I love Christmas! I know not everybody does but I really do and especially in New York, it really is magical here. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Big Apple during December, you’re in for a real treat. I’ve put together a list of our favourite things to do in New York at Christmas and a couple of things we really want to do this year! If you’ve any recommendations for us, definitely comment below! We’re always looking for inspo.
If after all of the below you find yourself with some time to spare in New York, here are some more recommendations:
- Our Ultimate Guide to New York City
- The best Free Things to do in New York City
- Our top Restaurants in New York City
Christmas Trees in New York City
- Rockefellar Tree: The most famous Christmas tree of them all! This year the lighting ceremony will take place on Nov 30th.
- Wall Street: Lesser known but just as beautiful. It’s right beside the NY Stock Exchange and the Fearless Girl statue.
- South Street Seaport: Definitely not as spectacular as the other two but if you’re down that way, have a look! Seaport is a really cool area in general.
- Bryant Park: Winter Village is a must (see below) so you can kill two birds with one stone.
Bryant Park Winter Village
Bryant Park Winter Village reminds me of a European Christmas market. There are plenty of opportunities to buy unique and handmade gifts from small businesses. Even if you don’t want to go ice-skating, I highly recommend you grab yourself a hot chocolate and have a potter around.
5th Avenue Lights
On your way to visit the Rockefeller tree and the Saks light show, I recommend you take the 5th avenue route to get there. You’ll see giant toys, and the famous NYC taxi, in lights. It’s very cool!
Saks Light Show
Watching the Saks light show is one of my favourite things to do at Christmas in New York. It is truly beautiful. The lights dance to the music and there’s a different theme every year. It was the Frozen castle a couple of years ago and wow! Saks is right beside the Rockefeller Centre so you can see the light show and Rockefeller tree at the same time.
Rolf’s German Restaurant
We haven’t been lucky enough to get a booking at Rolf’s German Restaurant yet but this year’s the year! They only accept reservations by phone so it can be hard to catch them during the Christmas season. Rolf’s is famous for its OTT Christmas decor. It’s like something straight out of Whoville and I absolutely love the look of it! I’ve heard it’s pricey and that the food isn’t great FYI but I haven’t tried it myself to comment.
Winter Dining at Pier 17
The glass cabins at Pier 17 are so cozy, and the food is nice, but the real pull here is the view of the Brooklyn Bridge. For dessert, I recommend walking to the Funny Face bakery in Seaport (close by) for the most delicious cookies ever! Then, if you’re not in a food coma, you could pop around to “The Little Shop“. It’s a fully functional shop with a hidden bar! The shop itself is open Monday – Sunday, but double check opening times for the bar.
The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall is one of New York City’s most famous (and oldest!) Christmas festivities. It showcases over 30 incredible dancers across multiple genres such as tap, jazz and ballet. With an appearance from the main man himself (Santy!), it’s fun for all the family.
Afternoon Tea at The Plaza
Afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel is definitely not just for Christmas but it is extra special in December! The Christmas tree and decor are stunning and, because it featured in Home Alone 2 “Lost in New York”, it gives me all of the cozy Christmas vibes.
Ice Skating in New York City
There are a few ice skating rinks around the city but my favourites are the Wollman Rink in Central Park and Bryant Park. Of course you can also skate at the Rockefeller Centre but I prefer the other two mainly because of the views (“,)
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour
Dyker Heights is a bit of a trek from Manhattan, and it’s generally freezing in December, so this year was the first time we braved it :p It’s basically an area in Brooklyn that goes all out with their Christmas lights. You know that film “Deck the Halls” or Martha May’s house in The Grinch? That’s what the neighbourhood is like… it was really incredible, we loved it!
Getting There: There are a couple of companies who organise bus trips but they’re expensive. The one we were looking at was $150 (plus tax) for the 2 of us. It was $70 to rent a car for 4 hours so that’s exactly what we did (we went with Zip Car). If you can, that’s the way to go but if not, it’s still worth paying for the bus tour IMO. The place is absolutely MAGICAL!
230 on Fifth Igloos: Rooftop Bar
I mean, I love this rooftop all year round especially in summer 🙂 but the igloos at winter are very cool! The bottomless brunch is a must; it’s the best craic ever and the food is actually really nice. The view of the Empire State Building is next to none! You can read more about it (and book it!) here.
The Christmas Shop on Mulberry Street
“Christmas in New York” on Mulberry Street (Little Italy) is open 365 days a year (yep!). There are a couple of Christmas shops around the city but this is by far the most spectacular. While you’re down that way, I suggest you grab yourself some baked goods like a cannoli or lobster tail (don’t worry, it’s pastry), from the famous Ferrara’s bakery.
Holiday Lane at Macy’s
Macy’s is one of the largest department stores in the world so it is very likely you’ll find yourself in there at one stage. If so, don’t miss out on their Christmas shop! They have beautiful decorations for show and for sale.
I hope you found the above helpful and you have the best Christmas ever!
Thanks for reading, as always.