The Best Things to Do in New York City During Christmas
One of the best times to visit New York City is during Christmas! The City is beautifully decorated and every where you go there are twinkling lights, ribbon tied up in bows, holly berries and gorgeous evergreen! There is a spirit of kindness, generosity and JOY from all the people. We love to stop in a couple times during the month to do various holiday activities. Christmas in New York City is a magical time to visit, and no where else in the world that has so many wonderful festive activities!
Before you jump to the post, make sure to check out these other New York City posts:
- What to Pack to New York City
- Tourist in New York City
- NYC Guide in 48 Hours
- 5 Tips for Making a Difference in Your Community this Holiday Season
Take a Selfie in Front of Rockefeller Christmas Tree
Of course one of the first things we like to do is take a selfie in front of the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree. We’ve been visiting the tree since our kids were little, and it’s a tradition they love to do! While we are in Rockefeller plaza admiring the magnificent tree and all the beauty of the lights, we like to also stop in to the Lego Store, F.A.O Schwarz and Nintendo Store. We mostly just browse or buy gifts for each other.
See Saks Fifth Avenue Iconic Window Display
Right across the street from the Rockefeller Christmas tree is the flagship store for Saks Fifth Avenue. Every holiday season, Saks Fifth decorates their windows with a new festive theme and it is always so impressive, artistically presented and different from the previous year! Then after sunset, they have a light show display that plays along with holiday music. It’s so good! The show lasts a few minutes and starts every 10 minutes.
Admire the Nativity Scene at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
One block from Saks Fifth and Rockefeller is the magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Just visiting the cathedral is a site to behold and admire! Every holiday season they set up their nativity scene and it just so beautiful, along with all the stain-glass windows and large Christmas tree. You can also visit the cathedral when they have one of their holiday performances.
Watch the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall
We have just recently been making the Christmas Spectacular, and I love it! We buy tickets during Black Friday weekend when they are 50% off, but if you are in town for Christmas it’s still worth the ticket price! The show is all about Christmas in New York City and Santa appears at the end of the show. It’s entertaining and fun to watch, even when you have grown children!
Marvel at Lotte New York Palace’s Christmas tree
Before you leave the midtown area, make a visit to Lotte New York Palace’s Christmas tree. It is located on Madison Avenue and one of my favorite trees to behold! Pick up a hot beverage at their Winter Bar and then write a letter to Santa to put in the mailbox near the tree. Before you leave, head to the Palace’s hotel lobby to admire the gingerbread palace on display.
Go Ice Skating
Ice skating at Rockefeller Center under the tree is the most iconic, but also the most booked! If you can’t get a time slot at Rockefeller, head to Central Park’s Wollman Rink. New York City skyline is in the background and the rink is much larger and bigger! Also, you will enjoy walking through Central Park, which will be festively decorated for the holiday. If you want a rink that is smaller, you can also book at Bryant Park’s ice skating rink.
Shop Bryant Park’s Christmas Market
Find all the best New York City gifts and unique presents at Bryant Park’s Christmas Market. Located right next to the New York City Library, this Christmas market similar to a European open-air market with curated shops from spices, to jewelry to leather goods. So many cool shops! This is also a great place to pick up a tasty treat or a hot drink.
Visit the Metropolitan Museum’s Christmas tree
Okay this is my FAVORITE Christmas Tree in all of New York City. It is located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Medieval Sculpture Hall is the Christmas tree with Neapolitan Baroque Creche that dates back to the 18th century. There are numerous cherubs and angels that float around the tree with beautiful details. Below the tree is the Nativity scene and the town of Bethlehem. The figures are all hand made with exquisite details. So beautiful!
See the Train Show at New York Botanical Gardens
Another favorite family tradition is seeing the train show at New York Botanical Gardens! The train show features miniature replicas of New York City landmarks all made out of plant material like bark, moss, tree and leaves. Then multiple miniature trains go through all the landmarks. It’s located in the greenhouse.
Check out the Lights at Hudson Yards
Christmas shopping at Hudson Yards is the best! The lights are so beautiful, and they cover the entire mall with strings and strings of lights. With the vessel as the backdrop, it really is a festive sight! We will also walk the High Line for a few blocks and pick up some hot chocolate while we get glimpses of the city lights.
Nutcracker Ballet Performed by the New York City Ballet
We have only seen the New York City Ballet perform the Nutcracker twice while we have lived here but it is totally worth it! The performance, costumes and set design is so magical and the ballet is gorgeous! We always try and see a nutcracker performance each year the seeing in New York City makes it even more magical.
Definitely make a trip to New York City to enjoy all the many many things the city has to offer!!