Admire the Magic of Holiday Lights at The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is a iconic New York City attraction, home to over 4,000 animals across 265 acres. And during the holiday season, this beloved Bronx attraction transforms into a magical wonderland aglow with dazzling light displays.
From November through early January, visitors can experience the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights festival. The grounds come alive with lantern safaris, animal light sculptures like a towering gorilla, glittering trees, and animated light shows choreographed to holiday music. Kids of all ages will enjoy the enchanting sight of tigers, elephants, snow leopards, and more recreated in glowing lights.
Beyond the lights, you can see your furry friends like snow monkeys warming up in their heated enclosures. Be sure to stop by the glittering tree at Astor Court for free hot cocoa as well. With affordable tickets, reduced hours, and festive cheer, this is one of the best holiday traditions in the Bronx for families and kids.
The Bronx Zoo 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10460 (718) 220-5100
Ice Skate with Views of the NYC Skyline at The Rink at Rockefeller Center
From late October through early April, one of the most iconic winter activities in NYC pops up at the one and only Rockefeller Center. The Rink at Rockefeller Center offers ice skating with a side of sweeping city views that can’t be beat.
With space for 150 skaters at a time, the rink buzzes with delighted visitors and locals all season long. Come early on weekdays to avoid crowds or time your visit with a special event – the rink hosts theme nights like a holiday sing-along andSkate with Style for New York Fashion Week.
Before or after your time on the ice, don’t miss the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree towering above the rink. At nearly 50 feet tall and adorned with over 50,000 LED lights, it’s a breathtaking sight. You can even go skating on Christmas Day!
The Rink at Rockefeller Center 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111 (212) 332-7654
Catch a Seasonal Show at Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall, one of New York’s most famous performance venues, truly sparkles during the holidays. This historic landmark comes alive with the acclaimed Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the iconic Rockettes.
During this beloved show, the specially choreographed dances of the Rockettes and some extra Christmas magic transport audiences to scenes like Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, a New York City rooftop, and even a magical wooden toyshop. Classic numbers like the legendary “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” continue to delight crowds of all ages.
With shows starting in November and running through late December, this is one holiday tradition you won’t want to miss during a visit to NYC. Come early to admire the Art Deco design of Radio City Music Hall and stay late for a bite to eat nearby Times Square.
Radio City Music Hall 1260 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10020 (212) 307-7171
Browse the Holiday Markets at Grand Central Terminal
From German bratwurst to handcrafted gifts, Grand Central Terminal transforms into a festive holiday market throughout December. Over 150 vendors fill the station’s Vanderbilt Hall with unique artisanal eats and goods, adding old-world charm to Manhattan.
As you browse ornaments, home decor, jewelry, knitwear, baked treats, and more, make sure to gaze up at the iconic celestial ceiling glittering above the bustling market. On certain days, live performances ring out carols to complete the cozy Christmas ambiance. For holiday commuters passing through Grand Central, it’s a sight for sore eyes after a long day at work.
The Grand Central Holiday Fair is a wonderful opportunity to support small businesses while checking some names off your gift list. Come with an empty stomach – with all the cookies, hot cider, arepas, crepes, tacos, and more, you’re bound to find a new favorite snack.
Grand Central Holiday Fair Grand Central Terminal 87 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Sip On Hot Cocoa and Go Ice Skating in Central Park
What’s more idyllic than skating on an outdoor rink surrounded by Central Park’s leafless trees and sparkling lights? At the Wollman Rink in Central Park, visitors can enjoy this magical experience from October through April.
After you’ve worked up an appetite circling the rink, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider available at the concession stand nearby. For breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, be sure to go skating at night when the city lights up.
If you have little ones who are still learning, the rink also offers skating aids to help them gain confidence on the ice. With reasonable admission prices and skate rentals available, it’s an affordable New York winter activity for the whole family.
Wollman Rink in Central Park 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065 (212) 439-6900
Step Into a Hallmark Movie at Dyker Heights’ Christmas Lights
If you’re looking for a seriously festive neighborhood lights display, Dyker Heights in Brooklyn goes all out with over-the-top Christmas decor. Residents deck out their homes with tens of thousands of lights, massive toy soldiers and Santas, life-size Nutcrackers, and more.
Wandering past these twinkling winter wonderlands with a cup of hot chocolate is pure magic. You can even score a seat on a holiday trolley tour for closer views with a guide providing commentary.
After you’ve strolled the Decorated Homes District, don’t miss the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Farmers Market. Browse gifts and ornaments from local vendors with holiday tunes in the air. With so much seasonal cheer, it’s regarded as one of the best Christmas attractions in all of New York City.
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY 11228
Sip Eggnog and Go Caroling at The Morgan Library & Museum’s Holiday Party
For a refined holiday experience, join The Morgan Library & Museum for their annual holiday celebration in December. During the evening event, you can admire the museum’s Christmas tree and seasonal decor while enjoying live musical performances.
Guests can indulge in wine, eggnog, and other savory bites while strolling through exhibits like literary oddities collected by founder J.P. Morgan. If you’re feeling festive, you can even join in on a singalong of Christmas carols and classic holiday tunes! With cocktails and convivial company, it’s a festive way to get into the holiday spirit while supporting the arts.
The Morgan Library & Museum 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 (212) 685-0008
Take a Spin on the Ice at Rockefeller Center
From October through April, one of the most iconic winter activities pops up right in the heart of Midtown – The Rink at Rockefeller Center. With views of the towering Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the surrounding Art Deco buildings, The Rink provides an only-in-New York skating experience.
The outdoor rink has been a beloved tradition since it first opened in 1936. Today it welcomes over a quarter million visitors each season! Time your visit during a theme night like Skate with Style during NY Fashion Week for something extra special. And if you work up an appetite, there are plenty of dining options steps away.
Gliding across the ice with the cityscape around you is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. It’s something everyone should experience at least once when visiting New York City during the most wonderful time of the year.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center 45 Rockefeller Plaza New York, NY 10111 (212) 332-7654
Sip Hot Cider at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market
From late November through December, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market brings a cozy European-style market to the southwest corner of Central Park. More than 100 vendors sell unique artisanal gifts, ornaments, clothing, accessories, food, and more.
As you browse for holiday gifts, make sure to sample some of the scrumptious eats like crepes, empanadas, and cider donuts. On chilly days, hot mulled cider and hot chocolate help warm you up as you shop. Live musical performances and Christmas carolers add to the festive ambiance.
The market’s proximity to the Time Warner Center’s collection of shops and eateries means you can easily make an afternoon of holiday shopping and dining. With its yuletide charm and unique gift selection from small businesses, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market is a must-visit.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle New York, NY 10023
Celebrate with Caroling at The Morgan Library & Museum’s Holiday Party
For a classy and refined take on holiday cheer, don’t miss the Morgan Library & Museum’s holiday celebration in December. As you admire the museum’s Christmas tree and festive decor, you can enjoy free wine, beer, and refreshments.
In the intimate and grandiose setting, live musical performances and Christmas carols ring out for anyone to sing along with. As you stroll the exhibits, you’ll see founder J.P. Morgan’s impressive collection of literary wonders on display.
With cocktails in hand and convivial company all around, it’s a delightful way to celebrate the season while supporting the arts. The only downside? Securing an invite to this exclusive event can be tricky, so get your tickets early!
The Morgan Library & Museum 225 Madison Ave New York, NY 10016 (212) 685-0008
Experience a Hallmark Movie Come to Life in Dyker Heights
If you’re looking for over-the-top Christmas magic, a visit to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn is a must during the holidays. This residential neighborhood famously decks out homes with dazzling light displays, massive toy soldiers, life-size Nutcrackers, and more.
You can even hop on a trolley tour for closer views and informative commentary about the 93rd annual Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tradition. Hot chocolate in hand, strolling past these glimmering lawn ornaments and twinkling winter wonderlands is pure delight.
Don’t miss the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Holiday Market after, where vendors sell homemade gifts, ornaments, and treats. It’s regarded as one of the best and most festive Christmas attractions in all of New York City for good reason!
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY 11228
Catch a Broadway Show during the Most Festive Time of Year
The theater scene sparkles even brighter during the holiday season in New York City. With dozens of Broadway shows to choose from, you’re sure to find a festive show to get your group into the Christmas spirit.
For family-friendly options, check out festive shows like A Christmas Carol at the Nederlander Theatre or the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. For something more adult, see if any shows are doing special holiday performances like Waitress or The Lion King.
After an evening of showtunes and holiday cheer, gather your group and stop for a bite to eat or some drinks nearby Times Square to continue the festivities. With tickets selling out weeks in advance, book your group’s seats early!