New York City RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Christmas and New Year's Eve in NYC

By Viator, May 2015

4.5 393 Reviews | Add your review

Visitors to New York can feel the city’s electric energy and powerful vibe at any time of year. But when the holiday season kicks off, the Big Apple definitely turns its spirit up a notch. From the holiday windows and the Christmas trees to watching the big ball drop, travelers will find dozens of ways to celebrate the season on these city streets.

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 also has the famous giant Christmas tree.

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, having been put on for over 80 years since 1932. And as the largest indoor theater in the world, Radio City delivers an enormously entertaining show with state-of-the-art special effects, high-quality sound and talented dance acts.

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 1 am. Fireworks also flash through the night sky in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Spike your hot chocolate and tuck into a cup of warmth while ringing in the New Year!

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

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree-Lighting Party

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

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

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 $249.00

New York City Holiday Lights Tour

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 79 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 $44.00

Viator Exclusive: New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise with Lobster Dinner

Celebrate New Year's Eve like a VIP with an unforgettable New York City dinner and fireworks cruise. On this Viator Exclusive, get up-close views of the Statue ...  Read more

Location: New York City, New York
Duration: 4.5 hours

From USD $275.00

Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights

4.5 star rating: Recommended 8 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 $50.00

New York Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 7 Reviews

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

New York City: Best of Thanksgiving and the Macy's Parade

This inclusive tour package takes all the events that highlight Thanksgiving in New York City and combines them into one! Experience the best of New York ...  Read more

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

From USD $281.00

Circle Line: New Year's Eve Cruise in New York City

4.5 star rating: Recommended 91 Reviews

Celebrate the turn of the year in style on this New Year's Eve Cruise in New York! On this special occasion cruise in New York, you'll have the Manhattan ...  Read more

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

From USD $149.00

New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise in New York

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 $400.00

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular

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 $81.12

See all

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