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Top 20 Things To Do In New York In December
8 min

Top 20 Things To Do In New York In December

8 min
Uploaded on
Dec 6, 2022
Last updated on
Aug 10, 2023
Uploaded on
Dec 6, 2022
Last updated on
Aug 10, 2023
Top 20 Things To Do In New York In December
Festive state of mind

Finally, t’is the season of watching a marathon of Home Alone and Hallmark movies while drinking hot chocolate, so your soul is satisfied. And the holiday season is the best time to go to New York City. 

Indeed the month of December is a magical time to visit New York City. With the holiday season in full swing and winter in the air, the city is transformed into a winter wonderland. From the festive decorations and holiday markets to the ice skating rinks and iconic Christmas trees such as the Rockefeller Center, there's something for everyone to enjoy in the Big Apple during December. Here are the top 20 things to do in New York City in December.

Things to do in New York in December

Visit the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree

Address- 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

Decorated with numerous LED bulbs and uncountable Swarovski crystals, this tree will definitely help you get your holiday spirit up and high. Visiting the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree and watching the magical lights lighting up your holidays is, by no doubt, one of the best things to do in New York in December. You can visit the place and see the Christmas Tree from 1st November 2022 to mid-January 2023. You can also ice skate here, as there is an ice-skating rink nearby.


Address- The venue for SantaCon will be announced soon.

SantaCon is the new ComicCon this season. It is time to dress up as your favourite Christmas character and roam the streets of New York. This nonsensical SantaCon is a charitable convention organised to spread purely absurd joy. This year SantaCon will happen on the 10th of December 2022. SantaCon is definitely one of the most bizarre and absurd things to do in New York in December. 

Classic Harbor Line: Holiday Jazz Cruise Aboard Classic Motor Yacht

Address- Chelsea Piers, Pier 62

Celebrate Christmas luxuriously and make it memorable by spending some time on a cruise with your loved one(s). During November and December, the cruises and decks are decorated all with the holiday spirit. All you have to do is board this luxurious 1920’s style yacht, sip your wine and relax while listening to jazz. This tour will show you some of the magnificent views of the NYC skyline. If you want some luxurious things to do in New York in December, you should definitely visit the Holiday Jazz Cruise.

Ice Skating in New York City

Address- Central Park, New York and numerous other places.

When we say ice skating is one of the best things to do in New York in December, we mean it. Ice skating in Central Park will have you step into a magical cinematic world. Who knows, maybe you might be able to recreate the scene from Serendipity in your own magical way. After all, everything about Christmas is magical.

Santa's Secret Immersive Holiday Experience

Address- The Shops at Hudson Yards - 20 Hudson Yards, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10001

Here is an invitation from Santa inviting you to his best-kept secret. This Santa’s secret speakeasy is on the other side of the known North Pole. When you experience this speakeasy with a holiday twist, you will know why this is on the list of top things to do in New York in December. Christmas beverages, live music, and a spectacular variety show with unique performances are all a part of this immersive experience. But, we must help Santa keep this speakeasy a secret from Mrs Claus.

Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards

Address- Hudson Yard, New York.

You may take in a breathtaking light show at Hudson Yards called "Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards", beginning at the end of November. It's one of New York City's newest Christmas light displays. More than 2 million white lights in the indoor/outdoor light and music installation Shine Bright illuminate The Shops, Public Square & Gardens, The Edge, and Vessel. It is definitely, one of the best things to do in New York in December. 

Holiday Train Show at Botanical Garden New York 

Address- 2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10458, United States

If you are someone who loves the trains as much as Sheldon Cooper, watching the Holiday Tran Show should definitely be on your list of things to do in New York in December. There will be around 175 landmarks of New York on display. All works of art are constructed on a 0.5-mile-long track that runs alongside Midtown's skyscrapers. You can see model trains run through the replicas of more than 190 landmarks of NYC. This show will take place from November 19, 2022 – January 16, 2023.

Lightscape: Brooklyn's Winter Spectacular at Brooklyn Botanic Garden 

Address- 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225, United States

You should definitely add this to your list of things to do in New York in December. There are numerous beautiful Christmas light displays in Brooklyn, one of which is the Lightscape illuminated path at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You can celebrate this festival season by illuminating the night under the moonlight while you sip your thick hot chocolate.  

Origami Holiday Tree at The Met 

Address- American Museum of Natural History, 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5102

The Met Museum in New York City also holds a holiday event that includes a stunning Christmas Tree show. The Met Tree is located in the Medieval Sculpture Hall. This well-known holiday custom includes a 20-foot blue spruce tree decorated with 59 angels, 19 cherubs, and 71 figures that represent a Naples-inspired Nativity scene from the 18th century. The 13-foot tree's theme for this year is Beautiful Bugs. 


Address- 439 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011, United States 

You can celebrate with art this holiday season and immerse yourself in Spectacular Factory. Prepare for a spectacular voyage where the fictional world of a gift factory comes to life. Explore vivid digital multiverses with dreamlike yet recognisable holiday motifs, including spinning candy cane carousels, thousands of nutcrackers, enormous floating swinging bells, and more. Let this holiday season be powered by passion by adding this to your list of top things to do in New York in December. 

The Nutcracker New York City Ballet

Address- David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, United States

Watching The Nutcracker ballet is yet a classic holiday experience and things to do in New York in December. The Nutcracker New York City Ballet is definitely one of the most famous ballets worldwide. 

Numeral Arrival at Times Square

Address- Times Square, New York

The renowned Times Square lighting year is well-known to everyone. But few are aware that taking pictures of it while standing in front of it is possible! It is set up in Times Square for a few days each December during the "Numeral Arrival" before being raised to the iconic ball that descends on New Year's Eve in Times Square. This is a fantastic chance to take pictures! 

New Year's Eve Ball Drop in Times Square

Address- Times Square, New York

In December, In December, especially on New Year's Eve, travellers from all over the world fly into New York City. They travel here to see the well-known ball drop in person. Being present to see the ball drop in person can end up being one of both New Yorkers' and tourists' most treasured memories of the city. It is also a lovely way to bring in the New Year. You will have to experience this yourself to know why this deserves to be one of the top things to do in New York in December.

NYE Wishing Wall

Address- Times Square Plaza, Broadway between 45th/46th Streets, NYC

The NYE Wishing Wall in Times Square is a great tradition that happens each December in New York. In this tradition, you write your wish for the next year and then drop the given piece of paper in the box provided. On New Year's Eve, your wishes will be included in the confetti that falls in Times Square! Every year, on official Times Square New Year's Eve confetti or digitally, people from all over the world write their wishes for the next year. This is definitely one of the coolest things to do in New York in December.

Lighting the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorahs

Address- Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan near Central Park

Like Ross, you, too, can celebrate Hanukkah with Christmas in NYC. The lighting of the Menorah is one of the best things to do in New York in December. The largest Menorah in the world is lit on December 22 to mark the start of the Jewish "Festival of Lights." Both at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and in front of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, visitors can see the 400-pound, 32-foot gilded steel structure.

Visit GingerBread Lane - The World's Largest Gingerbread Village!

Address- 88 Essex St, New York, NY 10002, United States

Cloudy with a chance of Gingerbreads? Jon Lovitch, a chef and creator, plans, bakes, and assembles the village known as GingerBread Lane every year. 500 gingerbread houses, delicately decorated with jelly bean roof tiles, candy canes, and icing constructions, are shown in the NYC hamlet, claims TimeOut, New York. Visiting this village should definitely be on the list of your top things to do in New York in December.

Macy’s Santaland

Address- Macy’s Herald Square, 151 W. 34th Street, New York, NY 10

Every year, Macy spreads cheer during the holiday season. During this season, every day, more than 10.000 people come to experience Christmas at Macy's, which is a wonderful experience, and you should definitely add it to your things to do in New York in December list. The only way to meet Santa and take his picture in person is to reserve a time to get in line because who doesn’t want to take a picture with Santa?

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Address- Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Avenue, New York, New York

The well-known Christmas Spectacular has over 140 incredible dancers. Each year, the audience is delighted by the sparkling costumes, distinctive set designs, and abundance of Christmas tunes. The female dancing troupe "The Rockettes," who appear alongside Santa Claus and his elves, are the show's stars.

NYC Holiday Window Displays

Address- Bergdorf Goodman along Fifth Avenue from 58th to 57th streets

Looking and marvelling at the NYC Holiday Window Displays is one of the must things to do in New York in December. The Midtown Manhattan location of Saks Fifth Avenue delivers a unique experience unmatched by any other flagship shop in the city. Saks is considered by many to be one of the must-visit stores' flagship stores in NYC because of the elaborate displays that adorn each floor and the outside light experiences that the store offers.

Visit the Winter and Holiday Markets in NYC

Address- Different locations in New York

Shopping during the holiday season is a wonderful experience altogether in New York. Buying gifts for your loved ones is a gesture of love and purity. With several options available and a lot to choose from, you definitely need to add this in your things to do in New York in December on priority.

Christmas in New York is something one should definitely experience once in a lifetime. With its festive atmosphere and holiday events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. If you ever feel the holiday blues no worries as there is always something you can do in New York City. No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to have a great time in New York City this December. And if all of these experiences make you want to move to New York, you can check out our New York student housing guide. Also, check out this blog to know some amazing things to do in Manhattan.

Frequently Asked Questions

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