Top Things To Do in New York City in December

Top Things To Do in New York City in December

While New York might be on your bucket list all year round, New York City is a little extra special in December during the holidays! After attending college in NYC for 4 years and living outside of the city for over 12 years, you can say the city holds a special place in my heart. Below, I cover the top things to do in New York City that are specifically special during the winter and December!

Radio City Music Hall NYC in December

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Rockefeller Center During December

Let’s start with the super festive things to do and what’s more festive than Rockefeller Center?! Every year a few weeks after Thanksgiving, Rockefeller Center does its epic tree lighting. People from all over the world come to the tree sparkle in the night sky!

While at Rockefeller Center, you can enjoy their little Christmas Market, Ice Skate under the tree, and even go to ” The Top of The Rock”(Top of Rockefeller Center Tower)! At the top, view Manhattan’s epic skyline!

Insider Tip: If you want to go to the Top of The Rock, I recommend getting tickets in advance online. The line can be long at all times of the year.

How to Get There: To get to Rockefeller Center take the subway line B, D, F, or M train to the 47-50th Street Rockefeller Center stop. You can also take the 1 train to 50th. Uber, Lyft, and NYC Taxis can also get you there.

Rockefeller Center in December with holiday decorations! One of the top places to visit in NYC for the Holidays!
One of the top things to do in New York City in December is visit Rockefeller Center

Saks 5th Ave. Christmas Lightshow

After visiting Rockefeller Center, make sure to check out Saks 5th Ave light show! It starts at around 5 pm (Sundown) and does the full light show about every 10-15 minutes. If there is any store you visit for holiday decorations, let it be this one. You will be able to see it from the Rockefeller Center.

Saks 5th Ave. is located on 611 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022. You can take the same train lines as Rockefeller Center to get here =)

Saks 5th Ave Christmas Light Show
Saks 5th Ave Christmas Light Show

Radio City Music Hall

Another one of the top things to do in New York City during December is Radio City Music Hall. Whether you are going to see the Rockettes dance the night away or to see the decorations you won’t be disappointed! 

The Rockettes have been performing at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York City, since 1932. If you plan on seeing the Rockette’s perform, make sure to get your tickets well in advance!

This is also where you will find the iconic giant red Christmas Ornaments and a decorative court. While visiting, there are usually vendors selling all types of goodies including bags, wallets, and paintings.

Radio City Music Hall is located right by the Rockefeller Tree.

The address is: 260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020

December Holiday Decorations in New York City

Visit Radio City Music Hall in December

Cartier Holiday Decorations

We came across the Cartier Building on our way to Rockefeller Center and they decorated the building in a giant red bow! Definitely worth a pass by and a photo op since they are also located right near Saks 5th Ave. 

The address to see the Cartier holiday decorations is: 653 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022

Find the top things to do in NYC in December including seasonal festivities!

Bryant Park Winter Village (Bank of America)

Don’t forget to stop by Bryant Winter Village! They have tons and tons of holiday shops and food! Bryant Park also does a tree lighting and has a rink for ice skating. They have extra measures in place this year, but there is still fun to safely be had. This is definitely my favorite Christmas Market in NYC.

While visiting, make sure to check out The Stackery for the most delicious Chimney Cakes and Bolivian Llama Party for out-of-this-world fries!

Bryant Park is located in Midtown between Fifth Ave. and Ave. of the Americas and between 40th and 42nd St.

Tip: While in the area, you can also check out the New York Public Library (if open).

Bryant Park Ice Skating Rink

Macy’s Holiday Window Displays

If you find yourself in New York City in December, Macy’s of Herald Square is known to put on one of the best shows in terms of window decorations. Did you know Macy’s was the first retail store in NYC to do Holiday window displays?

Each year is different and the closer you get to Christmas, the longer the line, so best check them out early!

Address: 151 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

Macys window displays are one of the best places to see in NYC during December

Central Park

No New York City List is complete without Central Park being on it; December is no exception! If you are lucky, you might even have the chance to visit Central Park when it snows, making the whole park look magical.

Some places to visit in Central Park include Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and Ice Skating!

Central Park NYC at Bow Bridge

Lotte Palace

If you are looking for NYC insta-worthy holiday photos, make sure to check out the Lotte New York Palace Hotel! They put out (IMO) the most beautiful Christmas tree. The hotel itself is also supposed to be absolutely beautiful!

Address: 455 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022

https://www.instagram.com/p/B58dwFBl3t0/

Broadway Show

Escape the NYC winter weather and head over to a Broadway Show. It’s one of the most iconic things to do while visiting New York City and what better time since it’s likely freezing (or as us New Yorkers might say, “BRICK OUT”) It’s been said that going in person will result in better prices on tickets, so keep that in mind!

Rolf’s Restaurant

Update: Call ahead of time to make sure they are still open this year.

Looking for the ultimate holiday-themed restaurant? Rolf’s is a German restaurant decked out with holiday cheer! It’s as if the Grinches bag of all the stolen decorations exploded here but in the best way =) Expect crowds here.

Address: 281 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5lOYM3Bbj2/

Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards is New York Cities newest playground! Some top attractions include the Vessel, a huge honeycomb-like structure you can climb standing at 154 ft high. Likely the most exciting attraction, The Edge, NYC’s newest and highest outdoor sky deck on the West Hemisphere!

Then of course there is top-of-the-line shopping and they have decked it out this year (2020) with Christmas decorations to keep spirits up!

The Edge tickets

Edge Entrance: The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001 Enter at level 4

View inside the NYC Vessel

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn is not inside New York City, but if you have extra time, I would definitely check it out! During December the homes of Dkyer Heights, Brooklyn go into a Christmas lights battle royal where each house goes above and beyond making the ultimate Christmas spectacle!

The best time to enjoy the Dyker Heights Christmas lights with fewer crowds is at the beginning of December, however, all the houses might not be lit up. For the best light show, mid-December is better, however, the crowds are much much larger!

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn Christmas lights
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn Christmas lights

The lights go on at Sundown (about 5 PM) and end around 10ish (when homeowners go to bed). For the best lights travel around 11th Ave. to 13th Ave. and from 83rd to 86th Street.

If you are traveling from NYC, you can take the R, N, and D trains. From there it’s about a 15-20 min walk from all 3 train stations to get to the lights.

(IMO) The best way to get here is actually by car since it is usually very cold during this time of year. If you don’t have a car, the next best option is to either rent a Zip Car or do a tour. A tour, of course, will be the most informative and know the best houses to bring you to!

Igloos at 230 Fifth

Want to experience a trendy dining option? 230 FIFTH is NYC’s largest outdoor Rooftop Garden has been outfitted with 17 heated Igloos for dining on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They must be reserved ahead of time and can accommodate 4-10 people. Find more info for the Igloos at 230 Fifth here!

The Rooftop At Pier 17

This year Pier 17 turned their rooftop with an upstate vibe with the downtown feels of NYC. These trendy glass cabins fit 2-10 people and offering seasonal drinks and dishes. To learn more and make reservations, check Rooftop at Pier 17 here!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CH8ADcVDf43/

Where to Stay: MOXY NYC Times Square | Hyatt House Chelsea | Hotel Edison Times Square | New York Marriott Marquis | Lotte New York Palace | NYC Airbnb

NYC December Travel Guide Wrap-Up

This covers the top things to do during the holidays in New York City specifically in December! For additional New York travel tips, find helpful resources below!

Best Free Things to Do in NYC

How to use the Subway in NYC

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Insta-Worthy Places in NYC

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11 thoughts on “Top Things To Do in New York City in December”

  1. The first time I ever went to NYC was at Christmas and I fell in love! I love the way the city gets so into the festive season and I loved seeing amazing decorations around every corner! I think the Rockefeller Center was my favourite part!

    Reply
  2. Ahhh I want to visit NYC in December so badly! I have been in Feb, May and July before, and while those are all great times to visit too, I would love to see all of the beautiful Christmas sights 🙂

    Reply
  3. Woww! New York looks like the place to be in December. You’ve captured such a warm, festive, golden glow and so many decorations. Looks like there’s loads to do as well.

    Reply
  4. Wow, NYC looks so festive and pretty. Love your outfit too. Thank you for sharing as New York is on my bucket list 🙂

    Reply

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