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16 Things to Do To Get into the Christmas Spirit in New York City

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New York City does a fantastic job when it comes to celebrating Christmas! It would be so easy to get into the Christmas spirit in New York City, and I’m here to get you some tips for places to go to get into the Christmas spirit!

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

When you think of Christmas in New York, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is likely one of the first things that comes to mind. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is basically the official beginning of the Christmas season in New York City. 

If you can’t catch the parade live on the streets of New York, don’t worry! It’s streamed on tv and online these days so you can always watch it no matter where you are! 

christmas spirit nyc

Visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Another hallmark of Christmas in New York City is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Head into the city to watch the official lighting ceremony, or visit any day after while it’s open. You can even go skating on the ice rink below where the tree is set up. This is definitely a great romantic Christmas destination you must see in NYC!

View the Empire State Building Lit Up from the Rockefeller Center

While you’re around The Rockefeller Center, check out the skyline from the Top of the Rock! The view over Manhattan is fantastic, and from here you have a direct view of the Empire State Building. Go up in the evening to get some great pictures of the Empire State Building lit up in red and green lights for the season!

Related: Christmas Market Holidays: Best Christmas Markets Around The World

Watch the Nutcracker Performed by the New York City Ballet

The Nutcracker is a beloved ballet that is especially popular in December. Don’t miss the chance to watch the performance by the New York City Ballet!

Book your tickets.

See The Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Another popular show in New York City at Christmas is the Rockettes’ Radio City Christmas Spectacular! Be sure to book your tickets to see this show if you’re spending some time in New York City in December!

Book your tickets.

Radio City Hall at night

New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show

During the Christmas season, the New York Botanical Gardens host the Holiday Train Show! They set up a beautiful display of miniature buildings in New York City created from natural resources like moss and cinnamon sticks where miniature trains can weave through. 

Check out the Christmas Window Displays

The stores in New York City put on an amazing display in their shop windows and completely deck out for the holiday season. 

Go for a walk along the busy streets, specifically 5th Avenue, and peek inside the shop windows as you go and admire the beautiful displays.

Grab a Drink at Rolf’s

Rolf’s is a German restaurant bar in New York on 3rd and 22nd, and they’re well known for their decorations as they go all out! IIf you’re in a bit of a rush, it’s worth it to drop by for a quick drink just to admire the fabulous decorations! 

If you want to be guaranteed entry, it could be worth it to make a reservation, since it’s a very popular destination during the holiday season.

Explore the Union Square Holiday Market

If you are a fan of Christmas Markets, then you’d probably want to check out the Union Square Holiday Market! Set up with plenty of vendors, this is a great place to explore to get into the Christmas spirit, as well as maybe pick up a few Christmas gifts for your loved ones!

Related: Top 10 Places in New York City

Shop at the Grand Holiday Bazaar

Talking about gift shopping, another great place to check out would be the Grand Holiday Bazaar!

The Bazaar is an indoor and outdoor venue where you can go shopping with many different vendors. Buy some gifts for yourself and your loved ones, and buy some unique Christmas decor for your home. Even just browse around to enjoy the craftsmanship of some of the homemade offerings available.

Visit Bryant Park Winter Village

Another great place to visit in New York City for a bit of a Christmas market vibe is the Bryant Park Winter Village! 

This is an open air market that features many artisan vendors for the holiday season. While you’re here, be sure to rent some skates and go skating on the ice rink that looks up to the skyscrapers in the distance.

Like the Rockefeller Center, not only is there a skating rink, but there is also a beautiful Christmas tree lighting ceremony that you can attend!

Skating in Bryant Park

Skate on Wollman Rink in Central Park

Of course you have to visit Central Park in December! If you’re looking for another available skating rink with a beautiful view of the city, there is also the Wollman Rink in Central Park! This is the most popular skating rink within Central Park and is handily located near the Central Park Zoo. 

Skating in Central Park

Have a Meal at Tavern on the Green in Central Park

While you’re celebrating the season of Christmas in Central Park, you might want to grab a bite to eat at Tavern on the Green. 

The restaurant is decorated beautifully for Christmas and is a very cozy spot to warm up and fill your belly! You might want to make a reservation to make sure there will be room for you and your group to have a table!

Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show

New York is known for its lights and shows, so of course the case is the same for Saks Fifth Avenue. 

Come see the Saks Fifth Avenue light show which usually runs every 10 minutes in the evenings of the Christmas season!

See a glimpse of the experience for yourself here

See Santa at Macy’s Santaland

Since Macy’s runs the Thanksgiving Day Parade, is it any surprise that they also go all out and create their own North Pole for Santa!? You have to check out Santaland especially if you’re visiting with kids, it is literally fun for the whole family!

See the Dyker Heights Holiday Lights in Brooklyn

If you’re planning on taking a trip out to the Brooklyn area in December, you have to head over to Dyker Heights to explore the neighborhood Christmas lights set up! It’s over the top and so fascinating to see! 

Getting into the Christmas spirit in New York City is easy to do, and I hope that this list is helpful for you when you plan your Christmas Vacation in New York!

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