Top 5 things to do in New York City during the holidays

From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to ice skating in Central Park, immerse yourself in the festive spirit of the Big Apple.

The holiday season in New York City is a truly magical time. With twinkling lights, towering Christmas trees, and spirited cheer around every corner, it's no surprise that the city attracts millions of visitors each year. However, with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to decide what to prioritize during a limited stay. That's why we've put together this guide of the top 5 things to do in New York during the holidays.


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1. Visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
One of the most iconic symbols of the holiday season in New York is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. This towering spruce, which stands more than 75 feet tall, is lit up with over 50,000 lights and is topped with a dazzling Swarovski star. Each year, the tree is surrounded by a bustling ice skating rink, The Rink at Rockefeller Center, and beautiful holiday decorations that make for the perfect backdrop for photos. Plus, visiting the tree is free and open to the public.

BONUS: If you find yourself in the Seaport District (South Street Seaport), be sure to catch their annual holiday extravaganza featuring live music, crafts, and of course, their own tree lighting ceremony. This special, can’t-miss event occurs around the end of November. Be sure to snap a selfie in front of the lit up tree!    

2. Explore the Holiday Markets

New York is home to several festive holiday markets that offer a unique shopping experience. From the charming booths of the Union Square Holiday Market to the artisanal goods found at the Winter Village at Bryant Park, these markets are the perfect place to score one-of-a-kind gifts for loved ones back home. With food vendors, hot chocolate stands, and live performances, there's something for everyone to enjoy. These markets usually open in late November and run until Christmas Eve.

3. Catch a Performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular 

For over 90 years, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been a legendary and beloved holiday tradition in New York. Featuring the famous Rockettes, this high-energy show is packed with stunning dance numbers, classic songs, and impressive special effects. Whether you're a fan of dance or simply looking for a wholesome holiday outing, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is not to be missed. 

4. Ice Skate in Central Park 

Ice skating is a quintessential winter activity in New York City, and Central Park is one of the best locations to do it. The Park's iconic Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink offer magical outdoor skating experiences, surrounded by the Park's picturesque winter scenery. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced skater, a trip to Central Park for ice skating is a must-do during the holiday season in New York City. 

5. Watch the New Year's Eve Ball Drop 

A trip to New York City during the holiday season would be incomplete without witnessing the world-famous New Year's Eve ball drop celebration at Times Square. This annual festivity draws massive crowds every year, eagerly waiting to watch the iconic ball drop at midnight. Be sure to arrive early in the day to secure the perfect spot and dress warm as the waiting period can get very chilly. 

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