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    New York at Christmas: what to do on December 25th

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    Joel Fulleda

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    It may seem early to talk about Christmas holidays, yet this is the period in which we begin to organize the winter holidays and, for those who are preparing to spend the Natale a New York, we have therefore written down a series of tips on what to do in this city in the days around December 25th.

    December in New York is an eventful month, but the celebrations in the city begin even earlier: they start with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day, a sumptuous parade to celebrate Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November), are then officially inaugurated by the famous tree at Rockefeller Center (the first days of December) and finally concluded with the famous New Year celebrations in New York, when in Times Square we witness the descent of the famous luminous sphere from the top of the One Times Square building.

    So let's find out together what happens during the Christmas time in New York!


    • Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center and tree lighting ceremony
    • The Christmas markets
    • Tour of the shop windows
    • Holiday Lights Tour
    • The shows
    • Christmas mass
    • Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners in New York
      • Restaurants for Christmas Eve
      • Restaurants for Christmas day
      • Places open both at Christmas and on Christmas Eve
    • How to celebrate the New Year
    • Where to stay during the Christmas holidays

    Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center and tree lighting ceremony

    The most representative symbol of New York to Natale is the huge tree decorated and full of lights erected near the most famous skating rink in Manhattan. Do not miss the inauguration, in the presence of the mayor and accompanied by the performance of world-famous singers.

    Obviously at the Rockefeller Center it may be worthwhile to do a nice skating, however the rink is often very crowded and to enter you have to pay a ticket to which you will have to add the price of the skate rental (unless you have brought them from Italy, somewhat unlikely ...).

    Usually, during the Christmas period, the ice skating of the Rockefeller Center is combined with a visit to the Top of the Rock, or to the Cathedral of San Patrizio. By clicking on the button below you can book tickets for both:

    • Ice skating at Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock
    • Ice skating at The Rink and tour of St Patrick's Cathedral

    An excellent free alternative (to which you will always have to add the skate rental) is the ice rink Bryant Park, Sesta Avenue, (from the 40th and 42nd Streets).

    The Christmas markets

    In this period New York lights up, and along the streets, from the end of November, not only decorations and lights come to life, but also numerous Christmas markets, ideal places to buy handicrafts, decorations and gifts for loved ones. Here are the main Christmas markets in the city:

    • Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market
    • Artists & Fleas Holiday Market
    • Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
    • Columbus Circle Holiday Market
    • Union Square Holiday Market

    Tour of the shop windows

    To enrich the atmosphere of New York at Christmas are the windows set up by shops and department stores, which do their utmost to transform Manhattan into a sort of wonderland. To embellish everything is the relative quiet that reigns in the streets of New York on Christmas Day, a real rarity for this teeming metropolis.

    During your tour, be sure to visit the incredible shop windows of:

    • Barney's, 660 Madison Avenue at 61st Street
    • Macy's, 151 West 34th Street
    • Lord & taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue
    • Sak's Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue
    • Bloomingdale's, 59th Street and Lexington Avenue
    • Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue

    Holiday Lights Tour

    Among the most popular activities during this period are the holiday lights tour. Of course, all over the city you can admire decorated and illuminated shop windows but there are particular areas where you can enjoy a unique show.

    The neighborhood to be favored in this sense is Dyker Heights, a residential area that every year attracts a significant amount of visitors eager to admire the incredible illuminations that the residents create for the gardens of their homes. You can visit Dyker Heights on your own or with an organized tour; in our guide dedicated to how to visit the neighborhood we explain both ways.

    How to visit Dyker Heights

    The shows

    Obviously, even in this case there is plenty of choice. In addition to the shows on Broadway all season, there are some events designed specifically for the occasion. The most representative is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the wonderful show of the legendary Radio City Music Hall, where the famous Rockettes perform and where anything can happen!

    Tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

    insert the code TRAVEL to get 10 euros discount on a minimum purchase of 150 euros

    If you are looking for something more classic, fall back on the Nutcracker ballet (with choreography by George Balanchine), another appointment that has now become a tradition.

    Christmas mass

    The most beautiful place to take Christmas mass is St. Patrick's Cathedral, a charming Gothic church on 5th Avenue sandwiched between New York skyscrapers. To find out the times of the functions, consult the official website.

    Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners in New York

    Obviously, restaurants in New York are swarming almost everywhere, but for Christmas Day and Christmas Eve it is good to inquire, because there are some particularly interesting ones, which offer dedicated menus and specialties not to be missed. Here is a list to keep an eye on (always check the official websites of the various restaurants in case the opening schedules have changed):

    Restaurants for Christmas Eve

    • Aquavit, 65 E 55th St.
    • Corkbuzz Wine Studio, 13th and 13th St.
    • Sons of Essex, 133 Essex St

    Restaurants for Christmas day

    • Reynard, Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Ave
    • Ai fiori, 400 Fifth Ave
    • Boqueria, 171 Spring St
    • Balthazar, 80 Spring St

    Places open both at Christmas and on Christmas Eve

    • Loreley, 7 Rivington St
    • American Cut Steakhouse: Tribeca 363 Greenwich St. New York, NY 10013
    • Bar Boulud: 1900 Broadway New York, NY 10023

    How to celebrate the New Year

    Are you extending your stay until New Year's Eve? There are very special ways (although often not exactly cheap) to celebrate New Year's Eve, you can join the crowd of Times Square, in the famous celebration of the sphere, or opt for a dinner cruise, perhaps tasting a delicious lobster in front of the skyline. of New York illuminated by fireworks.

    All New Year's Eve activities in NY

    Where to stay during the Christmas holidays

    The tips for staying in New York during Christmas are basically the same also valid for other periods. Check out our tips on how to choose the right area to stay in New York.

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