Christmas in New York City – A Guide to Amazing Events

Christmas in New York is like a glowing magical Wonderland, with Christmas lights and decors everywhere. The city, enveloped in a white layer of snow around Christmas, makes everything look pure and Christmasy and will definitely get you in the holiday spirit! Christmas in New York is one of the best moments of the year for New Yorkers and travelers!

Remember, you can always use GAFFL to connect travelers and locals in New York City and explore all these events in a group! If you have less than 24 hours in New York City, check out this article we wrote before!

While some of us like to get our fuzzy socks out and sit by the fireplace with some hot chocolate or espresso, the wanderlust in the rest of us seems to get stronger around holidays. Some of the Christmas movies we have grown up watching have been centered around Christmas in New York, and it’s safe to say that they have definitely played a part in how we tie NY to Christmas. So what’s happening in New York this Christmas?

Christmas Markets:

What’s Christmas without the smell of freshly baked cookies, some hot chocolate and Christmas carols? Visit the holiday markets in New York to experience the fun and festive atmosphere, and shop for souvenirs, home decor, and jewelry. 

If you don’t want to shop, you can just walk around and look at all the colors and festivity that light up the markets. Grab some hot chocolate, sip on it in the cold winter and walk around to see what these 150+ vendors from all over the world have to offer. 

Some of the most popular Christmas Markets are Bryant Park Winter Village, which is home to New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink, the Union Square Holiday Market and the Columbus Circle Holiday Market

The best part about these markets? It’s free to enter!

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Get in the Christmas spirit the moment you set foot in Dyker Heights Boulevard in Brooklyn. The residents of Dyker Heights do not hesitate to go all out when it comes to decorating their homes and decks for Christmas. The decorations are displayed from 11th to 13th Avenues from 83rd to 86th St in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. It really is a must-see! 

You will see other tourists and locals exploring the neighborhood by foot or by driving past slowly around the neighborhood.

There are tours available too and you can buy tickets here

However, if you don’t want to spend money on tours, you can take the R, N, and D trains to get there and take the bus after you get out from the subway station, or walk about 15-20 mins to get there. The best time to experience all of the decorations is between dusk to 9:00pm. 

LuminoCity Festival :

Light up your Christmas in this Magical Wonderland at the LuminoCity Festival. This festival located at 20 Randalls Island Park, New York, NY 10035, is lit, like literally! 

It covers 12 acres of land with lights and art installations to turn it into a fairyland. You can buy tickets online or at the venue.  You can munch on goodies from the food stalls there and sip on hot drinks while letting the beauty of this festival mesmerize you. From unicorns to candy mountains, it will all take you back to your childhood and who knows? Maybe you’ll start believing in Santa again! 

Holiday Train Show :

Trains are a huge part of any New Yorker’s daily life. But what makes the Holiday Train Show so special? The New York Botanical Garden hosts one of the most popular Christmas events in New York. The train show represents trains passing by miniature models of New York’s most attractive landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, made from natural materials such as twigs and barks. You can read more about it here.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree :

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is one of New York’s top Christmas attractions. Located in the middle of the Rockefeller Center complex between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, its dazzling beauty attracts a lot of tourists and locals. The 2019 tree was lit up on December 4, 2019, and you can enjoy its spectacular views till January 17, 2020.

Christmas Window Displays, Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show : 

Once you’re finally able to snap out of the beauty of the Christmas tree, you can walk around the shimmery roads of Manhattan nearby and look at the displays on the departmental stores. Take a peep through the windows at NYC’s magical Christmas wonderland Macy’s at Herald Square, Saks Fifth, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman have some of the best displays around the city. 

Rolf’s bar 

The main attraction of Rolf’s bar located at 281 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010 is the head to toe Christmas decorations with ornaments, garlands, and pretty Christmas lights. They make sure you know it’s Christmas and feels it too! It’s pretty popular so you want to make sure you make reservations in advance.  

In case you can’t get in, don’t worry! New York never disappoints you. 

If you only care about the decor, you can try other restaurants such as Milon and Panna II, which also warm up their places with colorful lights throughout the year. They mainly serve Indian/Bangladeshi food and haven’t compromised on their decor whatsoever. What’s even better is that they are BYOB, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much on one drink. 

You can definitely add some colors to your Instagram thanks to these restaurants!  

Pop-ups : 

Just in case the Christmas markets didn’t do it for you, you can check out some of the holiday popups around NYC. Whether you want to spoil a loved one, or just yourself, these stores have something to offer. From Kiehl’s’ gifting workshop to Stone and Strand, you can find gifts for skincare fanatics to jewelry lovers. So grab your wallets, and get ready to check these pop-up shops out!

You can read more about tips and things to do in NYC before you zip your bags and tie your shoelaces! If you are in New York City, don’t forget to send us pictures and moments from your trip, cause we would love to be a part of your adventure!


GAFFL helps travelers and adventurers to find others who are planning to go to the same destinations at the same time and plan trips together in a group. Our mission is to make sure people who do not want to travel or adventure alone can find other like-minded individuals to travel cities, explore outdoors or spend time in a long airport layover.

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