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22 Fun Things to do in NYC for Christmas

a group of people walking on a city street

New York City is already one of the most wonderful places on Earth, but once you toss in the spirit of Christmas, it becomes a truly magical place to be. If you’ll be in the city near the holidays, you might notice that it becomes a bit quieter as tons of local residents head out of town to spend the holidays with their families. This makes it an even better time to participate in the many places to visit in New York City. Let’s dig in!

New York Places to Visit During Winter

NYC is a fantastic place to visit, but it can also be bitterly cold in the winter. When this happens, head inside to check out the city’s best indoor things to do in NYC.

1. Broadway Show

Have you ever asked the question “What is there to do in New York City on a cold day?” If you want to avoid the cold altogether for a couple of hours, go to Broadway and pick a show to watch! Keep in mind that many of the best shows can sell out far in advance, so either plan for an indoor day or go take your chances. Fortunately, there are several ways to get last-minute, day-of tickets. One of the best options is to go line up at TKTS Booth, which will have discounted tickets to many of Broadway’s shows.

2. Visit a Museum

If you’re a museumgoer, you probably already know about all the great art that’s just waiting to be discovered by you. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the gold standard of museums, but you can also enjoy many pieces from Jackson Pollock if you choose The Guggenheim Museum instead. Alternatively, go to one of NYC’s unique museums such as the Museum of Sex or the Museum of Ice Cream. Either way, museums provide one of the most mentally stimulating New York winter activities.    

3. Visit Times Square

If you want to visit one of the hottest NYC tourist attractions, be sure to take a trip to Times Square. There is so much to see and do in this bustling area that you might even forget that you’re visiting New York City at Christmas. Even if you’re not into shopping, the bright lights and tons of people make it a great spot to people watch. This makes Times Square one of the best “what to do in NYC when it’s cold” spots.  

4. Sea the City – Toast Each Other on a Hot Tub Boat Tour

Hot Tub Boat tour in NYC

For an unforgettable experience, consider taking a tour of the city on a hot tub boat! This is one of the newest and most unique things to do in NYC for Christmas. The boats are covered, so you’ll stay warm even while touring the city! You can BYOB or cocktail mixers, and each boat offers a Bluetooth speaker to play your favorite music. So, get out there on the water and make some amazing memories!


Things to do in NYC for Christmas

Certain activities simply call to us when it’s Christmas, and there is no better place to do them than New York in the wintertime.

5. Visit the World’s Largest Menorah

New York has tons of Hannukah celebrations, and there are menorah lighting ceremonies that take place in December all over the world! For over 40 years, people have traveled every year to take a look at the menorah near Central Park outside the Plaza Hotel. The event is one of the most beloved winter activities in NYC, and the structure stands over thirty-six feet tall. That fact makes it the world’s largest menorah! Plus, lighting ceremonies take place each night throughout Chanukah.

6. Rockefeller Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

If you want to catch the world’s most beautiful Christmas tree being lit, you’re a bit late (it happened on November 30). The good news is that the tree at Rockefeller Center is relit every morning at 6 a.m. and remains lit until midnight. Most people believe that this stop will only take

them a couple of minutes, but definitely allow yourself more time. This is truly a ‘you have to see it to believe it’ experience.

7. See NYC Landmarks on a Hot Tub Boat Tour

girls on hot tub boat in front of statue of liberty

Would you like to spend your time in the city doing something unique? Sign up for Sea the City’s hot tub boat tour! Get ready to enjoy the most luxurious 90-minute tour that

NYC has to offer. The water tour will allow you to spend your Christmas in Manhattan as you ride up the Hudson River. You’ll get to see the Statue of Liberty and the breathtaking Manhattan skyline. Take a semi-private or private boat tour and soak in the hot tub as you look out at the New York City winter.


8. Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center

Have you ever asked yourself “Is New York City worth visiting at Christmas?” The answer is a resounding yes, and it’s partially due to the New York Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. Be sure to get your tickets as soon as you can because they won’t last!

See the Bright Lights of New York City at Christmas

Do you enjoy getting lost in various neighborhoods as you look at the twinkling lights? Check out these holiday things to do in NYC!

9. Take a Bus Tour to Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights

Want to take in some of the most lavish Christmas decorations in the entire city? Then you absolutely must take a trip to Dyker Heights as one of your winter activities NYC. Being in Brooklyn, it’s a bit out of the way, but it’s totally worth it!

10. Walking Tour of Hell’s Kitchen

After you conquer Brooklyn, head to Hell’s Kitchen to take in a dazzling array of different lights. Established landmarks and private homes will be all dressed up in their very best green and red, so get out there and enjoy it!

Winter Activities in NYC

How about a few winter things to do in NYC? These don’t have anything to do with Christmas itself, but we know you’re going to love them!

11. New York City Dining

This isn’t usually one of the holiday things to do in NYC, but everyone needs to eat! Fortunately, you’re in one of the best places possible to eat one great meal after another. Whether you want to eat on the go or dine in at one of the most expensive places in the city, New York City has definitely got you covered. Check out this list of the 50 best restaurants to visit in between Christmas events in NYC.

12. Make Memories on a Hot Tub Boat Tour

girls night on hot tub boat tour NYC

We’re going to slip in the hot tub boat tour here again since it’s such a fun winter activity. Your family, friends, or a special someone will have an amazing time with you exploring what the Big Apple has to offer from the glistening waters and a luxurious hot tub! Sip some hot chocolate while you dream of sugarplums and watch the city come alive as night falls. Enjoy a romantic evening or simply take in the sights with friends.


13. Ice Skating

There are multiple places you can go ice skating, but the Rink at Rockefeller Center is one of NY’s longest-standing traditions. Since 1936, New Yorkers have left their worries behind for a bit to partake in one of NYC’s Christmas activities. If you don’t want to head to Rockefeller Center, there is a fantastic – but seriously crowded – rink in Central Park known as Wollman Rink.

14. Carriage Ride in Central Park

As long as it’s 19 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, Central Park Carriage Rides are offered. This is one of the very best holiday things to do in NYC, but it can also be done for most of the year. Riding a carriage through a snowy Central Park is definitely romantic, though, which makes this a must-do event for Christmastime.

New York Wintertime Tourist Attractions

Now that you’ve seen some of the best holiday things to do in NYC, let’s take a closer look at a few more, shall we? Each of these Christmas in NYC events comes before the actual holiday.

15. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

You may have already missed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2022, but you can – and probably should – start planning to catch it in person next year or the year after. This absolutely remarkable event takes place every year on Thanksgiving. The thing that the parade is best known for is its gigantic balloons. In fact, each balloon requires up to 100 handlers! Although the parade starts at 9 a.m. each year, we suggest arriving no later than 6 a.m. This is the best way to jump-start New York in wintertime!

16. Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The very first of these spectacular shows took place in 1933. Since then, the Rockettes have kicked off the end of the year with a glitzy performance. Starring several extremely talented dancers, the Rockettes will kick and spin their way into your heart.   

17. Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Chinese New Year takes place after Christmas, so it gives you something to do in New York in winter. Even better, it’s a massive celebration that includes two different parades. In 2023, they’ll take place on January 22 (Chinese New Year) and January 29 (Lunar New Year). Anyone who is in Chinatown around 1 p.m. on the 22nd can enjoy the pageantry of this parade.

18. Head to NYBG Glow

If you’re looking for romantic things to do in NYC during the winter, NYBG Glow in New York Botanical Garden is an amazing experience. This event takes place from mid-November through early January and features a half-mile of sparkling lights. Plus, there’s also ice skating, hot chocolate, live music, and more!

19. Go Shopping on Fifth Avenue

Let’s face it. Nothing says Christmas quite like shopping, and Fifth Avenue is the place to do it all. With stores such as Bath & Body Works, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co., Prada, and more all located within a few blocks of each other on this grand boulevard, you should have no problem finding something for everyone on your list.

20. Participate in Unsilent Night

Composer Phil Kline is the brains behind Unsilent Night, a festive parade that takes place every December in 31 cities, including the Big Apple. It’s unique because instead of marching bands, there are hundreds of people carrying boomboxes or smartphones and playing Christmas music as they walk down the street. If you want to join in on the fun, all you need to do is grab your boombox and join the crowd!

21. Go See Santa at the Bank of America Winter Village

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is one of the most popular Christmas destinations in New York. From November to mid-January, there are a ton of festive things to do here, including ice skating, shopping and holiday snacks. Plus, Santa even makes an appearance each year!

22. Enjoy a Cocktail on a Rooftop in NYC

For an extra special winter experience, why not enjoy cocktails on a rooftop in NYC? From the Skylark to Bar 54, there are several bars that offer stunning views of the city. Plus, most serve tasty snacks and festive drinks for you to enjoy! Many of them also let you head inside if the weather gets too cold.

Fun on the NYC Hot Tub Boat

Explore the City on a Hot Tub Boat Tour

Are you planning to spend some time checking out Christmas events in NYC? Don’t forget to book Sea the City’s hot tub tour. It’ll provide the perfect respite from wandering around the city, and you’ll get to see truly spectacular sites as you ride down the Hudson River. This ride is truly something you’ll remember for the rest of your life!

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Sea the City Jet Ski tours offer a unique way for tourists and New Yorkers alike to get up close to the sights and attractions on their very own Jet Ski. Book online today!

What you’ll see: Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, Freedom Tower, Janes Carousel, One Brooklyn Park, South Street Seaport, Empire State Building, and more!