Christmas travel, New York, NYC, USA, Winter Travel

42 Festive Things to do in NYC at Christmas Time 2022! Our Favorite Ideas for the Holidays!

November 26, 2022

Looking for things to do in NYC at Christmas 2022?

This list has 42 amazing ideas for the festive season in NYC!

If you’re visiting NYC during the Christmas time, I know you’re going to find so much inspiration in my list of things to do in NYC at Christmas.

There are so many fun things to do in NYC during Christmas, from amazing theater shows, to festive walks, caroling and festive restaurants.

I love it so much, and I think it’s the best time to visit the city!

Especially because there are so many things to do in NYC at Christmas!

I’ve included all my favorite Christmas things to do in NYC on this list, and you’ll find things for every budget, and all kinds of interests!

So, let’s get into my list of things to do in NYC during Christmas!


My favorite things to do in NYC at Christmas…


Rockefeller Christmas Tree

First on my list of things to do in NYC at Christmas, it’s seeing The Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

This is a must-see when you’re spending Christmas in NYC, it’s in movies, books, TV shows – and it oozes Christmassy vibes.

It’s one of the most iconic trees in the city, and one of the best things to do in NYC during Christmas.

It’s a beautiful sight to see, and it’s full of that festive magic that you’d expect from any Christmas things to do in NYC.

It’s a perfect choice for things to do in NYC at Christmas.

Read more: The best Christmas trees in NYC


Watch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

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Our next suggestion for Christmas things to do in NYC, is watching the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

This famous festive show is extremely popular, during Christmas in NYC and runs throughout the Christmas season.

It’s probably one of the most popular things to do in NYC at Christmas – so book those tickets early!

If you haven’t heard of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular before, it’s full of Christmas songs, carols, sketches and story-telling. And of course dancing!

It’s one of the most festive things to do in NYC at Christmas.


Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

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The Dyker Heights neighborhood is next on our list of things to do in NYC at Christmas.

This is a selection of streets in Brooklyn, who compete each year to display the most wonderful, bright and festive lights on their houses.

Read our full guide about visiting the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights.

There’s nowhere else like this in NYC, so we really recommend adding it to your list of things to do in NYC for Christmas.

It’s pretty magical – and you won’t ever have seen anything like it before. There are several easy-to-book tours too, so it’s never been easier to visit them and admire all the hard work!

If you’re looking for an outdoors activity in the festive season, this is a top pick for things to do in NYC for Christmas.


Ice Skating in Central Park

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Ice skating in central park is so much fun, and it’s next on my list of things to do in NYC for Christmas.

Ice-skating in Central Park is festive, fun, romantic, and always tops people’s list of things to do in NYC for Christmas.

It’s a great activity to try out whilst spending Christmas in NYC, and it’s perfect for couples and families, and friends. It’s even a great activity for solo travelers looking for things to do in NYC during Christmas.

There’s nothing quite like it! Gliding around the famous ice rinks, with a snowy Central Park as your back drop! It’s really something!

Read more about NYC at Christmas: 18 Christmas-themed restaurants in NYC! With festive decor!


Bank of America Winter Village (Bryant Park winter village)

My next suggestion for things to do in NYC during Christmas, is visiting the Bank of America Winter Village.

This amazing winter village is one of my favorite things to do when spending Christmas in NYC, and it’s also a perfect place to do some Christmas shopping!

It’s a great little hub of winter-themed activities,and stores, and you can easily spend a few hours or a whole day making the most of everything. Which makes it a great choice for things to do in NYC during Christmas.

There is a wonderful winter market (with lots of lovely independent stores), a small ice rink, and lots of lovely food stalls and eateries.

The food offerings are growing year on year, so you won’t need restaurant reservations this night!

It’s a great choice for things to do in NYC in December, and if you’re looking for Christmas things to do in NYC – this is epic and feels so festive.


Christmas things to do in NYC: Rockefeller Plaza

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Next on my list of Christmas things to do in NYC, it’s checking out Rockerfeller Plaza.

When you go to view the Rockefeller tree, make sure you explore the Rockefeller plaza too! It’ll be beautifully decorated, and there will be the famous ice rink to enjoy too!

You can grab a coffee and people-watch, and just enjoy the lovely festive feelings. It’s a great pick for Christmas things to do in NYC.


Visit an Observation Deck

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Next on my list of things to do in NYC at Christmas, it’s visiting an Observation deck.

There are so many observation decks in the city, from The Empire State and Rockefeller Center, to the newer Edge.

There’s nothing specifically ‘Christmassy’ about visiting an observation deck, it’s not the most ‘Christmas things to do in NYC’ but we always feel so festive and romantic when we visit them.

Which kind of makes it an ideal choice for things to do in NYC for Christmas.

Read more: What is the best observation deck in NYC?


Holiday Yacht Cruise with Jazz, Cocoa & Carols

Next on my list of things to do in NYC during Christmas, it’s the Holiday Yacht Cruise with Jazz, Cocoa & Carols.

You can’t really get more festive than this tour. It’s a yacht cruise, with amazing jazz music and hot cocoa and festive carols.

The Holiday Yacht Cruise with Jazz, Cocoa & Carols is simply wonderful, and it’s such a memorable and happy experience to have in the city.

It’s a lovely choice for Christmas things to do in NYC. You can book tickets by clicking here!

Read more useful NYC recommendations: Top 22 group-friendly restaurants in NYC


Holiday Jazz Classic Motor Yacht Cruise

Next up on my list of things to do in NYC at Christmas, it’s the Holiday Jazz Classic Motor Yacht Cruise.

If you love live music, and you love feeling cozy and festive, this is the tour for you!

This Holiday Jazz Classic Motor Yacht Cruise is a great way to enjoy some festive drinks, festive music, and (of course!) amazing views of the city too.

It’s such a wonderful choice for Christmas things to do in NYC. You can book tickets by clicking here.

Another perfect choice for things to do in NYC at Christmas!


Things to do in NYC for Christmas: Macy’s

How could we write a list of things to do in NYC at Christmas without mentioning Macy’s?

Macy’s is another great place to add to your list of things to do in NYC at Christmas.

It’s one of the best department stores in the city – and they go all-out at Christmas time. Think big decorations, wonderful festive displays and lots of Christmassy gifts.

My favorite place to explore is the top floor where they house all their Christmas decorations – it’s like a winter wonderland! And one of the top things to do in NYC at Christmas!

This is really one of the most amazing things to do in NYC at Christmas, especially if you need to finish off some Christmas shopping!

Read more about visiting NYC at Christmas: What stores are open on Christmas Day in NYC?


Giant Christmas Ornaments

Next up on my list of things to do in NYC for Christmas, it’s finding the city’s big Christmas ornaments.

You’ll find giant Christmas ornaments scattered along some of NYC’s most frequented streets, and taking some selfies with them is a great choice for things to do in NYC for Christmas.

The large vintage-style Christmas light bulbs in front of the McGraw-Hill building at 1221 6th Avenue are some of the most iconic and most photographed.

It’s a great choice for things to do in NYC during Christmas!


5th Avenue Window Displays

Next on our list of things to do in NYC during Christmas, it’s checking out the city’s fun festive window displays. This is a classic pick for things to do in NYC for Christmas.

If you’re spending Christmas in NYC so you can do a little bit of Christmas shopping – then you’re going to love exploring and admiring all the window displays up and down 5th Avenue.

There are so many beautiful decorations, and getting swept up in the magic of them is truly one of the best things to do in NYC during Christmas.


See the Hudson Yards holiday decorations

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Next on my list of suggestions for Christmas things to do in NYC, is seeing the Hudson Yards decorations.

The Hudson yards neighborhood (and shopping mall) really put on a show at Christmas time, and it’s lovely to go and explore.

Hudson Yards is walkable from Times Square (it’s located at between 10th and 12th Avenues and West 30th to West 34th Streets.)

It’s a lovely choice for things to do in NYC at Christmas time, and less touristy than some locations on this list.


Christmas things to do in NYC: Attend a Christmas service

Our next suggestion for things to do in NYC during Christmas, is attending a Christmas service at one of NYC’s many cathedrals or churches.

St Patricks Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in the city, and whether you’re religious or not, attending a Christmas-themed service will definitely get you feeling festive!

You don’t need to be religious to attend, and it’s a lovely choice for things to do in NYC during Christmas.

Read more about NYC at Christmas: 12 awesome pizza places open on Christmas Day in NYC


Harlem Gospel Holiday Celebration Concert

We’reonly including two religious suggestions on this list of things to do in NYC during Christmas.

And another suggestion for religious things to do in NYC during Christmas, is watching a Harlem Gospel Holiday Celebration Concert.

There’s nothing quite like a Harlem Gospel Holiday Celebration Concert, and it’s simply magical.

You’ll come out feeling uplifted and festive, to the max. It’s a really fantastic pick for Christmas things to do in NYC!

You can book tickets by clicking here!


Things to do in NYC during Christmas: Visit FAO Schwarz

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Next up on my list of things to do in NYC during Christmas, it’s visiting the famous FAO Schwarz toy store.

There’s something super festive about visiting a toy store in NYC during Christmas time, and FAO Schwarz is one of the best in the city!

Even if you don’t have any gifts to buy for anyone, it’s still so fun to walk around, and discover all the cool gadgets and toys on sale here.

It’s always decorated super Christmassy too – which makes it a wonderful choice for Christmas things to do in NYC.

Read more about NYC: The 11 best toy stores in NYC


Things to do in NYC for Christmas: Admire all the amazing Christmas trees

A gorgeous pick for things to do in NYC for Christmas!

Next on our list of Christmas things to do in NYC, it’s checking out the wonderful and magical Christmas trees in the city.

There are so many incredible Christmas trees in NYC, so if you’re spending Christmas in NYC you absolutely need to explore and admire all of them!

You could spend a festive day just visiting all of the beautiful trees and snapping up some cute photos of them too!

You can read more about my favorite Christmas trees in NYC for ideas on where to visit! It’s such a fun choice for Christmas things to do in NYC.


Go for bottomless brunch

Next on my list of suggestions for things to do in NYC during Christmas, it’s a bottomless brunch.

Now, you can get a bottomless brunch anytime of the year in NYC (read our blog post on the best bottomless brunches in NYC!)… but having bottomless brunch during the festive season is so much more fun!

There’s nothign like a bottomless brunch, and it feels even more festive and special during December!

A festive bottomless brunch is my favorite kind of bottomless brunch for sure! It’s such a fabulous pick for Christmas things to do in NYC.


Bronx Zoo’s Winter Wonderland

Next on my list of things to do in NYC for Christmas, it’s visiting The Bronx Zoo‘s Winter Wonderland.

This is a must-visit for spending Christmas in NYC and it’s such a wonderful option for things to do in NYC for Christmas, especially with kids.

It’s a wonderful family-friendly activity, and it’ll make you feel so festive. The lantern safaris are the main attraction here, and they’re really something special!

This is a wonderful choice for things to do in NYC for Christmas, and I think you’ll love it so much!


Have drinks and dinner in a cozy igloo

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Ever had dinner in an igloo? Now is the time! Getting cozy inside an igloo overlooking the NYC skine, has to be one of the best Christmas things to do in NYC.

There are some great choices for an igloo dinner and drinks in NYC, and some of our favorites are:

  • 230 Fifth, Midtown
  • Bryant Park, Winter Village
  • City Winery, Midtown
  • City Vineyard, Tribeca
  • Lucciola, Upper West Side

We know you’ll love this choice for things to do in NYC at Christmas, it’s magical!

Read more about NYC at Christmas: 18 restaurants open on Christmas Day in NYC


Weekend Holiday Brunch Cruise

Do you love brunch? If so, you’re going to love my next idea for things to do in NYC for Christmas. It’s a Weekend Holiday Brunch Cruise!

Brunch, teamed with festive music, food and drink – sounds perfect right?

You’ll board a vintage-style yacht, for a chilled back, luxury and leisurely weekend brunch cruise around Manhattan.

The views? Amazing! Of course. It’s a great pick for Christmas things to do in NYC.

You can book tickets by clicking here!


Watch the Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show

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Another great choice for free things to do in NYC at Christmas, is to watch the Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show.

The Watch the Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show is an external light show, that lights up Fifth Ave in the evenings.

What we love about the Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show is that it’s free! Anyone can enjoy!

It’s next to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, so you could watch this at a similar time to seeing the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center!

Read more NYC recommendations: Where to find the best hot chocolate in NYC20 locations!


“Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse”

Our next suggestion for Christmas things to do in NYC, it’s the “Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse.” .

This holiday art installation is open through to January 8, 2023, at the Chelsea art center, and it’s a really unique pick for things to do in NYC during Christmas.

This is a really imaginative, unique and fun attraction – and it’s unlike anything else in the city during this time.

There’s a candy cane carousel, a thousand nutcrackers, and some giant swinging jingle bells (weird but great!). It’s a weird but wonderful choice for things to do in NYC at Christmas.

Read more about NYC: 15 best bars in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC


Christmas things to do in NYC: Walk through Central Park in the snow

Next on my list of things to do in NYC during Christmas, it’s walking through Central Park in the snow!

If you’re lucky enough to get snowfall whilst spending Christmas in NYC, then you absolutely must take a stroll through Central Park in the freshly fallen snow!

There’s nowhere quite like Central Park in the snow, it’s wonderful and magical and such a wonderful choice for things to do in NYC during Christmas.

This is truly one of the best things to do in NYC during Christmas, and when the snow falls, there’s nowhere better to be than Central Park.

Read more: The best Central Park photo spots!


New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show

Next up on my list of Christmas things to do in NYC, it’s the Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show.

This amazing Christmassy spectacular in the Botanical Gardens is well worth a trip up to the Bronx. It’s such a lovely choice for Christmas things to do in NYC.

It’s like a winter wonderland created out of natural plants and other beautiful things, with a miniature train weaving through it.

Find me a better option for Christmas things to do in NYC? It’s so cute! Click here to book your tickets.


Columbus Circle Holiday Market 

Next up on my list of things to do in NYC at Christmas it’s the Columbus Circle Holiday Market.

This is another lovely holiday market worth paying a trip to if you’re spending Christmas in NYC.

It’s the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. It can be found at 59th street and Broadway, right at the entrance of Central Park. And it’s such a lovely choice for Christmas things to do in NYC.

It’s a great place to visit before or after exploring Central Park too, as it’s right next door!

Read more about Christmas in NYC: 17 restaurants for Christmas Eve Dinner in NYC


Things to do in NYC at Christmas: Take in a Broadway show

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How could we write a list about Christmas things to do in NYC, and not mention a Broadway show?

There’s nothing quite so festive as enjoying a Broadway show. If you’re spending Christmas in NYC, then I definitely recommend booking yourself tickets to enjoy one!

If you’re not sure which to go and see, take a read to my guide to broadway shows – it’ll help you pick the perfect one!

There’s just something lovely about getting dressed up, that feeling of anticipation and excitement when the curtains come up. It’s a great choice for Christmas things to do in NYC.


Visit the year-round Christmas shop in Little Italy

Next on our list of things to do at Christmas in NYC, is visiting the ‘It’s Always Christmas in New York‘ shop in Little Italy.

This place is open all year round, and it truly is a must-visit for anyone who loves Christmas gifts and souvenirs.

This store is 13,000 square foot in size (HUGE!) and it has Christmas ornaments, Christmas gifts, Christmas souvenirs – you name it!


Christmas Eve Gourmet Lunch or Dinner Harbor Cruise

Next on my list of things to do in NYC at Christmas, it’s a Christmas Eve Gourmet Lunch or Dinner Harbor Cruise.

This is a special boat cruise that is running on Christmas Eve, to create a special Christmas Eve experience.

You’ll celebrate Christmas Eve on a European-inspired all-glass Bateaux New York cruise, that oozes sophistication and romance.

It’s the ultimate in holiday dining and such a unique choice for Christmas things to do in NYC.

Click here to book your tickets!


Visit The Plaza Hotel

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Next up on our list of Christmas things to do in NYC, it’s visiting The Plaza Hotel.

Now, it’s not like the Plaza is a ‘christmas destination’ so to speak, but it sure doe feel like one.

Maybe because one of the best Christmas films (Home Alone 2!) is filmed in the Plaza? It just feels like a must-see place during the festive season.

Of course, you’ll fine lots of wonderful Christmas decor in the hotel, and Christmas trees – which makes it all the more special. It’s a great choice for things to do in NYC during Christmas.

Read more about December in NYC: Top 20 restaurants for New Year’s Eve dinner in NYC


Loreley Beer Garden

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Loreley Beer Garden is next up on my list of things to do in NYC during Christmas time.

This place is a festive-feeling, Christmas beer garden in the heart of NYC. Why does it make our list of Christmas things to do in NYC?

Well, these guys serve up amazing festive cocktails. Warm, delicious, and tasty…. The bourbon hot chocolate has well and truly caught our eye!

Read more about NYC: 22 romantic anniversary ideas in NYC


Union Square Holiday Market

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Union Square Holiday Market is another great pick for things to do in NYC for Christmas.

NYC has lots of lovely holiday markets (some of them we have already mentioned above!) and the Union Square Holiday Market is another to add to the list.

There are 160 vendors at this Christmas market in NYC, so you’ll be able to find pretty much anything here, there’s so much choice.

This is another great choice for things to do in NYC during Christmas.


Book a Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall Shopping Tour

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Next on my list of Christmas things to do in NYC, it’s visiting an outlet mall!

This is such a fun choice for things to do in NYC during Christmas time, especially if you’ve got some gifts to buy.

Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall isn’t located close to the city, so the easiest way to reach it is by joining a tour group. Which you can book tickets for by clicking here.

It’s such a great place to grab some bargains right before Christmas!


Visit The Skylark

My next idea for things to do in NYC for Christmas? It’s visiting a rooftop bar for some festive cocktails!

NYC has so many amazing rooftop bars, but we really recommend the Skylark Bar in Midtown.

This place has killer views of the Empire State Building, an amazing DJ and a tasty cocktail menu.

It’s perfect for a Christmas themed night out in NYC and we think you’ll love it. Just be sure to get your booking in early, as it’s popular!


Watch the New York City Ballet at the Lincoln Centre

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Another wonderful choice for things to do in NYC at Christmas time, is watching the New York City Ballet at the Lincoln Centre.

There’s something super festive about visiting Lincoln Centre, especially if your visit includes watching the New York City Ballet.

It’s so magic! A great pick for Christmas things to do in NYC.

Read more about NYC: 34 things to do in NYC when it rains


Do the ‘Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour’

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Next on my list of things to do in NYC during Christmas, is taking a ‘Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour’.

This is one of those activities that isn’t inherently ‘Christmassy’ but that feels really festive, so is worth mentioning too!

A ‘Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour’ is a great way to see the city during the winter months, and get an overview of all the lovely festive sights and attractions.

You’ll go past Macy’s, through all the amazing window displays, and past lots of wonderful Christmas trees too!

It’s a great pick for things to do in NYC for Christmas. You can book tickets by clicking here.


Eat somewhere delicious!

Christmas in NYC

OK, so now you have an epic list of things to do in NYC during Christmas – you’ll want to make sure you’ve found some festive places to eat too!

So we’re finishing our list of things to do in NYC during Christmas with plenty of wonderful places to eat!

Here are some of my favorite places to eat in NYC at Christmas time!

Quality Meats – This is a classic high-end steakhouse, but it’s cosy and warm and just oozes festive charm during the winter.

Rolf’s – If you want to visit somewhere with amazing festive decorations, then you HAVE to go to Rolf’s. There’s nowhere quite like it!

The NoMad Bar – Every year, The NoMad Bar do Christmas themed cocktails and turn their bar into a kind of winter cocktail wonderland. I think you’ll love it!

Tavern On the Green – This classic bar in NYC is located in the heart of Central Park. It oozes festive loveliness in the winter, and it’s a proper little winter hideaway.

Prince Street Pizza – Prince Street Pizza is an amazing pizza place located downtown. If you want something ‘grab and go’ this is IT! It’s my favorite pizza in the city, by far.


We hope this list of things to do in NYC during Christmas has given you loads of ideas!

Which of these things to do in NYC at Christmas will you be trying during your trip? Let us know!

Christmas in New York City is amazing, and such a special experience. And there are so many wonderful things to do in NYC at Christmas time!

So whatever you choose and however you spend your time, you can’t go far wrong if you choosing from our list of Christmas things to do in NYC.

Have fun in NYC, it’s the best place in the world!

things to do in NYC at Christmas

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