New York City RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Christmas and New Year's Eve in NYC

By Viator, November 2014

4.5 294 Reviews | Add your review

You’ve probably seen some pretty iconic holiday moments in New York City—that is, again and again in films and on TV. Even if you’ve never been to New York City, you’ve certainly watched the Ball Drop over a million thrilled onlookers in Times Square on TV. Tourists flock to some of these Big Apple attractions around Christmastime, and the crowds can get a little crazy, but hey, it's the holidays. Here are some suggestions for how to celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year in NYC this winter:

Ice skating is a popular and traditional holiday activity, and there are plenty of places to take part. Whether it's in Central Park at Trump Rink or Wollman Rink, at Bryant Park or at Rockefeller Center, the lights and whir of people skating to classic songs will be a delight. Rockefeller Center Plaza has the famous giant Christmas tree, a sight that will be seen by tens of thousands of people, many of whom line the streets to watch its lighting in early December.

No trip to New York City during the holidays would be complete without seeing the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular either. The show is a holiday tradition in NYC, having been put on for over 80 years since 1932. And as the largest indoor theater in the world, Radio City Music Hall delivers an enormously entertaining show with state-of-the-art special effects, high-quality sound and talented dance acts.

You can also go hear Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall or attend one of the numerous holiday concerts and events in old churches around town, like Trinity Church on Wall Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Madison Avenue, or the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, a Gothic Revival church Uptown—all of which are gorgeous to see even without events going on.

As for New Year's Eve, Times Square is the place to be. It is, however, too crowded for many, so those looking for something more low-key can opt for a New Year's Eve cruise. See the city skyline from the water, and choose from several options, such as the New York New Year’s Eve Cruise, which includes open bar and appetizers, as well as a champagne toast as you watch the fireworks at midnight. You’ll also get prime views of the Statue of Liberty, while the three-hour tour also features a DJ entertainment and docks at 1am.

But there’s another way to experience the holidays in the city—by soaking it in at your own pace in your own way. The Empire State Building, one of NYC’s top attractions, turns red and green; most storefronts have themed decorations; jazzy tunes play in coffee shops and the general vibe is just a little bit nicer. Peruse the Holiday Markets at Bryant Park, Union Square or Grand Central and pick up some crafty gifts, or perhaps treat yourself to a warm drink on a street corner and let the city’s contagious holiday magic come to you!

Tours & Tickets

See all

Viator VIP: Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Experience and Top of the Rock Observation Deck

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 8 Reviews

Among quintessential holiday experiences is ice-skating at the world-famous Rockefeller Center. What could make it even more special? This VIP package allows ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $80.00

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree-Lighting Party

Kick-off the Christmas celebration at the iconic Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York City! Get unbeatable views of this famous tradition ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $459.00

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 79 Reviews

America's most beloved holiday theatrical, the ‘Radio City Christmas Spectacular,’ starring the world-famous Rockettes, returns to New York City's Radio City ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $97.62

Viator Exclusive: Luxury Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise in New York City

This holiday season, skip the overcrowded restaurants and treat your loved ones to a luxury Christmas Eve dinner cruise, a Viator Exclusive available nowhere ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $199.00

New York City Holiday Lights Tour

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 62 Reviews

New York City at Christmas is one of the most spectacular sights to see. Get in the festive mood by taking a 2-hour, early-evening tour of Manhattan's ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $43.99

New York City Holiday Music Cruise with Live Carols or Jazz

Grab your loved ones and get into the holiday spirit with this 90-minute musical cruise in Manhattan. While you admire views of the Statue of Liberty, ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $88.00

New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise in New York

4.5 star rating: Recommended 35 Reviews

Ring in the New Year in style aboard New York's premier dining yacht. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner followed by dancing and of course, front-row seats to the world ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $375.00

Viator VIP: Rockefeller Center Late-Night Ice Skating and Holiday Lights Bus Tour

Experience the Rockefeller Center ice rink as if you were a Rockefeller yourself with this Viator VIP skating and holiday lights combo tour, a Viator exclusive ...  Read more

Location: New York State, New York
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $139.00

Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

This dazzling Brooklyn holiday tour highlights the festive homes of Dyker Heights, an Italian-American neighborhood made famous by the PBS documentary ‘Dyker ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $55.00

New York Holiday Movie Sites Tour

Capture the holiday spirit at festive locales and settings from your favorite flicks during a holiday lights and movie sites tour of New York City. On this ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $37.99

See all Christmas and New Year's Eve in NYC Tours & Tickets

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message