20 Fabulously Festive Things To Do In New York City This December

It’s officially December and you know what that means, holiday time! As 2018 comes to a close, New York City is bustling with activities- there’s simply no better place to get in the spirit of the season. Check out our list of 25 fabulous things that you can do this month to celebrate!
1. Snap a selfie with the Rockefeller Center Tree
photo: Rockefeller Center
photo: Rockefeller Center

Is there anything more quintessential Christmas than the Rockefeller tree? We don’t think so. Join the masses and make your way to the plaza for your special selfie with that giant Norwegian spruce.

2. Window shop up and down 5th Avenue
photo: heavy.com
photo: heavy.com

Don’t worry if you can’t afford anything at those luxurious shops up and down 5th Avenue (we can’t either). What we can afford though is some nice window shopping. Saks 5th Avenue and Bloomingdale’s have stolen the show for us so far this year- make your way over to experience the light show and elaborate decorations for yourself!

3. See the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular Show

Rockettes-Radio-City-Music-Hall (1)

The Rockettes are an absolute must see Christmas time tradition. The first show debuted in 1933 and since then, they have made up an integral part of holiday life in NYC. Interested? Get your tickets to the show here.

4. Check out the NYBG Annual Train Show


This year marks the 27th annual train show at the Botanical Gardens and the focus is on spotlighting Lower Manhattan with replicas of landmark buildings like the One World Trade Center, Battery Maritime Building, and other landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The show is located at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and will have “more model trains than ever before, with nearly a half-mile of track hosting over a dozen large-scale model railway locomotives!”

5. Head to (at least one version of) the Nutcracker Ballet
photo: goldstar.com
photo: goldstar.com

Holiday time in New York City is always magical but one extra special experience that you can have to start the season off right is a trip to the ballet. The Nutcracker, which debuted for the first time in Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, has been reproduced and reinterpreted time and time again by distinct ballet companies. In addition to the famous New York City Ballet, there are plenty of other options that you can experience that will keep you cultured without breaking the bank. Take a look at three of our recommendations here.

6. Wander through the Bryant Park Winter Village

bryant park (1)

Bryant Park Winter Village is such a fun place to take the kids, or to wander through during your lunch break. The pop-up village features over 170 holiday shops, a pop-up rink-side food hall, and a 17,000-foot free ice skating rink as the centerpiece. The Holiday Shops are open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

7. Party at a winter themed silent disco

silent disco

Join the celebration at the Brooklyn Museum for their inaugural Winterfest on December 8. Three live DJs will be spinning all your favorite hits, including holiday favorites so grab your headphones and tune into what you’re most in the mood for. There will even be a magic light maze, holiday shopping market, and more!

8. Take a lap around the rink

ice rink

NYC is full of holiday ice rinks all across the five boroughs. Check out our list of the top ten and get your skate on!

9. Bring out your inner child at Gingerbread Lane


The world’s largest Gingerbread Village is on display now in Queens. The New York Hall of Science in Queens consistently holds the Guinness Book of World Records ranking for the largest gingerbread village in the world and at your visit to the exhibition, you’ll be confronted by hundreds of entirely edible gingerbread houses, banks, schools, and store fronts as well as a firehouse and police station!

10. Support your local sports teams


If you’re not a Giants fan, are you even a New Yorker? The games are on all throughout December so make your way to the stadium!

11. Immerse yourself in a public art installation

Happy (1)

Art and New York go hand in hand. This winter, check out the public installation, Happy, right outside of the Flatiron building.

12. Take a romantic walk around Central Park


Central Park in December is like a dream come true. Whether you love snow or hate it, you have to admit that there’s something special about the massive park turned into a wonderland come wintertime. And even if the snow doesn’t stick too much this month, it’ll be here eventually, might as well enjoy it in all it’s conditions.

13. Take a holiday wine tour of France

image (3) (1)

Craving Bordeaux but lacking funds for a transatlantic trip this Christmas season? You’re in luck. Savor an array of wines, enjoy artisanal cheese, and uncover France’s greatest culinary secrets at this tour through France’s wine regions. Get your tickets to this lux event here.

14. Light up the world’s largest Menorah


New York City is home to two of the contenders for the largest menorah in the world; the 32-foot-high steel sculpture in Manhattan and its equally enormous competition in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Most lightings take place starting at 6 pm each night starting on December 2.

15. Decorate the origami tree at the Museum of Natural Historyorigami tree

The origami tree at the Museum of Natural History has been a NYC treasure for more than 40 years. With over 1,000 folded-paper ornaments on the 13-foot tree, it’s an impressive sight to be seen. This year’s theme is “Oceans of Origami,” and will be on display until January 13.

16. Take a break from the hustle and bustle at a relaxing salt cave

salt cave

If city life plus the holiday season has you utterly stressed, this secret salt cave could be the place for you. Hit the refresh button on your body and mind with halotherapy. This natural therapy allows you to get a sense of peace and serenity, while simply breathing in the beneficial, negatively-charged, ionized salt particles which help to clear all pollen, viruses, pollutants and toxins that your breathe in during your day to day in the city. So come on, recharge before the family reunions.

17. Listen to some Christmas carols at one of NYC’s beautiful churches


The spirit is alive and well at churches all across the city. No matter what your beliefs, everyone is welcome to listen to these sweet songs of the season.

18. Browse through Macy’s Santaland


The famous 13,000-square-foot display of all things Christmas is an annual tradition at the Macy’s flagship store. Each year, the eighth floor of the Herald Square location is transformed into a winter wonderland where you’ll find reindeer, elves, trees and a bunch of photo ops for you and the whole family. Boogie on through as you finish your last minute holiday shopping!

19. Celebrate Kwanzaa at the American Museum of Natural History
photo: amnh.org
photo: amnh.org

Take part of the largest celebration of Kwanzaa and African-American heritage in the city on December 29 at the Museum of Natural History. This celebration features African dance, spoken word and live musical performances and a local artisan marketplace.

20. And of course, watch the ball drop at Times Square!

time square

Bring in the New Year like a true tourist and bring in 2019 watching the ball drop!

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