New York City comes alive during the holiday season.
Just a quick flight across the border, from strolling through Times Square with a hot chocolate, to catching a performance by the world-famous Rockettes, the festive spirit of the city can be felt anywhere.
NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, forecasts that seven million visitors will visit the city during the 2019–2020 holiday season. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center and the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, New York City offers unparalleled ways to celebrate the holidays with vibrant performances, tours, lightings and more taking place from November through January.
Following are festive events, performances and activities across the boroughs to celebrate the holiday season in New York City.
The top 10
- Dec. 4 | Midtown, Manhattan
The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center has been a tradition for more than eight decades. Lighting up Rockefeller Plaza, the tree lighting ceremony features performances and classic Christmas songs. The tree lights up on Dec. 4 and be on view through early to mid-January.
- Dec. 31–Jan. 1 | Times Square, Manhattan
Each year, millions of viewers watch the Times Square Ball Drop from New York City and around the globe. The Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball sparkles in Times Square for visitors to see all season, but its descent is a specular, once-in-a-lifetime way to ring in the New Year.
- November 23-January 5 | Randall’s Island Park, Manhattan
Sixteen acres of lights will illuminate themed worlds during this inaugural festival, creating an immersive journey for visitors that includes a castle, skating unicorn and enchanted forest.
4) Holiday markets
New York City is full of incredible holiday markets, with must-buy gifts, sweets, drinks and winter activities. This year, the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park opened earlier than ever on October 31. Other popular markets include the Union Square Holiday Market, Columbus Circle Holiday Market, Brooklyn Flea and Astoria Market.
- November 23–January 26 | Fordham, the Bronx
Conveniently accessible via the Metro-North Railroad from Grand Central Terminal, head to the New York Botanical Garden to be enchanted by model trains zipping through a display of more than 175 NYC landmarks, each re-created with natural materials.
- November 23–January 12 | Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Gingerbread Lane at the New York Hall of Science invites visitors to witness the vast collection of gingerbread structures embellished with candy canes, chocolate and frosting.
- November 25–January 12 | Upper West Side, Manhattan
This beloved tradition includes a 13-foot tree and 1,000 origami models. The signature Origami Holiday Tree, themed “Oceans of Origami” this season, has been a part of the celebrations for more than 40 years.
- November 8–January 5 | Midtown, Manhattan
The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes returns to Radio City Music Hall, dazzling audiences of all ages with incredible costumes, festive songs and synchronized high kicks.
9) A performance of The Nutcracker
- George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center Plaza brings the classic Christmas Eve tale to life with breathtaking music and choreography November 29–January 5.
10) A performance of A Christmas Carol
- The Players Theatre will bring Charles Dickens’ timeless tale to life in their 11th annual A Christmas Carol the Musical Dec. 1–20 in Greenwich Village.
For more fun things to do in New York City over the holidays, visit www.nycgo.com.
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