It’s the festive season in New York City! Everywhere you look, from the dazzling Fifth Avenue window displays to the majestic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the city is alive with holiday cheer. To make the most of this magical time, you need a solid plan filled with fun activities. Look no further, as I’ve compiled a local’s guide to the top things to do in New York during the holidays. Prepare for a plethora of festive photo opportunities, charming Christmas markets, and renowned hot cocoa spots. You’ll be immersed in the holiday spirit before you know it.

1. Go ice skating in Central Park

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Wollman Rink (@wollmanrinknyc)

Create lasting memories by ice skating in Central Park. Start your day with a classic New York breakfast of bacon, egg, and cheese, then head to the Wollman Rink for a delightful ice skating session (don’t forget to book in advance!). Skating amidst the iconic Midtown Manhattan skyscrapers in the backdrop is truly magical.

2. Stroll along Madison Avenue

View this post onInstagram

A post shared by Ralph’s Coffee (@ralphscoffee)

When in New York, take some time to explore residential neighborhoods like the Upper East Side and admire the beautifully decorated townhouses. Madison Avenue and its surroundings are especially festive during the holidays. Kick off your visit with a hot beverage at Ralph’s Coffee on Madison and 72nd, and don’t miss snapping a picture with their adorable holiday-themed cup. Other must-visit spots in the area include E.A.T. Gifts, Butterfield Market, and Sant Ambroeus for decadent hot chocolate.

3. Explore the holiday markets

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bryant Park (@bryantparknyc)

Immerse yourself in the festive spirit by visiting the numerous Christmas markets scattered across the city. These markets, found in Union Square, Astoria, Grand Central Station, Columbus Circle, East Harlem, and DUMBO, offer unique gifts and delicious treats. Don’t miss Bryant Park’s Winter Village with over 180 artisan vendors selling a variety of goods and delightful snacks. It’s a paradise for food enthusiasts, so you might even forgo dinner reservations for these tasty offerings.

4. Enjoy window shopping on Fifth Avenue

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dior Official (@dior)

Embark on a holiday window shopping adventure starting with Bergdorf Goodman and continuing along Fifth Avenue to witness more impressive displays. Capture the beauty of Saks, Cartier, and make your way to Sixth Avenue to see Radio City Music Hall and its grand ornament statues. Keep an eye out for hidden gem Christmas trees along the way.

5. Indulge in festive beverages

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Miracle on 9th Street (@miracleon9thstreet)

Embrace the holiday spirit with a festive drink or two at some of NYC’s best spots. Visit Rolf’s for a holiday martini, experience the Christmas-themed bar at Gramercy’s Miracle on 9th Street, or enjoy stunning city views at rooftop lounges like Ophelia. If you prefer a more historical setting, opt for a drink at iconic hotels such as The Carlyle or The Plaza.

6. Attend a holiday show

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Radio City Music Hall (@radiocitymusichall)

Amidst the plethora of holiday activities in New York, make time for a show—it’s a must-do. Catch The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center or The Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes for an unforgettable experience. Short on time or budget? Head to Saks Fifth Avenue for a free light show every ten minutes from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

7. Admire the Christmas trees

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lotte New York Palace (@newyorkpalace)

While the Rockefeller Christmas tree is iconic, there are many other stunning trees in New York worth a visit. Check out the beautifully decorated trees at Washington Square Park, Wall Street, The Palace courtyard, and The Met for some memorable holiday snaps.

8. Try popular hot chocolate spots

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Brooklyn Farmacy (@brooklynfarmacy)

Indulge in the city’s finest hot chocolate offerings this holiday season. Try the Liquid S’mores from Rubyzaar Baked at the Union Square Holiday Market or sample hot chocolates from renowned spots like Bar Pisellino, Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, L.A. Burdick, and Sant Ambroeus. Treat yourself to these delightful beverages.

9. Enjoy live jazz music

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Vivian | NYC food + Travel (@lavivienyc)

End your holiday experience with a touch of New York flair by visiting a jazz club in Greenwich Village. Classics like Smalls, Mezzrow, and Village Vanguard offer exceptional performances in charming surroundings surrounded by elegant brownstones and vibrant restaurants.

10. Treat yourself to a holiday ornament

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by John Derian Company (@johnderiancompany)

After savoring an NYC bagel, delicious cocktails, and multiple hot chocolates, get yourself a special ornament as a memento of your festive visit. Explore places like John Derian Company in the East Village, More & More Antiques on the Upper West Side, or the Christmas in New York store in Little Italy for unique decorations to adorn your Christmas tree and forever cherish this unforgettable trip.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *