The 34 Best Things To Do in New York in December 2022

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What to do in New York in December? We’ve got you covered!

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NYC in December is amazing as preparations for the Holiday season begins. With countless things to do, concerts to attend, and events happening throughout the city, one thing is for sure – your trip won’t be boring!

Below we have summarized all of our favorite things to do in New York in December.

My 34 Absolute Best Things to Do in New York In December

It’s the holiday season and NYC in December is a romantic and beautiful time. Snow can potentially blanket the city and gives off this holiday cheer and spirit. The winter markets are open, the ice rinks invite you to skate and the Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center shines in all its glory. Christmas in New York is ahead of you which is why the city is decorated with Christmas decorations and beautiful Christmas lights.

  1. 01

    Visit the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Plaza

    Other Attraction in Midtown Manhattan

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    New York in December lights up the famous Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Plaza in light, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience this magical tree. The tree is decorated with 50 LED bulbs and countless Swarovski crystals. This place will definitely get you into the holiday spirit and you can also ice skate here as well. The tree will be up all month. (Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza)

  2. 02

    Visit the Winter and Holiday Markets in NYC (free)

    Christmas Market in Gramercy

    Best Christmas Markets NYC

    Make sure to take note of these locations for Winter and Holiday Markets in New York that you can check out while you’re in New York in December. There’s a lot to choose from – my favorite spots are the one in Union Square and the Bryant Park Winter Village Christmas Market.

    Recommended: The 12 Best Holiday Markets in NYC

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  4. 03

    Enjoy the Holiday Window Decorations in NYC

    Other Shopping in Midtown Manhattan

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    Between Rockefeller Center and Central Park you will find the long-established American luxury department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue. Here the well-stocked purse will find high-priced clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories and cosmetics for women, men and children as well as delicatessen, gifts, home textiles and upscale furnishings.

    Recommended: The Best Holiday Window Decorations in NYC

  5. 04

    Classic Harbor Line: Manhattan Holiday Yacht Cruise with Jazz, Cocoa & Carols

    Cruise in Chelsea

    Our Highlight

    Best Christmas Dinner Cruises NYC

    Why not spending time on a Christmas Holiday Cruise during Christmas in New York? Both locals and NYC visitors love the amazing Christmas Cruises New York City has to offer.

    My favorite holiday cruise is the New York City Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise. The Jazz Band on board is fun and so talented which makes the New York City Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise even more entertaining. Relax in the heated main observation cabin, join in the caroling, and admire the city through the glassed-in observatory on the 1920s style yacht.

    My tip: these are the 11 best Holiday cruises in NYC this year!

  6. 05

    Radio City Christmas Spectacular

    Broadway Show in Midtown Manhattan

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    For many New Yorkers, watching the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a goal. Over 140 sensational dancers perform in the popular Christmas Spectacular. Sparkling costumes, unique set design and a lot of Christmas songs thrill the audience every year. The stars of the show are the female dance group “The Rockettes” and perform next to Santa Claus and his elves.

    From November to early January, you can watch the dance performance and Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. There are up to three performances per day, so there should be a time slot for you.

  7. 06

    Ice Skating in New York City

    Christmas Market in Midtown Manhattan

    Our Highlight

    Winter_Bryant_Park_New_York_191102210844006

    Ice skating in this urban mecca is one of the best things to do in NYC in December. The rinks are fully functional and have been open since October. Bank of America’s Winter Village at Bryant Park (behind the Public Library), the famed Rink at Rockefeller Center and the Woolman in Central Park are just three of New York City’s finest ice rinks.

    Recommended: The Best Ice Rinks in NYC

  8. 07

    Check out the famous Christmas lights in Dyker Heights (Brooklyn)

    Bus Tour in Dyker Heights

    Our Highlight

    One of the Best Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tours : The 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour

    This tour through the Christmas Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn is one of the most popular and most booked tours at Christmas time in New York. In front of the Row NYC Hotel (45th Street and 8th Avenue) you will be picked up by a bus and drive over one of New York’s bridges to Brooklyn – you will have a wonderful view of the New York skyline. Once in Dyker Heights, you will be guided by a guide through the main streets with the most beautiful Christmas lights. The next stop is the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO (about 25 minutes) – the tour ends at Bryant Park Winter Village with the famous ice skating rink. The Dyker Heights tour is guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit!

  9. 08

    Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards

    Other Events in Hudson Yards

    Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards

    Starting at the end of November, you can enjoy a spectacular light show at Hudson Yards titled “Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards”. It’s one of the newest Christmas light displays in New York City. Shine Bright is an indoor-outdoor light and music installation featuring more than 2 million white lights illuminating The Shops, Public Square & Gardens, The Edge and Vessel. Every day at 5 pm, “the moments” invite spectators to get dazzled by a visual spectacle that is synchronized to festive music.

    • The exact dates for 2022 haven’t been announced, yet.
  10. 09

    Broadway Under The Stars

    Broadway Show in Hell’s Kitchen

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    December is for the holidays and how could you celebrate the most wonderful time of the year better than attending one of the Broadway Under the Stars shows at the Shops at Columbus Circle.

    Broadway Under The Stars is a five-week series of FREE indoor Broadway performances. 2021 will mark the 7th year of Broadway and the Shops at Columbus Circle teaming up to host Broadway Under The Stars. The performances will take place on the second floor of the Time Warner Center.

  11. 10

    New York Christmas Markets and Lights Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Hell’s Kitchen

    New York Christmas Markets and Lights Walking Tour

    You will get to know four different Christmas markets on this walking tour. In a small group, you’ll learn all kinds of interesting facts about the buildings and attractions from a guide and walk past many of the decorated shop windows. The starting point is the information desk under the Holiday Under the Stars display in the stores at Columbus Circle.

  12. 11

    Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden

    Other Events in Bronx

    NYC_Holiday_Train_Show

    If you like to build railroad and train models, this show is for you. The Holiday Train show is definitely worth its money and will be held at the enchanting New York Botanical Garden. The exhibit will showcase 175 New York landmarks. All works of art are built on an 0,5 mile long track and the railways pass the skyscrapers of Midtown. We have already visited two special exhibitions in the NYBG and are always enjoyable. Therefore, we highly recommend this unique exhibition!

  13. 12

    See a Broadway Show

    Broadway Show in Theatre District

    musicals_header_hamilton

    Especially in the off-season you can often get great bargains for one of the Broadway shows in New York. We have already seen many of the really worthwhile musicals and can only recommend the experience. Every dollar is well invested – it is guaranteed to be an unforgettable evening!

    So check out our Complete Guide to Broadway Shows in NYC

  14. 13

    Macy’s Santaland

    Other Events in Midtown Manhattan

    211126133704001_Macy_Christmas_NYC

    During December in New York, Santa Claus is in town. Make sure to set up a date with Santa to tell him your Christmas wishes. Santa is welcoming his guests at Macy’s at Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan. Make a reservation online to avoid long waiting times.

    My tip: Want to experience more of Santa Claus? Then also check out the SantaCon event and Santa Claus at Hudson Yards!

  15. 14

    High Line Winter Tour (free)

    Walking Tour in Hudson Yards

    Best_Walking_Tour_NYC_Secrets_of_the_High_Line_Chelsea-1

    The High Line Park takes you along the old tracks of the elevated railway to the Meatpacking District. Thanks to the initiative “Friends of the High Line” the park exists at all, because originally the construction was supposed to be torn down. And the best thing? They offer free tours!

    • When? Saturdays at 12pm
    • Where? At the Gansevoort Street entrance
  16. 15

    SantaCon (December 10, 2022)

    Other Events in Theatre District

    Santa Con in New York

    This event hosts thousands of people dressed as iconic Christmas characters such as reindeer, gingerbread cookies, and of course, Kris Kringle himself. This boozy crawl features some of New York City’s best bars. But beware because some bars ban folks who are dressed up, so stick with the organizer’s map to have a jolly good time. 

    SantaCon is undoubtedly one of the most popular (and loathed) Christmas celebrations in NYC. As a bar crawl, it can be lots of fun, but make sure you don’t turn into a bad Santa! The creators want the event to be a fun and safe environment for those involved. However, it is limited to elves 21 years of age and older.  

  17. 16

    FAO Schwarz in New York

    Other Shopping in Midtown Manhattan

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    FAO Schwarz is unlike any other toy store and a great destination in NYC this holiday season. Take your kids or just feel like a kid again when you enter the amazing collection of unique toys and life-sized stuffed animals.

    FAO Schwarz is the oldest toy store in the United States and with its location right in front of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, it’s something you don’t want to miss this holiday season in New York. Don’t miss the famous clock on the stairs. Also, you can play “The Big Piano” on the floor (known from the movie “Big”).

  18. 17

    DUMBO Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony (December 1, 2022)

    Other Attraction in Dumbo

    DUMBO Brooklyn

    What the Rockefeller Tree Lighting Ceremony is to Manhattan, the DUMBO Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony is to Brooklyn. For the 16th time, Brooklyn’s most famous Christmas tree will be ceremoniously lit on December 1, 2022. 

  19. 18

    Go Christmas Shopping at Artists & Flea …

    Food Market in Meatpacking District

    Our Highlight

    Shopping in the Meatpacking District NYC

    I love Chelsea Market – it’s a food market and shopping paradise in one. It’s beautifully decorated for Christmas and if you’re looking for something really special, you have to go to the Artists & Flea Market. Here you can buy unique Christmas items from New York artists.

  20. 19

    … or Brooklyn Flea Holiday Market (November 26 – December 24, 2022).

    Shop in Dumbo

    Shopping

    The Brooklyn Flea Holiday Market takes place from Thanksgiving to Christmas under the DUMBO Archway and is perfect for anyone who loves flea markets. It’s one of the most famous in the city and always worth a visit (even I, who doesn’t go to flea markets that often, say that). 

  21. 20

    Numeral Arrival at Times Square

    Other Events in Theatre District

    2020_Numeral_Arrival_Times_Square

    Everyone knows the famous illuminated year on the top of Times Square. But few know that you can take photos of it while standing in front of it! Every December at the “Numeral Arrival”, it is placed in Times Square for a few days before it is lifted up to the famous ball that drops on New Year’s Eve. This is a great opportunity for photos!

    • When? from Dezember 21st
  22. 21

    The NBA is Well Underway

    Sports Tickets in Midtown Manhattan

    Our Highlight

    New_York_Knicks_25_1600x800

    Basketball fans, this month is for you. The NBA is in its second month. Check out either the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets at either the Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center, respectively.

  23. 22

    New Year’s Eve in Times Square

    Other Events in Theatre District

    Ball_Drop_am_Times_Square_190916091954001

    People from all over the world fly to NYC in December, especially during New Year’s Eve. They come here to experience the popular ball drop live while standing in the frigid December temperatures in the middle of Times Square. Live performances by famous artists are part of the outstanding program in Times Square every year. It’s pretty much a big party.

    In order to get a decent spot a view, we recommend arriving no later than 3 PM. Many roads around the event are closed off and condensed foot traffic on the streets is inevitable. Definitely, plan on walking for a good amount of time. Being part of this tradition will be very special.

    Photo: Countdown Entertainment, LLC

  24. 23

    Classic Harbor Line: Holiday Jazz Cruise Aboard Classic Motor Yacht

    Cruise in Chelsea

    Our Highlight

    Holiday Jazz Cruise Aboard Classic Motor Yacht

    This Holiday Jazz Cruise aboard a 1920’s style luxury yacht is one of my absolute favorite tours in New York. The ship has a wonderful charm and cannot be compared to the big sightseeing ships. Holiday Jazz Cruise starts at the Chelsea Piers and takes you along the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty and the harbor of New York. On the way you can enjoy a wonderful view of the New York skyline and smooth jazz at the same time.

  25. 24

    Visit one of New York’s Amazing Art Exhibitions at MoMa PS1

    Museum in Long Island City

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    Check out the local art scene in the MoMa Ps1 art exhibit, featuring work from 47 local, contemporary artists. This exhibit explores art-making in New York history, the resilience of artists, and the feelings connected with art. You’ll see a huge emphasis on foreign-born artists, their work full of Egyptian, Iranian, Tunisian, Nigerian, Mexican, Argentinian, and Indian influences. There is also an abundance of Native American artists to enjoy.

    My tip: Here you find the Best Art Exhibitions in New York City.

  26. 25

    The Nutcracker

    Other Events in Upper East Side

    The Nutcracker is one of the world’s most famous ballets and enjoys great popularity among visitors and locals. A true holiday tradition!

  27. 26

    Take photos of the beautiful Christmas Tree at Wall Street

    Other Attraction in Financial District

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    PANEKE The Stock Exchange Building in Wall Street at Christmas time, Manhattan, New York City, USA, December 30, 2017 Photo © Fabio Mazzarella/Sintesi/Ala

    The Christmas tree on Wall Street looks back on a long tradition: this year it can be seen for the 99th time. Not only is the tree itself festively decorated – the building of the New York Stock Exchange also looks beautiful, as it is illuminated from the outside in Christmas colors.

    Photo: Foto: AGENZIA SINTESI / Alamy Stock Foto

  28. 27

    Enjoy NYE in NYC on a boat

    Cruise in Chelsea

    Our Highlight

    Champagne_city_lights_cruise_200202225549014_2048x1024

    This New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise in NYC offers a limited amount of tickets making sure that the experience is exclusive for those who want to celebrate in style and comfort. Throughout the evening, enjoy a large selection of hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, live Jazz music and stunning views of the New York City skyline. The cruise departs from Pier 62.

    My tip: These are the Best NYE Cruises in NYC

  29. 28

    Lighting the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorahs

    Other Events in Prospect Heights

    In Manhattan and Brooklyn, there is a small competition for the world’s largest Hanukkah Menorah. On December 22nd, the Jewish “Festival of Lights” begins and this starts with the lighting of the largest Menorah in the world. The gold, 400-pound, 32-foot steel structure can be admired both in front of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and at the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.

    The lighting of the Menorah is one of the great events in NYC in December. Music is played and food is offered as well. In Manhattan, the event begins at 5:30 pm, on Fridays at 3:30 pm and Saturdays at 8:00 pm. In Brooklyn, the lights will be on at 6:00 pm, on Friday at 3:30 pm and on Saturday at 7:00 pm.

  30. 29

    Plunge Rooftop Bar & Lounge

    Rooftop Bar in Meatpacking District

    Plunge_Rooftop_Bar_New_York

    As you probably already know, one of the best things in New York for me all year round are the rooftops of NYC! Even in winter the season is not over yet, because with radiant heaters, free blankets and warm rooftop lounges you can make yourself comfortable there even in icy temperatures. The great view will warm your heart.

    At 230 Fifth near the Flatiron building, you can even sit in a heated igloo while enjoying a breathtaking view of the skyline – how cool is that!

    For more tips, check out our article on the best fall & winter rooftop bars in New York.

  31. 30

    Warm up in one of New York’s museums

    Museum in Upper West Side

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    There will be days when it will be really cold and you don’t really want to be outside. Such days can be wonderfully spent in one of the many museums.

    One of our favorite museums is the Museum of National History. Even those who don’t like museums can easily spend a whole day here.

  32. 31

    Santa Claus at Hudson Yards (December 5, 2022 – December 16, 2022)

    Other Events in Hudson Yards

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    Santa Claus at Hudson Yards (5. Dezember 2022 – 16. Dezember 2022)

  33. 32

    Check Out Some NFL Matchups

    Sports Tickets in Outside of New York City

    NY Giants Game

    Arguably the most popular sport in the US is about three months into their season. That means the New York Giants and the New York Jets are in action! Which team will you root for?

  34. 33

    Santa Con (December 11)

    Other Events in Theatre District

    Santa Con in New York

    Don’t miss out on that one Saturday in December when half of the city dresses up as Santa Claus and other Christmas Characters to hop from bar to bar in Manhattan. You will be surprised how many New Yorkers show up looking like the big guy from the Northpole. Santa Con is free to attend, however, to get into all the big venues you must make a charitable contribution of $13.

    • When? December 11
  35. 34

    Visit GingerBread Lane – The World’s Largest Gingerbread Village!

    Other Attraction in Lower East Side

    GingerBread Lane NYC

    Imagine the aroma and whimsical fun of walking through the world’s largest gingerbread village. What if we told you that one actually exists in New York City? If you’re planning on spending Christmas in NYC, then be sure to head over to the Lower East Side’s Essex Market and check out the amazing and delicious creation brought to you by “The Gingerbread Man” Jon Lovitch. 

  36. 35

    Holiday Nostalgia Rides on Sundays

    Museum in Dumbo

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    Every Sunday in December, the New York Transit Museum brings back vintage trains in New York City. For just one MetroCard swipe, you can be on it and ride back to the past. Check the holiday nostalgia train ride schedule so you know when and where to start your journey.

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