Things to Do During the Holiday Season
Christmas and the holiday season in New York City is a very special time of year. The city's lights come on, the weather turns to snow, and there's a joy in the air that is indescribably. Yes, the city of lights is a fantastic and magical place to be during the holiday season. With huge Christmas trees in public parks and squares, ice skating rinks popping up around the city, and large holiday displays in the windows of the major stores, everywhere you turn you will find something gorgeous and magical.
We've put together this guide for things to do in New York over the holidays so that on your next visit, you'll know where to go and what to see in order to maximize that holiday spirit.
The heart and lungs of New York City, the famous, expansive, and huge Central Park is an iconic destination in the city featuring a variety of smaller attractions and features within itself. From ball fields and jogging paths to botanical gardens, concert spaces, cafes, ponds, playgrounds, and more, the park offers something for everyone. Don't forget to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park - one of the quintessential tourist activities in the city.
New York City, New York
Bryant Park, located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan, is situated next to the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. Featuring a large field in the summer, and a very popular ice skating rink in the winter, this community park is a nice spot to relax, enjoy a quiet setting, have a picnic, or go for a walk.
6th Ave at 41st Street, New York, New York, 10018
Little Italy is a popular tourist neighborhood with its traditional Italian restaurants, bakeries, and cute shops. The neighborhood has narrow streets that fill with people during the frequent festivals. The main thoroughfare through the neighborhood is Mulberry Street, which becomes a pedestrian mall on summer weekends.
The Rockefeller Center
New York's iconic Rockefeller Center is a must-see for visitors. It is a large complex that includes 19 commercial buildings and spreads out over 22 acres in Midtown Manhattan. There's an observation deck called Top of the Rock that offers beautiful views from a tower that stands 70 floors high. It has been the home of NBC Studios since 1933 and is open for public tours.
The Rockefeller Center is a quintessential destination during the Christmas season when the iconic Christmas tree is lit and the ice skating rink is opened in the plaza.
45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, 10111
Radio City Music Hall
The "Showplace of the Nation", this historic theatre is not just home to the Rockettes dance company, but also hosts a number of concerts, performances, stage shows, comedy acts, and other events that keep New Yorkers and visitors entertained year-round. Dating back to 1932, and significantly remodeled in 1999, this was once the world's largest auditorium. Now it's a terrific venue to take in a show any time of the year.
1260 6th Ave, New York City, New York, 10020
Metropolitan Opera House
The Metropolitan Opera House (also known as The Met), located on Broadway at Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side is part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Opened in 1966 with approximately 3,800 seats, this is the largest repertory opera house in the world. It is home to the Metropolitan Opera Company but also hosts the American Ballet Theatre in the summer.
30 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC, New York
Lincoln Center Theater
The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts operates multiple theatres including the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the Clare Tow Theatre, and the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre. This location has put on a variety of spectacular shows that have come up in the ranks over the years.
150 West 65th Street, NYC, New York, 10023
Empire State Building
The iconic Empire State Building has long been a symbol of New York City. It's one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world and the Art-Deco tower has been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1970 and, at 102 stories, it is currently the 2nd tallest in New York City.
A highlight for many visitors to New York is the ride and view from the Top Deck observatory, which offers breathtaking views in every direction.
20 W 34th St, New York, NY, 10001
Chelsea Market is an impressive food hall that is one block long and one block wide. This was one of the first major food halls, a concept that has taken off not just in New York City, but in other cities around the country as well. Chelsea Market has more than 35 vendors and includes a number of unique cuisines including Japanese inspired Mexican tacos and homemade donuts.
75 Ninth Avenue (between 15th & 16th St.), New York, NY, 10011
New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx, this 250-acre site is on the list of historic landmarks in addition to housing a huge and gorgeous collection of flora and stunning landscapes. Open every day except Mondays, this destination in of itself draws large crowds, especially in the warmer months. It also operates molecular labs, educational programs, cooking classes, kid-friendly events, art exhibitions, and other events to bring in crowds. The building itself is architecturally significant, as it combines a historical beauty with a practical approach to protecting and growing the plants. (Admission on Wednesdays is free
Belmont, NYC, New York
Union Square Park is a popular place to tourists and locals alike. The park is a hub of activity and there always seems to be something going on. Locals are often in the park playing chess, and there are performers that entertain tourists and those passing by. The park also has lots of public artwork as well as the Metronome and Countdown Clock, which shows 24 hour time from left to right and also counts down the time that's left in the day. Various markets are also held here at different times of the year, such as Christmas.
Brooklyn Flea Market
This weekend flea market has hundreds of vendors that sell everything from furniture to vintage clothing, or antiques. This is a favorite for shoppers of all kinds and styles, and many have ranked it among the best flea markets in the world.
This ice skating rink is located in the southern part of Central park. During the winter months, this is one of the most popular activities in New York City. The rink is open from late October until early April.
Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10153
How much are the Christmas activities in New York City?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $24 to $499. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $99. A few of the best options are below.
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