Holiday season is in full swing here in NYC, and with Christmas just a few weeks away…we’re getting ready to embark on our annual movie marathon! While it’s no secret that the city is one of the most festive places around (we’re looking at you, holiday lights and Christmas trees), it’s also home to some of the most iconic holiday films ever!
From Central Park to Radio City Music Hall, NYC’s landmarks have been festive forefronts (and you can even do holiday movie tours of them)! Here’s the best Christmas movie set in NYC to watch this December!
1. Elf (2003)
Will Ferrell’s iconic role as Buddy follows the elf raised in the North Pole and his trip to NYC in search of his biological father! With glimpses of Central Park and the Empire State Building throughout the movie, Buddy’s hilarious journey throughout the city turns into chaos when he finally reunites with him in person.
2. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Miracle on 34th Street is just about as NYC as it gets! When a man gets hired to be Santa during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he takes the role to heart and becomes Kris Kringle himself (at least in his mind). When he gets hired back for the holidays and claims to be the real deal, he ends up in court and a resulting Christmas miracle. You can see Macy’s Herald Square, the New York Supreme Court, and more in this movie!
3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
In the sequel to legendary movie Home Alone, this film finds 8-year-old Kevin McCallister left a lone again…and this time wandering the streets of NYC during the Christmas season! All of his misadventures come to life as he’s seen at landmarks like The Plaza Hotel, Rockefeller Center Tree, Radio City Music Hall, and more!
4. Serendipity (2001)
When Jonathan and Sara meet in Bloomingdale’s and instantly fall for each other (despite having significant others), they agree to meet at Upper East Side restaurant Serendipity 3 for dessert. From there, the rom-com tells the tale of fate between the two and the enchanting feeling of love during NYC Christmas times. Central Park’s Wollman Rink, Bloomingdale’s and the Waldorf Astoria hotel make appearances!
5. Scrooged (1988)
Bill Murray stars in this modern take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in which he is a television executive whose cold ambition forces him to lose the love of his life. When he fires a staff member on Christmas Eve, a series of ghosts come backs to haunt him until he rights his wrongs. It was filmed across NYC in different places like Fifth Avenue, Lincoln Plaza, Central Park, and more!
6. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
This timesless romantic comedy features Harry and Sally meeting each other when he gives her a ride from Chicago to NYC after graduating college. Spanning a couple years, the two share a series of moments…especially a pivotal scene during a New Year’s Eve party as well as various others at Central Park, The Met, and Katz’s Delicatessen.
7. Dash & Lily (2020)
In this fairly new 8 episode Netflix series, cynical Dash and optimistic Lily trade dares, dreams and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth across NYC! The romantic tale features some of the city’s most special places…starting at Strand Book Store and moving onward to Macy’s Herald Square, the Union Square Holiday Market, Grand Central Station, and more.
8. The Family Man (2000)
Nicolas Cage stars in this 2000 film as a rich, fast-lane investment broker who has a penthouse with views of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Fifth Avenue. However, when he meets what he believes is a “guardian angel” during an attempted robbery, he gets a glimpse into his “what if” life would be had he married his high school sweetheart instead.
9. New Year’s Eve (2011)
Although not so much Christmas as it is New Year’s Eve, this fun rom-com follows the lives of several couples and singles on the night of New Year’s Eve in NYC! Of course Times Square is present in this movie!
10. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This classic Christmas film directed by Frank Capra is about a man who’s lost all hope…but when he meets an angel trying to earn his wings, he shows George what life would be had he never been born. NYC arrives in a short scene in the movie, in an alternate reality which gives George realization of the positive impact of his life.