There’s simply no better place than NYC to get in the spirit of the season and as 2022 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 90 magically festive things to do in NYC this month.
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 until December 31 & has already been met with rave reviews, so be sure to grab your tickets now!
Encounter magical creatures from the Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts films at this unmissable Forbidden Forest experience. Follow a luminous trail and come across interactive moments, dazzling lights, and theatrical illusions. You’ll be able to try tons of delicious food and drink inspired by the Wizarding World, with photo-ops at every turn. Get your tickets here!
The Lumagica: Enchanted Forest experience is a walking tour through a charmed forest-like setting full of awe-inspiring animal structures and festive decorations illuminated by over 750,000 LED lights. To see various creatures lit up such as a unique peacock, a massive soaring parrot, and a 25 ft. tall staggering reindeer, grab your tickets here.
‘Titanic. The Exhibition’ has made its way to NYC. Step back in time to 1912 and learn the history and personal stories of those aboard the Titanic through original objects belonging to passengers, recreations of the ship’s interior, and moving recollections of heroism from those who survived. Grab tickets here.
Is there anything more quintessential Christmas than the giant trees all around NYC? Here are festive tree lightings you can check out!
- Bronx Little Italy: Saturday, December 3 from 3p.m. – 6p.m.
- Madison Square Park: Wednesday, December 7 from 4p.m. – 6p.m.
- Washington Square Park: Wednesday, December 7 at 6 p.m.
The AirOtic Soireé is a series of special Cirque-style cabaret dinner shows that bring talented world-class acrobats together to perform mind-boggling stunts. The show bridges extravagant costumes and seductive choreography for a one-of-a-kind burlesque circus style soirée. If you’ve been on the hunt for an unforgettable night out, then this event is for you! Grab your tickets here.
Enjoy everything from enchanting performances of holiday classics inside a breathtaking NYC church, Nutcracker-inspired tunes, to a romantic dinner experience, 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.
- “The Nutcracker” and More at Church of the Heavenly Rest
- Candlelight X NYE Special: Best of 2022 on Strings at The Wave Resort
- “The Nutcracker” and More at Boro Hotel
Just because temperatures have dropped does not mean that rooftop season has to come to an end! From winter chalets to tropical-themed installations, here are some of our favorite winter spots:
See our full list of spots here.
Back for its 15th year this month, Chanukah On Ice is allowing you to skate under the stars on the second night of Chanukah on Monday, December 19! 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.
Enter into the iconic NYC sitcom like never before at The FRIENDS Experience. 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.
If New York learned one thing over the past couple of years, it’s how to keep outdoor dining going all year-round! From rooftops with fully heated floor-to-dome panoramic views of Manhattan, curling cafés, to winter wonderlands in the heart of Rockefeller Center, NYC has tons of igloo dining options during the winter months.
See our full list here.
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.
Banksy: Building Castles in the Sky is an incredible look at the elusive artist, from when he first appeared on the scene 20 years ago to a closer look at his work from “Dismaland.” This exhibition celebrates the artist in a museum-style setting, showcasing even more of his pieces from an exclusive private collection, so serious art lovers can rejoice! Get your tickets here.
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, here are some standouts that you must try:
- Boozy Bourbon Black & White Hot Chocolate from Loreley Beer Garden
- Bad Krampus from Snowday in Brooklyn
- Grandma Got Run Over By A T-Rex from Miracle on 9th Street
- A Lump of Coal from Feliz Coctelería
Find more 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, here are some of our top recommendations that will keep you cozy all season long:
- Blue Stripes
See our full list here.
Winter is practically here, and there are a handful of outdoor ice rinks that are already open! The Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park is open daily from 10 a.m., the Rink at Rockefeller Center is open daily from 9 a.m., and the rink at Bryant Park is 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 Winter Village at Bryant Park: Oct 28 – Jan 2
- Union Square Holiday Market: Nov 17 – Dec 24
- Columbus Circle Holiday Market: Nov 28 – Dec 24
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.
Dubbed the Miracle NYC, this alluring holiday adventure will light up Times Square more than it already is! Explore a mesmerizing winter wonderland through hundreds of light displays, write and mail your very own letter to Santa Claus himself, and much more! Grab your tickets here.
Admire the NYC’s most iconic Christmas tree standing 79-feet tall in Rockefeller Center Plaza, but don’t forget the plenty of others decorating the city. Our other favorite Christmas trees around the city include:
- Rockefeller Christmas Tree: 45 Rockefeller Plaza
- 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.
This year marks the 31st annual holiday train show at the New York Botanical Gardens and the features include “nearly a half-mile of track hosting over 25 G-scale model trains and trolleys ” traveling around miniature models of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center. Learn more here.
For the first time in history, Fifth Avenue will shut down all vehicular traffic on select Sundays in December for new initiative titled “Fifth Avenue for All.” 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 will be the largest-ever holiday season-specific Open Streets in NYC to date! 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:
- Papillon Bistro
- Oscar Wilde
- Lillie’s Victorian Establishment
- Pete’s Tavern
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:
- Feliz Coctelería
- Snowday in Brooklyn
- Sippin’ Santa
- “Pinkmas” at Museum of Ice Cream
Wave Hill, a gorgeous public garden and cultural center in the Bronx is kicking off the holiday season with a weekend centered around the idea “Home for the Holidays,” and the weekend is packed with a ton of exciting events from wreath and ornament-making to a vendor market! Learn more here.
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.
66-70. Slurp down delicious ramen
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.
Take in the Manhattan skyline for Sinatra Under the Stars. Join NYC’s best jazz vocalists for a magical night that will leave you humming along. See here for tickets.
73-77. 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!
- “Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards Presented by Wells Fargo”
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- NYBG Glow
- Fifth Avenue
- Winter Lantern Festival
78. 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.
Sure Bryant Park’s Winter Village 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.
On Saturday, December 3 the Bronx Children’s Museum will open its doors to the public! The museum, which is located in a 1925 historic powerhouse, will allow children to play, learn, and connect throughout 13,800-square-feet of open-concept space. Learn more here.
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 after a two year hiatus! Hop aboard every Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Learn more here.
Coming to NYC’s iconic Citi Field this holiday season, Amaze Light Festival is expected to bring roughly 400,000 holiday enthusiasts together for this dazzling light display. An unforgettable spectacle for holiday lovers and guests of all ages, this light show will immerse visitors in an illuminated holiday adventure through mesmerizing festive decor and five different holiday-themed worlds. Learn more here.
The Seaport’s Ice Rink is offering free admission skating with skates available to rent. Plus, Aurora, an expansive overhead light art installation, will span the distance of the rink and feature unique light displays emulating the Northern Lights and making skating at the rink a vibrant experience unlike any other! Learn more here.
Winter fun has taken over The Plaza at The Standard, High Line in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District with winter bumper cars! The nostalgic, punk pop-up pays homage to 80s culture and is beckoning New Yorkers to come and “let out [their] inner misfit.” And after working up an appetite from all the fun you’ll be having, fill-up on The Plaza’s usual fare with a seasonal twist. Learn more here.
WORLD SPA, a brand new 50,000-square-foot urban bathhouse is opening in Brooklyn this December, providing 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.
New Yorkers can catch their favorite childhood toys reimagined in larger-than-life displays lighting up Fifth Avenue through January 7th. The adorable displays were first introduced in 2020, but became so popular that they are now a “permanent holiday fixture along the avenue,” says the Fifth Avenue Association. Learn more here.
A new upscale cocktail bar has taken over Midtown serving a mouthwatering menu featuring a seasonal tapas selection alongside delicious cocktails such as “Little Sister” made with tomato and red alaea salt. Learn more here.
A reimagined retro American donut shop with South Korean flair, Bear Donut, which opened in NoMad this past summer, is whipping up a new concoction, this timecombining the waffle with an even sweeter treat–a donut! Each one is made with their chewy mochi donuts and served with a creamy and sweet house-made yogurt whipped cream. Learn more here.
In-person spectators are welcome to Times Square for NYE to see the iconic ball and ring in 2023!
Also published on Medium.