On the first chilly day of the season, I already start to daydream about Christmas in my favorite city, New York, the “Christmas capital of the world”… holiday lights, Christmas music, window shopping, roasted chestnuts and ice skating.
To get even more in the festive mood, I watch tear jerking Christmas movies; a box of tissues and hot chocolate within reach.
That these Christmas movies often take place in NYC, is no coincidence. No other city celebrates Christmas like New York does.
New Yorkers cherish their Christmas traditions; you will see Christmas trees and lights in every neighborhood and the popular sights become winter wonderlands. Holiday markets pop up and Christmas shows and concerts make a great night out.
Visting NYC for the first time? I can imagine you can use some help with finding the Christmas hotspots. In this article, I put together some tips and tricks, which will hopefully inspire you!
Have you visited New York before and think it’s amazing already? Well, with Christmas, the city is more beautiful than ever!
Best time to go
The Christmas season starts at the end of November. Go in November and enjoy the Christmas vibe early. You can avoid the high prices for flight tickets and hotels in December.
Many say that the Christmas starting point is “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”, on November 22, 2018. Millions of people will be there to watch the famous parade with marching bands, huge inflatable balloons, clowns and more.
Others say that the Christmas season starts when the big Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is lit. You can admire the tree from November 28, 2018 (at 7-9PM) until January 7, 2019.
Best time to shop
Black Friday 23 November is the start of the Christmas shopping season. It’s the shopping event of the year, with spectacular in-store discounts. Many shops also have after-Christmas sales, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
Best Christmas activities
- Watch the big Christmas tree and go ice skating afterwards at Rockefeller Center; Rockefeller Christmas Tree
- After a day at Rockefeller, watch a spectacular Christmas show at the Radio City Music Hall, just around the corner: Christmas show
- For more shows, visit New York theatres
- Go to the movies; many of the theatres feature special holiday series
- Take a stroll through magical Central Park and visit the Central Park Zoo, open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day too: Central Park winter traditions
- Visit one of the many holiday markets that pop up for the season, such as Bryant Park’s Winter Village. Check out the holiday shops and food stands; have a Nutella churro or crepe and enjoy a hot apple cider or hot chocolate. Bryant park features the only free-admission ice skating rink of New York. Bryant Park Winter Village
- Join a free “holiday lights tour” and see all of the huge window displays and decorations at once! free holiday lights Christmas tour
Getting in the mood already?
Get cozy on your couch and watch the romantic Christmas movie “Serendipity” on Netflix, filmed on location in NYC.
And of course, when in New York, you can’t miss the must-see attractions. Due to the high demand, I always suggest to plan and get tickets in advance for attractions.
You can visit the Empire State Building, the magnificent Top of the Rock, the One World Observatory or enjoy a Lights Sightseeing Cruise to get closer to the Statue of Liberty.
Here’s a list of more great things to see and do this Christmas in New York.
Enjoy the holiday season!
Elisabeth J. ♥