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christmas tree at rockefeller plaza

Burning Questions

Top 10 Best Things to Do for Christmas in NYC

People from all around the world dream about what it’s like to spend Christmas in NYC. Here are our favorite things to do during the holidays.

10. Union Square Holiday Market

Union Square Holiday Market is a beloved holiday attraction in the city. Located right in Union Square, the market features over 160 vendors showcasing unique gifts created by local artists, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs.

person holding two christmas ornaments while shopping

Skip the big box stores and support local businesses this holiday season with this eclectic holiday experience that cannot be missed.

9. Christmas Conventions

Elfcon

kids dressed as christmas elves

Join other elf enthusiasts at Elfcon for a family-friendly hot cocoa crawl around the city. This group of charitable and lighthearted people and children dress like elves and turn New York City into the North Pole!

Santacon

surprised-looking santa claus

Santacon is a nonsensical Santa Claus convention that descends upon the city (from the North Pole) once a year to spread joy and laughs. This one is more geared towards adults as it’s a bar crawl, but it is also a charitable event. Be sure to follow Santa’s Code if you decide to come out.

8. Christmas in NYC: Lights and Displays

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

christmas lights in dyker heights

Dyker Heights is a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is infamous for incredible, breathtaking Christmas Light displays on the buildings and homes throughout the neighborhood.

You can meander through the neighborhood yourself or join a formal tour such as the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour. Just bear in mind that you’re in a mostly residential neighborhood, so treat it with the same respect you’d treat your own neighborhood. The best light displays are found from 83rd to 86th St and 11th to 13th Ave.

Fifth Avenue Window Displays

holiday window display

One of New York’s most beloved Holiday traditions is the Holiday Window Displays on Fifth Avenue. It started with Macy’s Herald Square in 1874, and since has spread to big box stores, luxury brands, and independent stores all along and around Fifth Avenue from Uptown to Union Square and beyond.

7. Ice Skating

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

winter village at bryant park

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is a winter wonderland, featuring NYC’s only free ice skating rink coming in at over 17,000 sq ft. The park offers high-quality, inexpensive skate rentals, refreshments at The Lodge by Prime Video, and even more unique shopping.

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park feature over 170 artisanal vendors selling unique, handcrafted gifts that cannot be found elsewhere. The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park features a little bit of everything and is the perfect place for a date or family outing.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

rink at rockefeller plaza

The Rink at Rockefeller Center is without a doubt one of the most iconic skating venues in the city. The massive Christmas Tree makes the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable holiday experience. This is an excellent choice for date night if you’re looking to impress. Open from 9am to Midnight until April.

Wollman Rink in Central Park

wollman rink in central park

Wollman Rink is another classic NYC holiday experience. Home to the largest learn-to-skate program in the country, Wollman Rink is perfect for beginners and skaters who are fine with a little more crowds and slower speeds. The setting is picture-perfect, and a new rink-side cafe will be offering refreshments of all kinds this season.

Ice-skating at the Lefrak Center

ice hockey players

The Lefrak Center at Lakeside offers a plethora of skate-related activities to suit icy adventures of all types. The massive arena offers outdoor and indoor ice skating, figure skating, hockey and more. Prices are very reasonable, you get a full 90 minute reservation, and the surrounding area is a fantastic place to be at all times of the year.

6. Garden Glows / Light Shows

garden glow

  • New York Botanical Garden Glow – This is the longest outdoor illuminated display in the city at 1.5 miles of colorful holiday magic. Illuminated and whimsical installations line the paths and trees of the surrounding gardens and collections. Combine this with the Holiday Train Show that the Garden offers, and you’ve got a magical holiday excursion that can’t be missed. You’ll find this attraction in the Bronx.
  • Lightscape – Brooklyn Botanic Garden runs their Lightscape illuminated trail from Nov. 19, 2021 to January 9, 2022. Explore the Garden like never before, with enchanting installations like the Winter Cathedral tunnel. FIre Garden, and Sea of Light.
  • Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show – During the evenings this holiday season, the Bronx Zoo comes to life with immersive light displays, animal lanterns, animated light shows, and more. They top it off with jubilant entertainment, festive treats, and beloved holiday music.

5. New York City Ballet: The Nutcracker

nutcracker ballet

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is one of the most complex and grandiose staged ballets in the New York City Ballet’s repertoire. It is immensely popular, and for good reason.

The play has two incredible acts which feature 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands, and more than 125 children from the School of American Ballet. It is truly a spectacular performance, giving New Yorkers massive doses of holiday magic year after year.

4. Radio City Rockettes: Christmas Spectacular

radio city music hall

The Radio City Rockettes have been doing their Christmas Spectacular since 1933. Needless to say, it’s a beloved and classic holiday tradition for New Yorkers.

The entire stage becomes an immersive winter wonderland that is sure to create magical holiday memories.

3. New York Pops: Back Home for the Holidays

musicians playing classical instruments

The New York Pops are another beloved holiday tradition in the city. This year, their Back Home for The Holidays concert returns to Carnegie Hall on Fri. December 17, 2021, rarawith contemporary and traditional Christmas classics. Tony Award winner Laura Benanti joins the pops for an unforgettable holiday experience.

2. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

christmas tree at rockefeller plaza

It isn’t Christmas in NYC without the spectacular Rockefeller Center Tree. It’s arguably one of the most iconic and classic Christmas attractions in the city. Serious Christmas Classics like Elf and Home Alone 2 have featured the tree.

New Yorkers have been putting up the Rockefeller Center Tree since 1931. The tree is a marvelous sight day or night, and the decorations and display keep getting better every year.

1. Move to NYC

metropolis moving truck

There isn’t a more iconic city to be in during the Holiday season, or any season for that matter. New Yorkers have the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of every season.

If you find yourself dreaming about what life would be like spending Christmas in NYC, let Metropolis Moving help you get there. Metropolis Moving has gained the reputation of being one of New York City’s most courteous, careful, and friendly professional moving services. Get a moving quote today and you’ll be on your way to living the life you envision for yourself: enjoying the abundant holiday spirit that this beautiful city has to offer.

map of New York City