Christmas is always a fun time in major cities, with many offering a range of unique Yuletide celebrations and events to get you into the holiday spirit.

If you're looking for a fun Christmas experience, a holiday to New York City is one of the best in the world. The city boasts numerous once-in-a-lifetime Christmas events, markets and concerts, so you can create unforgettable memories with the whole family.

Here are the best things to do in the holiday season in New York City:


The Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular

If you're travelling to New York at Christmas time, the Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a must-see. The annual musical stage show is presented by the acclaimed Radio City Music Hall and features 90 minutes of 140 performers dancing and singing along to an original music score. This holiday event dates back to 1932 and is one of the city's most beloved events.

The Nutcracker

Tchiakovsky's The Nutcracker is a holiday favourite for all ages, complete with dancing sugarplum fairies, enchanting toys and the evil Mouse King. In New York, The Nutcracker is performed by the New York City Ballet at the Lincoln Center, which is one of the best ways to experience this classic holiday-themed ballet.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Center entertainment complex is a must-see attraction in New York to begin with, but during the holiday season, it becomes a place of Christmas enchantment. People travel from all over the world to see the lighting of the giant Christmas tree in early December, and millions of people watch the display during a live broadcast. The street stays lit throughout the month and is a truly spectacular sight to behold.


Holiday window displays

New York's Fifth Avenue is one of its premier shopping areas for high-end brands and luxurious boutiques. During the holiday season, each of the storefront window displays are decorated in all manner of Christmas decorations and artistic displays. You could spend hours strolling down the street and enjoying the vivid displays of colours and textures celebrating the holiday season. If you're bringing the kids, some of the displays are interactive and encourage the children to press buttons or pull levers to engage with the display.

Saks Fifth Avenue light show

Like the rest of Fifth Avenue, Saks Fifth Avenue puts up incredible window displays during the Christmas season. The luxury retailer takes it a step further, however, with a dramatic lightshow set in time to melodious Christmas music that starts when the sun goes down.

Central Park

Central Park is a gorgeous park space that features many attractions of its own, such as the Central Park Conservancy, the Central Park Carousel, the Central Park Zoo and an array of beautiful landscape displays. During the holiday season, you can enjoy themed activities like ice skating in the centre of the park or a romantic carriage ride through the snow. Central Park has also been featured in many films and television shows, which you can learn about on a Holiday Lights and Movie Tour of NYC.

The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show

One of the most beloved holiday traditions in New York City is the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show. This event features miniature recreations of New York landmarks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center, with model trains zipping through enchanting, decorative displays. The immersive indoor winter wonderland also features crafts, carollers and seasonal treats for visitors.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a stunning art deco skyscraper in the city and one of the most famous landmarks in the world. No matter the time of year, visitors climb to the top of its 102 storeys for spectacular views of the cityscape and waterways. Around Christmas, the Empire State Building is lit with festive lights of red and green, and you can climb to the top to take in the sights of popular landmarks lit for the holiday season.


Christmas markets

Throughout the city, you'll find vibrant Christmas markets that offer all manner of unique gifts, refreshments and performances. Some of the most popular are the Columbus Circle Holiday Market near Central Park and the Winter Village at Bryant Park, which have plenty of unique Christmas-themed events.

Christmas shopping

In addition to the Christmas markets, some of New York's best shopping areas are perfect for unique gifts and last-minute shopping. The upscale area's boutiques have sales and competitive deals on high-end brands, and you can peruse vintage and antique shops for beautiful, one-of-a-kind finds.

If you're planning a trip to New York City during the Christmas season, be sure to visit some of the city's most exciting holiday-themed events and attractions to take in the spirit of the season. You can find an array of options for New York holidays to make the most of your experience in the Big Apple with Expedia!