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.


BTW, if you are getting ready for your trip, make sure to take advantage of these useful, money-saving links to book your trip:

  • Research and book your flight with Skyscanner. I have found them to be the best because they list all airlines including the budget ones. You are always sure of having researched all options. You can also book your car rental through Skycanner.
  • For car rental in Europe that has flexible pickup and drop-off options, I recommend Auto Europe.
  • Book your accommodation with I find they have a wide selection and a nice, user-friendly, transparent website.
  • Protect your trip and, more importantly, protect yourself with travel insurance. I use World Nomads and have been very happy with them.
  • Looking for a small group tour to unforgettable destinations with top professionals? Intrepid Travel is your choice.
  • For more general tours to any destination or attraction, book with Viator. Check them out.
  • Need a visa?  Get your visa for all countries with iVisa.

I personally use, and can recommend, all the companies listed here and elsewhere on my blog. By booking through these sites, the small commission we earn – at no cost to you – helps us maintain this site so we can continue to offer our readers valuable travel tips and advice.

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Talek Nantes

This blog was created to inspire your travels and to explore experiences in fascinating locations. What you will find are thoughts on how to immerse yourself in local culture, food, history and people. On your way to these adventures I hope to provide you with useful information to help you get there. Come see the world with me!


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