7 BEST NYC Christmastime Bucket List Things to do
Are you ready to experience the magic of Christmas in the city that never sleeps? New York City, with its dazzling lights and festive atmosphere, offers a truly unforgettable holiday experience. From ice skating to exploring charming Christmas markets, the city offers a plethora of activities that will make your Christmastime visit truly unforgettable. In this article, I’m sharing 7 NYC Christmastime bucket list things to do during the most wonderful time of the year.
2 Days in New York City
NYC Christmastime Bucket List
1. Enjoy Wintertime Views from Top of the Rock
If you can brave the cold, then visiting the Top of the Rock is a must for your NYC Christmastime bucket list.
The suspense builds as you take the elevator to the top of the Rockefeller Center. When you arrive, a spectacular view of the city decked with holiday lights unfolds before you. The Empire State Building and Central Park glitter like stars, providing a unique and remarkable view. The winter decorations below, particularly the enormous Christmas tree and bustling ice rink, look to be straight out of a book. This vantage point captures the full essence of the city’s festive spirit, making it an unforgettable moment and a treasured item on anyone’s Christmastime bucket list in New York City.
2. Ice Skating in Iconic NYC Locations
Ice skating is a must do NYC Christmastime bucket list activity and luckily, there are several iconic locations within the city to give you the thrill of a lifetime.
Central Park is home to two popular skating rinks: Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. Enjoy the picturesque views of the park as you twirl on the ice, surrounded by towering trees and a serene winter landscape.
Perhaps the most well known rink is the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. Skating under the shadow of the towering Christmas tree and the glistening lights of the surrounding buildings makes this an unforgettable experience. Tip: You’ll want to make your reservations early, as they fill up quickly.
Then there’s Bryant Park. This is where we opted to skate. We could easily make reservations, even the day of, and we were still able to skate amongst the skyscrapers of New York City.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned skater, these rinks offer a delightful way to embrace the holiday spirit and create lasting memories.
3. Explore the Holiday Markets
Explore the charming holiday markets scattered throughout the city to get into the festive mood. You can browse unique gifts and enjoy the thrill of Christmas shopping while surrounded by the festive atmosphere at the Union Square Holiday Market, Grand Central Holiday Fair, or Columbus Circle Holiday Market.
One of New York City’s most popular holiday markets is the the Union Square Holiday Market. This market features over 150 sellers of a variety of handcrafted goods, jewelry, art, and foods. You will be captivated by the sights and sounds of artisans at work as you browse the booths while they create one-of-a-kind treasures and seasonal treats.
4. See the Rockefeller Christmas Tree
Of course, your NYC Christmastime bucket list isn’t complete without visiting the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a symbol of holiday cheer and a centerpiece of the city’s festivities. Standing tall and majestic, this towering tree is adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and a magnificent star on top. Take a leisurely stroll around Rockefeller Plaza, marvel at the ice skaters gliding on the rink below, and soak in the festive atmosphere.
5. Window Displays on Fifth Avenue
And no visit to New York City, during Christmastime, is complete without witnessing the world-renowned Macy’s holiday window displays. Each year, the iconic department store showcases elaborate and whimsical scenes that transport viewers into a winter wonderland. Don’t forget to explore Macy’s Santaland, where kids (and the young at heart) can meet Santa Claus and experience the magic of the season.
As you walk along Fifth Avenue, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the whimsical scenes and dazzling lights that radiate from these window displays. Delicate snowflakes, sparkling ornaments, and twinkling lights adorn the glass, enhancing the festive ambiance of the street. The attention to detail is remarkable, with every element carefully chosen to bring a sense of wonder and joy.
6. Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Next, attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is an absolute must for anyone seeking an unforgettable Christmas experience in New York City. This iconic show has been dazzling audiences for decades, enchanting both young and old with its magical performances and exuberant holiday spirit.
Attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is not just a show; it’s a cherished tradition that brings people together year after year. The infectious holiday spirit is palpable as you join the audience in singing along to beloved Christmas carols. It’s a celebration of the season, a reminder of the joy and togetherness that makes Christmas so special.
7. Horse Drawn Carriage Ride Through Central Park
In addition, taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park is worth adding to your NYC Christmastime bucket list. As you step into the carriage, you can feel the excitement building, knowing that you are about to embark on a romantic journey through one of the city’s most iconic locations.
The horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park is more than just a means of transportation. It’s a moment to pause, a chance to soak in the beauty of the city. You can admire the snow-kissed trees, the frozen ponds, and the quiet pathways that seem untouched by time.
Tips for Navigating NYC during Christmastime
Navigating NYC during the holiday season can be overwhelming, but with a few tips, you can make the most of your visit.
First, plan your itinerary in advance and prioritize the attractions and activities that interest you the most. This will help you make the most of your time.
Second, consider using public transportation instead of driving. The city’s subway system is efficient and convenient, allowing you to easily navigate through different neighborhoods.
Lastly, dress warm and be prepared for unpredictable weather. NYC winters can be cold and snowy, so bundle up in layers and wear comfortable shoes for walking. A warm hat, gloves, and a scarf are essential to keep you cozy as you explore the city’s festive attractions.
New York City during Christmastime is a magical dreamscape that belongs on every traveler’s bucket list. From skating at Rockefeller Center to exploring holiday markets, these moments create memories that last a lifetime. So bundle up, grab a scarf, and let the spirit of Christmastime guide you through the streets of the Big Apple.
Do you have another favorite NYC bucket list activity to add? Let me know in the comments!
Save NYC Christmastime Bucket List Things to do on Pinterest!
*This post contains affiliate links meaning at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.*