There’s simply no better place than NYC to get in the spirit of the season and as 2023 comes to a close, New York City is bustling with activities.
From bar transformations, dazzling light displays, and all the icy fun and shopping in between—here are 30+ magically festive things to do in NYC this month.
Get ready for an out-of-this-world group adventure as we follow the stars on a luminous journey through cosmic wonder, dazzling sights, and celestial tunes Purchase your tickets here.
Just in time for the holiday season, Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown has curated an immersive experience fit for the most enthusiastic coffee enthusiasts! At the Florence By Mills Coffee Experience, you get a passport to coffee magic, where you can explore an enchanted coffee tunnel, craft your perfect brew at the Mocha Station, and more. You can also choose to elevate your adventure with a Fan Fave package that includes a fantastic swag bag to help you remember the great time you had! As the crisp winter air fills with the aroma of freshly ground coffee, Millie’s magical realm awaits in the heart of NYC, where every moment is steeped in the holiday spirit, and every cup overflows with joy.
Where: 89 Crosby Street, SoHo, New York
When: Friday 01 December to Wednesday 06 December.
There’s nothing like the holidays in NYC. Get that puffer jacket on and warm up this winter at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt by taking in some of the breathtaking sights of the city. This stellar observation deck is located a couple blocks from Bryant Park (hello Christmas market!) and a 10 minute walk from Rockefeller Center. So on your way back from seeing the tree and being sore from ice skating, unwind over 1,100 ft. in the sky at SUMMIT. There are different levels of tickets which include a cocktail and bites to enjoy.
Find the Sugar Plum Fairy and battle with mice in this incredible performance of The Nutcracker by Ajkun Ballet! This classic ballet returns to NYC just in time to spread some holiday cheer. With very limited dates available throughout December, this performance is not to be missed so be sure to secure your tickets! Catch this stunning show at the Rudolf Nureyev Studio (6th floor) located at 130 West 56th Street.
Is there anything more quintessential Christmas than the giant trees all around NYC? Here are festive tree lightings you can check out!
🎄Rockefeller Center (already lit)
🎄 Empire Outlets’ Holiday Tree Lighting – Dec. 2
🎄 Madison Square Park Tree Lighting – Dec. 6
Enjoy enchanting performances inside a breathtaking NYC church all bathed in candlelight. Each concert makes for a stunning evening where you can simply sit back and savor the stunning holiday pieces you’ll hear. Get tickets here.
Spice up your holiday season at Santa’s Secret Immersive Holiday Experience in Hudson Yards! This raunchy, festive event has everything you need to get in the holiday spirit—from life-sized snow globes to gingerbread girls and rugged, wintery lumberjacks. The experience features eight immersive holiday installations before culminating in a vintage speakeasy. The event is only in town for a limited time and has already been met with rave reviews, so be sure to grab your tickets now!
Back for its 16th year, Chanukah On Ice is allowing you to skate under the stars on the second night of Chanukah on Tuesday, December 12th! You’ll get to enjoy Jewish music all night long with special guest appearances, complimentary kosher food, and a giant Ice Menorah! Learn more here.
After grieving from the loss of Matthew Perry, tons of fans are heading to The FRIENDS Experience to honor his life and career on the beloved sitcom. Take a load off on the iconic orange couch, order a coffee from everyone’s favorite Central Perk, and even take a seat at Monica & Rachel’s kitchen table. There’s tons of memorable set recreations, costumes, and props to explore. Get your tickets here.
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! Make your way over to experience the light show and elaborate decorations for yourself:
😍 Saks 5th Avenue: 611 5th Ave
🛍 Bloomingdale’s: 1000 Third Avenue 59th Street and, Lexington Ave
🎁 Macy’s: Once you’re done on 5th Ave, be sure to head over to Herald Square to marvel at the Macy’s display too – this year visitors will follow an an adorable tale about Tiptoe the reindeer!
Check out our full list here.
Even more holiday magic has made its way to Rockefeller Center this year with the opening of The Candy Cottage of Christmas Magic! Discover the essence of Christmas magic at this immersive wonderland full of theatrical confectionery and an exhilarating scavenger hunt. Grab tickets now.
Less than 2 hours away, “Christmas City U.S.A” (a.k.a. Bethlehem, PA) is the ultimate holiday town, perfect for a quick festive getaway. Expect everything from a window decorating competition to a magical Christmas village lining its very streets! Read more here.
We couldn’t keep NYC’s most magical winter celebration a secret any longer! Santa’s Winter Wonderland is back at the Watermark with their iconic heated glasshouses and chalets and you’ll definitely want to book one this holiday season. Secure one here.
14. Catch Broadway star Shoshana Bean at the Apollo Theater this holiday season
Ditching her place on stage at the Public Theater for the highly anticipated Alicia Keys musical, Shoshana Bean will bring holiday cheer all the way uptown at the Apollo Theater for a special performance on Monday, December 4th. Reinterpreting holiday classics, Bean’s ever impressive vocals will make for an impeccable, one night only performance that you can’t miss. Secure your spot here.
Winter is practically here, and there are a handful of outdoor ice rinks that are already open!
❄️ Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park: open daily from 10 a.m.
❄️ Rink at Rockefeller Center: open daily from 9 a.m.
❄️ The Rink at Bryant Park: open from 8 a.m.See additional ice rinks here.
What would the holidays be in NYC without our enchanting holiday markets? Get your shopping done early this year at all the returning markets below:
🛍 The Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park: Oct 27 – Jan 2
🛍 Union Square Holiday Market: Nov 16 – Dec 24
🛍 Columbus Circle Holiday Market: Nov 28 – Dec 31
Dining in the Dark is hosting one of the most unique dinner experiences in NYC. Head to trendy Italian restaurant Leuca in Williamsburg where you’ll be blindfolded and required to rely on your remaining sense to indulge in a secret menu. It’ll be a culinary adventure you can’t miss. Grab your tickets here!
Not feeling Italian at the moment? How about Japanese instead! Dining in the Dark offers a special sushi edition that boasts 12-courses at Sushi By Bou Hotel 32|32, It’s the perfect way to elevate your meal for sushi lovers. Secure your spot now.
The Dyker Heights home are now lit up and ready to be seen! The stunning lights and endless decorations have become increasingly more famous over the years. Dyker Heights’ impressive light display has been a tradition for more than 30 years and spans three avenues and several streets. Learn more here.
For the second year, Fifth Avenue will shut down all vehicular traffic on select Sundays in December for a returning initiative now known as “Gift of Fifth.” You’ll be able to roam freely up and down 11 blocks of Fifth Avenue to admire all of your favorite holiday decorations and traditions without even having to wait to cross the street–it’s the largest holiday season-specific Open Streets in NYC to date! Learn more here.
Soon, you’ll be able to admire NYC’s most iconic Christmas tree standing 80-feet tall in Rockefeller Christmas Plaza, but don’t forget the plenty of others that usually decorate the city. Our other favorite Christmas trees around the city include:
🎄 Brookfield Place: 230 Vesey St.
🎄 New York Public Library Flagship: 476 5th Ave.
🎄 The Peninsula Hotel: 700 5th Ave.
🎄 Zucotti Park: At Liberty St. between Broadway & Church St.
At Wyckoff’s Tree Farm in Belvidere, New Jersey they sell trees in a rainbow of colors using a technique of latex-based colorants that are specifically created for painting Christmas trees. The farm has been selling these colorful trees for several years now, and their uniqueness is certainly a draw. Find out how to get one here.
The world’s largest menorah will illuminate Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza for Hanukkah, running from December 7 – 15th. Towering 30+ feet, lightings will take place each night of the celebration. There’s also a massive menorah taking over Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza for you Brooklynites! Find Manhattan’s lighting schedule here.
In part of The Gift of Fifth, 150 Fraser and Noble firs are filling the streets of Fifth Avenue from 47th to 61st street. The display is in partnership with NEST New York, perfuming the sidewalks with their best-selling luxury scent. Learn more here.
You’re sure to get into the holiday spirit at these festively decorated spots across NYC. Admire enormous bows, glowing trees, and larger-than-life ornaments. With so many places that go crazy for the season, these are just some of the many bringing merriment to the city:
🍽 Oscar Wilde
🍽 Lillie’s Victorian Establishment
All of these pop-ups are only here for a limited time but they most definitely deserve a spot on your winter bucket list before the new year hits! Whether you’re looking to enjoy some holiday cheer this season, trying to find the next venue for your holiday party, or just want to check out a new space, here some of our favorite holiday pop-up bars.
NYC has no lack of mouthwatering latkes, it simply comes down to what places offer the best. And with Hanukkah coming this month, there’s nothing like celebrating by stuffing your face with as many potato pancakes as you can stomach. Here’s a quick look at some standouts:
🥔 Russ & Daughters
🥔 Shelsky’s of Brookyln
🥔 Kat’z Delicatessen
🥔 B&H Dairy
Find out full list here.
As we transition into the colder months, it’s time for our favorite winter activities! The Empire State Trail is the perfect place to walk, snowshoe, or cross country ski. This 750 mile trail is open year-round and runs all the way from NYC to Canada. Read more here.
Nothing’s quite as comforting as a steamy bowl of ramen with chewy noodles and flavorful broth. Lucky for us, NYC has some of the best ramen to slurp down. Try these spots that will surely impress:
See our full list here.
Escape from the cold and head to a participating AMC movie theatre, with an AMC black ticket that’s valid for any 2D movie, on any day, at any time, and at participating AMC Theatres at a discount promotional Fever price! Grab your ticket here.
31. Admire all of the dazzling lights illuminating the city
Covered from uptown to downtown, borough to borough, NYC is one glowing spectacle all season long. Explore the millions of twinkling lights shining bright all across the city here with our holiday lights list!
32. Throw axes and drink cocktails at Live Axe bar in SoHo
We know the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year, so why not take your frustrations out at Manhattan’s first elevated axe throwing bar?! Eat, drink, and throw your seasonal stress away at this unforgettable gem in SoHo. Find out more here.
What’s cozier than watching snow covered hills roll by, as you chugga chugga-long on a picturesque train ride? Find some of our favorite winter train rides here.
NYC’s historical eatery, Schrafft’s, that made an unforgettable cameo in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, is making an iconic comeback to NYC with a limited-time pop-up for the holidays! Order signature pastries and beverages inspired by the establishments original recipes. It will be open during select Sundays in December on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets. Find the exact dates here.
Sure the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is perfect for ice skating and holiday shopping, but let’s not forget that it’s a foodie’s paradise. Feast outrageously flavored hot cocoa, fruit-filled crepes, or Nutella-drenched bombolones.
Every year, the museum collaborates with the MTA to roll out vintage trains for an old-timey commute in celebration of the holiday magic in NYC. The longstanding tradition however stopped in recent years, yet it has returned once again! Hop aboard every Saturday between Thanksgiving and New Years. Learn more here.
WORLD SPA, a 50,000-square-foot urban bathhouse in Brooklyn provides NYers with the ultimate destination to relax and unwind. The new wellness oasis will bring traditional and cultural spa treatments, practices, and rituals from around the world straight to Brooklyn and will also offer food featuring international cuisines. Learn more here.
Explore 20,000 square feet of Eataly’s third new NYC location opening up the first week of December on the corner of Lafayette and Broome. It’s complete with a full Italian market, restaurant and an all day café. Learn more here.
Just because temperatures have dropped does not mean that rooftop season has to come to an end! From winter chalets to tropical-themed installations, see our full list of spots here.
There’s something so romantic about sipping on a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a chilly winter’s day! With no shortage of places to try in the city, see our full list here.
After massive successes in London and Paris, the most magnificent miniature art exhibition has arrived in NYC. Admire 120+ works of miniature art from 32 local and international artists. Plus, you might even find some surprises along the way with hidden pieces exclusively created for the event. Grab tickets now.
Deliver your handwritten note to Santa, make a special wish in the magical area and visit Santa’s Workshop, peek into the bustling world of Santa’s trusty helpers in Elves’ Quarters and more at Holiday Lane at American Christmas. Just under an hour from Manhattan, it’ll surely put you in the holiday spirit. Buy your tickets now.
Stay warm with the yummiest, most festive cocktails you’ve ever seen! Whether they’re served in adorable holiday-themed glassware or are made with warming seasonal spices, find them here.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s pay-as-you-wish admission days are coming back this winter. On select hours and dates, New Yorkers can get into the garden and explore its beautiful scenery in the winter months for a price they choose to pay. Read more here.
If New York learned one thing over the past couple of years, it’s how to keep outdoor dining going all year-round! NYC has tons of igloo dining options during the winter months. Our most favorite are the ones at Bryant Park! See our full list here.
In-person spectators are welcome to Times Square for NYE to see the iconic ball and ring in 2024! Plus, you can write your wish on official NYE confetti through December 29th.
Also published on Medium.