New York City is a truly magical place to spend the holidays. With giant Christmas trees, ice skating rinks, Broadway shows, and more, it’s a true winter wonderland. If you’re not sure what to do this holiday season, these things will surely make you want to pack your bags, book your ticket, and jet off to the city.
Here are my top things to do to in New York at Christmas!
Bryant Park Winter Village
Bryant Park is known for holding events. In fact, they hold over 1,000 free activities, classes, and events a year. Winter Village has ice skating, a rinkside bar, a food hall, and holiday shops.
It’s actually the only place in New York where you can ice skate for free. However, skate rental will still cost you $20.
If it’s too cold for you, you can spend your time on the Observation Deck. It’s located on the second floor of the Skating Pavillion and it overlooks the rink.
Here you can enjoy games and art supplies. The best part is that it’s free!
Read More: The Ultimate New York City Travel Guide
Eggnog at Miracle on 9th Street
What’s better than holiday-themed drinks? Nothing. Nico de Soto, Greg Boehm, and Zach Sharaga created Miracle on 9th Street, a holiday-inspired pop-up bar.
Located in the East Village, you’ll find cocktails with names like Bad Santa and Fa La La and they’re all served in Santa or reindeer mugs with candy cane garnishes.
Their specialty eggnog consists of brown-butter cognac, amontillado sherry, almond milk, cream, eggs, and nutmeg. They are open seasonally from right after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve so be sure to stop by while it’s open.
Shop 5th Ave & Christmas Windows
5th Avenue is arguably the most well-known area of New York, and for good reason. Christmas time on 5th ave consists of ornate window displays at the department stores.
Some of the highlights include Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Barney’s, Bloomingdales, and Lord & Taylor. It makes shopping for Christmas presents all that much more enjoyable.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market
The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is located at the entrance of Central Park, at 59th Street and Central Park West. Here you will find aisles on aisles of art, jewelry, home goods, and delicious eats.
It’s known all over the world as one of the most elegant spots for holiday shopping.
It runs from November 28 to December 24th and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM – 8 PM and Sunday from 10 AM to 7 PM.
Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
If you’re in New York, it’s a requirement to go see the Rockettes. Alright, that might be an exaggeration but it’s still one of the coolest things to do while visiting.
This year they announced that the Christmas production will be technologically transformed with an all-new finale scene and redesigned elements. We’re talking 100 drones that take flight to create a magical light show for the audience.
The beloved holiday show runs from November 9th through January 1st, with shows every single day. Tickets start at around $50 and can get up to $600 depending on the seats.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
For over 8 decades, the Rockefeller building has put up an iconic Christmas tree. Today more than half a million people pass the tree every day, making it the heart of Christmas in New York.
This year the tree will be lit for the first time November 28th and will remain lit until January 7th.
If you’re looking to ice skate under the magical tree, Rockefeller Center offers an ice skating rink open to the public with sessions starting at 8:30 AM and going until 10:30 PM. Admission ranges anywhere from $25 – $33 depending on the time of year.
The closer you get to the holidays, the more expensive it becomes.
Santa & Holiday Display at Macy’s
No Christmas display tour would be complete without stopping by Macy’s. Not only will you be able to see the display but you also get to meet Santa Claus.
Macy’s has two sets of window displays, making six total. During peak hours, over 10,000 people will pass every hour.
Last year the window theme was “The Perfect Gift Brings People Together” and featured a firework display, a large Christmas tree in a home setting, an ice skating rink in the busy city, and Santa as the conductor of a holiday show.
Holiday Themed Cocktails at Bar 54
At the Hyatt Centric Times Square hotel, you will find Bar 54, the highest rooftop lounge in New York City. They have both indoor and outdoor seating and during the holidays, you can find holiday-themed cocktails to sip on while enjoying the views of New York City.
Holiday Displays at the Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel is known for its luxurious atmosphere and beautiful decor. You might know it from Home Alone or Gossip Girl.
During the holiday season, the Plaza Hotel goes all out and displays Christmas trees, wreaths, and lit garland everywhere you look. It’s one of the best spots to warm up, sip some tea, and get in the holiday spirit.
The Nutcracker by the NYC Ballet
What would a trip to New York be without a few shows? During Christmas time, the New York City Ballet puts on a show of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker.
With 90 dancers, 62 musicians, and over 125 children, this ballet is extremely magical.
Starting November 23, there are shows almost every day (except for Mondays) until December 30th. The two-hour show is a bit pricier, running anywhere from $90 to $185 dollars depending on the section you choose.
New York is magical any time of the year, but it is extra special during the holiday season. That’s why I highly recommend experiencing it at least once in your lifetime!