this dreamy lantern festival is fun for all ages to enjoy and there are also food vendors and great photo opportunities! This experience is presented by Fever.

(The Winter Lantern Festival can also be experienced at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.)

Watch A Christmas Carol on Broadway:

A woman seeing A Christmas Carol on Broadway.

Location (Midtown) – Nederlander Theatre, West 41st Street, between 8th and 7th Avenues

A Christmas Carol is an old-time Charles Dickens classic and a Broadway play during the holiday season in New York. If you’re looking for an incredible Christmas play to see during your time in New York City, I couldn’t recommend this show more!

(Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which plays at the Lyric Theatre, is another excellent Broadway play to see at Christmas in New York.)

Stroll around Bryant Park’s Winter Village:

A woman enjoying a hot Christmas drink at Bryant Park's Winter Village - one of the top NYC Christmas activities during December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – 6th and 5th Avenues, between 42nd and 40th Streets

Bryant Park is a magical place to enjoy all the incredible holiday fun in Midtown. Visiting the Bank of America Winter Village should be one of the top NYC Christmas activities and things to add to your bucket list.

From October 27, 2023, through January 2, 2024, Bryant Park is transformed into a Winter Village that includes a Christmas market with holiday shops, eateries and more.

You can find stands that sell jewelry, clothing apparel, artwork, candles and trinkets. The food offered at Bryant Park Winter Village includes cheese wheel pasta, crêpes, dumplings, empanadas, German bratwurst, hot cocoa from Max Brenner, paella and more.

In addition to the holiday markets, you can also admire the beautiful Christmas tree, which has its own lighting ceremony on November 28, 2023; go ice skating, which is free, but skate rentals and lockers are an additional cost; enjoy a rinkside open-air, après-skate venue called The Lodge Bar + Food Hall; book a cozy igloo surrounded by the ice rink, and experience the Curling Café & Bar, which includes a dedicated curling lane and heated dome with a reservation.

Visit the Empire State Building:

The Empire State Building in NYC during the Christmas season.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between West 34th and West 33rd Streets

The Empire State Building is the most iconic building in New York City. It not only features festive lights during the holidays but there are also fun Christmas events every December.

On December 12, 2023, You can purchase tickets to enjoy three different viewings of Elf, my favorite Christmas movie and a classic featuring Buddy the Elf. During this experience, on the 102nd floor, visitors will receive complimentary snacks and drinks during the movie.

Enjoy all the Christmas Decorations at Macy’s Herald Square:

A woman in front of Macy's Believe Sign in Herald Square NYC.

Location (Midtown) – Herald Square, on the Corner of 34th Street and Broadway

Macy’s Herald Square is the perfect reminder to BELIEVE – in yourself, in miracles and much more. A beautiful “Believe” sign lights up on Macy’s building façade on 34th Street. Macy’s also has fascinating holiday window displays like the stores on 5th Avenue.

In addition, Macy’s also has Santaland, where you and your little one can meet Santa Claus! It’s one of the most memorable NYC Christmas activities you and your family can enjoy.

Take in all the Christmas Lights at Shine Bright Hudson Yards:

A woman experiencing the holiday magic at Hudson Yards - the best Christmas decorations in NYC.

Location (Midtown West) – Between 10th and 12th Avenues, from West 30th to West 34th Streets

One of the best places for holiday cheer and bright lights is Shine Bright at Hudson Yards, presented by Wells Fargo.

When you visit the Mall at Hudson Yards, you can admire over two million gold Christmas lights, enjoy free photo opportunities with Santa, conquer your holiday shopping at big department stores and enjoy late-night entertainment at Santa’s Secret, a speakeasy room with Christmas cocktails.

Skate in the Sky at the Edge:

Location (Midtown West) – Hudson Yards, between 10th and 12 Avenues, from West 30th to West 34th Streets

After checking out the twinkling lights at Hudson Yards, head over to the Edge to Glice® in the sky at Sky Skate! Presented by Dunkin Donuts, enjoy New York City’s highest skating rink from November 15, 2023 through January 14, 2024.

What’s excellent about Glice® skating is that it usually includes a zero-energy ecological and synthetic ice rink.

Cozy Up in a Rooftop Igloo or Cabin at 230 Fifth:

A woman at the 230 Fifth Igloos during Christmastime.

Location (Flatiron) – 5th Avenue, between West 27th and West 26th Streets

One of the best ways to spend time with friends during the winter months is to visit 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar.

There are igloos available through a reservation system and they also take walk-ins based on availability. You can also enjoy prix-fixe dinners and engagement proposal packages at 230 Fifth.

At 230 Fifth, sip different types of boozy and non-alcoholic hot chocolate, coffee and ciders. They also have great food items! It should be added to your 2023 December NYC Christmas activity list.

You can also enjoy their cabins, which are first come, first serve!

Spot the Madison Square Park Holiday Tree:

Madison Square Garden during winter.

Location (Flatiron) – Madison Square Park, 5th and Madison Avenues, between East 26th and East 23rd Streets

In December 1912, Madison Square Park hosted the country’s first public Christmas tree lighting. To this day, the tree shines bright among New York City’s lights.

You can watch the Madison Square Park Holiday Tree Lighting on December 6 from 4 pm to 6 pm. It’s so beautiful!

Don’t forget to grab something tasty at the original Shake Shack!

Get a Taste of the Italian Alps at SERRA by Birreria at Eataly:

A woman enjoying the holiday decorations at Eataly. One of the top things to do in NYC in December 2023.

Location (Flatiron) – 5th Avenue, between West 24th and West 23rd Streets

Eataly is an Italian marketplace comprising restaurants, pizzerias, bakeries, bars, retail stores, markets and a cooking school. You can find Eataly in various cities worldwide and there are three locations within New York – the Flatiron, the Financial District and now Soho.

The Eataly at the Flatiron location has a seasonal rooftop restaurant and bar called SERRA by Birreria. Meaning “greenhouse” in Italian, SERRA offers a seasonal, rustic menu that reflects the Italian countryside and Alps. The decorations are beautiful for Christmas!

At SERRA, you can enjoy warm Italian cocktails, renowned wines and beer. (They also have mocktails!) It’s a fun spot to add to your Christmas in NYC activities bucket list!

Please note that the seasonal decorations are different each year.

Pretend You’re Spending Christmas in the Victorian Era at Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, Oscar Wilde and Papillon Bistro:

A woman at Lillie's Victorian Establishment in NYC during December.

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment Location (Union Square) – East 17th Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway

Oscar Wilde (Flatiron) – West 27th Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway

Papillon Bistro & Bar (Midtown) – East 54th Street, between 5th and Madison Avenues

Not only will you feel like you went back in time to the late 1800s or early 1900s, but Lillie’s Victorian Establishment has some of the most beautiful decorations in New York City.

There are two Lillie’s Victorian locations – Times Square and Union Square. This American restaurant is one of the most beautiful and the Union Square location features some of the best holiday decorations.

Oscar Wilde in the Flatiron District is another excellent NYC restaurant with a Victorian vibe. Like Lillie’s, Oscar Wilde has Christmas decorations throughout the restaurant and offers delicious New American food and beverages.

Under the same restaurant group, Papillon Bistro & Bar is another one of the most festive places to take in the best holiday decorations. This bi-level French brasserie is famous for its decorative staircase!

Wander Around the Union Square Holiday Market:

Location (Union Square) – Between East 17th and East 14th Streets

The Union Square Holiday Market is an internationally renowned market that sells unique gifts made by local New Yorkers and features award-winning NYC restaurants and retailers.

From November 16 through December 24, 2023, you can stroll around and shop for beautiful trinkets to bring home for the holidays or purchase Christmas gifts for your loved ones. It’s one of the top 50 things to do in NYC during the holidays, making it one of the best NYC Christmas activities in the Union Square neighborhood.

Travel to the German Christmas Markets without Leaving NYC at Rolf’s:

A woman sitting at Rolf's in NYC - the best Christmas activities in December 2023.

Location (Grammercy) – 3rd Avenue, between East 22nd and East 21st Streets

Rolf’s German Restaurant is one of the most magical places that cannot be excluded from your NYC Christmas itinerary.

This NYC Christmas classic is decked out in ornaments, Christmas lights, wreaths and dolls year-round! It features both Bavarian and Alsatian dishes, and its drink menu includes cozy holiday beverages that we all love, such as glühwein (German mulled wine), hot apple cider, spiced eggnog, holiday martinis, and more.

I always adore the warmth that Rolf’s offers and I believe anyone traveling to NYC during December should visit this spot. Please note, though, that dining reservations during the holiday season must be reserved in person, and due to its popularity, tables get booked up quickly. However, you can still visit Rolf’s as a walk-in for a drink at the bar.

Catch NYC’s 2nd Longest Running Tree Lighting in Washington Square Park:

Location (Washington Square Park) – Washington Square, outside New York University (NYU)

Right next to the iconic Washington Square Arch is a beautiful Christmas tree that gets lit every year. This year, you can enjoy the tree lighting ceremony on December 6, 2023, from 6 pm to 7 pm.

Washington Square Park is also famous for its Christmas Caroling on Christmas Eve. This year, the annual tradition will occur on December 24, 2023, from 5 pm to 6 pm.

Have Some Fun at a Miracle Pop-Up Bar:

Three women enjoying festive cocktails at Miracle on 9th Street.

Manhattan Location: The Cabinet (Alphabet City) – East 9th Street, between Avenue B and Avenue C

Brooklyn Location: Thief (Williamsburg) – Union Avenue

Another among the top 50 NYC Christmas activities to enjoy during the holiday season is the Miracle pop-up bars. Two Miracle locations are in New York City – The Cabinet in Manhattan’s Alphabet City and Thief in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves festive craft cocktails in a magical setting. I’ve been to the Manhattan Miracle pop-up at The Cabinet a few times and it always gets me into the holiday spirit with its colorful Christmas lights, vintage Santa Clauses, wooden nutcrackers and Hanukkah display.

Please note that you must make a reservation to visit any Miracle location beforehand. There are also a variety of Miracle bars in New Jersey that are not far from the city – Jersey City’s Franklin Social, Nutley’s Cowan’s Public and Verona’s The Parkside Social.

Go on an Upper East Side Stoop Scavenger Hunt:

A woman admiring a festively-decorated stoop in the Upper East Side of New York City.

Location (Upper East Side) – Anywhere in the East 60s to East 80s Streets

The Upper East Side is home to many of New York City’s wealthiest residents. This area of Manhattan boasts beautiful brownstone buildings that decorate magically for Christmas.

One of the best NYC Christmas activities is to wander through the UES and enjoy a fun scavenger hunt to find the most decorative stoops. My personal favorite is located on East 76th Street and 5th Avenue.

Celebrate a Tropical Christmas at Sippin’ Santa:

Location (Lower East Side) – Thief, Ludlow Street, between East Houston and Stanton Streets

Like the Miracle bars, Sippin’ Santa is another fun pop-up with locations nationwide, including New York!

If you’re someone who’s craving a tropical Christmas, you must visit Sippin’ Santa to enjoy a fun tiki bar experience, including Santa on surfboards, palm trees decked with colorful lights and ornaments as well as exotic cocktails.

There is a Sippin’ Santa location at Thief in the LES, and another across the Hudson River at The Vanguard in Harrison, New Jersey. It’s one of the most fun NYC Christmas activities with friends.

You must make reservations in advance to visit a Sippin’ Santa!

Have Yourself a Pink Christmas at Magic Hour Rooftop:

A woman at the Moxy Holiday Pop Up - one of the best NYC Christmas Activities.

Location (Times Square) – Moxy NYC Times Square, on the Corner of 7th Avenue and West 36th Street

If you love pink, visit Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the Moxy Times Square Hotel.

This unique NYC bar always has a themed winter rooftop. The photo above was taken in 2021, when the venue presented a pink après-ski theme. Not only can you enjoy warm beverages like pink hot cocoa and festive cocktails, but you must make a reservation for brunch to enjoy the carousel seating and all the fun photo spots with The Empire State Building as a backdrop!

You must make a reservation in advance to enjoy brunch or dinner at Magic Hour Rooftop. However, the bar area accepts walk-ins.

Make Memories at Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the Watermark:

A woman enjoying an evening at Santa'a Winter Wonderland at the Watermark - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (South Street Seaport) – Pier 15 on South Street

Hang out with Santa Claus at the South Street Seaport along the East River. From November 10 through December 30, 2023, enjoy an enchanting experience at Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the Watermark, presented by Fever. It’s one of the top NYC Christmas activities at the Seaport!

When you purchase a ticket, you will enjoy 90 minutes in illuminated, heated glasshouses, where you can savor delicious food like lobster mac and cheese, sip festive cocktails and hot cocoa and enjoy sweet treats, including making your own s’mores.

At Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the Watermark, you can also hang out with the big man, enjoy numerous photo opportunities, admire beautiful views of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, ride a mini carousel and write a letter to Santa.

You can purchase a general admission ticket or a glasshouse chalet. The latter includes a delicious entrée. It’s one of the most memorable Christmas events in New York for all ages.

Right next to the Watermark is Pier 17, which is also hosting Disney’s The Santa Clauses’ Winter Wonderland, presented by Bucket Listers. This event is held from November 22, 203 through January 7, 2024.

At The Santa Clauses’ Winter Wonderland at Pier 17, you can enjoy an ecological, synthetic ice rink, a fun slide, cozy cabins, holiday cocktails and festive treats, including a gingerbread bar. You can also cozy up in Santa’s Living Room, which has a giant fireplace. Additionally, there is a North Pole VIP Lounge, where you can enjoy warm beverages and seasonal menu options.

Explore the Holiday Magic at the Oculus:

The Oculus at World Trade Center during Christmastime.

Location (Financial District) – World Trade Center, between Greenwich and Church Streets

From November 25, 2023 through January 2, 2024, enjoy Westfield’s Holiday Market by Brik + Clik. It’s the perfect place for Christmas shopping and the best indoor New York Christmas market.

Not only are the market and shops at the Oculus some of the best locations to shop for loved ones, but it’s also near the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which you must experience during a NYC trip no matter the time of year.

Admire the Festive Tree and Décor at the New York Stock Exchange:

A woman enjoying the holiday decorations at the New York Stock Exchange - one of the top 40 things to do in NYC in December 2023.

Location (Financial District) – Wall Street and Broad Street

Another one of the top 50 things to do in NYC is to see the stunning Christmas tree at the New York Stock Exchange. Not only is the tree beautiful, but so are the decorations on the Stock Exchange building itself.

Every year, the NYSE has its own Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This year, the tree lighting will occur on November 30, 2023, from 3 pm to 6 pm. In addition to the lighting, there are phenomenal live performances.

Walk through the Dreamy Zuccotti Park:

A woman admiring the Christmas light display in Zuccotti Park - the best Christmas decorations in NYC during December 2023.

Location (Financial District) – Between Church Street and Broadway, along with Cedar and Thames Streets

One of Manhattan’s most beautiful Christmas light displays is in Zuccotti Park in FiDi. If you’re looking for non-touristy things to do in NYC this Christmas season, this is the place to go!

Walking through this park will amaze you, and it’s one of the most romantic things to do in NYC, making it the perfect proposal destination.

Sip Festive Tea around Town:

A woman enjoying a holiday-themed Tea Around Town - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (Midtown) – The bus stop location is at TopView Sightseeing, across from Bryant Park, on the corner of East 42nd Street and 5th Avenue

During the 2023 Christmas season, you can sign up to enjoy an English high tea experience on a beautiful double-decker bus that takes passengers around NYC’s most famous landmarks.

Tea Around Town is one of the best NYC Christmas activities to enjoy in December. This lovely double-decker bus has a pink interior decorated with garlands, white boas, red berries and faux fur, making it perfect for photo opportunities and afternoons with the girls.

When you sign up for premium admission, you’ll enjoy unlimited tea, a complimentary glass of Champagne and three tiers of scones, finger sandwiches and decadent desserts. There is also someone who serenades you for the entire 90 minutes and offers narration as you make your way around the Chrysler Building, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park and the 5th Avenue holiday displays.

There are Tea Around Town bus tours daily. It’s best to book this experience in advance during the holiday season.

Adventure to Dyker Heights to See the Best Christmas Lights:

A woman seeing Christmas lights at Dyker Heights in Brooklyn - the best NYC Christmas activities in December 2023.

Location (Brooklyn) – Dyker Heights, between 11th to 13th Avenues

A NYC Christmas trip isn’t complete without seeing the best Christmas light displays in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood.

This area pays homage to the most over-the-top Christmas light decorations with life-size Santas, nutcrackers, snowmen, Christmas village houses and more. There will even be Christmas carolers in the neighborhood, and some homes will sell hot chocolate and baked goods to visitors.

Visiting Dyker Heights is one of the best things to do in NYC on Christmas Eve. It’s a great way to ring in the holiday, and there are many incredible Italian restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious Feast of the Seven Fishes (an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition).

Make Your Way to Grand Central Terminal:

Grand Central Terminal during the holiday season.

Location (Midtown East) – Park Avenue, between East 42nd to East 45th Streets

Another indoor New York Christmas market is the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair. It runs from November 13 through December 24, 2023 and holds vendors selling curated experiences and unique products.

In addition to the markets, Grand Central Terminal also has shops and incredible dining, featuring restaurants like Cipriani, Bien Cuit, City Winery, Magnolia Bakery, Luke’s Lobster and more.

Overall, the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair is one of the best places to visit and enjoy amid the NYC holiday commute madness.

Catch the Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show:

Location (The Bronx) – Bronx Zoo, Southern Boulevard

One of the best NYC Christmas activities for animal lovers is to visit the Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show, which takes place from November 17, 2023, through January 7, 2024.

During this experience, you can enjoy immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns, dreamy Christmas lights and more sprinkled throughout the zoo. The lantern displays showcase the wildlife of New York’s ocean waters, wetlands and more.

While you visit The Bronx Zoo, stop at Arthur Avenue, NYC’s original Little Italy, to shop for Italian specialties for your holiday meal and enjoy one of the best Italian dinners at a local restaurant.

Attend Z100’s Jingle Ball:

Location (Midtown) – Madison Square Garden, Pennsylvania Plaza, between 7th and 8th Avenues and West 31st to West 33rd Streets

It’s no secret that one of the best Christmas events in NYC is Z100’s Jingle Ball, presented by iHeartRadio and Capital One.

New York City’s Jingle Ball will take place on December 8, 2023 at Madison Square Garden, and will feature Top 100 artists like Olivia Rodrigo, OneRepublic, Pentatonix and Jelly Roll. The Jingle Ball sells out every year, so always get your tickets when they first come out.

Every year, Jingle Ball gives back through the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, a non-profit supporting the youth through entertainment and educational-focused initiatives.

Bar Hop around NYC at the Annual SantaCon:

Three women at the NYC SantaCon.

Location (Throughout Midtown and Downtown Manhattan)

One of the most fun NYC Christmas activities for those 21 and older is SantaCon. In this charitable and fun bar crawl, participants dress up as Santa or something festive and visit different bars around Manhattan.

SantaCon 2023 will occur on December 9, from 10 am to 8 pm. You and your friends can follow the crowd to different venues in New York City and have a memorable time!

A ticket to SantaCon goes directly to Santa’s charity drive in the local neighborhoods. The bar route is announced once you purchase a ticket.

Suppose you cannot make the Manhattan SantaCon. In that case, a Hoboken SantaCon in New Jersey takes place exactly a week after the event in New York, on December 16, 2023.

Ice Skate on the Hudson at Brookfield Place:

Location (Tribeca) – Off West Side Highway

In addition to Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park and Central Park, ice skating fans can enjoy a wonderful experience along the Hudson River at The Rink at Brookfield Place.

Depending on the weather, the ice rink opens in November and will close sometime in March. It’s the perfect spot to skate with friends and family, book a private lesson, have a birthday party or corporate outing and enjoy a lovely winter’s day.

Go Glice® Skating and Cozy Up at Westlight in Brooklyn:

A woman Glice skating at The William Vale Winter Village at Westlight - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (Brooklyn) – Williamsburg, North 12th Street, between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street

A fantastic NYC Christmas activity to enjoy in Brooklyn is the Winter Village at Westlight in Williamsburg. This seasonal pop-up on the rooftop of The William Vale has cozy chalets to book and a Glice® skating rink with beautiful views of the city skyline.

The Westlight Winter Village will open on November 27, 2023, and will go through February, weather-dependent. When you reserve a chalet, you can sip on seasonal cocktails and dine on Alpine-style Fondue, small plates and more.

Additionally, The William Vale has a Winter Spa that hotel guests can enjoy. The spa has panoramic barrel saunas and deep-soaking cedar hot tubs to relax in. It’s perfect for a couple’s winter getaway to NYC or a solo rejuvenation trip.

Enjoy a Jolly Brunch at the Holly Jolly Bar:

A woman at the Holly Jolly Bar in New York City.

Location (West Village) – Mad Morton, corner of 7th Avenue and Morton Street

A wonderful Christmas-themed brunch in NYC this festive season is at the Holly Jolly Holiday Bar, which is open from November 24 through December 31, 2023. The pop-up is located at Mad Morton in the West Village and is presented by Bucket Listers.

You can enjoy all the jolly decorations and sip incredible holiday-themed cocktails like a Reindeer Mulled Wine, a Christmas Espresso Martini and a Reindeer Rosemary Mezcal Negroni. In addition, you can also savor delicious brunch foods like chicken and waffles and make memories with friends.

You must make a reservation to visit Holly Jolly Bar. You can choose from General Admission Table Seating for lunch or dinner (includes a cocktail/mocktail), General Admission Standing Room Only for the bar (includes a welcome shot) and Brunch Table Seating (includes a holiday-themed cocktail and entrée).

Become Captivated over the Skyline Views at Somewhere Nowhere:

Two women enjoying hot cocoa from a teadrop igloo at Somewhere Nowhere in NYC.

Location (Flatiron) – West 25th Street, between 7th and 6th Avenues

Another epic NYC Christmas activity is to reserve a cozy teardrop igloo on the rooftop of Somewhere Nowhere. This one-of-a-kind winter experience is perfect for a date night or an evening with the girls from November 16, 2023, through the beginning of the New Year, from Thursdays through Saturdays.

When you reserve a heated igloo, you’ll get a bottle of champagne that you can enjoy with views of the Empire State Building. Inside these lavish teardrop igloos, you’ll enjoy plush love seats, a built-in fireplace, cozy fur blankets, cocktails and spiced hot cocoa, small bites and even s’mores.

Igloos start at $85 USD per person and each one holds up to a maximum of five guests. Teardrop Igloos Experience at Somewhere Nowhere is presented by Fever.

Savor a Christmas Dinner at Tavern on the Green:

Location (Upper West Side) – Central Park on West 67th Street

One of the best Christmas Day activities in NYC is to enjoy dinner at the beautiful Tavern on the Green in Central Park.

The holiday décor and displays at this classic New York City restaurant will amaze you and your family! You can enjoy a 4-course feast featuring Executive Chef Bill Peet‘s dishes for Christmas Day.

Book your reservations a few months in advance if you plan to have Christmas dinner at Tavern on the Green.

Discover 101 things to do in NYC!


A woman enjoying the holiday decorations at South Street Seaport

Here are other Christmas destinations:

Magical December Getaways in the USA

Best Christmas Markets in Bavaria

2 Days in Tallinn, Estonia at Christmas

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best NYC Christmas activities and decorations for December 2023. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com. Happy Holidays!

Click here to book a cooking class in New York.

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., NY State Capital: Albany, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop My NYC Christmas Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

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30 Comments

  1. Kimberly Deer on December 10, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    This is one of my favorite blogs of yours ~ maybe because NYC is our home away from home! The most beautiful city -especially around the holidays. So glad I got to spend a few days with you in that lovely apartment in the Business District @Sonder ~ what a great experience being in the heart of downtown NYC. I also loved touring all the famous holiday spots and great restaurants. NYC is the best place to visit during this time of the year. Loved all your stunning photos ~ Brought these iconic places to life ~ Love you, mom xoxo <3

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      It really is so magical during this time of the year! We had such a great time. Love you too! <3

  2. Lina on December 11, 2020 at 9:16 am

    NYC during Christmas must be absolutely magical! The decoration looks so festive and it’s always been my dream to see the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Hopefully ome day I’ll be able to see it with my own eyes 🙂 Great post!

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you Alina! I really hope you get to go one day. NYC truly is spectacular during the holiday season! Let me know when you do come here 🙂

  3. Elena Pappalardo on December 11, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    What a fantastic blog post, Taylor! This was so informative as I plan my little day trip to the city and all of your photos are gorgeous!

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you so much Elena! You’re going to enjoy taking content in the city this year!

  4. MacKenzie on December 11, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    A NYC Christmas is my mom’s absolute DREAM. Every year we have tried going there has been one obstacle after another, but there are several things on here I don’t think she had on her radar! LuminoCity Festival especially – she loves lights, so I can’t wait to show her – hopefully next year she can actually make it.

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Ah yes, she will definitely LOVE NYC during Christmas time. Definitely try to go next year. 🙂

  5. Courtney on December 11, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    This is such a fun post! I’m sure that touring NYC this year was way different, but also nice to have so much space from all the usual tourist.
    Also, your photos are GORGEOUS! I love every single one of your outfits.

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you so much Courtney! Yes, NYC was definitely a different vibe this holiday season, but it was still magical! 🙂

  6. Linnea on December 11, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    I love how visiting NYC was a tradition for you growing up for Christmas! I would love to go back next year for a few days! Your pics at Lotte were so cute too. It’s been forever since I stayed there!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:17 pm

      Yes, it was always such a nice day! We usually go in the night before Christmas Eve. Also, yes, you totally have to come next year! 🙂

  7. Jenny on December 12, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Wow so many amazing things to do in New York for Christmas. I hope I can make it there one day. Those winery igloos are such a good idea and I would love to see Frozen on Broadway 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:17 pm

      It is seriously so amazing in NYC during Christmas! I love it. 🙂

  8. Emma on December 12, 2020 at 1:58 am

    New York is such a great city, and I would absolutely love to visit during the holidays one year. The closest I got was January when some of the activities were still happening and the tree was still up, but being around in December would be magical. Love all the displays you saw and I would really like to see the Christmas markets and drink at the wine igloo

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:18 pm

      You totally should come next year. It is so beautiful! Also, it really is nice enjoying NYC in December vs. January. 🙂

  9. Sarah on December 12, 2020 at 7:51 am

    This is so incredible! Your photos are amazing – how festive! I’m so envious there are this many awesome things to do in NYC. I haven’t been since I was a kid – hopefully I can get back during the holidays!! And your outfits are adoooooorable!!!!!!!!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you so much Sarah! You should totally go next year! 🙂

  10. Paula Martinelli on December 12, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Awesome guide idea! I go every year to NYC for business but I still need to plan a trip around Christmas time – it is so magical! I love your pictures and all the tips. Saving for when I get to visit again, hopefully during Christmas.

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:20 pm

      Thank you so much Paula! You should totally revisit next year. 🙂

  11. Catherine on December 12, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I used to live in NYC and even I haven’t done most of these New York Christmas activities. Thanks for all the ideas!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Yes, it is so much fun! I honestly didn’t start exploring all of these spots until the past few years. 🙂

  12. Helena on December 12, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    wow the Sonder apartment looks incredible! I’ve always wanted to visit NYC during the holidays so this is a super handy guide!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      It really is Helena! You should totally go next year. 🙂

  13. Mona on December 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    The Sondor looks amazing! I’ll have to check it out next time. Hoping to check some of these recommendations off my list next year!

    • Taylor Deer on December 13, 2020 at 1:05 am

      Yes, I really hope you get to go next year! 🙂

  14. cosette on December 13, 2020 at 1:01 am

    NYC during the holidays looks and sounds amazing. Still on my bucket list to visit in December one time.

    • Taylor Deer on December 13, 2020 at 1:05 am

      It really is Cosette! I loved it during this time of the year! Hope you could go next year. 🙂

  15. Shalzmojo on December 16, 2020 at 2:25 am

    OMG your blog posts are such a delight to go through. I simply love the pictures you so carefully plan and shoot – they bring about the best of the place and look absolutely spectacular. I just love your blog Taylor 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on December 16, 2020 at 10:11 pm

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! 🙂

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Ornaments

A woman at Rockefeller Center in NYC - the best Christmas activity for December 2021

It’s no secret that New York City is one of the most fascinating and magical places during the Christmas season. From the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to the festive lights in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood, there are a lot of fun NYC Christmas activities for all to experience!

Ever since I was a baby, my parents would take me to New York City to see the Tree at Rockefeller Center, the Radio City Rockettes, and all the enchanting 5th Avenue store windows. Even at a young age, there was always a special feeling that ran through me during Christmas in New York!

A woman having mulled wine at Rolf's - what to do in NYC in December 2021

From admiring the city skyline and all its lights from across the Hudson River in New Jersey to taking the Ferry, the entire journey into NYC was always so exciting for me during the holiday season.

A lot has changed over the years, and nowadays, in 2023, there are a lot of amazing new Christmas trees, shows, ice skating rinks, decorations and pop-ups that have emerged throughout the five boroughs. Because of that, doing a NYC Christmas trip should be added to your travel bucket list!

A woman standing in front of the Christmas lights - one of the top things to do in NYC

In this article, discover the best activities and things to do in NYC at Christmas.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time exploring the holiday magic in NYC, Sonder hosted me in one of their Battery Park apartments for two nights.


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50 Best New York City Christmas Activities

How to Get Around NYC during Christmastime:

A woman standing on the subway platform in NYC

There are countless ways to travel to experience NYC Christmas activities in 2023. Even though the city looks small on a map, it’s HUGE in reality!

In Manhattan alone, there are 262 blocks. Then you have Brooklyn, which is even more extensive; and then Queens, which is even larger than that, as well as The Bronx and Staten Island.

The most affordable and convenient way to travel around New York City is by taking the New York City Subway, which is run by MTA. Discover how to navigate the NYC Subway! (There is also a city bus that is run by MTA.)

A woman at the Tree at Rockefeller Center - the best thing to do in NYC during December 2021

Other ways to get around are by taxi or rideshare (Uber or Lyft). You could also take your own vehicle into New York City (or rent a car), but embrace that journey since there is a lot of traffic and parking is expensive.

(It is easier to find free parking outside of Manhattan. Please also note that parking officials do not play around; if you park illegally anywhere in NYC, your vehicle will get towed and the ticket isn’t cheap.)

New York City is a HUGE international hub, so you won’t have trouble finding flights to and from the Big Apple. The three major airports in the New York City area are John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Laguardia Airport. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

(Click here if you are planning a road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

If you are traveling locally, it is most convenient to take public transportation to see all the Christmas decorations in New York City. The train is one of the most popular ways locals from the Tri-state area travel into NYC for Christmas activities.

The Metro-North (run by MTA), which travels from the Hudson Valley, West Chester and Connecticut, goes into Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street. NJ Transit, which travels from New Jersey, and the Long Island Railroad, which travels from Long Island (and is also run by the MTA), goes into Penn Station on 34th Street.

A woman standing in Grand Central Terminal in NYC

For those traveling from Jersey City, Hoboken, Newark or Harrison in New Jersey, you could also take the PATH train (run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) from Newark-Penn Station, Harrison Station and Hoboken Station as well as Journal Square, Grove Street, Newport and Exchange Place in Jersey City into World Trade Center, Christopher Street, 9th Street, 14th Street, 23rd Street and 33rd Street in Manhattan.

In addition, for travelers visiting by train from farther destinations and other major cities like Washington D.C., Boston, etc., it’s best to take the Amtrak train into the Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station.

The bus is another way to travel to New York for Christmas. The buses that travel into the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street, outside of Times Square, are listed here.

My favorite way to travel into NYC is by taking the ferry! From Weehawken, NJ (Port Imperial), I enjoy sailing with the NY Waterway into either Midtown/West 39th Street or Downtown/Pier 11 Wall Street.

Overall, the NY Waterway also has terminals in Edgewater, Hoboken and Jersey City, NJ as well as Battery Park in Downtown Manhattan. You can access a bus service around Manhattan when you purchase a NY Waterway ticket.

Hoboken Terminal

There is also a NYC Ferry that travels between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx, and there’s a separate ferry for Staten Island.

Other ferries that go to and from Manhattan are the Trust for Governors Island (to and from Governors Island), Liberty Landing Ferry (to and from Jersey City), NY Water Taxi (a hop-on-hop-off water taxi), Seastreak (to and from Monmouth County beaches in New Jersey, as well as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts), and Statue Cruises (to and from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum).

When the holiday season is in full swing, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, it’s best to plan ahead. The city boasts a lot of tourism from late November through early January, so be prepared for heavy traffic and delays and arrive early for reservations, shows, etc.

Where to Stay during Christmas in New York:

A woman on a Sonder rooftop in NYC during the Christmas season

Sonder is one of the best places to stay in New York City to enjoy all the magical Christmas activities and taste what life is like as a New Yorker. During Christmastime 2020, I stayed at a Sonder in Manhattan’s Battery Park area in the Financial District.

Sonder manages short-term rentals around the world. You can choose from a few locations in New York City; each apartment is cozy, clean and in a safe neighborhood.

Overall, Sonder apartments feature a modern design, contact-free service and check-in as well as exceptional comfort with extra space to live, work and play!

A woman eating pizza at her Sonder apartment

Not only did my Sonder have an awesome pizza sign (there was an iconic Artichoke Basille’s Pizza around the corner), but my apartment also had one bedroom with a comfy, full-sized bed, a flat-screen television, a cozy living room with a sleeper sofa, closet space, a full-size kitchen, dining area and one full bathroom.

The apartment was professionally cleaned when I checked in and there was 24/7 support. My Sonder building also had a lounge area, rooftop and fitness center.

Best NYC Christmas Activities: How to Spend Christmas in New York

The Rockefeller Center Tree in NYC - things to do in NYC during December 2021

Visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Ice Rink:

A woman ice skating at Rockefeller Center during the Christmas season in NYC.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between West 50th and West 51st Streets

The number one of 50 things to do in NYC in December is to see the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

If you’re in NYC during the last week of November 2023, you could catch the annual tree lighting ceremony by NBC with live performances from famous music artists and celebrities. The annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting will occur on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. It’s the best NYC annual holiday tradition!

(Please note that the lighting ceremony attracts large crowds, so it’s best to be prepared and arrive early if you want a good viewing spot.)

The tree will be up from November 29, 2023, through January 13, 2024. Depending on the weather, ice skating will be available from November 4, 2023 through mid-March to early April 2024.

In addition to seeing the most famous NYC Christmas tree surrounded by stunning angels, you could also go ice skating at the iconic Rink at Rockefeller Center. This renowned ice skating rink is also where the Radio City Rockettes perform during the tree lighting.

It’s one of the most memorable NYC Christmas activities in December! Make sure you book tickets in advance to ice skate at Rockefeller Center.

At Rockefeller Center, you can also book rinkside chalets for a 50-minute cozy experience overlooking the ice rink and Christmas tree. At the Après Skate Chalet, presented by Balsam Hill, you can enjoy food and beverages served by Other Half Brewing.

See the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall:

A woman standing outside of Radio City Music Hall - one of the best Christmas activities in NYC during December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), between West 50th and West 51st Streets

Another one of the top things to do in Christmas in New York is to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes and presented by QVC. As a former competitive dancer, I always love seeing the Rockettes perform, whether in the Christmas Spectacular show that I’ve seen a few times or in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which I usually watch from home on Thanksgiving morning.

Seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is among the best NYC Christmas annual traditions and should be on your December bucket list.

Take Pics in front of the Giant Red Ornaments, Christmas Lights & Candy Canes:

A woman standing in front of the red ornaments on 6th Avenue - one of the top things to do in NYC during December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), between West 48th to West 50th Streets

While exploring all the holiday magic in Midtown, you must see the giant red ornaments, Christmas lights and giant candy canes around Rockefeller Center, across from Radio City Music Hall.

These festive decorations are some of the most photographed and truly fascinating to see in person during Christmas in New York.

Warm Up to Mulled Wine at City Winery Igloos:

City Winery igloos at Rockefeller Center - best NYC Christmas activities in December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – Rockefeller Plaza on West 51st Street

One of the best places to sit down, relax and warm up at Rockefeller Center is City Winery’s Outdoor Wine Garden and Private Winter Domes (igloos) that overlook the beautiful Christmas tree!

Citys Winery’s primary location is situated downtown in Tribeca, but every December in NYC, they set up their holiday wine experience in Midtown. The outdoor wine garden offers first-come, first-serve seating in an open-air space with outdoor heaters.

There are Private Wine Domes that are heated and intimate, which must be reserved in advance. At City Winery’s Outdoor Wine Garden and Private Winter Domes, you could enjoy mulled wine and cider as well as hot chocolate, coffee, regular wines from the winery itself and local beer from Torch & Crown Brewing Co.

Cozy Up with a Warm Beverage at Ralph’s Coffee Truck:

Location (Midtown) – Rockefeller Plaza on 5th Avenue

An iconic coffee pop-up stand in Rockefeller Center is Ralph’s Coffee Truck. This photogenic coffee truck is decorated for Christmas and it’s the perfect spot to pick up something warm to fuel you for the day while you take on the best NYC Christmas activities.

Enjoy the Saks Fifth Avenue Windows and Theatrical Light Show:

A woman enjoying Saks Fifth Avenue Show - best NYC Christmas Activites.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between East 49th and East 50th Streets

Every year, Saks Fifth Avenue does a fantastic job decorating its storefront windows with holiday apparel. These windows pay tribute to the talent of those within the fashion industry.

In addition, Saks also does an incredible 10-story light show every year that starts in late November and goes through the beginning of January. (The first light show will occur on November 20, 2023 and the last on January 5, 2024.)

Overall, the Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show runs every night between 4:35 pm and 10:35 pm. Each light show is repeated at regular intervals of around 10 minutes. The only days without a show will be November 29, 2023, for the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and Christmas Eve.

The Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show has a different theme each year. In 2022, it was Elton John-themed. Visit NYC to see the Christian Dior theme this year!

Tune into the Real Meaning of Christmas at St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

St. Patrick's Cathedral during Christmastime - the best Christmas decorations.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between East 50th and East 51st Streets

For all of us who celebrate, it is essential to remember the true meaning of Christmas. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located across from Rockefeller Center, is a beautiful neo-Gothic Catholic cathedral in which to spend Christmas in New York City.

While you explore and enjoy all the wonderful NYC Christmas activities at Rockefeller Center, try not to skip out on visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

During the month of December, visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral to view all the beautiful nativity scenes and Christmas décor and also attend a Christmas mass. The breathtaking mass on Christmas Eve should be added to your bucket list!

Admire the Holiday Décor at Lotte New York Palace:

A woman in front of the Christmas tree at Lotte New York Palace.

Location (Midtown) – Madison Avenue, between East 50th and East 51st Streets

Not only is Lotte New York Palace one of the most beautiful hotels to stay in during your Christmas trip to NYC, but admiring the stunning Christmas tree should be on your bucket list. In fact, Lotte Palace has one of the best Christmas trees in the city to see.

What is excellent about Lotte New York Palace is that it’s across the street from the back of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s also steps away from Rockefeller Center, the Theater District, Central Park and all other fun NYC Christmas activities Midtown offers.

Not only can children write letters to Santa Claus during a stay at Lotte New York Palace, but families can also admire a gingerbread mansion in the Grand Lobby; enjoy a Holiday Brunch in the hotel’s Villiard Restaurant for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day; meet the Rockettes on December 2, 9 & 16 from 10 am to 1 pm in the Grand Lobby; say hi to Santa on December 3, 10 & 17 from 10 am to 1 pm, do a St. Patrick’s Cathedral VIP tour; warm up to holiday cocktails and hot chocolate at the hotel’s Winter Bar in the courtyard and stay in the Palace Holiday Suite, which is decorated with a Christmas tree and has homemade cookies.

View the Magical Window Displays Along 5th Avenue:

A woman enjoying the holiday decorations on 5th Avenue in NYC.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue in Midtown, from 34th Street to the Start of Central Park

Fifth Avenue is where all of New York City’s high-end fashion shops and famous department stores are located. It’s similar to Paris’ Champs-Élysées, Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive, etc.

One of the best things to do in New York City at Christmas is to stroll along 5th Avenue and see the decorative storefront windows that beautifully showcase different fashion items and trends while celebrating the holiday magic.

Other 5th Avenue stores with beautiful Christmas decorations, which you must check out in NYC during December 2023, are Bergdorf Goodman, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Tiffany and Co., Coach, Christian Dior and Harry Winston, to name a few.

Experience the Magical Decorations at The Peninsula Hotel’s Lobby:

A woman admiring the beautiful Christmas decorations at The Peninsula Hotel in NYC.

Location (Midtown) – On the Corner of 5th Avenue and West 55th Street

Staying at The Peninsula Hotel during a New York City Christmas is extra special since they boast idyllic decorations and offer guests great holiday packages to make a family getaway to the Big Apple special.

The Peninsula New York is one of the best places to stay in NYC at Christmas! Below are the magical Christmas in New York packages you can book at The Peninsula New York:

  • Holiday Fun with FAO Schwarz: The Peninsula New York partners with FAO Schwarz to provide a magical experience for those with young children. When you book this package, you’ll stay in the holiday-themed Grand Suite filled with FAO Schwarz’s most popular seasonal toys and get $500 USD worth of gifts on a private toy shopping excursion.
  • Nights Before Christmas Package: During a stay at The Peninsula Hotel, you can make memories during an in-room candy cane scavenger hunt, decorate gingerbread cookies, enjoy FAO Schwarz holiday gifts as well as admire the festive decorations.
  • Holly Jolly New York Holiday Package: With this package, you can appreciate beautiful Christmas décor in your room, along with a 5th Avenue windows display tour, VIP access to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and welcome drinks for two at Salon de Ning rooftop.
  • New Year’s Eve: Located at Salon de Ning, at the top of The Peninsula New York, a New Year’s Eve rooftop gala is held and includes lighted dance floors, live music, delicious food, a cocktail bar and more.

Transport to the Swiss Alps at Chalet de Ning:

A woman enjoying the Swiss Alps-themed Chalet de Ning at The Peninsula New York - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (Midtown) – Salon de Ning on the rooftop of The Peninsula Hotel

During the holiday season, The Peninsula New York’s Salon de Ning has their Chalet de Ning. This enchanting rooftop experience transports guests and visitors to Switzerland’s cozy, snow-capped mountains.

You must book your tickets in advance for this experience. Enjoy holiday-crafted cocktails and seasonal dishes inspired by the Engadin region of the Swiss Alps.

Get The Christmas at The Plaza Hotel Experience:

A woman in front of The Plaza Hotel's Pulitzer Fountain in NYC during the holiday season.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between West 58th and West 59th Streets (at the start of Central Park)

The Plaza Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in NYC. A few famous movies filmed at The Plaza were Christmas at The Plaza, Home Alone 2, Plaza Suite and Eloise at The Plaza, to name a few.

One of the best NYC Christmas activities to enjoy at The Plaza Hotel is an English high tea experience. From November 1 through December 31, 2023, you can enjoy festive flavors while sipping elegant tea and finger sandwiches in The Plaza’s Palm Court. The entire venue is also decorated beautifully for Christmas.

You must book your high tea experience at The Plaza Hotel 30 days prior to your preferred dining date. Hotel guests can make reservations with the concierge anytime before their check-in date.

The holiday packages The Plaza Hotel offers are Home Alone 2: Escape to New York, which allows you to experience NYC as Kevin did, and the Suitest Season of All, which lets you enjoy a festive luxurious suite with floral arrangements. The Plaza Hotel also has a Thanksgiving Buffet, Champagne Bar Holiday Dining and a New Year’s Dinner.

Below are other special holiday events you won’t want to miss at The Plaza:

  • The Plaza’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony (Tuesday, November 28, 2023, from 5-7 pm)
  • Eloise Tea at The Palm Court (Santa Claus visits on select days.)
  • Tappy Hour (On November 28 and December 7, 14, and 21, 2023, former Radio City dancer Purdie Baumann performs in the lobby from 4-5 pm, alternating between The Palm Court and The Champagne Bar.)

Go Back in Time in Central Park:

A woman walking in Central Park.

Location (Uptown) – 59th to 110th Streets and Central Park West and 5th Avenue

No matter the time of year you visit New York City’s grandest park, it’s always beautiful! Between the spring cherry blossoms, sun-filled summer days, fall foliage and a winter wonderland, there is always something to do in Central Park.

If you visit NYC’s Central Park during Christmas in NYC, I suggest ice skating at Wollman Rink, taking a horse and carriage ride around the park and seeing all the stunning holiday lighting. It’s one of the most memorable NYC Christmas activities!

If you are lucky to be in New York City during a snowstorm, there is nothing more picturesque than being in Central Park! Discover the most Instagrammable spots in Central Park.

Attend the New York Botanical Garden GLOW and Train Show:

Location (The Bronx) – 2900 Southern Boulevard

Every year, New York Botanical Gardens in The Bronx (located near Fordham University’s campus) has a dazzling train show and light experience during the holiday season.

The New York Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Train Show is one of the most fascinating train shows in the world. The train display features nearly 200 iconic New York City landmarks.

Also located at the New York Botanical Garden during Christmastime is NYBG GLOW, where you can enjoy the gardens illuminated with magical light displays.

For those 21 and over, you can also participate in Bar Car Nights, which boasts holiday cocktails, live music, food and more. Visitors can also enjoy a festive farm-to-table dinner at the Hudson Garden Grill.

Watch the New York City Ballet Perform The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center:

Location (Upper West Side) – Lincoln Center on Columbus Avenue, between West 62nd and West 63rd Streets

Lincoln Center is a leading performance venue and one of the best Christmas shows in NYC is George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, performed by the New York City Ballet.

You can see The Nutcracker anytime from November 24 through December 31, 2023. You will be captivated by the talented dancers, Tchaikovsky’s music, the stunning costumes and the gorgeous sets.

Stroll around the Columbus Circle Holiday Market:

Location (Midtown) – Columbus Circle at the Southwest Entrance of Central Park

Known as one of the most elegant and beautiful places for holiday shopping in New York City, the Columbus Circle Holiday Markets should be on your list of things to do during your 2023 NYC December trip.

You can find everything from art, jewelry, food and clothing at these holiday markets. Also located in this area are The Shops at Columbus Circle. You can shop from stores like Alo, Diptyque, J Crew, and Tumi, dine at iconic restaurants like Momofuku Noodle Bar and enjoy seasonal events.

Venture to Queens to see the NYC Winter Lantern Festival:

A woman at the NYC Lantern Festival - a fun Christmas activity.

Location (Queens) – Queens County Farm Museum, Little Neck Parkway

One of the best NYC Christmas activities is venturing to Queens to experience the magical NYC Winter Lantern Festival. At this festival, you can wander through a world inspired by Chinese myths and legends. Admire large, handmade lantern displays and walk through different holiday light tunnels.

Overall, this dreamy lantern festival is fun for all ages to enjoy and there are also food vendors and great photo opportunities! This experience is presented by Fever.

(The Winter Lantern Festival can also be experienced at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey.)

Watch A Christmas Carol on Broadway:

A woman seeing A Christmas Carol on Broadway.

Location (Midtown) – Nederlander Theatre, West 41st Street, between 8th and 7th Avenues

A Christmas Carol is an old-time Charles Dickens classic and a Broadway play during the holiday season in New York. If you’re looking for an incredible Christmas play to see during your time in New York City, I couldn’t recommend this show more!

(Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which plays at the Lyric Theatre, is another excellent Broadway play to see at Christmas in New York.)

Stroll around Bryant Park’s Winter Village:

A woman enjoying a hot Christmas drink at Bryant Park's Winter Village - one of the top NYC Christmas activities during December 2023.

Location (Midtown) – 6th and 5th Avenues, between 42nd and 40th Streets

Bryant Park is a magical place to enjoy all the incredible holiday fun in Midtown. Visiting the Bank of America Winter Village should be one of the top NYC Christmas activities and things to add to your bucket list.

From October 27, 2023, through January 2, 2024, Bryant Park is transformed into a Winter Village that includes a Christmas market with holiday shops, eateries and more.

You can find stands that sell jewelry, clothing apparel, artwork, candles and trinkets. The food offered at Bryant Park Winter Village includes cheese wheel pasta, crêpes, dumplings, empanadas, German bratwurst, hot cocoa from Max Brenner, paella and more.

In addition to the holiday markets, you can also admire the beautiful Christmas tree, which has its own lighting ceremony on November 28, 2023; go ice skating, which is free, but skate rentals and lockers are an additional cost; enjoy a rinkside open-air, après-skate venue called The Lodge Bar + Food Hall; book a cozy igloo surrounded by the ice rink, and experience the Curling Café & Bar, which includes a dedicated curling lane and heated dome with a reservation.

Visit the Empire State Building:

The Empire State Building in NYC during the Christmas season.

Location (Midtown) – 5th Avenue, between West 34th and West 33rd Streets

The Empire State Building is the most iconic building in New York City. It not only features festive lights during the holidays but there are also fun Christmas events every December.

On December 12, 2023, You can purchase tickets to enjoy three different viewings of Elf, my favorite Christmas movie and a classic featuring Buddy the Elf. During this experience, on the 102nd floor, visitors will receive complimentary snacks and drinks during the movie.

Enjoy all the Christmas Decorations at Macy’s Herald Square:

A woman in front of Macy's Believe Sign in Herald Square NYC.

Location (Midtown) – Herald Square, on the Corner of 34th Street and Broadway

Macy’s Herald Square is the perfect reminder to BELIEVE – in yourself, in miracles and much more. A beautiful “Believe” sign lights up on Macy’s building façade on 34th Street. Macy’s also has fascinating holiday window displays like the stores on 5th Avenue.

In addition, Macy’s also has Santaland, where you and your little one can meet Santa Claus! It’s one of the most memorable NYC Christmas activities you and your family can enjoy.

Take in all the Christmas Lights at Shine Bright Hudson Yards:

A woman experiencing the holiday magic at Hudson Yards - the best Christmas decorations in NYC.

Location (Midtown West) – Between 10th and 12th Avenues, from West 30th to West 34th Streets

One of the best places for holiday cheer and bright lights is Shine Bright at Hudson Yards, presented by Wells Fargo.

When you visit the Mall at Hudson Yards, you can admire over two million gold Christmas lights, enjoy free photo opportunities with Santa, conquer your holiday shopping at big department stores and enjoy late-night entertainment at Santa’s Secret, a speakeasy room with Christmas cocktails.

Skate in the Sky at the Edge:

Location (Midtown West) – Hudson Yards, between 10th and 12 Avenues, from West 30th to West 34th Streets

After checking out the twinkling lights at Hudson Yards, head over to the Edge to Glice® in the sky at Sky Skate! Presented by Dunkin Donuts, enjoy New York City’s highest skating rink from November 15, 2023 through January 14, 2024.

What’s excellent about Glice® skating is that it usually includes a zero-energy ecological and synthetic ice rink.

Cozy Up in a Rooftop Igloo or Cabin at 230 Fifth:

A woman at the 230 Fifth Igloos during Christmastime.

Location (Flatiron) – 5th Avenue, between West 27th and West 26th Streets

One of the best ways to spend time with friends during the winter months is to visit 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar.

There are igloos available through a reservation system and they also take walk-ins based on availability. You can also enjoy prix-fixe dinners and engagement proposal packages at 230 Fifth.

At 230 Fifth, sip different types of boozy and non-alcoholic hot chocolate, coffee and ciders. They also have great food items! It should be added to your 2023 December NYC Christmas activity list.

You can also enjoy their cabins, which are first come, first serve!

Spot the Madison Square Park Holiday Tree:

Madison Square Garden during winter.

Location (Flatiron) – Madison Square Park, 5th and Madison Avenues, between East 26th and East 23rd Streets

In December 1912, Madison Square Park hosted the country’s first public Christmas tree lighting. To this day, the tree shines bright among New York City’s lights.

You can watch the Madison Square Park Holiday Tree Lighting on December 6 from 4 pm to 6 pm. It’s so beautiful!

Don’t forget to grab something tasty at the original Shake Shack!

Get a Taste of the Italian Alps at SERRA by Birreria at Eataly:

A woman enjoying the holiday decorations at Eataly. One of the top things to do in NYC in December 2023.

Location (Flatiron) – 5th Avenue, between West 24th and West 23rd Streets

Eataly is an Italian marketplace comprising restaurants, pizzerias, bakeries, bars, retail stores, markets and a cooking school. You can find Eataly in various cities worldwide and there are three locations within New York – the Flatiron, the Financial District and now Soho.

The Eataly at the Flatiron location has a seasonal rooftop restaurant and bar called SERRA by Birreria. Meaning “greenhouse” in Italian, SERRA offers a seasonal, rustic menu that reflects the Italian countryside and Alps. The decorations are beautiful for Christmas!

At SERRA, you can enjoy warm Italian cocktails, renowned wines and beer. (They also have mocktails!) It’s a fun spot to add to your Christmas in NYC activities bucket list!

Please note that the seasonal decorations are different each year.

Pretend You’re Spending Christmas in the Victorian Era at Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, Oscar Wilde and Papillon Bistro:

A woman at Lillie's Victorian Establishment in NYC during December.

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment Location (Union Square) – East 17th Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway

Oscar Wilde (Flatiron) – West 27th Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway

Papillon Bistro & Bar (Midtown) – East 54th Street, between 5th and Madison Avenues

Not only will you feel like you went back in time to the late 1800s or early 1900s, but Lillie’s Victorian Establishment has some of the most beautiful decorations in New York City.

There are two Lillie’s Victorian locations – Times Square and Union Square. This American restaurant is one of the most beautiful and the Union Square location features some of the best holiday decorations.

Oscar Wilde in the Flatiron District is another excellent NYC restaurant with a Victorian vibe. Like Lillie’s, Oscar Wilde has Christmas decorations throughout the restaurant and offers delicious New American food and beverages.

Under the same restaurant group, Papillon Bistro & Bar is another one of the most festive places to take in the best holiday decorations. This bi-level French brasserie is famous for its decorative staircase!

Wander Around the Union Square Holiday Market:

Location (Union Square) – Between East 17th and East 14th Streets

The Union Square Holiday Market is an internationally renowned market that sells unique gifts made by local New Yorkers and features award-winning NYC restaurants and retailers.

From November 16 through December 24, 2023, you can stroll around and shop for beautiful trinkets to bring home for the holidays or purchase Christmas gifts for your loved ones. It’s one of the top 50 things to do in NYC during the holidays, making it one of the best NYC Christmas activities in the Union Square neighborhood.

Travel to the German Christmas Markets without Leaving NYC at Rolf’s:

A woman sitting at Rolf's in NYC - the best Christmas activities in December 2023.

Location (Grammercy) – 3rd Avenue, between East 22nd and East 21st Streets

Rolf’s German Restaurant is one of the most magical places that cannot be excluded from your NYC Christmas itinerary.

This NYC Christmas classic is decked out in ornaments, Christmas lights, wreaths and dolls year-round! It features both Bavarian and Alsatian dishes, and its drink menu includes cozy holiday beverages that we all love, such as glühwein (German mulled wine), hot apple cider, spiced eggnog, holiday martinis, and more.

I always adore the warmth that Rolf’s offers and I believe anyone traveling to NYC during December should visit this spot. Please note, though, that dining reservations during the holiday season must be reserved in person, and due to its popularity, tables get booked up quickly. However, you can still visit Rolf’s as a walk-in for a drink at the bar.

Catch NYC’s 2nd Longest Running Tree Lighting in Washington Square Park:

Location (Washington Square Park) – Washington Square, outside New York University (NYU)

Right next to the iconic Washington Square Arch is a beautiful Christmas tree that gets lit every year. This year, you can enjoy the tree lighting ceremony on December 6, 2023, from 6 pm to 7 pm.

Washington Square Park is also famous for its Christmas Caroling on Christmas Eve. This year, the annual tradition will occur on December 24, 2023, from 5 pm to 6 pm.

Have Some Fun at a Miracle Pop-Up Bar:

Three women enjoying festive cocktails at Miracle on 9th Street.

Manhattan Location: The Cabinet (Alphabet City) – East 9th Street, between Avenue B and Avenue C

Brooklyn Location: Thief (Williamsburg) – Union Avenue

Another among the top 50 NYC Christmas activities to enjoy during the holiday season is the Miracle pop-up bars. Two Miracle locations are in New York City – The Cabinet in Manhattan’s Alphabet City and Thief in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves festive craft cocktails in a magical setting. I’ve been to the Manhattan Miracle pop-up at The Cabinet a few times and it always gets me into the holiday spirit with its colorful Christmas lights, vintage Santa Clauses, wooden nutcrackers and Hanukkah display.

Please note that you must make a reservation to visit any Miracle location beforehand. There are also a variety of Miracle bars in New Jersey that are not far from the city – Jersey City’s Franklin Social, Nutley’s Cowan’s Public and Verona’s The Parkside Social.

Go on an Upper East Side Stoop Scavenger Hunt:

A woman admiring a festively-decorated stoop in the Upper East Side of New York City.

Location (Upper East Side) – Anywhere in the East 60s to East 80s Streets

The Upper East Side is home to many of New York City’s wealthiest residents. This area of Manhattan boasts beautiful brownstone buildings that decorate magically for Christmas.

One of the best NYC Christmas activities is to wander through the UES and enjoy a fun scavenger hunt to find the most decorative stoops. My personal favorite is located on East 76th Street and 5th Avenue.

Celebrate a Tropical Christmas at Sippin’ Santa:

Location (Lower East Side) – Thief, Ludlow Street, between East Houston and Stanton Streets

Like the Miracle bars, Sippin’ Santa is another fun pop-up with locations nationwide, including New York!

If you’re someone who’s craving a tropical Christmas, you must visit Sippin’ Santa to enjoy a fun tiki bar experience, including Santa on surfboards, palm trees decked with colorful lights and ornaments as well as exotic cocktails.

There is a Sippin’ Santa location at Thief in the LES, and another across the Hudson River at The Vanguard in Harrison, New Jersey. It’s one of the most fun NYC Christmas activities with friends.

You must make reservations in advance to visit a Sippin’ Santa!

Have Yourself a Pink Christmas at Magic Hour Rooftop:

A woman at the Moxy Holiday Pop Up - one of the best NYC Christmas Activities.

Location (Times Square) – Moxy NYC Times Square, on the Corner of 7th Avenue and West 36th Street

If you love pink, visit Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the Moxy Times Square Hotel.

This unique NYC bar always has a themed winter rooftop. The photo above was taken in 2021, when the venue presented a pink après-ski theme. Not only can you enjoy warm beverages like pink hot cocoa and festive cocktails, but you must make a reservation for brunch to enjoy the carousel seating and all the fun photo spots with The Empire State Building as a backdrop!

You must make a reservation in advance to enjoy brunch or dinner at Magic Hour Rooftop. However, the bar area accepts walk-ins.

Make Memories at Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the Watermark:

A woman enjoying an evening at Santa'a Winter Wonderland at the Watermark - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (South Street Seaport) – Pier 15 on South Street

Hang out with Santa Claus at the South Street Seaport along the East River. From November 10 through December 30, 2023, enjoy an enchanting experience at Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the Watermark, presented by Fever. It’s one of the top NYC Christmas activities at the Seaport!

When you purchase a ticket, you will enjoy 90 minutes in illuminated, heated glasshouses, where you can savor delicious food like lobster mac and cheese, sip festive cocktails and hot cocoa and enjoy sweet treats, including making your own s’mores.

At Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the Watermark, you can also hang out with the big man, enjoy numerous photo opportunities, admire beautiful views of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, ride a mini carousel and write a letter to Santa.

You can purchase a general admission ticket or a glasshouse chalet. The latter includes a delicious entrée. It’s one of the most memorable Christmas events in New York for all ages.

Right next to the Watermark is Pier 17, which is also hosting Disney’s The Santa Clauses’ Winter Wonderland, presented by Bucket Listers. This event is held from November 22, 203 through January 7, 2024.

At The Santa Clauses’ Winter Wonderland at Pier 17, you can enjoy an ecological, synthetic ice rink, a fun slide, cozy cabins, holiday cocktails and festive treats, including a gingerbread bar. You can also cozy up in Santa’s Living Room, which has a giant fireplace. Additionally, there is a North Pole VIP Lounge, where you can enjoy warm beverages and seasonal menu options.

Explore the Holiday Magic at the Oculus:

The Oculus at World Trade Center during Christmastime.

Location (Financial District) – World Trade Center, between Greenwich and Church Streets

From November 25, 2023 through January 2, 2024, enjoy Westfield’s Holiday Market by Brik + Clik. It’s the perfect place for Christmas shopping and the best indoor New York Christmas market.

Not only are the market and shops at the Oculus some of the best locations to shop for loved ones, but it’s also near the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which you must experience during a NYC trip no matter the time of year.

Admire the Festive Tree and Décor at the New York Stock Exchange:

A woman enjoying the holiday decorations at the New York Stock Exchange - one of the top 40 things to do in NYC in December 2023.

Location (Financial District) – Wall Street and Broad Street

Another one of the top 50 things to do in NYC is to see the stunning Christmas tree at the New York Stock Exchange. Not only is the tree beautiful, but so are the decorations on the Stock Exchange building itself.

Every year, the NYSE has its own Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This year, the tree lighting will occur on November 30, 2023, from 3 pm to 6 pm. In addition to the lighting, there are phenomenal live performances.

Walk through the Dreamy Zuccotti Park:

A woman admiring the Christmas light display in Zuccotti Park - the best Christmas decorations in NYC during December 2023.

Location (Financial District) – Between Church Street and Broadway, along with Cedar and Thames Streets

One of Manhattan’s most beautiful Christmas light displays is in Zuccotti Park in FiDi. If you’re looking for non-touristy things to do in NYC this Christmas season, this is the place to go!

Walking through this park will amaze you, and it’s one of the most romantic things to do in NYC, making it the perfect proposal destination.

Sip Festive Tea around Town:

A woman enjoying a holiday-themed Tea Around Town - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (Midtown) – The bus stop location is at TopView Sightseeing, across from Bryant Park, on the corner of East 42nd Street and 5th Avenue

During the 2023 Christmas season, you can sign up to enjoy an English high tea experience on a beautiful double-decker bus that takes passengers around NYC’s most famous landmarks.

Tea Around Town is one of the best NYC Christmas activities to enjoy in December. This lovely double-decker bus has a pink interior decorated with garlands, white boas, red berries and faux fur, making it perfect for photo opportunities and afternoons with the girls.

When you sign up for premium admission, you’ll enjoy unlimited tea, a complimentary glass of Champagne and three tiers of scones, finger sandwiches and decadent desserts. There is also someone who serenades you for the entire 90 minutes and offers narration as you make your way around the Chrysler Building, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park and the 5th Avenue holiday displays.

There are Tea Around Town bus tours daily. It’s best to book this experience in advance during the holiday season.

Adventure to Dyker Heights to See the Best Christmas Lights:

A woman seeing Christmas lights at Dyker Heights in Brooklyn - the best NYC Christmas activities in December 2023.

Location (Brooklyn) – Dyker Heights, between 11th to 13th Avenues

A NYC Christmas trip isn’t complete without seeing the best Christmas light displays in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood.

This area pays homage to the most over-the-top Christmas light decorations with life-size Santas, nutcrackers, snowmen, Christmas village houses and more. There will even be Christmas carolers in the neighborhood, and some homes will sell hot chocolate and baked goods to visitors.

Visiting Dyker Heights is one of the best things to do in NYC on Christmas Eve. It’s a great way to ring in the holiday, and there are many incredible Italian restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious Feast of the Seven Fishes (an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition).

Make Your Way to Grand Central Terminal:

Grand Central Terminal during the holiday season.

Location (Midtown East) – Park Avenue, between East 42nd to East 45th Streets

Another indoor New York Christmas market is the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair. It runs from November 13 through December 24, 2023 and holds vendors selling curated experiences and unique products.

In addition to the markets, Grand Central Terminal also has shops and incredible dining, featuring restaurants like Cipriani, Bien Cuit, City Winery, Magnolia Bakery, Luke’s Lobster and more.

Overall, the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair is one of the best places to visit and enjoy amid the NYC holiday commute madness.

Catch the Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show:

Location (The Bronx) – Bronx Zoo, Southern Boulevard

One of the best NYC Christmas activities for animal lovers is to visit the Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show, which takes place from November 17, 2023, through January 7, 2024.

During this experience, you can enjoy immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns, dreamy Christmas lights and more sprinkled throughout the zoo. The lantern displays showcase the wildlife of New York’s ocean waters, wetlands and more.

While you visit The Bronx Zoo, stop at Arthur Avenue, NYC’s original Little Italy, to shop for Italian specialties for your holiday meal and enjoy one of the best Italian dinners at a local restaurant.

Attend Z100’s Jingle Ball:

Location (Midtown) – Madison Square Garden, Pennsylvania Plaza, between 7th and 8th Avenues and West 31st to West 33rd Streets

It’s no secret that one of the best Christmas events in NYC is Z100’s Jingle Ball, presented by iHeartRadio and Capital One.

New York City’s Jingle Ball will take place on December 8, 2023 at Madison Square Garden, and will feature Top 100 artists like Olivia Rodrigo, OneRepublic, Pentatonix and Jelly Roll. The Jingle Ball sells out every year, so always get your tickets when they first come out.

Every year, Jingle Ball gives back through the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, a non-profit supporting the youth through entertainment and educational-focused initiatives.

Bar Hop around NYC at the Annual SantaCon:

Three women at the NYC SantaCon.

Location (Throughout Midtown and Downtown Manhattan)

One of the most fun NYC Christmas activities for those 21 and older is SantaCon. In this charitable and fun bar crawl, participants dress up as Santa or something festive and visit different bars around Manhattan.

SantaCon 2023 will occur on December 9, from 10 am to 8 pm. You and your friends can follow the crowd to different venues in New York City and have a memorable time!

A ticket to SantaCon goes directly to Santa’s charity drive in the local neighborhoods. The bar route is announced once you purchase a ticket.

Suppose you cannot make the Manhattan SantaCon. In that case, a Hoboken SantaCon in New Jersey takes place exactly a week after the event in New York, on December 16, 2023.

Ice Skate on the Hudson at Brookfield Place:

Location (Tribeca) – Off West Side Highway

In addition to Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park and Central Park, ice skating fans can enjoy a wonderful experience along the Hudson River at The Rink at Brookfield Place.

Depending on the weather, the ice rink opens in November and will close sometime in March. It’s the perfect spot to skate with friends and family, book a private lesson, have a birthday party or corporate outing and enjoy a lovely winter’s day.

Go Glice® Skating and Cozy Up at Westlight in Brooklyn:

A woman Glice skating at The William Vale Winter Village at Westlight - one of the best NYC Christmas activities.

Location (Brooklyn) – Williamsburg, North 12th Street, between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street

A fantastic NYC Christmas activity to enjoy in Brooklyn is the Winter Village at Westlight in Williamsburg. This seasonal pop-up on the rooftop of The William Vale has cozy chalets to book and a Glice® skating rink with beautiful views of the city skyline.

The Westlight Winter Village will open on November 27, 2023, and will go through February, weather-dependent. When you reserve a chalet, you can sip on seasonal cocktails and dine on Alpine-style Fondue, small plates and more.

Additionally, The William Vale has a Winter Spa that hotel guests can enjoy. The spa has panoramic barrel saunas and deep-soaking cedar hot tubs to relax in. It’s perfect for a couple’s winter getaway to NYC or a solo rejuvenation trip.

Enjoy a Jolly Brunch at the Holly Jolly Bar:

A woman at the Holly Jolly Bar in New York City.

Location (West Village) – Mad Morton, corner of 7th Avenue and Morton Street

A wonderful Christmas-themed brunch in NYC this festive season is at the Holly Jolly Holiday Bar, which is open from November 24 through December 31, 2023. The pop-up is located at Mad Morton in the West Village and is presented by Bucket Listers.

You can enjoy all the jolly decorations and sip incredible holiday-themed cocktails like a Reindeer Mulled Wine, a Christmas Espresso Martini and a Reindeer Rosemary Mezcal Negroni. In addition, you can also savor delicious brunch foods like chicken and waffles and make memories with friends.

You must make a reservation to visit Holly Jolly Bar. You can choose from General Admission Table Seating for lunch or dinner (includes a cocktail/mocktail), General Admission Standing Room Only for the bar (includes a welcome shot) and Brunch Table Seating (includes a holiday-themed cocktail and entrée).

Become Captivated over the Skyline Views at Somewhere Nowhere:

Two women enjoying hot cocoa from a teadrop igloo at Somewhere Nowhere in NYC.

Location (Flatiron) – West 25th Street, between 7th and 6th Avenues

Another epic NYC Christmas activity is to reserve a cozy teardrop igloo on the rooftop of Somewhere Nowhere. This one-of-a-kind winter experience is perfect for a date night or an evening with the girls from November 16, 2023, through the beginning of the New Year, from Thursdays through Saturdays.

When you reserve a heated igloo, you’ll get a bottle of champagne that you can enjoy with views of the Empire State Building. Inside these lavish teardrop igloos, you’ll enjoy plush love seats, a built-in fireplace, cozy fur blankets, cocktails and spiced hot cocoa, small bites and even s’mores.

Igloos start at $85 USD per person and each one holds up to a maximum of five guests. Teardrop Igloos Experience at Somewhere Nowhere is presented by Fever.

Savor a Christmas Dinner at Tavern on the Green:

Location (Upper West Side) – Central Park on West 67th Street

One of the best Christmas Day activities in NYC is to enjoy dinner at the beautiful Tavern on the Green in Central Park.

The holiday décor and displays at this classic New York City restaurant will amaze you and your family! You can enjoy a 4-course feast featuring Executive Chef Bill Peet‘s dishes for Christmas Day.

Book your reservations a few months in advance if you plan to have Christmas dinner at Tavern on the Green.

Discover 101 things to do in NYC!


A woman enjoying the holiday decorations at South Street Seaport

Here are other Christmas destinations:

Magical December Getaways in the USA

Best Christmas Markets in Bavaria

2 Days in Tallinn, Estonia at Christmas

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best NYC Christmas activities and decorations for December 2023. If you have any questions, please email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com. Happy Holidays!

Click here to book a cooking class in New York.

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., NY State Capital: Albany, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop My NYC Christmas Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

30 Comments

  1. Kimberly Deer on December 10, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    This is one of my favorite blogs of yours ~ maybe because NYC is our home away from home! The most beautiful city -especially around the holidays. So glad I got to spend a few days with you in that lovely apartment in the Business District @Sonder ~ what a great experience being in the heart of downtown NYC. I also loved touring all the famous holiday spots and great restaurants. NYC is the best place to visit during this time of the year. Loved all your stunning photos ~ Brought these iconic places to life ~ Love you, mom xoxo <3

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      It really is so magical during this time of the year! We had such a great time. Love you too! <3

  2. Lina on December 11, 2020 at 9:16 am

    NYC during Christmas must be absolutely magical! The decoration looks so festive and it’s always been my dream to see the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Hopefully ome day I’ll be able to see it with my own eyes 🙂 Great post!

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you Alina! I really hope you get to go one day. NYC truly is spectacular during the holiday season! Let me know when you do come here 🙂

  3. Elena Pappalardo on December 11, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    What a fantastic blog post, Taylor! This was so informative as I plan my little day trip to the city and all of your photos are gorgeous!

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you so much Elena! You’re going to enjoy taking content in the city this year!

  4. MacKenzie on December 11, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    A NYC Christmas is my mom’s absolute DREAM. Every year we have tried going there has been one obstacle after another, but there are several things on here I don’t think she had on her radar! LuminoCity Festival especially – she loves lights, so I can’t wait to show her – hopefully next year she can actually make it.

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Ah yes, she will definitely LOVE NYC during Christmas time. Definitely try to go next year. 🙂

  5. Courtney on December 11, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    This is such a fun post! I’m sure that touring NYC this year was way different, but also nice to have so much space from all the usual tourist.
    Also, your photos are GORGEOUS! I love every single one of your outfits.

    • Taylor Deer on December 11, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you so much Courtney! Yes, NYC was definitely a different vibe this holiday season, but it was still magical! 🙂

  6. Linnea on December 11, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    I love how visiting NYC was a tradition for you growing up for Christmas! I would love to go back next year for a few days! Your pics at Lotte were so cute too. It’s been forever since I stayed there!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:17 pm

      Yes, it was always such a nice day! We usually go in the night before Christmas Eve. Also, yes, you totally have to come next year! 🙂

  7. Jenny on December 12, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Wow so many amazing things to do in New York for Christmas. I hope I can make it there one day. Those winery igloos are such a good idea and I would love to see Frozen on Broadway 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:17 pm

      It is seriously so amazing in NYC during Christmas! I love it. 🙂

  8. Emma on December 12, 2020 at 1:58 am

    New York is such a great city, and I would absolutely love to visit during the holidays one year. The closest I got was January when some of the activities were still happening and the tree was still up, but being around in December would be magical. Love all the displays you saw and I would really like to see the Christmas markets and drink at the wine igloo

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:18 pm

      You totally should come next year. It is so beautiful! Also, it really is nice enjoying NYC in December vs. January. 🙂

  9. Sarah on December 12, 2020 at 7:51 am

    This is so incredible! Your photos are amazing – how festive! I’m so envious there are this many awesome things to do in NYC. I haven’t been since I was a kid – hopefully I can get back during the holidays!! And your outfits are adoooooorable!!!!!!!!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you so much Sarah! You should totally go next year! 🙂

  10. Paula Martinelli on December 12, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Awesome guide idea! I go every year to NYC for business but I still need to plan a trip around Christmas time – it is so magical! I love your pictures and all the tips. Saving for when I get to visit again, hopefully during Christmas.

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:20 pm

      Thank you so much Paula! You should totally revisit next year. 🙂

  11. Catherine on December 12, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I used to live in NYC and even I haven’t done most of these New York Christmas activities. Thanks for all the ideas!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Yes, it is so much fun! I honestly didn’t start exploring all of these spots until the past few years. 🙂

  12. Helena on December 12, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    wow the Sonder apartment looks incredible! I’ve always wanted to visit NYC during the holidays so this is a super handy guide!

    • Taylor Deer on December 12, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      It really is Helena! You should totally go next year. 🙂

  13. Mona on December 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    The Sondor looks amazing! I’ll have to check it out next time. Hoping to check some of these recommendations off my list next year!

    • Taylor Deer on December 13, 2020 at 1:05 am

      Yes, I really hope you get to go next year! 🙂

  14. cosette on December 13, 2020 at 1:01 am

    NYC during the holidays looks and sounds amazing. Still on my bucket list to visit in December one time.

    • Taylor Deer on December 13, 2020 at 1:05 am

      It really is Cosette! I loved it during this time of the year! Hope you could go next year. 🙂

  15. Shalzmojo on December 16, 2020 at 2:25 am

    OMG your blog posts are such a delight to go through. I simply love the pictures you so carefully plan and shoot – they bring about the best of the place and look absolutely spectacular. I just love your blog Taylor 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on December 16, 2020 at 10:11 pm

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! 🙂

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