There is nothing more magical than the streets of New York City during Christmas and the holidays. There are just so many amazing things to do in NYC at Christmas! It kicks off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and ends with the ball drop in Times Square. Look anywhere and everywhere to find winter wonderlands with a festive NYC touch.
Classic holiday events in New York City are a favorite tradition that families enjoy time and time again. Here are some our favorite Christmas activities in NYC. Updated for 2022!
The Best Christmas Things to do in NYC at Christmas 2022
See a Show
New York City is home to some of the best plays anywhere. Start a holiday tradition by heading to Broadway to see a show!
Looking for something Christmas themed? You can’t go wrong with the classic Radio City Christmas Spectacular at world-famous Radio City Music Hall where the Rockettes will dazzle with their stunning dance numbers.
Be sure to arrive early to allow time to seek out fun photo opportunities with a Rockette located on the first mezzanine and Santa located in the Grande Lounge. This year’s shows will take place November 18, 2022 – January 2, 2023.
One of the hottest holiday tickets in town is George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ performed by the New York City Ballet at the Koch Theater. This year’s show will be performed November 25 – December 31, 2022.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy entering the world of toy soldiers, mice kings, and sugar plum fairies. Nothing says Christmas in New York City like one of these classics!
Lincoln Center routinely boasts some of the Big Apple’s most spectacular shows as well.
Stroll Fifth Avenue
Strolling down Fifth Avenue between 59th and 34th streets will treat you to some of the best sights in the city, namely the decorated department stores and their lovely holiday-themed windows.
Some of the most famous windows you can find are at the department stores of Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, and Macy’s.
Continue your walking tour by taking a stop at Macy’s in Herald Square will not only treat you to wonderful window displays, but you can also have your own Miracle on 34th Street moment while visiting Santa in Santaland. You can make your reservations to see Santa up to five days in advance.
For the epitome of a Christmas in New York City experience, visit Rockefeller Center to see the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Take in the decorations, the famous tree, sip some hot chocolate, or lace up your ice skates and step onto the ice skating rink to soak in the holiday decorations and ambiance. There are also a variety of great stores to browse in and pick up some holiday gifts. The rink opens November 5, 2022 for the season.
Take a Tour
Gray Line Bus Tours are available all year round but during the holiday season you can hop aboard for a holiday lights tour and see all the festive sites around the city. Times Square, the laser show at Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are just some of the highlights on this bus tour.
For something a bit different, try The Christmas Lights Tour from A Slice of Brooklyn guided bus tours. Fun from the time your family steps onto the bus until you hop off filled with cool local knowledge – and a bit more of the holiday spirit, this is one fun family activity that you’ll be talking about long after the ride is complete.
Check for hotel availability in New York. As a Booking.com affiliate, Trekaroo guarantees the lowest rates.
See More NYC Holiday Lights
The tree lighting at Rockefeller Center is certainly something special to do this time of year. Christmas in New York City really begins when this tree is lit. The huge Norway Spruce will be illuminated every evening throughout the holiday season. The official tree lighting will take place November 30, 2022.
The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens features model trains traveling around miniature replicas of famous New York City landmarks. It takes place November 19, 2022 – January 16, 2023.
Throughout the season, visitors enjoy special events featuring puppet shows and visits with Thomas the Train. The Botanical Garden has other fun programs such as Holiday Adventures where kids can enjoy a variety of activities.
A New York staple, Central Park, is the perfect place for a wintertime stroll or a carriage ride. For a fun, traditional wintertime activity, take the family ice skating at Wollman Rink!
The kids will love the puppet theater at The Swedish Cottage in Central Park. The theater creates family-friendly holiday favorites every year that are sure to delight boys and girls of all ages.
Stop by Bryant Park and visit the Winter Village. Take a twirl on the ice at Citi Pond, the only place in the city where you can skate for free!
Afterward, ride the Le Carrousel which will be sure to delight the kids. During the holiday season, visitors can enjoy the Holiday Markets at Bryant Park, more than 100 boutique style shops are available for your shopping pleasure to get that perfect “Christmas in New York City” gift.
Additional holiday markets can be found at Columbus Circle and Union Square.
The NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor Cultural Center is something you won’t want to miss. This drive-through holiday light experience runs November 3, 2022 – January 8, 2023. This year’s experience features Chinese lanterns and tunnels inspired by space.
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens hosts Lightscape where it invites you celebrate the beauty of nature in winter on an enchanting trail featuring over a million dazzling lights. This event runs from November 16, 2022 – January 8, 2023.
And over in the Bronx, the Bronx Zoo hosts Holiday Lights November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023. This walk-through experience includes immersive light displays, animated light shows, and custom-designed animal lanterns. There will be plenty of festive entertainment, music, and treats, as well as the Holiday Train.
Where to Stay in NYC for Christmas
There are so many hotels to choose from in New York City! During this time of year, many offer fun holiday-themed packages during your stay. The Omni Berkshire Place is located just steps from some of the city’s best shopping!
For a splurge, consider a stay at one of NYC’s oldest gems, family-friendly Sherry Netherland.
Stays at the centrally-located Westin New York at Times Square will also get you a room at the center of the action.
Chelsea’s Hyatt House is a great choice for families who want a kitchen to cook in.
Check out our top picks for family-friendly lodging in NYC.
Look for the best hotel prices in New York. As a Booking.com affiliate Trekaroo is thrilled ot offer our readers the lowest rates.
Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.
Pin this to bookmark all the Christmas activities in NYC; we update it yearly:
Lead Image by: Flickr/flyingover