It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year and you want to spend it in New York City, but aren’t even sure where to start. We can help! We’ve listed the activities that we think should be on everyone’s New York City Christmas bucket list! Take a look at our choices below and be sure to tell us in the comments, which things you’ve done, what you want to do and what you would add to the list!
A New York City Christmas Bucket List
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
While we realize this isn’t exactly a Christmas event, it seems like the most iconic tradition that ushers in the Christmas season like no other. In fact, we have written about the best tips for watching the parade and even the hotel rooms that offer the best views of the parade.
Ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza
No matter your skill level, I am pretty sure that the ice rink in Rockefeller Plaza will make anyone feel like a pro. The rink opens early in November. Even if you can’t be there for all of the festivities later in the season, this is one activity that you can take on early in the year. Admission is $25 for adults, Kids and Seniors are $11. If you need to rent skates that fee is $12
Snag some tickets to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular! The show opens in early November and runs through January 1. Ticket prices vary wildly but the range is between $50 and $225 per ticket.
The tree lighting event in Rockefeller Center is another iconic event that takes place after Thanksgiving and remains lit through the first week of the new year. This year the tree lighting will take place on December 1st. The event is free, however, you will want to plan on it being very crowded!
Horse Ride in Central Park
Lined up between 5th and 6th Avenue, just alone Central Park, you will see the horse-drawn carriages. A ride around Central Park is a great way to see what the park has to offer.
Rides range from a 30-minute ride with a maximum of 4 adults per carriage or 2 adults and 3 children under the age of 12 for $110
A 45 Minute carriage ride through Central Park will run $155.
Reservations can be made online, here.
Union Square Holiday Market
With over 100 booths to choose from, there is absolutely something for everyone at this Holiday Market. There is a wide variety of items for purchase at the market so chances are you’ll even find something for the most difficult person on your shopping list. The market runs from mid-November to December 24th.
Dyker Heights Holiday Lights
Located in Brooklyn, this tradition dates back to the 1980’s. Homeowners go all out decorating their homes, some have even reported spending upwards of 20,000. There are bus tours offered, but if you don’t want to do that route, it is also possible to walk to see the lights.
Stroll through the 5th Avenue Window Displays
The twinkling lights and the sights of the city are enough to make the holiday season special all by itself. Add in holiday displays set up in the store windows and you have the perfect recipe for holiday magic!
New York Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show
This historic starts near the end of November and runs through the middle of January.
There are so many displays of model trains that it will take you forever to take it all in. Over half a mile of train tracks, with model trains await show goers.
See the Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet
This classic holiday show is brought to life by the performers of the New York City Ballet. There is something magical about seeing this show performed in New York City.
Shows begin in late November and run through the end of December. Prices range from $85 to $290. You can get tickets here.
Stop in for a treat at Serendipity
Between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, you will find this sweet little shop that has so much more than just desserts. In fact, they have a fairly robust food menu beyond the sweet treats that we often hear so much about.
Take Part in a Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Gulliver’s Gate (44th and Broadway) – the new full city-block wide miniature world, just launched a fun, “iSpy” scavenger hunt for guests who visit from now throughout December, complete with surprises including The Grinch, Grandma getting run over by a reindeer, Santa lounging on a beach, Elsa from Frozen, and so much more – all shrunken down to 1:87 their actual size!
Guests are given a checklist upon arrival and challenged to look very closely at the tiny world. Those who successfully find all of the items on the checklist will be entered into a contest to win a 3D model of themselves (a $130 value) – the winner will be announced on December 30th. The scavenger hunt is free, but admission is $36 per person and $27 for children.
Tell us! What is your favorite activity to do in New York City to get into the Holiday Spirit?