A Touristy Guide to New York City in December

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Advisor - Katie Anderson
Curated By

Katie Anderson

  • New York City

  • City Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Guided Tours

  • Local’s Guide

  • Sightseeing

New York City is the magic destination for Christmas.
Curator’s statement

Having visited New York City in December, I felt that it was absolutely gorgeous, full of Christmas cheer, with many festive activities to put you in the holiday spirit. As a once-in-a-lifetime kind of adventurer, I was crazy enough to stand outside for half a day with my family waiting for the ball to drop on New Year's Eve in Times Square. Would I do it again? Probably not, but it was a truly spectacular once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. Visiting New York City in December is extra special and full of exciting activities for everyone!

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Where to stay in New York City

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Things to do in New York City

In celebration of Christmas, the Empire State Building Christmas Lights are in Red, Green & Candy Cane Stripe.

Start your trip with a private NYC Christmas Lights Horse Carriage Ride. This tour is great for all ages and a very festive way to make your way around the city with views of Central Park, Fifth Avenue and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Head to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes Ticket. This is an incredible show that is great for all ages. I can help you secure tickets in advance.

Make your way to the Empire State Building to see the red, green and candy cane stripe lights in celebration of Christmas. Head up to the 102nd and 86th floors observation decks to get some phenomenal photos of the city at night.

Take a New York City Christmas Holiday Statue & Skyline Cocoa Cruise. You'll sail by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, while enjoying a beverage. This is another great holiday activity for all ages.

To complete your Christmas shopping, take a New York City Christmas Holiday Lights and Markets Walking Tour. You'll stop at several Christmas markets with holiday-themed goodies.

Go ice skating at The Rink At Rockefeller Center or Central Park. Remember to book your tickets in advance to secure a spot during this peak holiday activity.

Take a nighttime helicopter tour of the city. What better time than the holiday season to see the skyline lit up from above; a truly magical experience.

Go on a New York City Luxury Holiday Bus Tour at Night, visiting Bryant Park, Winter Garden, Brooklyn and the iconic Macy’s Herald Square.

Places to eat & drink in New York City

Gramercy Tavern is one of America's most beloved restaurants.

Need to Know

While in New York, you may also choose to visit other major landmarks such as the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grand Central Terminal, The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Brooklyn Bridge, New York Public Library or catch a Broadway show. I chose to focus on some of the holiday highlights above, but these landmarks are absolutely worth a visit!

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Family Getaway to the Beautiful Hilton Head Island.

Advisor - Katie Anderson

Travel Advisor

Katie Anderson

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New York City.