New York City is a great destination to experience the American Holiday season. It is lively, it is beautiful and in spite of the drop in mercury the people of New York are warmer and friendlier during the holidays ( compared to the rest of the year ;)). Here is a list of our top picks that you must visit if you are spending the holidays in New York.
Pro tips for New York Holiday Season
- Rockefeller tree lightening ceremony is on December 4th this year.
- Bryant Park Winter village started on Halloween.
- Ice skating at Rockefeller costs $25(skate rental not included) , but is free at Bryant park .
- Best Time to visit NYC to see the holiday lights is between thanksgiving and Christmas.
- If visiting on Christmas or New year’s week, expect a lot of crowd and exorbitant hotel rates.
1. Rockefeller Plaza
You probably had this on your list already. The tree lighting ceremony of Rockefeller Plaza is one of the most popular free winter events in the city. The ceremony usually takes place the week after Thanksgiving and marks the beginning of holiday decorations, that last until mid January. While there are some fantastic decorations to see here, beware of the crowd. Rockefeller plaza is jam packed with tourists, especially around Christmas and new year weekends .
2. Saks On 5th and St. Patrick's Cathedral
Right across the Rockefeller is the flagship store of Saks on 5th avenue. Every Holiday season there is a beautiful light show set up on the store building that runs every 10 minutes from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Just a few steps away is the beautiful Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Although there is no special lighting here, the gorgeous neo-gothic architecture is always worth admiring.
3. Park ave & 5th ave & Time Warner Center
Next, take a stroll down fifth avenue towards the Central Park. This stretch of 5th avenue has several big brand stores that add beautiful holiday decorations and displays. Walk all the way to Columbus circle and don’t forget to check-out the Time Warner Center’s ( building complex across Columbus Circle) “Holiday Under the Stars” event.
4. Bryant Park Winter village
Another of our favorite winter site in NYC is the Bryant park Winter village. Be it ice skating in the park, or shopping for holiday gifts in the village market, or just sipping hot chocolate and watching the pro-skaters showing off their skills with a backdrop of the Empire State building, you can spend a beautiful evening here.
5. Oculus & Brookfield
In the financial district Oculus also hosts a winter village with many cute little souvenir shops. The beautiful white hall is lit up with gorgeous lighting. Connected to the Oculus is the Brookfield Place . Another great location to see beautiful light displays and wrap up your holiday shopping.
Other honorary mentions
- Winter Lantern Festival in Staten Island puts some exotic display of lights. This year the festival is running from Nov. 20th, 2019 to Jan. 12th, 2020.
- Dyker Heights in Brooklyn is considered the most festive neighborhood in New York. The residents of this community put in a a lot of effort in decorating their houses. While getting there is hard, its a free show to be enjoyed by all.
- Grand Central also hosts a small winter market indoors, on a severely cold night this is a great spot to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and catch up on some holiday shopping.