Christmas in New York is an iconic experience that has been depicted in countless films. “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”, “Elf” and “Eloise at Christmastime” are among the popular films that have made spending the holidays in the city the ultimate celebration. New York is a lively city with festive traditions, which millions of visitors enjoy every year. The city is also notorious for colder temperatures, so travelers wanting to enjoy a white Christmas can take a trip to the booming destination. Along with the famous tourist attractions, New York City has plenty of Yuletide experiences for holiday visitors. Check out these top experiences and tips for spending Christmas in New York.  

Popular Things To Do in NYC During Christmas Time

These are the most festive activities to do in NYC during Christmas time. 
Pictured: a skating rink with passing skaters and twinkling Christmas lights

Christmas time is one of the best times to visit New York. This special time of year is marked by festive activities, holiday markets, themed shows, snow sports and extravagant Christmas decor at every turn. These are some of the most popular things to do during the Christmas season in New York. 

Radio City Christmas Spectacular 

Radio City is a historic attraction which hosts the annual Christmas Spectacular. 
Pictured: the Radio City Music Hall and Christmas Special advertisements at night with Christmas lights shining

Visitors of the big city can book their ticket to the Christmas Spectacular for around $90-$500 (depending on their show time and seating). The show lasts about an hour and a half, with no intermission and is jam-packed with exciting acts. The ballet, the iconic Rockettes and Radio City Symphony are just a few of the over 140 performers and groups that contribute to the show. The show is something to cherish, especially since photos or videos of it are not permitted. Visitors are encouraged to book this classic event early since it runs from November to January and has been a popular festive show since 1933. The Christmas Spectacular is immersive and utilizes smoke effects, drones, flashing lights and confetti. This means that guests with medical or physical conditions may need to consider skipping this festive activity. 

Travelers can even take tours of Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center seven days a week. The historic music hall has a spacious auditorium, a secret apartment and art masterpieces. The hour-long guided tour even concludes with a farewell by a Radio City Rockette. 

NYC Winter Activities 

NYC in the winter is almost like another world, check out the Central Park winter activities. 
Pictured: people ice skating at the Rockefeller Center rink

Central Park has plenty to do in winter such as ice skating, sledding and skiing. Since the park has a mix of hilly and flat terrain, guests wanting to participate in snow sports will not be disappointed. Both beginners and experts can live out their winter wonderland dreams in New York City. Pilgrim Hill and Cedar Hill are both great spots for winter fun. There are even Central Park restaurants to which visitors can take strolls and enjoy seasonal specials. The Winter Jam is an annual event in NYC that has many activities for people to enjoy. Curling, sledding, snowshoeing and other activities are all available in the heart of Manhattan. If travelers prefer a more controlled environment, they can visit the rink at Rockefeller Center which is a popular spot during the holidays.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is a well celebrated trademark of NYC during the holidays.
Pictured: people surrounding the Rockefeller Christmas Tree  at night while it is lit up with Christmas lights

The grand Christmas Tree outside the Rockefeller Center is up daily. The tree is first lit up near the end of November and is on display through early January. The annual tree lighting marks the beginning of the holiday center in NYC and is a cause for celebration. Whether visitors make it to the tree lighting or simply visit the site during their trip, the Christmas tree is a beautiful symbol for holiday joy. The lighting of the tree is even televised each year, so travelers who are still getting used to the chilly weather do not have to brave the chilly weather to see the 80-foot tall tree in midtown. 

Holiday Markets 

These NYC holiday markets are the best near Christmas time. 
Pictured: the Bryant Park Winter Village with visitors perusing the shops

The Bryant Park Winter Village is a market in New York City that is open from October until March. So, visitors arriving in the city for the holiday season can not miss this popular market. The market has holiday shops, Christmas food and activities like Ice Skating. In fact, the large ice skating rink is free to use if guests bring their own skates. Also, there are nearly 200 kiosks in the market so holiday shoppers will not be at a loss when searching for the perfect gifts or souvenirs. 

Another popular holiday market is the Grand Central Holiday Fair. The market takes place in the Grand Central Terminal and is the city’s longest running indoor holiday fair. So, travelers that prefer to shop more comfortably indoors will enjoy this shopping fair. This market opens around mid November and closes on Christmas Eve. The midtown holiday fair has original art, Christmas ornaments and many other artisan goods for visitors to choose from. 

Where To Stay in NYC

These are the best luxury hotels in central NYC, especially during the busy holiday season. 
Pictured: the Grand Central Terminal decorated with Christmas wreaths and lights

High End Accommodations

The Plaza and Ritz Carlton Central Park are the top accommodations in the central areas of NYC. These hotels offer luxury stays and convenient locations for travelers. Instead of fighting through crowds to get to the biggest attractions, try these five star rated hotels which are only a short walk away.

The Plaza is a five star hotel located in midtown Manhattan. Visitors may recognize The Plaza from the film “Home Alone 2” or the surrounding five star rated amenities. Some of the most popular amenities at The Plaza hotel has a shopping boutique, the Guerlain Spa and luxurious guest rooms. This hotel has been hosting travelers from far and near since 1907, including world leaders, literary and broadway legends and Hollywood royalty. 

The Ritz Carlton is a hotel that has been strongly associated with luxury and elegance since 1906. Many executives, celebrities and luxury leisure travelers stay at the Ritz. The hotel has plenty to offer its visitors, such as its close proximity to the most exciting parts of the city. This iconic hotel is across the street from Central Park and within walking distance of other classic NYC attractions. Travelers can indulge in the Contour Lounge’s high-end spa and the nearly 360 skyline views of this midtown Manhattan hotel. Visitors of the Ritz can appreciate its classic luxury and modern touches, which make it one of the top options for those wanting to experience Christmas elegance.