5 Best Holiday Activities in New York City

Taylor Gmahling


Marketing Representative

Christmas in New York City is legen (wait for it) DARY! LEGENDARY!

The beautiful city streets around Christmas have served as a magical backdrop to some classic holiday films, like Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, and Elf.

With countless holiday activities to choose from, we’ve created a short list of the best of the best (in our humble opinion).

Without further ado, here are our picks for the five best holiday things to do in New York City this year.

#1: Admire The Stunning Decorations

📸: WikiMedia Commons // commons.wikimedia.org // Photo Credit: Vincent Paul

New York City goes all out in December! The city streets are decked with much more than just boughs of holly and the lights are definitely hung with great care.

That’s why number one on our list is simple: stroll around the city streets.

Gaze in wonder at the whimsical window displays, hum along to Christmas carols, and indulge in a piping hot cup of festively spiced wine.

Whether you opt for a self-guided tour or join a group, make sure to check out the following locations for your dose of Christmas cheer:

  • Rockefeller Center
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • The Time Warner Center
  • Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
  • Central Park Holiday Lighting
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Bergdorf Goodman
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Macy’s
  • Tiffany & Co.

#2: Bryant Park’s Winter Village

📸: WikiMedia Commons // commons.wikimedia.org // Photo Credit: Rhododendrites

The Winter Village at Bryant Park is the largest holiday market in New York City. Inspired by European open-air markets, the Winter Village has become a symbol of the season.

This year, the market will be a temporary home for some 170+ vendors, from artisan crafts to delicious local food. There’s also a 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink.

If you’re feeling peckish after ice skating, check out The Lodge, the Winter Village’s new rinkside bar and food hall. You’ll find a dozen new and classic NYC restaurants, a festive cocktail bar, and an outdoor beer garden.

Need a break from holiday shopping?

Head up to The Overlook, an observation deck on the second floor of the Skating Pavilion. Sit back and enjoy the view of ice skaters below or choose from a selection of games and art supplies (all for free!).

#3: A Christmas Carol at The Merchant’s House Museum

Nothing says “awesome holiday activity” like a live reading of a timeless Christmas classic.

This year, head over to The Merchant’s House Museum for the 6th annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Surrounded by flickering candles and 19th-century-holiday decorations, you’ll be transported back in time to 1876.

Booking Tip: Select performances include a glass of mulled wine, a tasting of traditional Dickensian Christmas fare, and the chance to chat with Mr. Dickens himself!

Buy tickets here.

📸: Merchant’s House // merchantshouse.org

#4: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Ever since the first version was presented in 1933, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been a New York City Christmas tradition.

Quick show of hands ✋- who has ever attempted the Rockettes’ famous dance move, the high kick?

This year’s show is extra special! It will conclude with a brand new finale: a groundbreaking holiday light show created using 100 flying drones!

Buy tickets here.

📸: WikiMedia Commons // Photo Credit: Bob Jagendorf via Flickr

#5: Watch The Times Square Ball Drop On NYE

The last (but def not least) holiday activity is one that has been on my personal bucket list for years.

I know, I know, it will be cold, crowded and god forbid it rains while you are waiting hours for the iconic ball to finally drop BUT I still really, really want to do this infamous activity just once!

Fun fact: in 1907, the first ball to “drop” on New Year’s Eve in NYC was seven-hundred-pounds of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. Today, the New Year’s Eve Ball weights nearly six tons and uses all LED lighting technology.

Wishing you a Happy, Happy Holidays and New Year!! 🎉🥂🍾

P.S: Please let us know if we missed any of your favorite holiday events happening in and around New York City in the comments below.

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