Melissa from My Beautiful Passport – Reports
Wondering is Christmas in New York worth it as a tourist? You’ve come to the right place. There’s magic in the air during Christmas in New York City. I’ve seen it and want to go back.
Skyscrapers twinkle with holiday lights, stores display awe-inspiring festive windows, and you might get lucky to see NYC dusted in snow. Central Park turns into a playground for winter sports like skating and the iconic Rockefeller Center becomes a hub for Christmas celebrations.
Every corner of the Big Apple fills with cheer, making a visit to NYC during the holiday season a bucket-list-worthy adventure. Let’s get right into whether New York is worth visiting around Christmas and visiting tips for you to have the best time.
Is Christmas in New York Worth It?
Yes, Christmas in New York is worth it. New York City is a classic holiday destination incomparable to any other place, and my favourite so far. The city becomes a winter wonderland adorned with twinkling lights, beautiful Christmas trees, and festive window displays. Rockefeller Center Tree is a must-see, standing tall and beautifully lit, casting a magical glow on the ice skaters below.
Holiday markets, including the Union Square Holiday Market and the Winter Village at Bryant Park, are filled with unique gifts and delicious seasonal treats. And, no Christmas in NYC would be complete without catching a performance of The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet or the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
The holiday spirit is alive and well in the Big Apple, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
There’s no shortage of things to see and do in NYC around Christmas time.
But first of all…
A couple of recommendations from the Sentinel crew too!
Best Restaurant for a festive Feast?
In our opinion, it’s got to be The Ribbon. On the Upper West Side, the The Ribbon is quintessentially New York. From their extensive wine list and craft cocktails to their mastery of American classics with a hint of French influence, there’s no better Christmas dinner than that at The Ribbon NYC.
Best Department for Christmas Shopping?
Some of the world’s best in NYC, including the classics that are Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s, but our favourite is Bergdorf Goodman. It’s worth a visit this year just for the window displays!
This eight-floor temple of sophistication includes some of the best designer shopping in-store boutiques. Once you’re done picking up some new threads, browse housewares or visit the beauty and fragrance department, then dine with amazing views of Central Park at BG Restaurant.
Top 10 Things to Do in New York During Christmas!
1. Watch the Saks Fifth Avenue Lights Show
Beginning in late November, you can head to Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC for the nightly Christmas light show. The shows run every ten minutes from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM, typically lasting around five minutes. Make sure to add this one to your New York winter itinerary. It’s short and worth watching at least once.
2. See Central Park Covered in Snow
Central Park is a must-visit NYC attraction, especially during winter when it’s covered in snow. The scene is very picturesque and looks straight out of a holiday movie. There was unfortunately no snow when I went, which made me sad but there were plenty of fun Christmas activities to make up for it.
3. Shop the Christmas Markets
Every December, the streets of NYC fill with markets selling baked goods, crafts, apparel, and more. Popular options include the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, Union Square Holiday Market, and Grand Central Holiday Market. Bryant Market was my favourite holiday market and had the most delicious hot chocolate.
4. Catch a Radio City Christmas Spectacular Performance
The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular is a dazzling annual holiday performance at NYC’s iconic Radio City Music Hall.
5. Visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
If you’re visiting New York at Christmas, make sure to stop by the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, one of the most famous NYC Christmas sights. Attend the Christmas tree lighting ceremony if you can—it’s unforgettable! I couldn’t believe how big it was!
6. Go Ice Skating
You can’t plan a New York Christmas trip without ice skating at one of the city’s seasonal outdoor ice rinks. Bryant Park, Central Park, and Rockefeller are some of the most well-known in NYC. Nothing says Christmas in NYC more than ice skating in front of the Rockefeller Christmas tree.
7. Tour the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
The New York Botanical Garden is worth visiting any time of year, but especially shines during the Christmas season when it hosts the Holiday Train Show.
8. Explore the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
Head to Brooklyn to take in the breathtaking Dyker Heights Christmas Lights display. Most of the neighbourhood participates, and the experience is magical.
9. Check Out Times Square
While Times Square is often considered a tourist trap, the attraction is a great place to visit around Christmas when the entire city is decorated. See it day and night for the full experience, like I always do when I go to NYC.
10. Enjoy the Empire State Building Tower Lights
The Empire State Building is a famous NYC landmark and puts on a festive Tower Lights show every year to celebrate Christmas. It was lit up green and red during the holiday season on my trip.