How to spend Christmas in New York


Cue the festivities, New York is calling!

Larger than life and never one to be outdone, the concrete jungle that is New York is the dream destination to celebrate all things Christmas. During the Yuletide season, the Big Apple transforms into an urban winter wonderland, with its festive markets, huge twinkling Christmas trees and dazzling department store window displays.

From the classic New York attractions to the seasonal spectaculars, you’re in for a truly enchanting Christmas here.

So, what are you waiting for? Let the bells call you to one of the most amazing cities on earth and discover our complete guide on how to spend Christmas in New York.


See the Rockefeller Tree

Nothing says Christmas like a beautifully decorated tree. So how about a 13-tonne, 85-foot dazzler? It’s true, the Rockefeller tree really is a spectacular specimen, so it’s a must-see for your trip to the city.

If you’re lucky enough to be in NYC for the lighting ceremony in early December, you’re in for treat. It’s not simply a matter of flicking a switch, they really do pull out all the stops! Expect huge shows, celebrity performances and an unforgettable ceremony. Don’t worry if you’re not there for the big switch-on though, the lights are on from 5:30am through to 11:30pm until it’s taken down early in the new year.


Go ice skating

Ice skating in New York is the stuff of classic Christmas films. Imagine gliding around the rink with the snow-dusted Big Apple as your setting. To make this silver-screen scene a reality, head to Central Park and swoosh around the peaceful setting with the skyscrapers of the city as your backdrop. With the Wollman and Lasker rinks to choose from, you won’t struggle to get on the ice at Central Park. Or head a little further into the city and visit Bryant Park, to whizz around right in the centre of Manhattan. Here, entry onto the ice is free, but you’ll have to pay to rent your blades.

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Shop, shop, shop!

If you haven’t already filled your stockings, what better place to finish the job than New York! Visit Fifth Avenue for world famous shopping or check out Macy’s to immerse yourself in all the Yuletide fun. Once you’ve seen the iconic display, head up to Santaland and wander through the many stunning Christmas trees and decorations, and maybe even see St. Nick himself.

If you’re in the city after the big day, you could also pick up some deals in the Boxing Day sales. However you plan your trip, this is a fantastic time of year to enjoy a little retail therapy in New York.

Hit Radio City

A holiday season classic in NYC, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is not to be missed when you’re in the city. Featuring your festive favourites like Santa Claus, the famous Rockettes and more than 140 performers, this annual show is a medley of merriness. With pageantry, singing, dancing and traditional Christmas scenes, you’re sure to get a kick out of this.

Visit the Winter Village

What better way to celebrate Christmas in New York than to wander through warmly lit huts at the Bryant Park Winter Village? Explore the boutique stalls, steaming hot chocolate in hand, and maybe pick up a few festive gifts along the way. If you’re feeling particularly graceful, head to the ice rink surrounded by the high-rise buildings of central Manhattan. After that, head to The Lodge for seasonal cocktails, classic NYC grub and an outdoor beer garden. It’s a festive hideaway right in the middle of the city.


Discover display windows

Even if Christmas shopping may not be your bag, the display windows in New York are a holiday must. Each year, the big department stores enter into an unofficial competition to create the most beautiful displays that light up the city sidewalks in festive hues. No expense is spared when creating these amazing presentations, so you’re always in for a feast for the eyes. For the very best displays, head to Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue or Tiffany & Co. for their contribution to this seasonal spectacular.

Drop in at Rolf’s

You might adore the jolly season, but not as much as the folks at Rolf’s! Throughout the Yuletide period (and even until the end of May!), this German restaurant is decked out in full Christmas finery, making it a go-to for those in search of cheer. Enjoy your meal in the middle of all the fun. With thousands of decorations and fairy lights decking the rooms, it’s an unforgettable festive experience.

Posted: 22nd Oct 2019.

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