There are many things that New York City can do well, and one of them is Christmas. With December just around the corner, the city is already starting to look and feel like a holiday wonderland: Christmas trees, lights, decorations, window displays, themed shows… New York knows how to make even the toughest non-believers feel all warm and christmassy inside!
If you are not feeling festive yet, this list of 6 things to do in NYC this December (although there are many more!) is sure to put you in the mood! These suggestions are ideal for first-time visitors wishing to see and feel all the magic ‘like in the movies’. But if you have been to New York many times, this may be a list of places to avoid instead, as these are very touristy and therefore very crowded!
1. Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
This Brooklyn neighborhood is home to the most extravagant Christmas light decorations you have ever seen: life-sized Santas, sleighs, snowmen, reindeers… you might even hear Christmas carols played on loudspeakers. It is completely over the top but the result is breathtaking, and the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights display has become a must-see attraction for all ages during the holiday season.
2. Winter Village at Bryant Park
Bryant Park is known as Manhattan’s town square and every year its Winter Village becomes Manhattan’s winter wonderland. There you can enjoy New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink, holiday shops in the open-air Christmas market, as well as eats and drinks at the rinkside food hall.
3. Holiday window displays
New York is famous for its lavish holiday window displays. Every year, stores like Barneys, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and many more join in to show off their holiday spirit and latest merchandise. You can just wander around the streets and avenues and enjoy the Christmas cheer.
4. Radio City Christmas Spectacular
The annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular show is emblematic of winter in New York City and an American tradition since 1933. The Rockettes – an American precision dance company – dazzle with perfectly synchronized steps and high energy kicks in perfect unison and eye-catching costumes. The show is magic and leaves spectators of all ages in awe of the Rockettes’ discipline.
5. Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree
It’s impossible not to include the biggest Christmas tree you have ever seen in this list. Sure, it is a little bit cliché, and Rockefeller Plaza gets so crowded you might not stay there very long, but it is still a must-see for all first-time visitors in the city at Christmas.
6. Saks 5th Avenue Christmas Light Show
Just across the road from Rockefeller Plaza, the famous American department store chain puts on an extravagant light display on its facade every year. Again, you may have to work your elbows to get a good spot to see, but the show is repeated every 10 minutes from the moment it gets dark until 11.30pm so you can always watch it twice, or more!
Did this inspire you to book a trip to New York for next Christmas? It is a wonderful time to visit the city, and with our English Outdoors program, you will be out and about making the most of it, and improving your English at the same time!
Happy Holiday season to all and see you soon in New York!