Happy December, everyone! It is officially the holiday season and to say I’m excited, would be a major understatement. New York City in December is unlike anything else in this world. The lights, holiday displays, decor, Christmas trees scattered throughout the city- it’s so magical. If you’ve never been to NYC around the holidays, I highly suggest it! There are endless fun, festive things to do and the holiday lights mixed with the city lights are absolutely stunning.
This is the time of year where a lot of people come to visit, so I wanted to make sure I found something to do that would interest everyone! Adults, kids- I have found the very best of all the happenings this month. Some of the things I’ve found this month are festive and some are not holiday related, but I wanted to be sure to include as many festivities as I could because we don’t get to do them year round.
One thing we love to do once the air gets crisp is go ice skating! There are so many great spots in the city, but it’s become a sort of tradition for us, because we go every year!
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
On the topic of ice skating, Brookfield place has officially opened the rink! I don’t know about you, but my family is beyond excited! Another really cool thing they have for the holiday season are the Luminaries. It’s a display of colorful lights and this year they have a brand new experience called Maestros, where you can actually conduct the light canopy! How cool?! These are both fantastic things your kids are sure to want to try!
Mark your calendars for December 2nd! The Seaport District is having their Christmas Tree Lighting at 5PM on Fulton Street and then the holiday party continues all the way onto Pearl Alley at Pier 17, for an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party! There will be live music, crafts, decorating Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, mulled wine, a donation to the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive and so much more. Bring your family and friends and have a merry night!
If you know anything about the Meatpacking District, it’s that their art displays are some of the very best in town! This year they are having 10 different light installations all the way down 9th Avenue from 14th street to Gansevoort Street. These lights will be in shapes of snowpeople, dandelions and so much more! Also, the area is so nice to walk around in and explore- there’s so many stores! But this is really a great installation to check out with friends or family and then grab a bite to eat in the area!
This is such a festive yet casual activity to do once it starts to get chilly here! There are quite a few things to do at The Winter Village. You can start your day out by going ice skating, they have a great rink with free admission with nice rental skates. Then head on over to the Holiday Shops where you can find really cool gifts for loved ones this season. Finish your day by unwinding with the best hot chocolate from The Lodge by Prime Video. They also have cocktails and food options to offer at Bryant Park.
Are you looking for a place to stay while visiting or for a staycation? The Thompson Central Park New York Hotel is a part of the Hyatt and seriously one of the best new hotels in town! It’s very close to Central Park, great food and, of course, the Wollman Rink! It’s a great ice skating rink open for the winter and they have partnered up for a hotel package that includes two skating tickets per booking! Book your stay now!
If you have kids, you know that slime is all the rage these days! If I’m being honest, it’s actually really cool. The Sloomoo Institute has come out with their festive holiday slimes- Melted Snowman, Christmas Poop, O Christmas Tree, Cozy Sweater and more! If you are in NYC, you have to check them out! But those of you that aren’t, no worries, they are available online to purchase and make the best stocking stuffers for kids! I promise you, they will love it!
If you need absolutely anything to do in the city, this place has it! There are shops, food, experiences and so much more! There’s also a rink that will host a Skate with Santa on December 19th from 11AM-3PM. Another really cool spot there is an official NHL store- perfect to grab some holiday gifts at! Go check it out!
The Rockettes are a classic NYC experience. Attending the show is an iconic bucket list item. Tickets are flying off the shelves! The show has several performances, so it shouldn’t be too hard to grab a seat, as long as you plan ahead. Santa Claus may nor may not be making a special appearance in the show..If you’re looking for some extra razzle dazzle in your life, check out The Rockettes!
Oh my goodness, I can’t contain my excitement! I grew up a Charlie Brown fan, so when I saw that A Charlie Brown Christmas has performances this month at The Muse, I was so happy! The show has 6 performances from Saturday, December 18th-Sunday, December 19th, so you are going to want to run to grab tickets now. This is their 13th year performing this show in Brooklyn and it features a live jazz trio, which is absolutely amazing! I am so glad live performances are back and this is a show that is perfect to bring your kids to!
If you haven’t heard about the Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, let me just tell you, it’s something you need to experience! It runs through January 23rd. They have model trains that are displayed in over 175 landmarks, like The Statue of Liberty! This is an excellent option if you have kids, they will absolutely love this activity to check out! Tickets are on sale now and range from $18-$32. Check it out!
IHG hotels in NYC and Atlanta have something very special going on starting December 13th. They have partnered up with Coca Cola to bring the magic to hotels this holiday season! Intercontinental hotels have set up rooms that are perfect to get you into the Christmas spirit! The rooms are decorated for the holidays with trees, ornaments, Christmas robes, and so much more! You can start booking as soon as December 9th!
Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater is premiering a family-centric holiday event from December 9-27th! They have partnered up with Cirque Du Soleil for the most magical, coolest performance! Isabella is whisked to an upside-down world where she meets tons of characters, that were all inspired by poets. Tickets are on sale now!
If there’s one thing you need to do when you come to NYC, it’s go to the top of the Empire State Building! The views are breathtaking and they’re even better in the month of December because the city is decked out in lights and decor! Now is the time to book tickets because it is a hot commodity!
Calling all ballet fans– or even if you don’t think you’re a fan, everyone should experience this beautiful show at least once in their lives! The Ballet runs through January 2nd, so you have some time to plan, but not too much time, as these tickets will sell quickly! For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Nutcrackers, it’s about a y0ung girl who dreams of a Nutcracker who becomes a prince and has to battle The Mouse King- and it’s all told through dance. It’s really quite beautiful. This is also a great show to take your family to, as an option for plans!
The CMOM always has amazing things going on for kids to do, but this December, they have even more and they are so festive! They have Hannukah celebrations going on December 1st- the 5th, Gingerbread City December 1st- the 31st, Seasonal Sweets on the 18th, Customs, Colors, Lights and Love Around the World December 26th- the 29th and Sweet New Year’s Eve the 30th- the 31st! So much to do in a month, but it all sounds like so much fun!
Looking for a cool Brooklyn hotel? Look no further! The Wythe is not only stunning, but has so much art and history to it! Seriously, I want to make a staycation there! Guess what the best part is this season? They have a partnership with Bathhouse and you get two day passes with your bookings! This gives you access to their steam room, thermal pools, a discount for massages, facials and so much more! If you’re in town or just need a staycation, this is the spot for you!
LuminoCity is an unforgettable, immersive experience! Using light and imagination, a story is told. It’s timed and festive and seriously the perfect holiday experience to bring your family to this month! It’s located in Manhasset, NY and tickets start at $27. What’s better than an immersive light show with creations of art?! You’ve gotta see it!
Holiday Markets in the city are some of the most magical places! They’re great spots to find gifts for loved ones and you support local businesses by doing so! There’s jewelry, art, home goods and food- so there truly is something for everyone. Urbanspace puts on some great ones at Union Square, Columbus Circle and in the Garment District. Even if you’re not looking for anything in particular, it’s a great activity to go and spend a few hours walking around them and checking out the holiday vendors.
This gallery exhibit is an experience that transforms The Shed space to show us alternative solutions to problems we have here on this planet. They use film, sound and movement to show a positive solutions to the issues we face. It’s an incredibly powerful and special experience I highly recommend everyone grab tickets while it’s still here! It’s here now through December 19th.
This exhibit needs no introduction, it’s DIOR! The Brooklyn Museum is presenting an exhibit where Dior Heritage meets American Culture. Whether you’re a Dior fan or not, this is a really cool experience you will not want to miss! It’s here through February 20th, but why not go this month?! There’s so much inspiration and it’s truly beautiful. Make sure you plan ahead and get some tickets!
The Holiday lights are back at the Bronx Zoo! From now-January 9th, you can experience the wildlife amongst the holiday lights. There will be holiday decor, animal lanterns, arches, colored tunnels, tree lighting and so much more! This is the perfect event to bring your kids to, the zoo meets holiday festivity, how could it get any better?! Tickets are on sale now!
The ultimate sweet pop-up is in town and it’s here just in time for the holidays! It’s a candy crafting experience that is perfect for families. It’s really cool because it allows your children to use their imagination and have a whole crafting experience, but it’s also so much fun for them! It’s the kind of art that you can eat! You can choose from several different experiences, such as making jewelry out of candy! They also host birthday parties and private events, if you’re interested. Grab your tickets while they’re available!
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is always a great idea, but during this time of the year, they have something extra special going on! It’s called Lightscape and it’s an illuminated trail that you can walk through! When I tell you it’s truly stunning, I’m not kidding. They have different colored lights and shapes of lights that they cast over different objects in nature and hang. This is a great place to bring your family and friends, not to mention it’s very instagrammable!
Fifth Avenue is an iconic part of NYC. If you’re visiting, you definitely need to check out the Pulitzer Fountain, but especially around the holidays! It’s decorated with super cute little penguins and polar bears to get into the winter spirit! I love when NYC does fun installations and decor during the holidays, it feels so much homier!
Who’s ready to head into Brooklyn for some fun ice skating?! Industry City has a fantastic rink and it’s so festive for the season! There’s great winter decor and it’s surrounded by the most perfect Christmas decorations, like trees! They sell tickets there, as well as skate and helmet rentals–safety first! This is a great place to bring your kids to learn to ice skate, too, as it’s normally less crowded than the Manhattan spots!
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden has a super festive installation this season! They’re hosting the Winter Lantern Festival, which is a great display of lights! This is another great option to bring your family to, I promise you, your children will love this. It’s open every night and tickets are on sale now!
A Christmas cocktail pop-up, sign me up! This place is downright adorable and makes me even more excited for Christmas! There really aren’t that many Christmas-themed bars that go all out with all of their cocktails, so having one that is exclusively Christmas themed nearby is very exciting. The entire place is decked out with festive decor and the drinks are not only adorable, but delicious! Grab a reservation now!
Are you a Banksy fan? Or are you simply just curious about this artist? The Banksy exhibit is now open through the holidays! It’s a multisensory and VR art experience unlike any other. Have you been to an exhibit that includes Virtual Reality before? It feels like we’re living in the future! Tickets are on sale now!
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is one of the most iconic holiday happenings in NYC to ever exist. It is absolutely stunning and if there’s anything you need to do while visiting in this month, or even for those of you who live here, you must see the tree! The lighting is taking place on Wednesday, December 1st and will stay there through New Year’s. It’s lit daily from 6am-midnight, but on Christmas Eve, it stays lit for a full 24 hours! How magical! You don’t need tickets to see it, it’s completely free and such a great sight to bring friends and family to!