Holidays In NYC Guide

‘Tis the season to love living in New York despite the frosty cold. Be dazzled by trees, trains, markets and more and say hi to St. Nick. Click on the links in bold for more info on the plethora of festive (and many free) options.

Decor & Lights

Our favorite free holiday activity is checking out all the dazzling displays around town, from ultra-creative department store windows to musical rainbow light shows in (indoor!) shopping malls like the jazzy holiday under the stars and downtown Luminaries.

See an elaborate gingerbread village or step inside a giant gingerbread house – free candy included.

See all lights & decor


You better watch out…in NYC, Santa brunches, ice skates, improvs, chills with Yogi Bear and, of course, poses for photos. Here’s info on finding him in a range of milieus, many of them free, some of them fancy, all of them jolly (we’ve heard the shortest lines are at Bloomingdales and the Paley Center).

The scoop on Santa


Holiday trees in NYC go way beyond tinsel – find origami ornaments, baroque Italian figurines and proximity to ice skating, holiday markets, gingerbread houses and iconic architecture on visits to unique evergreens all over town.

Find holiday trees


Train lovers are in luck during this season – train shows big and small about in NYC. Make a day of it at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, stop by the much smaller, free Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal or actually ride vintage subway cars.

Track down trains

Holiday Shows

While family-friendly theater and dance abound all year long in NYC, we are especially spoiled during the hoiidays. Quality classics like The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center or Radio City Christmas Spectacular are worth a splurge, but more intimate, less expensive and less traditional options are also available. The Three Bears Holiday Bash at the charming Swedish Marionette Cottage is a great starter show for wee ones.

See a show

Holiday Markets

Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and sample treats at festive outdoor and indoor markets & pop-up shops, often with nearby trees, ice skating and other attractions.

Plus check out our weekly deals for savings online and in NYC.

Start shopping