Christmas 2021 in New York: what to do, practical info and advice

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Lluis Enric Mayans
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The Charm of the "Big Apple" cannot be discussed, New York it is one of those cities that we all dream of visiting at least once in our life.
So why not just do it on the occasion of Christmas?
Think about it: the snow, the colored lights, the large decorated trees, the skating rinks, the toy shops, the shopping in the fashion streets ... that magical Christmas atmosphere that warms the hearts of adults and makes children dream. New York at Christmas is enchanting.
Here's everything you need to know to organize your Christmas holidays in New York: flight + hotel offers, tours, useful info on markets, places of interest and much more ...


  1. Attend themed events
  2. Visit the Christmas markets of New York
  3. Ice skating
  4. Meet Santa at Macy's
  5. Admire the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center
  6. Enjoying a Broadway musical
  7. Admire the lights in the Dyker Heights neighborhood
  8. Taste the Christmas specialties
  9. Which museums and attractions remain open?
  10. What means of transport are available?
  11. Climate in New York at Christmas
  12. Christmas offers in New York: Flight + 10 nights in Hotel
  13. User questions and comments

Covid-19 emergency: events, concerts and demonstrations could undergo last-minute changes due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We recommend that you inform yourself well about the situation of the destination you intend to visit before departure. If you are planning a trip, follow government guidelines and make sure you are in line with safety measures.

1 - Participate in themed events

New York is probably the best city in the world to enjoy the natilic atmosphere. Shopping malls and shopping streets are decorated for the celebration and special events take place throughout the city.

The coolest thing is that here the festivities begin in November with Thanksgiving Day, during which the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, which sees artists, marching bands and beautiful floats parade.

Another iconic event is the Tree-Lighting Ceremony, or thelighting the Christmas tree at the Rockafeller Center, on the occasion of which concerts and live national television shows are organized. Generally the ignition takes place in the first days of December.

The traditional also deserves a mention Radio City Christmas Spectacular, historical dance show of the Rockette (the most famous synchronized dance company in the world), which has been organized every year at Christmas since 1933.

2 - Visit the New York Christmas markets

Even in New York there is no shortage of traditional Christmas markets and villages, which come generally set up from mid-November to the end of December, but some remain open until the first week of January.

Among the most beautiful and characteristic markets we point out theUnion Square Holiday Market (Union Square at 14th Street, Southern Side - Get Directions), the Grand Central Holiday Fair (Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St - Get Directions) and the Winter Village at Bryant Park (located in
Bryant Park, between 5th and 6th Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets - Get directions).

3 - Ice skating

Anyone who has visited NYC for Christmas will agree that one of the most magical experiences to do is surely ice skate like real New Yorkers. You can sit on the edge of the track and watch the kids have fun like crazy while sipping a hot chocolate or a glass of wine, or you can enjoy natilizia music (often played by live bands). The tracks are many, scattered among the main squares, shopping centers and parks. We want to recommend two in particular: Bryant Park (Get Directions) and Central Park (Get Directions).

4 - Meet Santa at Macy's

A tradition that has been handed down since 1902 is that of Santaland, il Santa Claus Village inside Macy's Shopping Center in Herald Square. Toddlers can walk through twinkling lights, toy workshops and pine forests until they reach Santa's throne, and finally sit on his lap to present your gift list.

If you visit NYC with children, you absolutely cannot deny them this unforgettable experience. The line to see Santa is quite long, however it is possible to book online on the chain's website.

5 - Admire the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Christmas tree (New York pride and joy) is a radiant and shining symbol of the holiday season.
Seeing it is one of the most popular things to do in New York at Christmas. It is truly one of the most iconic places in the city, even if it is quite crowded, so we do not recommend visiting it on weekends.

6 - Enjoy a Broadway musical

Another timeless classic, that of Christmas themed musicals. From the "Nutcracker" to "A Christmas Carol" passing through "the Grinch", all that remains is to consult the programming and choose the show that best suits your tastes. For more info, visit

7 - Admire the lights in the Dyker Heights neighborhood

For several years, there has been non-explicit competition among homeowners in the neighborhood of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. Today the houses are so decorated with flashing lights and motorized screens, that they have made the neighborhood one of the main Christmas attractions of the city. Dyker Heights has truly become a "must" not to be missed, it is no coincidence that it is possible to visit it by taking part in an interesting guided tour.

8 - Taste the Christmas specialties

In the United States there is no tradition related to the Christmas dinner as we understand it in Italy. Certainly most of the places tend to dine with the family on Christmas Eve, but not with the traditional roast or with great dishes and specialties. This type of tradition is more about the Thanksgiving Day celebration, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, during which food is eaten the traditional stuffed turkey baked, accompanied by Mashed potatoes (mashed potatoes).

Christmas food traditions in New York are more about sweets. In fact, during the winter holidays it is customary to eat specialties such as Gingerbread men cookies (Gingerbread cookies), Apple Pie (apple pie), Pumpkin pie (pumpkin pie), cupcakes with Christmas-themed decorations, 'eggnog, (liquid eggnog flavored with vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon), the Christmas pudding (pudding with dried fruit and brandy) and finally the Mince pies (shortcrust pastry cakes), which are traditionally left on the fireplace for Santa Claus to eat during his nocturnal visits.

Which museums and attractions remain open?

During the holidays, most NYC museums observe special opening and closing times. For example the Guggenheim Museum is open on Christmas Eve from 10:00 to 16:00, closed on Christmas day and open regularly on New Year's Eve The Jewish Museum is open on Christmas Day from 11:00 to 16:00, but is closed for New Year's Day instead. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is open on Christmas Eve from 10:30 am to 16:00 pm, it is closed on Christmas Day, and open regularly on New Year's Eve. It is advisable to check for any changes on the official websites.

Among the other main attractions open for the eve we point out the Empire State Building, the 9-11 Memorial and the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

What means of transport are available?

Metro, bus and other means of transport operate with special hours during the week of Christmas. Services are generally guaranteed on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, but there are no races on December 25th. On the website of MTA, the company that manages New York transportation, you will find all the information you need regarding changes to the service during the holiday period.

  • Getting around: The best way to get around is the metro. A single ride costs $ 3, but a Metrocard (valid for metro and bus) is recommended for approximately $ 31 for 7 days.
  • Useful passes and cards: we suggest the purchase of the New York City Pass, a cumulative ticket that includes skip-the-line admissions to the 6 main attractions of the city including the Statue of Liberty and the MoMA

Climate in New York at Christmas

In general, the winter in NYC is not excessively harsh and the temperatures fluctuate between a minimum of about 0 ° C and a maximum of 6 °.
However it is not uncommon for particularly cold periods with abundant snowfalls to occur, especially in December.
Don't forget a scarf, gloves, hat and clothes suitable for cold temperatures in your suitcase. During your stay, treat yourself to a stroll along the snow-covered streets, and if you feel particularly cold, stop off at some museum or shop.

Temperature range: in all likelihood you will find a "tropical" climate in clubs and shops due to the "fired up" heaters. So be prepared for the thermal excursion by dressing in layers.

Christmas offers in New York: Flight + 10 nights in Hotel

  • Return flights Rome - New York from € 500,00 -
  • 10 nights in Hotel from € 610,00 per room -
  • Round trip flight + 10 nights / 11 days from 23 December to 2 January from € 1110,00 per person - see the offer

Tickets, tours and bookable activities

We suggest some activities and tours to do in New York. Click on the tour you are interested in for more information or to book.

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