The 10 Best Ways To Spend The Holidays In New York City

December 13th, 2022 at 12:00pm

New York City, The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps — NYC is a glittering metropolis, immortalized in pop culture for centuries. New York has always been my favorite place on Earth, offering excitement and intrigue around every corner. The holiday season seems even more magical when you’re walking down the well-tread city streets with boughs of holly and shimmering lights draped over storefront windows. It’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of ways to spend a winter day in New York! CF shares 10 holiday activities that are guaranteed to make the season even better.

01. Bryant Park’s Winter Village

Located directly in front of the Famous New York Public library, each year from October through mid-March, Bryant Park transforms into Brrryant Park, the largest winter market in all of New York City. Filled with great food stalls, places to buy adorable gifts for cherished friends and family as well as an ice skating rink open to the public, this charming attraction located amongst the skyscrapers is a great place to spend a fun-filled day.  

02. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

An iconic monument of the holiday season in New York, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center looks down over the skating rink with its infamous statue of Prometheus and is the site of Kevin McAllister’s reunion with his mom in Home Alone 2. With its impressive stature and glittering ornaments, the tree is a must-see attraction day or night.

03. Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights 

For fans of elaborate Christmas decoration displays, Dyker Heights is definitely the place for you! The most beautifully decorated homes in all five boroughs of the city are located in this neighborhood of Brooklyn. As the years have gone by, Dyker Heights has become so popular, you can actually schedule a tour to see the best decorations. Depending on your personal preference, you can choose from walking or bus tours. 

04. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

No list of New York Christmas attractions would be complete without at least mentioning Radio City’s most popular show. Since 1931, the Rockettes have performed with much glitz and glam at 30 Rock and have managed to create one of the most famous holiday traditions in the world. Definitely a must-see for everyone!

05. Holiday Light Show at The Empire State Building

Beginning Saturday, December 19 at 8 PM and running until Christmas Day, the Empire State Building will hold its annual Holiday Light Show. Each night, the skyscraper will light up in various holiday-themed ways to synchronized music. As long as you’re within eyeshot of the building, you too can take in the spectacle! 

06. Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise

Beloved by tourists and locals alike, holiday cruises along the Hudson River are a great way to spend an evening. The most popular of these cruises is the Cocoa and Carols iteration. Held on a yacht dating back to the 1920s with a live jazz band, glassed in observatory deck and drink service, this is certainly one of those one-of-a-kind holiday experiences. 

07. Ice Skating in Central Park

Central Park is one of the largest (and in my opinion, beautiful) city parks in the world with  1.317 square miles of natural beauty. It’s also the site of the Wollman Rink, a historic ice skating rink located smack dab in the middle of Central Park. For those looking for a less crowded and expensive alternative to skating at 30 Rock with the added bonus of a backdrop of natural splendor, this is the place for you!

08. The Windows at Bergdorf Goodman

Located at 754 5th Avenue since 1901, just around the corner from the famous Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf Goodman is one of the most spectacular luxury shopping destinations there is. Each year, the staff at Bergdorf’s create elaborate and unique holiday window displays that never cease to amaze. My personal favorite was a window from Christmas 2018 featuring a gingerbread house-making factory with a real moving conveyor belt. 

09. Central Park Lighting Ceremony at the Harlem Meer

For the 26th annual Central Park Holiday Lighting, the ceremony will take place at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center. Free and open to the public, the ceremony will feature carols, a parade of specially-decorated Christmas trees and even an appearance from the Man with the Bag himself, Saint Nick!

10. Broadway Under the Stars

Located at Columbus Circle’s Time Warner Center, Broadway Under the Stars is back for yet another year of free indoor Broadway performances. Referring to the 12 massive stars suspended from the 100-foot ceiling in the shopping center, these 14-foot, multi-colored lights provide the perfect backdrop to some of the most talented performers in the world. The shows begin in mid November and run through early December, usually on Monday evenings.

This list should provide ample inspiration for your trip into the Big Apple this holiday season. Of course, there are hundreds of exceptional things to do while you’re exploring this marvelous city but in my opinion, these are some of the best. 

Featured image via @keepingupwithamm. Design by Her Campus Media/Francesca Grima of Unsplash.