Find only-in-NYC holiday cheer with this curated guide to festive spots, both iconic and under-the radar.

Also see our complete NYC holiday guide and decor map (plus our insta for more faves).


rock center tree

🎄 Try to get to the famous tree at Rockefeller Center early, before the crowds (there's a great view from the second floor of FAO Schwarz) and browse or buy at interactive shops.

🎄 Check out oversized decor on Sixth Ave and maybe see the Christmas Spectacular.

🎄 Stop by the Paley Center for holiday screenings & Santa, MoMA for art, stylish bathrooms and a great gift shop (no ticket needed for the first floor) on your way to the dazzling windows and giant toys on Fifth Ave and a Saks Light Show after 5 pm.

🎄 Festive hotels open to all include the stunning tree at the Lotte New York Palace and free candy in a cute Sweet Shoppe at the gorgeous Peninsula. The Plaza lobby is open to guests only, so book an Eloise Tea if you're feeling fancy, or get the same vibe for free with a designer Santa and animatronic polar bears at Bergdorf's. Stop by the Papillon Bistro & Bar for extravagant decor and French bites

🎄 As you approach Central Park, look for giant ornaments around the Pulitzer Fountain and a 32-foot tall menorah.


Bloomberg Tower Tree

🎄Head into the park for scenic ice skating and an exhibit of inventive wreaths.

🎄Head east to another free, less-crowded Santa at Bloomingdales (+ Lego windows and a free claw machine). Look for a stunning tree in a rainbow courtyard and a striking blue nutcracker. The Louis Vuitton exhibit is not technically holiday, but the 200 creative trunks are must-sees and only on view though Dec 31.

🎄 Check our festive windows on Madison on your way to more decorated brownstones, a crystal gingerbread house and a Christmas village in a parking garage. Get adorable holiday treats and hot cocoa at pink Eat Pretty UES. Take an indoor break at the Met and find interesting animals and characters at the Neapolitan Christmas tree & creche (plus another great gift shop).


🎄 Find fun food and shopping at Bryant Park's Winter Village, plus free ice skating, a towering tree and outdoor Santa visits.

🎄 Shop indoors at the Grand Central Fair.

🎄 Choose from an array of holiday shows including hour-long My First Nutcracker and Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas for even very young audience members, or the limited-run Ciscus Abyssinia: Tulu at the family-focused New Victory. Broadway shows are always fun, though harder to find deals for during tourist season - maybe stop by the box office for no-fees on an excellent stocking stuffer (see our detailed guide to kid-friendly shows).

🎄 Contribute to the confetti that will accompany Times Square ball drop at the NYE Wishing Wall and  see a preview of  7-foot tall 2023.


shops at colombus circle holiday lights

✨ Shop and eat indoors under a rainbow light show or outdoors at a European-style market.

✨ Catch snow shows with Santa at festively decorated Nordstroms at 2 pm & 6 pm daily. On Wednesday, see Santa at an Italian marketplace (with free cookies and hot cocoa).

✨ Get some holiday culture a few blocks north at Lincoln Center - choose from the fanciest Nutcracker, kid-friendly opera and/or the local circus. Make your own holiday music at interactive public art across the street at Dante Park, then pick up a holiday treat at Rosetta Bakery, Epicerie Boulud or Breads Bakery (or all three - it's the holidays).


Light on the Cobbles

☃️ Look for larger-than-life light-up snowmen and other whimsical light displays in Meatpacking's Lights on the Cobbles.

☃️ Ride bumper cars on ice & dine on seasonal fare at 80s-themed Bump! at the Standard High Line.

☃️ Visit sparkly Chelsea Market for good eats, gifts and the immersive, multimedia Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse.

✨ Tour two winter-themed, free infinity rooms - Winter Lights (with cars) on the High Line and the Wells Fargo Winterscape among the millions of lights at Hudson Yards.


Public Hotel Disco Ball Tree

🍬 Admire a detailed gingerbread village and shop for/eat delicious food at Essex Market.

🍬 Find unique sweet stocking stuffers at legendary Economy Candy.

🍬 Pose by a rainbow disco tree.

🍬 Try a variety of hot chocolate at The Wonderbon Chocolate Co. Pop-Up.

🍬 Shop in Soho and jump into a ball pit in a shoe store.

🍬  Take a ski lift through a confetti snow storm in Color Factory: Winter Colorland or pose inside a human-sized snow globe at Museum of Ice Crem Pinkmas, both with lots of holiday treats.



✨ Ice skate under rainbow lights at festive Seaport with a large, maritime-themed tree. Eat & shop at Jean George's Tin Building or dine like the Golden Girls.

✨ Find more rainbow lights and another waterfront ice rink at Brookfield Place, now hosting Selfies with Santa. Take a weatherproof tunnel to a holiday market among festive decor, light projects and shiny snowmen in the striking Oculus.

✨  Go through the glowing trees in Zuccotti Park to the 78-foot New York Stock Exchange tree, lit up red and green along with the iconic columns.

✨ Take the ferry sea­son­al activ­i­ties, fes­tive win­ter lights, fire pits and a 5,000-square foot outdoor skat­ing rink at Gov­er­nors Island Win­ter Vil­lage.


art at industry city

🪩 Happening Industry City is festively decorated with disco decor throughout the indoor and outdoor campus.

🪩 Ice skate on a small rink in a pretty courtyard.

🪩 Play Ping Pong, Skeeball, air hockey and arcade style games in a colorful retro-style game room.

🪩 Enjoy candy coated hot chocolate, hot toddies, cider and other festive treat rinkside at The Frying Pan’s Wheel House Bar.

🪩 Sample an array of food in Industry City’s Food Hall and Japan Village.

🪩 Find gifts from Brooklyn-born boutiques including chocolate from Li-Lac, books at Powerhouse and anime-related products at BookOff in Japan Village.


See our complete breakdown  by neighborhood and category for more holiday fun, plus outings outside NYC. Happy holidays!