As the old song goes, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’, and as Christmas hosts go, you can’t get any better than New York City. I don’t think anywhere does jingle-belling, hearts glowing, mistletoe-ing like New York City does. So, with that in mind, here’s our guide on how to spend Christmas in New York:
Stop by the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.
When the winter darkness has fallen across the city, head on over to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Those 50,000 twinkling LED lights on 30 metres of Norway Spruce is spellbinding and it’s the perfect way to ease you into the Christmas spirit. For a different take on holiday lights – go see Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, where the residents put on a bigger and better display of festive lighting around their properties each year.
The magical Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Centre NYC
Soak Up The Atmosphere At the City's Iconic Sights
Every part of New York puts in some extra special effort this time of year – and NYC’s iconic sights are no exception. For example, the Empire State Building will be lit up red and green to celebrate the season. Hop on a GrayLine New York night tour to get a great view of the city’s Christmas decorations in addition to the uninterrupted view of the Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn.
New York looks spectacular all year round, but it has to be said, the sights are extra special when they get their Christmas on.
Put Your Skates On
You could also indulge in that other NYC holiday classic and go skating. Although, if I can make a suggestion here - it’s best to go skating at the larger Central Park Wollman Rink or the even larger Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Don’t worry if you’ve not skated before – New York at Christmas is the perfect time and place to start. You won’t be alone.
Festive ice-skating in New York is another right of passage for visitor and resident, alike.
Visit The Shops
Obviously, if you are visiting New York in the lead up to Christmas, then this is the perfect city in which to do your holiday shopping. Our ionic stores; Barney’s, Bloomingdales and Macy’s, as well as our boutiques, have all the answers to your shopping questions.
But, even if you’ve already completed your shopping, do stop by these stores just to marvel at their window displays. I’ve walked along Fifth Avenue New York early in the morning over Christmas – and it’s pure art! Add the iconic FAO Schwarz to your list – the toy shop that appeared in the Tom Hanks movie ‘Big’ – which is now located at 767 Fifth Avenue. It’s a timeless and nostalgic sight. New York City will also host some fabulous Christmas Markets, at places like Union Square and Bryant Park where you’ll find unique hand made gifts and superb sweet treats.
That Christmas Fairytale Castle aka Saks, Fifth Avenue NYC.
Take In A Holiday Show
Seeing the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular is a right of passage for every New Yorker – so I’d definitely recommend it to you to – it’s full of festive, old school fun, and runs throughout the season, including Christmas Day. The New York City Ballet will also be performing that festive classic – The Nutcraker – this year. It’s immensely popular and a really unforgettable part of New York’s holiday scene.
Celebrate The True Meaning Of Christmas
It’s easy to get caught up in the bright lights of the city at this time of year, but take time out and visit any one of our churches. Services are open, welcoming, and are famous for going all out on Christmas Day – particularly with music. On the lead up to the season, St John the Devine, the city’s Episcopal Cathedral hosts a winter solstice celebration – dancers, drummers, musicians and vocalists – will give a performance welcoming the return of the sun and the New Year. It takes wonderful advantage of the acoustics and soaring ceilings of this beautiful building.
Christmas Eve Caroling
Continuing on the musical theme – there will usually be a Christmas Eve Caroling concert at Washington Square Park. A band will play under the arch – and all are welcome. It’s a lovely way to herald in Christmas Day.
Join in with, or listen to the singers at Washington Square Park each Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day and the whole festive period around it is a lovely and lively time in New York City. On the day itself, you’ll find plenty of cafés and restaurants open for at least some of the day. The New York Zoo in Central Park also opens its doors on December 25th, as does the Winter Village at Bryant Park. So with these options as well as those listed above, you’ll have plenty of ways to mark your Christmas holiday in New York. Check out our website at: graylinenewyork.comfor more details on how we can help you tour New York City during this incredible time of year in our city.