HOLIDAY DECOR

NYC is decked out, with festive holiday decor old and new.

Find pics of our personal faves on our instagram, plus see our complete holiday guide for happenings for all ages.

MIDTOWN

Shine Bright at Hudson Yards

Midtown-30s

Explore over 2 million shimmering white lights illuminating the neighborhood featuring a 32-foot hot air balloon suspended inside The Shops. Lots of fun photo-ops from each level. Take photos with Santa on select December dates.

Enter a free immersive winter-themed infinity mirror room (10 am-5 pm) filled with animated snow and ice. Show or sign up for a Wells Fargo account for a free stylish tote bag while supplies last.

Lots of great food options including Mercado Little Spain and a new Ladurée stand (near more sweets at Dylan’s Candy Bar). See our guide to Hudson Yards.

 

 

Holiday Under The Stars

Midtown-50s

14-foot stars hanging from the 150-foot ceiling of the glass atrium light up in an array of colors. See a rainbow-colored light show to festive holiday music every half hour from 4 to 7 pm.⁠

Select Wednesdays at 5 pm, catch Broadway Under The Stars featuring cast members of current Broadway shows on the second floor.

Also stop by Williams-Sonoma for peppermint bark samples or make slime & splatter paint at Art Camp.

Fifth Avenue Decor

Midtown-50s

Swanky stores on and around Fifth Avenue are especially eye-catching during the holidays. Go early in the day or weekdays if possible to avoid heavy crowds (or visit during pedestrian-only Fifth Avenue for All). Use our decor map  to look for:

* Look for larger-than-life illuminated toys
* 59th St: Giant illuminated ornaments surround the Pulitzer Fountain
* 58th St: Bergdorf Goodman’s spectacular installation “Magic in the Making,” is packed with color, charming details and sparkly animals
* 57th St: Christmas Tree scaling the Louis Vuitton store
* 55th St: spectacular trees, life-sized Nutcrackers &  Sweet Shopped inside the Peninsula Hotel
* 52nd St: red-ribboned wrapped Cartier store (look for bejeweled panthers)
* 51st St: always gorgeous St. Patrick’s Cathedral
* 50th St: Saks Windows & Light show & Rockefeller Center
* 50th St & Madison: the stunning Lotte New York Palace Tree
* Other holiday windows include Bloomingdales and the classic Macy’s. Or continue south to Bryant Park’s Winter Village.
* See our decor map for details.

Peninsula Hotel

Midtown-50s

See a spectacular Christmas tree flanked by life-sized nutcrackers and other festive decor in a grand hotel lobby, open to all. Stop by a cute Sweet Shoppe in the lobby from for some free treats and visits by hotel mascot Peter Bear (open daily 4-6 pm).

Victorian carolers sing in the lobby every Friday and Saturday from 5 to 7pm.

See our guide to Fifth Avenue Decor.

Lotte New York Palace Tree

Midtown-40s

This gorgeous, classy tree in the neo-Italian Renaissance courtyard of the historic landmark Villard Mansion (now Lotte New York Palace Hotel) has Rockefeller Center and the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the background.

Macy’s Herald Square Windows

Midtown-30s

Animated holiday windows at Macy’s Herald Square share the spirit of the holiday season with scenes of how we celebrate together with loved ones. Follow reindeer Tiptoe as she visits her woodland friends to spread holiday magic and cheer.

Find a different festively nostalgia scene in each window, crafted with core materials such as gingerbread, yarn, flannel, paper, wood, and mirror.

Lots of festive decor indoors plus the famed Macy’s Santaland (advance online reservation required).

Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse

Chelsea

Embark on a dazzling journey where the imaginary world of a gift factory comes alive. Traverse immersive digital multiverses filled with dreamlike yet familiar holiday themes, from floating giant swinging bells to thousands of nutcrackers, train rides through wreaths, spinning candy cane carousels and more.

Save 20% with code KID20 from @littlekidbigcity_newyork. Save $5 off Admission Tickets Monday-Friday with proof of NY or NJ residency.

Inside happening Chelsea Market.

Saks Fifth Ave Windows & Light Show

Midtown-50s

Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Rocket Fund collaborated on new windows inspired by the theme of heartwarming holiday gifts,  with bright colors, rocket ships  rocket ships and kaleidoscopes ( and a $1 million donation to the charity).

A new light show on the facade, set to a holiday medley of Elton John songs, features over over 600,000 individual points of light plus new dynamic lighting displays that illuminate from within the windows. The show repeats every ten minutes from 5 to 11 pm daily.

 

 

Holiday Time in PaleyLand

Midtown-50s

Explore four floors of interactive holiday fun – photo-ops with holiday backgrounds including Santa’s sleigh & a menorah, a classic model railroad display, hot cocoa and candy canes.

See screenings of holiday films & TV shows, including big-screen premieres. Screenings in two theaters include stop motion classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, animated specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Rugrats Chanukah and holiday episodes from TV’s classic and current eras. Access the gaming/VR studio for $11.

Take a photo with Santa Claus on weekends and Christmas week ($11, includes one printed photo, see schedule). Also meet favorite holiday characters including Rudolph and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster.

Near lots of festive sights at Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue – see our holiday decor map.

Wednesday-Sunday 12–6 pm

 

Bloomingdale’s Santa & Windows

Midtown-50s

Santa is available for free walk-in photo shoots Saturday 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday + Christmas Week 10 am – 6 pm. No online reservations needed, usually no lines and friendly elves. Take your own photos and print two to take home. Includes a goodie packet with stickers, color pencils and a button.

Outside, admire colorful windows that embody the spirit of the gift-giving, memory-making season with larger-than-life elements from wrapping paper to champagne glasses, a toy workshop, a three-dimensional camera and more.

Walk south for more spectacular window displays.

📷 @nyckiddoos

Holidays at Rockefeller Center

Midtown-50s

See the famous 82 foot Norway Spruce, illuminated with 30,000 LED lights  and topped with a massive Swarovski crystal star overlooking the iconic ice rink. The glowing angels in the Channel Gardens are the perfect viewpoint for the Saks light show across the street.

Pick up a cute holiday map by artist Lorraine Nam from friendly elves throughout the plaza (or in the 30 Rock lobby) and look for her crafty murals throughout the center.

Play at the iconic shops around the plaza including FAO Schwarz, American Girl, LEGO and Nintendo.  Head to the Top of the Rock for incredible 360-degree views of the city and Central Park (and to see Santa).  Warm up with hot chocolate from Tuescher and La Maison du Chocolate.

Miracle NYC

Midtown-40s

Explore a Winter Wonderland with 5 million bedazzling lights. Bake, decorate and enjoy cookies with Chip the Elf, create ornaments, visit the North Pole Post Office and send a letter to Santa. See swirling indoor snow inside a life-sized snow globe and venture through an enchanting winter forest.

Purchase a Golden Ticket (+$16) for a one-on-one meeting with Santa Claus.

North Pole Express

Midtown-40s

Board a North Pole Express (an open-topped double decker tourist bus) and drive by NYC’s stunning holiday decorations on Sixth & Fifth Avenues. Get great views of  the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, store windows and more above the crowds.

Sing along with Christmas carols and read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas with entertaining elves while sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies. Santa visits to hear wishes and take photos.

Pajamas welcome. Includes a Santa hat and blanket to keep warm on the ride and after.

Tours embark at various times between 5:00pm & 7:15 pm

Holiday Toy Trail

Midtown-50s

Look for 10 larger-than-life illuminated toys including a plane kids can ride on, a giant Rubik’s Cube, dreidel, taxi and more along Fifth Avenue between 51st & 59th Street.

Holidays at Chelsea Market

Chelsea

Find twinkling lights, rainbow trees, giant presents and dangling giant candy cane installations at this always happening historic market. Choose from doughnuts, tacos, hand-pulled noodles, lobster rolls, gelato to eat at over 115 covered outdoor tables along 15th and 16th Streets. Find fun Chinese merchandise & food at Pearl River Mart.

Catch pop-up ballet performances weekend afternoons and live music throughout the week. Get tickets to Artechouse’s immersive Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse.

The narrow walkway of the former factory can get very crowded, so best to visit earlier in the day and/or on weekdays.

Find more decor at the Lights on the Cobbles installation throughout Meatpacking.

Santa Snow Show

Midtown-50s

Catch Santa and his elves daily at 2 pm & 6 pm along the store’s escalator. Participate in a daily “Santa Snow Show” with all sorts of characters and a magical in-store snowfall. Thursday to Sunday, the Brooklyn United Music and Arts Program drumline joins the party.

Anytime, write letters with provided materials and drop off at a dedicated mailbox in Kid’s Wear. The 320,000 square-foot, 7-floor flagship is decked with 253,000 feet of twinkling lights, Scandinavian-inspired ornaments, 150 trees, hanging chandeliers, snowflakes, candle wreaths,  illuminated branches, seven 11-foot-tall Nutcrackers and one vintage Santa sleigh. Red and white lights illuminate gold metallic trees in the waveform glass façade on 57th Street.

Festive shopping experiences include Love Your Melon custom designed beanies and personalized Hunter boots. Also find this Santa at Wollman Rink on Fridays.

Winter Lights

Chelsea

Enter a captivating light display with hourly light shows and a nightly grand finale at 6 pm on the High Line between 15th and 16th Streets.⁠ The light show takes inspiration from the vehicle-to-load (V2L) capabilities found on Genesis electric vehicles, which will be on display, and the roof line of the Electrified GV70.

Lights on the Cobbles

Chelsea

Larger-than-life light-up snowmen and other whimsical light displays are back in Meatpacking.

Find ten separate light installations along Ninth Avenue and Gansevoort Street including colorful neon lights in abstract shapes and planters filled with glowing dandelions. New this year on Ninth Avenue, take a frosty photo in two illuminated giant geometric frames.

Head to Chelsea Market for more (indoor) decor plus pop-up music, dance and more.

UPTOWN

Swarovski x The Mark

Upper East Side-70s

A swanky UES hotel is bedecked with Swarovski crystals galore for the holidays. The facade and lobby are decorated with a magical gingerbread theme, featuring favorite holiday characters crafted in crystals.

Gingerbread NYC: The Great Borough Bake-Off

Upper East Side-90s+

See gingerbread displays from top bakeries and amateur bakers from across the city representing their respective neighborhoods, inspired by the theme “Winter in New York.” Pick up a kid-friendly  scavenger hunt from the front desk.

Winners of categories include Most Representative of Their Neighborhood, Most Creative, Good Enough to Eat, Most Intricate, Grandest, and more.

See our guide to the Museum of the City of New York.

Thursday 10 am–9 pm
Friday–Monday 10 am–5 pm

Decorated Brownstones

Upper East Side-60s

Find creative holiday decor on lovely historic buildings throughout the UES. Some favorites:

🎄 East 61st between 2nd & 3rd Avenues (blue Nutcracker)
🎄 East 64th between 5th and Madison (giant candy canes & pink Nutcracker)
🎄 East 76th between 5th & Madison (giant Nutcracker & Grinch).

Also visit the sparkly Swarovski gingerbread house at the Mark Hotel. See our festive decor map for more spots.

40th Annual Wreath Interpretations Exhibition

Central Park

See a variety of inventive and surprising handcrafted wreaths by nearly 40 artists, designers, and creative individuals of all ages who have used unexpected materials to reinvent the traditional holiday symbol.

This year’s wreaths use unusual materials, including caution tape, traffic light reflectors, safety pins, bath sponges, rulers, Mardi Gras beads, and sugar meringue, and explore a wide range of themes, such as family history, volunteerism, endangered animals, and chemistry.

Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm

Your Voices: A Kinetic Sculpture by Es Devlin

Upper West Side-Lincoln Center

A  kinetic sculpture by British contemporary artist Es Devlin celebrates the cultural connection in the most linguistically diverse place on the planet. 700 glowing cords expressing the 700 languages currently spoken in New York City, which are tensioned between a series of structural arcs, enveloping visitors within a revolving illuminated network as it rotates north, south, east and west through a multilingual soundscape which interweaves languages drawn from all over the city: from Algerian Arabic, Alsation, Azeri and Ashanti to Zapotec, Zarma and Zulu.

On select evenings at 6 pm, New York-based choral groups representing the vast range of unique voices and languages of this special city perform live from within the sculpture.

DOWNTOWN

Museum of Ice Cream Pinkmas

Soho

Explore a pink ice cream winter wonderland of holiday-themed spaces and installations across three floors (with a giant slide). Enjoy holiday treats, festive crafts and interactive experiences across Pinkmas tree forest. Build a take-home paper gingerbread house, take a pic inside a human-sized snow globe a sample all the flavors that celebrate the spirit of the season. Unlimited ice cream treats include pink peppermint soft serve topped with a maraschino cherry, hard scoops with candy cane sprinkles, and “milk” and cookies soft serve covered in chocolate chip cookie bites.

Lots of non-seasonal activities also available throughout he 13 rooms.  Play in a game room with mini golf and jungle gyms, jump or slide into a rainbow sprinkle pool and more. Look for prompts in each room for discussion and connection – and learn a lot about ice cream.

Visit a whimsical shop for exclusive holiday merchandise (plus more sweet treats including seasonal cocktails at the MOIC Cafe).

🎟 Prices vary by day and time.

 

Gov­er­nors Island Win­ter Vil­lage

Fidi

Enjoy sea­son­al activ­i­ties, fes­tive win­ter lights, games and food and drinks along­side warm­ing fire pits. Explore win­ter arts and cul­tur­al pro­gram­ming amid a sparkling dis­play of hol­i­day lights and a his­toric Coast Guard-era fire truck photo-op. Play lawn games like corn­hole, can jam and giant Jen­ga.

⛸ Spin on a 5,000-square foot outdoor skat­ing rink on his­toric Colonels Row. Online reservations recommended, lim­it­ed walk-up spots available. $11 admission, $8/skate rental; free admis­sion on Thurs­days (walk-up only). Lock­ers and skate aids avail­able on a first come, first served basis.

🛷 Rent bikes from Blaz­ing Sad­dles NYC (or sleds when it snows – see recommended hills),

🍽 Food available for purchase includes Lit­tle Eva’s new sea­son­al menu, with warm drinks and new takes on clas­sic com­fort food like brats, veg­an chili, fish and chips and more plus an eclec­tic array of week­end food trucks and Joe Cof­fee.)

⛴ Arrive via ferry  from the from Battery Maritime Building (10 South Street) or Brooklyn. ($4/ages 13+.  for adults, free for seniors & kids and everyone on Saturdays and Sundays before noon).

Thu-Fri 12 – 5:30pm
Sat–Sun 10 am – 5:30pm

 

Aurora by Ithaca Studios

Seaport

Opens Nov 22

Over 4,000 individually-controlled overhead lights create spectacular effects inspired by the natural wonder of the Aurora Borealis, including swirling colors and shooting stars, all synchronized to music. Take a spin under the lights on the free admission Ice Rink.

Each month the theme of Aurora will change with different lighting concepts and soundtracks.

The Santa Clauses’ Winter Wonderland

Seaport

Visit Santa Claus’ headquarters at the North Pole (on a scenic downtown pier), inspired by Disney’s The Santa Clauses. Step into Santa’s candy-cane-lined hallway, lined with  and follow it into a gingerbread house bar, stocked with seasonal treats and drinks. Settle into a cozy armchair in Santa’s living room, check out his toy workshop, find Santa’s famous sleigh and take a photo in a larger-than-life giant snow globe.

Hot cocoa included Premium Express Entry ($30) includes Express Admission, a personal pair of hand warmers + souvenir Santa hat.

🍽 Reserved seating inside a magical glasshouses plus souvenir Santa hats and s’mores starts at $75 for table for 2. Private waterfront igloos  start at $375 per igloo. Includes free Mrs Clause milk & cookies for ages 12 & under. Menu includes seasonal comfort food , cocktails/mocktails & a kids menu with chicken tenders, pasta & sliders.

❄️ Mostly an outdoor experience on a windy pier, dress warmly.

Mon-Fri 4 pm–11 pm
Sat–Sun 12 pm–11 pm

Luminaries

Fidi

Dance on giant stairs underneath a canopy of 650 ever changing rainbow hanging lantern in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. See cool choreographed light shows set to holiday songs at the top of every hour.

Illuminate your holiday wish by sending a motion-activated wish into the glowing lanterns above. For each wish made, Brookfield Place will donate $1 up to $25,000 to Outreach, which offers high quality, evidence-based behavioral health services for youth and adults in NYC and on Long Island struggling with substance and alcohol abuse.

Look for festive decor throughout the indoor gardens and feast on lots of food options including French market Le District. See our guide to Brookfield Place.

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment

Union Square

This ornate Victorian-era restaurant and pub gets festive with thousands of sparkling garlands, baubles, life-sized Nutcracker soldiers and multiple Christmas trees.

Entering the decor from a Victorian mansion in Northern Ireland feels like another century, but the eclectic menu is modern with everything from tuna tartare to cheeseburgers and kid-friendly brunch items (including gluten-free pancakes), plus a selection of gin, whiskey, scotch and beer for grown-ups.

Tuesday-Friday 4 pm – 2 am
Sat & Sun 11:30am – 2 am

Also by Times Square (249 West 49th St).

GingerBread Lane

Lower East Side

Marvel at the largest gingerbread village in the world, now at Essex Market. Lots of fun details to discover including cable cars and subway stations, all made from only edible ingredients: gingerbread, royal icing and candy.

Make your own gingerbread houses or trains during weekend GingerBread Lane Workshops ($15, reserve in advance).

Mon–Sat 8 am – 8 pm
Sunday 10 am – 6 pm

Public Hotel Disco Ball Tree

Lower East Side

See a tree made of disco balls that change colors for a fun rainbow effect in a hip hotel courtyard.

Oculus Holiday Market by Brik + Clik

Fidi

Find gifts for everyone in our adorable holiday market trailers which feature Gifts for Home, Gifts Under $25, Gift for Them, Gifts for Kids, Wellness Gifts, and Pantry Gifts, all curated by presenting partner, Brik + Clik.

The striking architecture gets festive with “cobblestoned” paths, light projections, shiny snowmen,  glistening garlands and cute photo-ops. Look for roaming carolers performing on the Oculus floor and the South Concourse balcony on select afternoons.

Head upstairs to Eataly for culinary gifts from Italy including fluffy panettone cakes and holiday desserts, Caffarel chocolates, salumi and formaggi, truffles, and more.

Don’t miss the stunning luminaries at nearby Brookfield Place, accessible by an underground tunnel on bad weather days.

ONEderland at One World Observatory

Fidi

The already stunning One World Observatory at the top of the Freedom Tower is transformed into a magical mountaintop-inspired experience with unforgettable views and cheer-filled moments.

Find one-of-a-kind holiday photo ops, cozy chalet lounges and a holiday marketplace set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the world’s most iconic skyline. Catch a lift to the ONEDERLAND Restaurant & Bar on the 101st floor with cozy, gingerbread décor, themed dining options and seasonal beverages.

 

Christmas Mountain

West Village

An interactive holiday story rolls out daily from Dec 1–21 in an “advent calendar” window display featuring animatronics, embedded videos, and original music on a handcrafted diorama.

WNYC host Brian Lehrer narrates the story that takes place in a snowy hamlet populated by mice at the base of Christmas Mountain, which is topped by an antenna that funnels signals from the “Christmas-sphere” into the town and onto the mice’s TVs. This year, the signal is on the fritz, and one grumpy mouse–the story’s hero–must descend to the center of the mountain to fix it so that the town can fulfill their beloved pastime of watching TV on the Winter Solstice. Features a visit to a magical costume shop, a ride with a benevolent bus full of nuns, and broadcasts from an alternate Crust-mas dimension.

Work from over 20 artists from different disciplines, backgrounds and aesthetics, convey the delightful, layered, incongruous, kitschy, profound and fraught aspects of this seemingly monolithic holiday.

BROOKLYN

Lightscape at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Prospect Park/Park Slope

Celebrate the beauty of nature in winter on an enchanting trail animated by over one million dazzling lights. Encounter monumental lighted sculptures, colorful effects on Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s trees, architecture, and water features, and site-specific music and sound. Discover dazzling international showstoppers like the Winter Cathedral tunnel, Fire Garden, and Sea of Light, as well as new site-specific light works by local artists.

🍽 Concessions selling hot drinks and light fare are available along the route (including roast-your-own s’mores). Most are cashless.

Near Brooklyn Museum and happening Prospect Park.

Nov 16 – Jan 8
Days vary, 5 pm – 9 pm

Art at Industry City

Sunset Park

Find sparkly disco-inspired holiday installations in the courtyards and buildings of this happening design hub.

Also take a photo in the arty elevators, go on a colorful hunt with a printable art map and see pretty decor (and tasty food) at Japan Village..

See our guides to eating, arcade games, ice skating and more in Industry City.

Dyker Heights Holiday Lights

Brooklyn

Blocks in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn (mostly 83rd thru 86th Streets between 11th through 13th avenues) go all in with insanely extravagant Christmas lights and decorations. Santa is there most nights. Expect crowds and traffic and try to go early in the evening and season. Avoid the car traffic but taking the R train (15 minute walk). Favorite houses inclyee 1152 84th Street and 1134 83rd Street. Get treats from hot-chocolate food trucks.