If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas in NYC itinerary – you have totally come to the right place.

Hi, I’m Elle! I’m the travel writer behind this blog – and I specialize in creating amazing travel itineraries for NYC. So trust me, you’re in good hands here!

In this blog post, I’ve created an easy-to-follow ‘Christmas in NYC itinerary’ that will enable you to see lots of the city’s best festive attractions in ONE DAY!

I know how intimidating it can be when planning a trip to NYC, and hopefully this itinerary for Christmas in NYC will help you have the perfect Christmassy trip, with no hassle or stress!

Being prepared will help you feel a bit calmer, and a bit less stressed in the run up to your amazing trip. Hopefully, making you feel even more festive!

Tip: I’ve also created a free PDF version of this Christmas in NYC itinerary that you can save to your phone, for quick and easy reference! Just scroll to the end of this post to save it. In addition to this, there is also a Google Map you can save (below) to help you navigate to all the locations mentioned.

Christmas itinerary for NYC
A snapshot of my Christmas itinerary for NYC

Christmas in NYC – A Festive Day in the city!

This NYC itinerary is for one day of sightseeing – it’s the ultimate festive day in the city.

For this particular Christmas itinerary for NYC, we’re going to focus on Midtown. Midtown is the heart of all things ‘Christmas’ in New York City, so if you want to cram as much ‘Christmas magic’ into the day as humanly possible, Midtown is where you should focus.

Now, if you don’t know, Midtown is a neighborhood of NYC, and Times Square is the center-point. It’s where a lot of the touristy attractions are found, and it’s certainly the most festive and Christmassy part of the city too.

So, it figures, that I want you to focus on Midtown, and get stuck into all the big Christmas sights straight away!

Here’s a helpful map of everywhere you’ll visit on my Christmas in NYC itinerary!

Just to make things super easy, once you’ve read my itinerary below, you can save this helpful map to your phone – so you have all these locations stored for your trip!

Activity 1: Wake up early to explore the Rockefeller Plaza and admire the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (1-2 hours)

Elle and family at the Rockefeller Christmas tree in NYC
My family and I, enjoying the Rockefeller Christmas tree in NYC

I recommend getting here early, because it gets incredibly crowded in the evening and later in the day. By heading there in the morning, you avoid the worst crowds and can actually get some decent selfies and photos of yourself too!

In this area you can obviously admire the Christmas tree, but you can also check out some other things too. Remember to add time onto your plan, if you decide to explore any of these additional attractions (especially Top of the Rock):

  • Lego store (free to look around, lots of fun!)
  • NYC morning TV studios (their studios are located here, you might spot a celebrity!)
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck (a famous attraction with great views, that you might want to add into your day)
  • FAO Schwarz (a famous NYC toy store – great for present shopping!)

Activity 2: St. Patrick’s Cathedral and 5th Avenue Christmas displays (1-2 hours)

St Patrick's Cathedral at Christmas time in NYC
Some close-up shots of St Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

Once you’ve finished exploring the Rockefeller Plaza and surrounding area, you’re going to walk to St Patricks Cathedral. Don’t worry, it’s just across the road. This is one of NYC’s most famous buildings, and it’s always worth seeing – especially during the festive season.

Even if you aren’t religious, there’s something wonderful about seeing such an ornate and beautiful building surrounded by skyscrapers!

Once you’ve finished seeing the cathedral, you can walk up 5th Avenue (towards Central Park) and enjoy some of the famous window displays and Christmas shopping. Here are some stores to look out for:

  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Harry Winston

Activity 3: The Plaza Hotel and Central Park (2-3 hours)

Ellie standing in Central Park at Christmas time in NYC
It’s me! Standing in Central Park at Christmas time in NYC

Once you’ve strolled to the top of 5th Ave, I recommend entering Central Park at the bottom right entrance, located near the Plaza Hotel.

It’ll give you a chance to see the famous Plaza Hotel (featured in Home Alone 2 – Christmas in New York!) but it’s also a great entrance into the park, with some amazing views too. I couldn’t create a ‘Christmas in NYC itinerary’ without mentioning the Plaza!

I have designed a walking route below, that you can easily follow using your phone – and it’ll take you through the park and past lots of wonderful areas.

Some other interesting areas you’ll see during my walking route are:

  • Gapstow Bridge (great photo opportunity)
  • The Diary Gift Shop (I love this place)
  • The Mall
  • Bethesda Terrace (very pretty, plus there are toilets!)
  • Bow Bridge (popular spot to get engaged!)
  • Tavern on the Green (lovely place to get lunch, or a drink)
  • Colombus Circle Holiday Market

Activity 4: Optional ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park (1 hour)

Wollman rink in Central Park, NYC
Wollman rink in Central Park, NYC

Whilst you’re in the park, you might also want to try your hand at ice skating, on the world-famous Wollman Rink. Don’t worry – this icerink is one the walking route above, so it’ll be super easy to locate.

This is the amazing icerink in the heart of Central Park, with that magical backdrop of the city’s skyline. It’s one of those classic NYC Christmas attractions, and was a must for my NYC Christmas itinerary.

If you don’t feel like skating here, there is another choice for ice-skating later in the day, so don’t worry! I’ve tried to give you as many option as possible in this ‘Christmas in NYC itinerary’.

Activity 5: Columbus Circle Holiday Market (45 minutes)

You’ll notice that my walking route for Central Park finishes up at Columbus Circle. This is a great place to finish off your Central Park walk because it’s also home to one of the city’s famous Holiday Markets!

You don’t need to stop to look around if you don’t want to, but it’s a nice little shopping break, and you’ll find some delicious hot chocolate stands and food stalls here too, if you’re feeling hungry!

Around this time in my ‘Christmas in NYC itinerary’, I’d expect it to be getting towards early evening. It should be around 3-5pm at this time (depending on when you began exploring).

Activity 4: Times Square (1-2 hours)

Elle and her husband in Times Square in the snow at Christmas in NYC
Times Square is so magical in the snow!

From Colombus Circle, jump on the Subway (or get the bus) and make your way down to Times Square. It’s not a long Subway ride, it should only take 10 minutes.

Now, I’ll be honest, Times Square isn’t my favorite place in the city. But if you’re a first-time visitor to NYC, Times Square is just one of those key sights you have to check off. So it had to be included in my ‘Christmas in NYC itinerary’.

When you get to Times Square, just enjoy looking around and exploring. It’ll be busy, but it’ll also feel very festive, which is lovely!

Tip: The key to enjoying Times Square? You have to just lean into the chaos and enjoy it!

Activity 5: The Museum of Broadway (2 hours)

Museum of Broadway exhibits
A selection of exhibits from the Museum of Broadway

When you’ve finished exploring Times Square, I really recommend checking out the Museum of Broadway. It’s my favorite museum in the whole city, and it is SO MUCH FUN. It’s only a short walk from Times Square, and I’d estimate putting aside about 2-3 hours to walk through it.

It’s wonderful, magical, informative, fun, and so very ‘New York’. And in a strange way, although it’s not ‘Christmas themed’ it definitely feels super festive! It’s also indoors – so if the snow, or cold temperatures are getting to you – this is a nice break to get warm again.

You can read my full review of the Museum of Broadway by clicking here! It’ll show you exactly what to expect!

Bryant Park Winter Village (2-3 hours)

Bryant Park Winter Village in NYC
Bryant Park Winter Village is such a festive place!

Once the sun starts going down, I recommend heading over to Bryant Park Winter Village, Probably my favorite place in this itinerary for Christmas in NYC. It’s located only a short stroll from The Museum of Broadway and Times Square.

Bryant Park is one of my favorite parks in NYC, and during the festive season, it is home to a beautiful holiday market. In the evening, I would stroll around this gorgeous part of the city, take a look inside the festive stalls, enjoy some food, and maybe a hot chocolate or two!

There is a beautiful tree to admire too, and ice-skating (if you didn’t manage to go ice-skating earlier in the day). Oh, and once you’re done admiring the park, don’t forget to check out the New York Public Library – another famous NYC landmark that shares space in the park.

Walk down to Macy’s (1-2 hours)

If you’ve still got the energy – end your super Christmassy day in NYC with a little shopping trip to Macy’s. Macy’s stays open until 10pm on weekends (9pm on weekdays), so you won’t need to worry about it closing before you’re finished with other activities.

Macy’s is one of the most famous department stores in the USA, and during the festive season they decorate it so beautifully! So it has a well-deserved spot on my itinerary for Christmas in NYC.

It’s absolutely worth going to check it out and seeing the beautiful festive decor in it’s full glory!

Once there, you can shop until you drop, you can visit Santa, and you can explore Dickens Village too. As well as stock up on some seriously cute festive decorations and souvenirs. Just so you know – if you plan on visiting Santa, you’ll need to book ahead online.

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

Finish the day at a festive-themed bar (1-2 hours)

Christmas themed bar in NYC

NYC is jam-packed full of festive themed bars and restaurants, so I’m finishing off my perfect Christmas in NYC itinerary with a festive and Christmas themed bar.

I wrote a big list of brilliant festive themed bars here!

It’s the perfect chance to warm up out of the cold, but also to rest your feet too (which I’m guessing are aching by now!). Here are a few more suggestions for themed festive bars in NYC that you might want to check out:

  • Grinchy’s at Roberta’s
  • Sleyenda at Leyenda
  • Maccabee Bar at Ollie
  • Holiday Winter Wonderland Loreley Beer Garden
  • Oscar Wilde NYC
  • Miracle on 9th Street at The Cabinet
  • The Lodge at Bryant Park

Read more info about Christmas in NYC: 26 festive things to do in NYC at Christmas time!

Did you know… I offer custom-made itineraries and personalized itineraries?

If you’re interested in having a custom-made itinerary created for your trip to NYC, that’s a service I offer! It’s not just this itinerary for Christmas in NYC I can create!

For people wanting something more detailed, and more in-depth, I create completely bespoke and custom itineraries for NYC. For those seeking to fully experience New York City, I specialize in crafting unique, tailor-made, custom itineraries for this amazing city.

I’ll ask you to answer some questions for me, and from there, I will tailor-make your ideal trip plan for NYC, featuring maps, helpful directions, timings and schedules, transport routes, and hidden gem recommendations. Click here for more information!

Here’s how it works!

Free PDF itinerary for your phone!

Save this simplified version of my Christmas in NYC itinerary to your phone – it’ll help remind you which attractions to see, and where to visit next!

Christmas in NYC itinerary
Christmas in NYC itinerary

Read more about Christmas in NYC: What’s open on Christmas Day in NYC?