During this time of year the city shines particularly bright with lights illuminating every corner you turn. From the epic lights of Dyker Heights and Saks Fifth Avenue, to all the restaurants and rooftops that have transformed for the holidays—here are 50 of the most festive things happening this season to enjoy a truly magical holiday.
The Dyker Heights homes are lit up and ready to be seen — starting the weekend after Thanksgiving and carrying through to NYE! The stunning lights and endless decorations have become increasingly more famous over the years and have been a tradition for more than 30 years, spanning three avenues and several streets.
Explore a winter wonderland with eight immersive installations in search of Santa’s best-kept secret: a vintage-style speakeasy (shh, don’t tell Mrs. Claus). Along the way, you’ll find everything from gingerbread girls and rugged lumberjacks to living snow globes. Then, once you stumble into Santa’s speakeasy, you’ll enjoy Christmas cocktails, a live band, and an eye-popping variety show of unique acts, all with a holiday twist! Get tickets right here.
Nearly one million LED lights are decorating an enchanting forest at Harvest Moon Farm. Explore six magical spaces including Sparkling Light, Into the Wonderland, Magical Trees, A Great Celebration, Treats and Sweets, and Beyond the Forest all full of illuminating sculptures, decorations, tunnels, and more. This is the perfect experience for families during the holiday season. Get tickets here.
After a sold-out run in London, Titanic. The Exhibition has arrived in NYC. Learn more of the history and personal stories of those who were part of the fateful voyage over a century later. This captivating experience includes life-sized recreations of the ship’s interior, personal items and photos of passengers and more. Grab yours here.
This circus-style cabaret show takes place at HK Hall and combines a raunchy cabaret with stunning aerial acrobatics for an unforgettable event. Enjoy tapas, dessert platters, and cocktails while being blown away by aerial feats and acrobatic artistry at AirOtic Soirée. Buy your tickets here.
Don’t worry if you can’t afford anything at those luxurious shops up and down Fifth Avenue (we can’t either). What we can afford though is some nice window shopping! Here are some of the most mesmerizing displays this year:
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Once you’re done on 5th Ave, be sure to head over to Herald Square to marvel at the gorgeous holiday window display at Macy’s too
Maccabee Bar began as a Boston-based pop-up, but this December a new location will be coming to NYC! Taking over Ollie West Village, Maccabee Bar will be a Hanukkah-inspired wonderland complete with drinks like the Hebrew Hammer and Latke Sour.
Forget the traditional green trees, or the modern ones that are a crisp white—it’s all about the colorful neon trees! At Wyckoff’s Tree Farm in Belvedere, 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. Get all the details, here.
Run into mystical creatures at Harry Potter: The Forbidden Forest Experience in Westchester (only an hour and a half from NYC). Follow an enchanting trail in Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park full of interactive moments, light installations and theatrical illusions. Once you’re done, hang out at the magical village serving up delicious food and drink inspired by the Wizarding World. You don’t want to miss out on this unforgettable experience. Grab tickets now!
What would the holiday season in NYC be without our enchanting holiday markets? The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park’s Winter Village are a staple, but there are plenty of others. Read our full guide here!
The 31st Annual Holiday Train Show is back at the New York Botanical Garden! Watch model trains travel through NYC landmarks—like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, and others—as adorable miniatures made out of natural materials like birch bark, acorns, and cinnamon sticks.
14. Go ice skating
Nothing says winter (and the holiday season) like a visit to the ice rink! 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.! Find more rinks to check out here.
On select Sundays in December, Fifth Avenue is hosting their first ever “Fifth Avenue for All,” closing down vehicular traffic from 48th Street to 57th Street. It’s the largest-ever holiday season-specific Open Streets in NYC to date! People will have the opportunity to check out all their favorite holiday landmarks from the Saks Fifth Avenue windows, the Rockefeller Center tree, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and more. Find the exact dates and times here.
Shake off the fall and winter chill with a seasonal rooftop concert in NYC. Take in unique vintage sounds of Sinatra’s best Christmas hits in a beautiful star-lit venue at 74Wythe Rooftop. Hear everything from “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to “White Christmas” and Sinatra classics like “Fly Me To The Moon” and “New York New York.” Grab your tickets now.
NYC has no shortage of trendy spots to try, but when it comes to this chocolatey drink there’s a handful of places you absolutely have to taste, so we decided to map it out for you! Some of these tasty creations are particularly chocolatey, others are all about the marshmallow topping, but one thing is undebatable—you’ll be smiling from the warmth and deliciousness with each sip. Don’t believe us? We’ll let the pictures do the talking…check it out here!
- Angelina Paris, Bryant Park
- Martha’s Country Bakery, Williamsburg
Miracle NYC is sure to fill you with holiday spirit! Located near Times Square, catch a bedazzling show with millions of lights and engage in a myriad of family-friendly holiday activities. From baking cookies with Mrs. Claus to sending a letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office, you’ll want to purchase your tickets now to take advantage of all the holiday fun!
The 82-foot tall Norway Spruce arrived from Queensbury, New York this year and it was lit at the 90th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 30th. It will shine bright in its 50,000 multi-colored LED lights at the Rockefeller Plaza every day from 6 a.m.-midnight (and all day long on Christmas Day).
21-23. Or other gorgeous trees around the city
Sure, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree gets all the glory—but there are so many other stunningly decorated trees all over the city! From the park to the Palace (hotel, that is), these stops are perfect to add to your route as you explore all the holiday fun in NYC:
- The Lotte New York Palace
- The Peninsula Hotel
- Brookfield Place
The wildly popular Fever Originals Candlelight series is now back with holiday-themed concerts! Enjoy some smooth, jazzy renditions of holiday favorites, and feel the music usher in all the good feelings that arrive with the most special time of the year. Join our musicians for an evening gently illuminated by candlelight, and prepare to be taken into the clouds! Check them out here:
- Candlelight: Christmas Jazz featuring Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole
- Holiday Special featuring “The Nutcracker” and More at Church of the Heavenly Rest
- Holiday Jazz and Soul Classics feat. Ella Fitzgerald
Illuminate your holiday season at The New York Botanical Garden’s third annual GLOW experience! Everyone loves dazzling lights during the winter months, and for a third year the NYBG is putting together an outdoor, immersive experience that is sure to satisfy! They have created a “glowing world of color” that is centered around their famous landmark, the Haupt Conservatory.
Lights have been appearing all across the boroughs, dazzling New Yorkers everywhere they look. Here are some of our favorites
See plenty more here.
Each year the city as a whole transforms into a winter wonderland, and that includes a number of the bars and restaurants! Here’s a few of our favorite winter rooftops:
- 230 Fifth Rooftop, Flatiron
- The Pink Winter Lodge: Frosted Edition at Magic Hour, Midtown
- Teardrop Igloos Experience at Somewhere Nowhere
Full list here.
34-37. Get into the holiday spirit at spots that go ALL-OUT with decor
There’s no time of year quite like this in New York City…And one of the best ways to get in a festive mood is completely immersing yourself in all of the gorgeous decor around town! From restaurants, to lighting displays, to hotels, these NYC locales are the perfect places to get in the holiday spirit.
- Rolf’s, Gramercy
- Miracle’s holiday pop-up bars, multiple locations
- Loreley Beer Garden, Lower East Side
- Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, Times Square or Union Square
Massive Broadway-inspired snow globes are decorating Times Square! Head to Times Square now through December 26th to catch the enormous “show globes” set up on Broadway Plaza in Times Square. Inspired by Broadway favorites: The Lion King, Wicked, and Aladdin (new this year), the wowing installations celebrate the return of Broadway and the beginning of the holiday season. Read more here.
Bryant Park is the place to be for the holiday season in NYC! Besides its expanded holiday market and iconic ice rink, the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is bringing back last year’s winter-friendly activity: curling! It’s the first-ever iceless curling experience, so it can be enjoyed no matter what the weather. Read more here.
Located in Flatiron, this is THE place to visit for superfans of our favorite ’90s show. You’ll be able to hang out on iconic sets — from Rachel and Monica’s apartment to Central Perk (where you can really order coffee!), designed exceptionally down to every last detail — play trivia games, see props and costumes, get an insider look with videos and interviews about the making of the show, and recreate famous scenes like getting Ross’s couch up the stairs (just don’t forget to shout PIVOT!). Buy tickets now.
Holiday shopping in NYC is practically everywhere you turn, but we recommend you check out this limited-time pop-up market this December featuring 50 local, Black-owned brands. From December 10-11 and December 17-18, The Jummy’s Picks Holiday Pop-Up will transform a 30,000 square-foot Atlantic Center storefront into a holiday haven. Some vendors include IndigoStyle Vintage, Hey Girl Hey, Moods by Yemmie, and so many more. See them all for yourself when you visit and learn more here.
First seen in 2020, the larger-than-life toy displays are back as a permanent holiday installation on the avenue. This year there is also an opportunity to give back with QR codes located at each toy that directly links to the option of donating to Food Bank For New York City, the state’s largest hunger-relief organization and Fifth Avenue’s partner for the season. The Fifth Avenue holiday displays will be on view through January 6th.
Though NYC is quite magical over the holidays, it’s also nice to visit some spots outside of the city to see how they celebrate! ‘Tis the season for wreathed street lamps and garlands lighting up small town streets. Find out all the adorable Christmas towns you can visit nearby, right here.
If you’ve been to Chicago you’re likely familiar with the City Winery igloos along the serene Riverwalk. Now a tradition in NYC as well, City Winery has brought them back to Rockefeller Plaza for the season! The Winter Domes at Rockefeller Plaza are a great way to warm up this winter if you’re looking to be at the heart of all the holiday buzz.
Unsure of what to get someone for the holidays? You can never go wrong with gift cards! Give the gift of choice between NYC’s hottest events, food experiences, activities and more with a Fever gift card. You can purchase one here and explore the endless opportunities on Fever now.
Experience the holidays as the ‘Queen of Christmas’ would herself! Mariah Carey is inviting a pair of special guests into her NYC penthouse apartment for an epic Christmas card photoshoot this December. Not only will you get to see her decked out space, you’ll also get tickets to her “Merry Christmas To All” concert at MSG, a shopping spree at Saks Fifth Avenue, a three-night stay at The Plaza Hotel, and so much more. Learn how you can book this incredible experience here.
Though Hanukkah is approaching, any day is a good day to devour delicious latkes. And there are few places better than New York to find some of the tastiest available—yes, we’re talking about that perfect golden crisp! Some standout spots include:
- Russ & Daughters
- Shelsky’s of Brooklyn
Find more of our favorite spots for latkes around the city here.
Newly opened at Tangram, Queens’ 1.2 million-square-foot multi-use development, is a mouthwatering, Asian-inspired food hall and the neighborhood’s first ever beer garden known as hoi polloi! Visitors can choose from hoi polloi’s 24-tap lineup featuring international and local beers to pair with an assortment of sizzling skewers. Stay for awhile and watch the space turn into a vibrant, cyberpunk hotspot spinning tunes of Hip Hop, Latin, Afro, House, Dance, Pop and RnB.
As the clock strikes midnight on January 1, roughly 3,000 pounds of confetti will descend on Times Square to ring in the new year. That said, your wish for 2023 can be written on one of those pieces of confetti coating the streets of NYC. The NYE Wishing Wall in Times Square Plaza will be located between 46th and 47th Streets on Broadway, and is where to go if you’d like to jot down your submission. You can write on one (or several) pieces of confetti between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. any day before December 29.
Written by Bianca Bahamondes and Claire Leaden and Justine Golata
Also published on Medium.