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7 Bucket List Things to do in New York City During the Holidays

7 Bucket List Things to do in New York City During the Holidays

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7 Things to Do in New York City During the Holidays

There are a ton of things to do in New York City during the Holidays. Last year, we celebrated our wedding anniversary with a short trip to the city.

Our anniversary is in December, and our decision to celebrate in NYC was based on the fact that The Big Apple does the holiday season like nowhere else.

Christmas time in NYC is a huge part of American culture and invokes feelings of nostalgia and memories of your favorite childhood films like Home Alone, Elf, and Miracle on 34th Street.

We had a blast during our time in New York and were amazed at how much there was to see and experience. Here are seven things to do in New York City during the Holidays.

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This has to be the ultimate holiday experience! There are several outdoor ice-skating rinks open during the holiday season. Friends advised us that Central Park’s Wollman Rink was the best.

Admission at Wollman is a few dollars cheaper than at the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. Wollman Rink is also larger and less crowded. You can skate all day at the Wollman Rink. The Rockefeller Center Ice Rink allows skaters to skate for an allotted time slot.

Skyscrapers surround Wollman Rink, and there is a sitting area where you can take a break from the ice. There is also a concession area. At the time of this post Wollman Rink accepts cash only.

A list of the best things to do and see in New York City during the Holidays and Christmas

Click here to visit the Wollman Skating Rink’s website for information on admission, rentals, hours, and more.

2. Indulge in New York City’s Dining Scene

Seriously, one of the highlights of our trip was the food and service we received at the restaurants in NYC.

New York is known for some of the best food in America. I hope to revisit NYC and experience more of the tasty dining. Check out my post here, where I share some of the eateries we highly enjoyed.

Levain Bakery New York City. Things to do for Christmas in New York City

3. Stroll Through Central Park

Central Park is scenic and relaxing. If you can bear the cold, take a walk through Central Park.

The park had a romantic feel that was perfect for our couple’s stroll. While we preferred to walk, other options for touring the 2.5-mile park exist. You can rent a bike or ride a horse-drawn carriage.

Things to do in New York during the holidays and Christmas NYC


4. Visit One of the Largest Museums in the World

We visited the American Museum of Natural History. A donation of any amount is required for admission on the weekends, so this is an excellent, cheap option to get out of the cold and slow down a bit.

Things to do in New York City during Christmas and the holidays
American Museum of Natural History

5. Visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and See New York City from the top at the One World Observatory

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a must-see. It was a privilege to take in a crucial part of recent American history as we stood and observed the memorial site of all those who lost their lives on September 11.

With my limited photography skills, I could not capture a photo that did this site any justice. Here is a short video clip of the site.

The view from the One World Observatory is spectacular! This is where you can ascend to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere in under a minute.

You are sure to enjoy every minute of your time here. You can purchase tickets in advance at the One World Observatory website, or you can buy tickets at the facility.

The staff gives you the option of renting a tablet during your tour. If you skip renting the tablet, you will not be missing out.

View From One World Observatory in New york city during christmas
Things to do in New York City and the Holidays

Side Bar! While in the financial district, make your way to Wall Street. It is just minutes away from The National September 11 Memorial & Museum. You should totally take the time to admire the gilded-rooted architecture found here.

Admire the architecture of the banks from the outside and peek inside to see the well-designed buildings, all dressed in Christmas decor. I loved looking at the buildings. The Big Apple is full of beauty!!!!!!!

The best things to do in New York City during Christmas and the Holidays
The best things to do in New York City during Christmas and the Holidays

6. See A Broadway Show

You can’t go to New York City and not catch a Broadway show.

While I’ve heard rave reviews about the Radio City Rockettes, there was no selling my husband on sitting through a tap dancing show for $200 a ticket. I doubt I could convince him to sit through it, even if it was completely free.

We decided to see The Lion King, and it did NOT disappoint. As a teenager, I saw the traveling show and remember being awed by it, so this was an easy decision. I highly recommend you catch this show.

We also enjoyed walking through the iconic Times Square and experiencing the show district. You can sometimes get discounted tickets to certain Broadway shows through lotteries, but do not expect to find discounted tickets for The Lion King.

The best things to do in New York City during Christmas and the Holidays


7. Take a Selfie in front of The World’s Most Famous Christmas Tree

The best things to do in New York City during the Holidays and Christmas

You should expect to be packed like a can of sardines. Prepare to feel completely vulnerable with no way to escape in the event of an emergency. All that to be wowed by the most beautiful Christmas tree you will ever see.

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree was HUGE!!! (Trump Voice) This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime thing to do.

I do not advise braving the crowds with young kids. We made our way down to 5th Avenue at about 5 pm on a Saturday. The crowd was massive.

The good thing is the crowd was mainly tourists, all fascinated by the big city.  While in the area, you can also catch the light show at Saks Fifth Avenue, directly across the street from the Christmas tree.

Things to do in New York City during the holidays

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  1. Helen says:

    I love NYC! I totally agree with ice skating and a broadway show. Looks like a fabulous trip.

  2. I haven’t been to NY since I was 16. I miss it so much (I was born there). But I definitely plan to go back when my boys are teenagers so they can enjoy it.

  3. Natalie says:

    How fun! I hope you guys have a merry Christmas. The city at Christmas time is so much fun!

  4. This looks like such a great trip! My niece wants me to take her to New York over Christmas sometime soon and she’d love to go ice skating while we’re there!

  5. this is definitely my kind of NYC trip!! Give me all the ice skating and food and shows! Happy Holidays!

  6. Beth says:

    It looks like you had a great time! My daughter just moved to Brooklyn this summer, so I’m going to share this with her. Hopefully, we can go to the natural history museum when I visit her.

  7. Trish says:

    Fun! I loved reading this post — I have always wanted to visit NYC at Christmas time! Your photos are amazing. I would especially like to ice skate in Central Park and visit the American Museum of Natural History.

  8. DeAnna says:

    NYC at Christmastime is on my bucket list! Pinning this for later 🙂

  9. Kirsten says:

    Wow!! I would have never thought to brave NYC crowds over Christmas but it looks like you two had an amazing time!! Will have to think about that for Christmas this year…that tree is for sure iconic and would be awesome to see in person.

  10. Kristie says:

    Great list of places to go! And really great pictures. I think all of these experiences would be really valuable. I’ve only spent about 12 hours exploring NYC on a layover, so it looks like we definitely need to get back there.