Lets not kid ourselves NYC will always be a Christmas/December destination. There are already so many tourists that visit NYC during the rest of the year, and not surprisingly that number jumps during the holidays. Although it is worth it to see the beautifully decorated stores, attractions and experience a New York City Christmas. Here’s a list of things to do and places to see this holiday season in NYC. (Locals pack your patience, visit early or at the end of the season, or avoid midtown like the plague!)
- Central Park Ice Skating at Wollman Rink– I haven’t done this yet but it is said to be less crowded than Rockefeller Center with a gorgeous view of the surrounding park. It’s on my to-do list.
- Central Park and the Charles A Dana Discovery Center holiday lights- Visit the lit up discovery center building on the north end of Central Park.
- Columbus Circle Holiday Market– On the south end of Central Park visit the Columbus Circle Holiday Market which is open until Dec 24th.
- The Nutcrakcer Ballet at Lincoln Center- This is also on my to-do list! If you’re into ballet, why not see a top ballet company preform a Christmas classic.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art : Medieval Hall- I love visiting this part of the museum especially during Christmas. A tree is put up surrounded by a manger, angels and medieval decorations. On display until January.
- Rockefeller Center-This is a must for tourists! It is really a sight to see that gigantic tree lit up. Ice skating here will be crowded if you go mid December and the more people on the ice the more choppy it is. I did this once with family members from out-of-town at the end of the season and it was not crowded but the ice was extremely rough. Its beautiful, but the rough ice and crowds should be something to consider.
- The Christmas Spectacular and The Rockettes– I also suggest seeing the Rockettes perform, it is a great show and a classic. The last time I saw it I enjoyed the new segments added, particularly the homage to the city of New York.
- The Winter Village at Bryant Park/ New York Public Library on 5th- These should be seen together, I suggest visiting the shops at Bryant Park and entering the library after. The front entrance is decorated and has a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree.
- Store Windows on 5th Ave -After you’ve seen Bryant Park and the library walk out onto Fifth Ave and walk north towards all the holiday windows. Don’t miss Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany & Co. Not on 5th but must see’s are Macy’s windows on 34th which has Santa Land inside. Bloomingdale’s also has gorgeous holiday windows on 1000 third ave and 59th st.
- Grand Central Holiday Fair Market – Stay warm in this indoor holiday market located in Grand Central Station. I like to grab something to eat from the adjacent food vendors.
- Wall Street Christmas Tree- Visit the Christmas tree on Wall Street. The surrounding buildings are decorated and are lit up at night. Don’t forget to pass Trinity Church which is also decorated and Zuccotti Park which has small Christmas trees that are lit in the evening.
- Flat Iron District-Visit the tree at Madison Square Park. A tree lighting ceremony will take place Dec 6th from 3:30-5:30pm.
- Ice Skate at the Standard The hotel in the Meatpacking district opens its skating rink to guests and the general public from December 20th to the end of March.
- Union Square Holiday Market-Visit the market which runs until December 24th. Buy from local vendors and eateries, visit the kids art studio and heat up in the warming station and lounge.
- Holiday Train Show– The New York Botanical Garden host the Holiday Train Show. It showcases miniature New York City landmarks all made of natural materials.
- Vintage Subway Museum– Open year round, explore what subway cars used to look like in the main branch of the museum in downtown Brooklyn. If you plan to stay in Manhattan, visit the smaller museum at the Grand Central Gallery Annex and Store.
- Astoria Holiday Market– A Holiday market in Astoria Queens that sells vintage goods and food. Open December 9th and 16th at the Bohemian Hall.
- Winter Fest at the Brooklyn Museum– The Brooklyn Botanical Garden teams up with the Brooklyn Museum to create an indoor winter wonderland. Activities include live performances, food, a tree maze, Santaland and an array of activates for the whole family.
- Dyker Heights Lights- Houses in Brooklyn are decorated with spectacular light shows. Great Christmas Light Fight anyone? Located on Dyker Heights Blvd from 83rd st-86th.
There are so many more things to do! Did I miss a must for you? Are you planning to visit NYC this Christmas season? Let me know in the comments an on social media!-T.S.