Best Christmas Places in NYC - Guide From a Local

Best Christmas Places in NYC - Guide From a Local

Are you looking for the best Christmas places in NYC? Lucky you! If you’re coming this way during the holidays, and are looking for the ultimate list of New York Christmas attractions, I’ve got you covered.

Trust me- I’ve lived here for over a decade. And in my NYC Christmas guide, I’m sharing a ton of tips that will help you have the best New York Christmas experience possible.


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WHY Come to New York Around Christmas time?...

It's that time again.... Christmas!! You're queuing up your Christmas songs playlist while picking out your perfect Christmas destination... and you've decided that's NYC!

New York during Christmas time
is definitely one of the most fun, most sparkly places you could be during the holidays. Whether you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping in New York, eat at trendy restaurants, or just want to ogle the best Christmas decorations in NYC, there is always a new treasure to find here.

In fact, I’d argue that NYC is one of the top destinations for Christmas! We’ve got so many things to experience here that it’s a tough holiday location to beat. Name me some more iconic places than Rockefeller Center tree, Radio City Rockettes show, Bryant Park Winter Village, and Dyker Heights Christmas lights, just to name a few.)

As a content creator based in NYC, I can tell you that I’ve spent the past three years going to every single holiday popup, tree lighting, and Christmas market that exists here! Every year, I take pictures of these festive places and share them on my Instagram… so you could say I know a little bit about it!

What can I say- I simply have a passion for finding the best New York Christmas Holiday spots!

And that’s why I want to share them all with you! So without further ado, here is my list of Christmas places in NYC.




Classic NYC Christmas Decorations

If you're doing a proper NYC Christmas trip, these are the first spots you'll need to check out! These are the tried-and-true destinations that people have been coming to for years.

Rockefeller Center - 30 Rockefeller Plaza - The classic of classics! I’ve been to the tree and skating rink several times, and I can honestly say it’s one of the most magical Christmas attractions in NYC! It's a must on your Christmas NYC bucket list.

Radio City Music Hall & Installations - 1260 Avenue of the Americas - Radio City is obviously iconic and has one of the best holiday shows around (The Rockettes!) 

However, you might have seen pics of the famous Christmas installations floating around Instagram and Tiktok! Including giant ornaments, candy canes, and Christmas lights. Start at Radio City, and you can literally see the installations from there!

Bryant Park Winter Village - I love coming here during the holidays because it's a one-stop-shop for all your favorite holiday activities- skating, shopping, eating, and drinking. There is even a bar where you can stop for a cocktail in between They usually have specialty deserts and 

5th Avenue - For the past few years, there have been installations along 5th Ave, so you can get some glitz as you stroll past the luxury boutiques.

Macy's - 151 W 34th St. If you're coming to NYC for Christmas, you can't miss the famous Believe sign!

Hudson Yards and the Vessel - 20 Hudson Yards - One of the most magical, spectacular Christmas light displays in the city!

Pulitzer Fountain - 768 Fifth Avenue - I have a soft spot in my heart for this location, because it’s in front of the Plaza Hotel… of Home Alone fame.

Lotte New York Palace - 455 Madison Ave. another Instagram-famous Christmas tree! 
* Note that this location is closed in 2021 for renovations. 

Cartier - 653 5th Ave - Every year, they put up a photo-worthy light display. This one's for the bougie girls and guys.

Dyker Heights - 83rd to 86th St in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. This is one of the most unique Christmas displays in NYC! Of course, it’s located in Brooklyn, far from trains. So your best bet is to drive there, or go on a guided tour.


LOCAL'S TIP!!

You can plan a route from downtown to uptown (or vice versa) for several of these activities easily in one day! A lot of them are located in midtown, and are all quite close. For instance, here's a sample route that I've done many times-

- Bryant Park Winter Market
- Radio City & installations
- Rockefeller Center
- 5th Avenue
- Pulitzer Fountain



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Best Holiday Markets in NYC

The winter markets in New York are the stuff of legend! I love outdoor holiday markets in NYC because they always feel so festive. You can warm up with a cup of hot cocoa or cider, and there are several small vendors there. So you can get gifts that no one else will have.


Winter Village at Bryant Park
- The Bryant Park NYC Christmas market is one of my favorites! Because not only is there shopping here, there's also ice skating! It can get crowded, so definitely plan to go on an off time.

Union Square Holiday Market - in the heart of Union Square Park over 160 vendors for your unique gifts for friends and family back home.

Grand Central Holiday Fair - I love this holiday market because it's indoors! Aside from that, you can stop and see Grand Central Terminal, which is gorgeous in its own right, and one of my favorite places in New York.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market - Located at the entrance to Central Park, at 59th street and Central Park West. Tons of amazing finds from local designers and artists.

Artists and Fleas in the Chelsea Market - located directly beneath the High Line, discover emerging talent and creativity


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Ice Skating Rinks in NYC

Can you think of a more iconic winter activity than ice skating? Make it in NYC, and you've got one of the best Christmas activities around! Here are the best ice skating rinks for this holiday season in NYC-


Bryant Park
Between Fifth and Sixth Aves. and 40th and 42nd Streets

A part of the Bryant Park Winter Village. Afterwards you can shop and enjoy some hot cocoa!  Free entry / skate rental $15–45

Rockefeller Center 
Between Fifth and Sixth Aves. and 49th and 50th Streets

One of the more expensive options, but worth it to skate in one of the most famous ice rinks in the world! Adults $20–$54

The Wollman Rink at Central Park 
East side of Central Park, at 63rd Street

You must try this rink if you're in/ near Central Park! If you come here on a snowday, it will literally turn into a winter wonderland. Adults $14–23, kids 11 and under $6; skate rental $11

The Rink at Brookfield Place 
250 Vesey St.

Open-air ice skating in the Financial District. $15 per single session (60 minutes); skate rental $5

The Rink at Manhattan West
385 Ninth Avenue

In the Hudson Yards area. You can shop at the posh mall afterwards! $20 (60-minute session), skate rental $5.

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers 
61 Chelsea Piers

Great if you're in the mood for indoor skating! $20 entry, $10 skate rental.

The Vale Rink 
111 N. 12th St., Williamsburg

Open-air rooftop rink in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Includes skates and locker use—is $20 for adults and $12 for children.


Christmas Shopping in NYC

The Christmas Shopping vibes in NYC are immaculate! Here are the top places to go in NYC to check off everything on your holiday shopping list.

  • Macy's (34th St.) - 151 W. 34th Street
  • Hudson Yards Mall - 20 Hudson yards
  • The Oculus - 185 Greenwich St
  • Brookfield Place - 230 Vesey St
  • Saks Fifth Avenue - 611 5th Ave
  • Shops at Columbus Circle - 10 Columbus Cir
  • Bloomingdale's - 1000 Third Avenue
  • 5th Avenue - Between about 49th & 59th streets 

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Rooftop Cabins, Snow Globes, and Igloos

Restaurants had to get creative in 2020. They had to somehow find a way to serve customers in a socially distant way. Thus, the snow globe and igloo trend was born!

I love going to these because it's an extra cozy way to enjoy your food and drinks. Note that most of these destinations require an extra payment.

  • 230 Fifth - 230 5th Ave, New York. NYC's largest outdoor bar. $50/ per person
  • Snow Globes at Bryant Park - 1-4 guests: $200. You get a carafe of hot chocolate, hot dogs, and french fries.
  • The Greens at Pier 17 - The Greens at Pier 17 is a great spot that I've been to several times! Reservation fees start at $50, not including food.
  • City Winery -  at Rockefeller Center 90-minute private use of the space. Minimum spend of $150 + tax, gratuity not included.
  • City Vineyard, Tribeca - Pier 26 - this unique space overlooks the Hudson River and provides the perfect setting
  • Watermark Winter Wonderland Glass Houses - Pier 15 - General admission is free, but the glass houses start at $50 for 2 people. 


NYC Christmas Bar Hopping

A trend that I personally love is seeing a bunch of holiday-themed bars pop up around the city! It puts you in such a festive mood when you can drink your cocktail and gaze at blinking Christmas lights.

  • Miracle on 9th - 649 E. 9th Street
  • Sippin' Santa @ Boilermaker - 13 1st Ave,
  • Pete's Tavern - 129 E 18th St,
  • Paddy Maguire's - 237 3rd Ave
  • Molly's Pub - 287 3rd Ave
  • Bell Book & Candle - 141 W 10th St
  • Mr. Purple - 180 Orchard St 15th floor
  • Magic Hour - 485 7th Ave 18th floor


Christmas and Winter-themed Restaruants

Want to enjoy Christmas while you're having a meal? Check out these Christmas and winter themed restaurants! The decor will be stunning.

  • Rolf’s German Restaurant - 281 3rd Ave - An NYC Christmas favorite, with a decked-out, over the top dining room. 
  • Serra by Birriera - 200 5th Ave - Gorgeous winter-themed restaurant, with a delicious Italian menu!
  • Lillie’s Victorian - Two locations- 13 E 17h St & 249 W 49th St
  • Oscar Wilde - 45 W 27th St,
  • Salon de Ning - 700 5th Ave, Floor 23
  • Holiday Cruises -  Event Cruises NYC and Classic Harbour Line both do great holiday cruises that go all along the Hudson River with skyline views.
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NYC Christmas trees

Is there anything that makes you happier than looking at a Christmas tree? I'll be honest... I can't think of very many things that can top that list! 

Now imagine the biggest, brightest Christmas trees you've ever seen, surrounded by sky scrapers. In NYC, the Christmas trees are larger-than-life! Here are the best ones-

  • Rockefeller Center - 45 Rockefeller Plaza
  • Bryant Park - Between Fifth and Sixth Aves. and 40th and 42nd Streets
  • Lotte Palace - 455 Madison Avenue (note, this tree is not up in 2021 due to construction)
  • Madison Square Park - 11 Madison Ave.
  • Washington Square Park - 5th Ave and Waverly Place
  • South Street Seaport - 19 Fulton Street
  • New York Stock Exchange - 11 Wall Street


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