Looking for things to do in New York City for the holidays? It’s a magical time.  All up and down 5th Avenue the streets are ablaze in twinkling lights. Animated characters populate the large store windows and the aroma of roasting chestnuts wafts through the crowded streets. The city puts on a special show during this time.  In a town full of unique activities and attractions, here are ten ways to help you make the most of your visit to New York City for the holidays.

Top 10 Things to do in New York City for the Holidays

Stroll Central Park in the Snow 

If you can catch the first snowfall, even better.  A blanket of white covers the park creating a magical “wonderland of snow.”

Tip: If you want the ultimate Central Park experience, Big Onion Walking Tours offers a fantastic Central Park walking tour

Stroll Central Park in New York City for the holidays

Stroll Central Park in winter

Ice Skate at Wollmans, Bryant Park or Rockefeller Center

Each one of these three ice rinks is in an iconic New York City location.

Ice skating in Rockefeller Center. A tradition in New York City for the holidays.

Ice skating in Rockefeller Center. A tradition in New York City for the holidays.

See the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall

Always a holiday favorite for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Radio City Music Hall Christmas

View the Holiday Angels and the Tree at Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Angels

Credit: Photo courtesy of Kimberley Vardeman / Flickr

See the Holiday Window Displays on 5th Avenue

Every year it seems the stores compete with one another to see who has the most elaborate display in New York City for the holidays.

See The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center

Visit Lincoln Center to see George Balanchine’s ballet, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a New York City tradition.

See Nutcracker Suite in New York City for the holidays

See Nutcracker Suite in New York City for the holidays


Stroll the Holiday Markets

Columbus Circle, Union Square,Bryant Park, and Grand Central all have wonderful holiday markets.  Experience a New York City winter market. Do your holiday shopping for traditional as well as unique artisanal gifts.

Christmas markets pop up in New York City for the hoidays

Christmas markets pop up in New York City for the holidays

Visit the New York Botanical Gardens

A great opportunity for a truly unique experience at the Botanical Gardens is the holiday model train display. Ideal for kids and adults alike.

Experience the Winter Solstice Celebration

It is a little known fact that St. John the Divine is the largest cathedral in the world. The Winter Solstice offers music within the extraordinary acoustics of New York’s greatest Cathedral. A New York City holiday experience like no other.

St. John's in New York City fo the holidays

The acoustics in St. John’s are awesome

See Santa at Macy’s

Santa is at Macy’s and just about everywhere else in New York City during the holidays. And if you’re traveling solo to the Big Apple any time of the year, learn 10 reasons why women love traveling to NYC solo.

NYC Exterior of Macy's at Christmas

Credit: Photo Courtesy of John Wisniewski / Flickr.

If you want a taste of the Big Apple, try this NYC food tour.

Here are more New York City tips from a native New Yorker.

  1. Where to go and what to do after a Broadway show.
  2. 20 unique things to do in New York City you can’t do anywhere else.
  3. 18 famous places to eat in New York City without breaking the bank.
  4. 26 best ethnic restaurants in New York City – A to Z
  5. Best New York City walking tours by Big Onion

Have you been to New York City for the holidays? It is a unique experience and we’d love to hear about it.


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