December in NYC
December in New York City is an unparalleled hub of holiday cheer! As the city transforms into a dazzling scene, radiating festive vibes through its holiday lights, captivating window displays, and tons of heartwarming activities, it becomes a winter wonderland. New York City in December remains a treasure trove of holiday spirit and delightful experiences waiting to be explored, ensuring an unforgettable holiday season for all. 🎄
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- Explore NYC’s parks: Grab a hot chocolate and stroll through winter wonderlands all over the city.
- Enjoy NYC’s holiday traditions: What sounds better than The Nutcracker on Broadway?
- Explore the holiday markets & gardens: Holiday markets and gardens fill NYC in December.
- Visit museums & uncover history: Warm up from the winter weather in a museum!
- Try a self-guided tour: Tours through Central Park are perfect for getting in the holiday spirit.
- Explore the boroughs & neighbourhoods: Experience all the best boroughs and neighbourhoods in NYC.
- Take photos at dumbo: The perfect winter wonderland photo shoot.
- Go Christmas shopping in SoHo: Delight in the Christmas pop-up shops filled with holiday decorations!
- Experience Times Square: Filled with New Yorkers, holiday lights, and holiday spirit.
- Check out Greenwich Village: A charming neighbourhood to visit, especially in December.
1. Explore NYC’s parks
Exploring New York City’s iconic parks during the winter season unveils a magical experience intertwined with holiday spirit and scenic delights. Central Park, synonymous with the city’s essence, invites visitors on strolls amid frosted trees while clutching steaming cups of hot chocolate ☕️ (a NYC Christmas essential). If you’re looking for more than a winter stroll, be sure to make a pit stop at the ice-skating rink! And don’t miss the light show and vibrant Christmas trees adorning the tranquil Harlem Meer.
For an exceptional outdoor winter adventure, head to the High Line. Built on a historic railway line above Manhattan’s bustling streets, the High Line gives a unique perspective of the Big Apple’s cityscape, especially when covered in snow during the holiday season. Brooklyn Bridge Park offers iconic views of the city filled with winter charm. Families gather for festivities, children delight in the snow, and ice skaters glide across the rink beneath the arches of the historic bridge. ⛸️
2. Enjoy NYC’s holiday traditions
New York City becomes a winter wonderland during this time of the year, infusing every street with Christmas decorations and holiday spirit that’s impossible to miss. Amid the glitz of Broadway, NYC’s theatres come alive with beloved holiday classics such as The Nutcracker, filling the air with seasonal cheer. Take part in cherished traditions like the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Midtown Manhattan, broadcasting nationwide on December 1st. Before your Broadway show, delight in ice skating at Rockefeller Center, Central Park or one of the many other rinks dotting the city. As the year draws to a close, the world’s eyes turn to Times Square, where the legendary New Year’s Eve ball drop takes centre stage.
3. Explore the holiday markets & gardens
Looking to add that final touch to your holiday shopping list before Christmas day? Bryant Park’s Winter Village offers the perfect solution. Wander through this vibrant European-inspired winter village holiday market, showcasing an array of handcrafted treasures from talented artisans. The bustling Union Square Holiday Market buzzes with energy, offering a blend of artisanal crafts, delectable treats, and unique gifts. For families seeking more holiday spirit away from the Christmas markets, the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is an absolute must. Immerse yourself in a miniature cityscape where toy trains weave through replicas of New York City’s iconic landmarks, including Midtown and Fifth Avenue. 🚂
4. Visit museums & uncover history
Once the Christmas-spectacular temperatures set in, take off those scarves and warm up in NYC’s incredible museums! At the MET, marvel at the exquisite Christmas Nativity masterpiece gracing the towering 20-foot Christmas tree. 🎄 Witness over 200 meticulously crafted cherubs, angels and historical figures, evoking the artistry of the 18th century. Over at the American Museum of Natural History, the Origami Christmas Tree awaits, adorned with over 1,000 intricately folded origami pieces. Explore the exhibition halls of museums, such as the MoMa for a dose of art, the 9/11 Memorial and Ellis Island to learn about the expansive history of NYC. Whether you find yourself lost in wonder exploring the window displays or delving into the depths of these cultural gems, New York City promises an enriching holiday season for all.
5. Try a self-guided tour
Turn your wandering into an educational winter adventure with an immersive self-guided audio tour. Try the Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK experience while exploring the winter wonderland of Central Park, where your path intertwines with musical compositions by Philharmonic artists, harmonizing with the park’s landscape. ❄️
If you prefer to tour at your own pace, head to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the famous ice-skating rink. From there, venture into Midtown to admire the holiday window displays along Fifth Avenue, showcasing the artistic creations of department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue. Warm up with a hot chocolate from a cozy cafe nearby before continuing your journey towards Times Square. Embracing the city on a self-guided tour in winter allows you to savour the unique winter beauty that New York City exudes during this special time of the year. ✨
6. Explore the boroughs & neighbourhoods
While a well-planned itinerary is invaluable, there’s unparalleled Christmas spectacular magic in allowing New York City in December to unfold before you. Simply choose a neighbourhood and explore with no destination in mind. Let us share some of our favourite boroughs in NYC! 👟
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7. Take photos at DUMBO
DUMBO – An acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is one of the most visited spots in New York City. Explore the cobblestone streets and the holiday window displays in trendy boutiques while witnessing the backdrop of the Manhattan Bridge. And don’t forget to ice skate underneath the Brooklyn Bridge this winter. DUMBO also makes the perfect winter wonderland setting for photos, especially in the early morning. Capture your winter memories in NYC this year; this way, you can relive your holiday spirit for years to come! 🌉
Top Tip: Read these tips to have the best winter photoshoot! 📸
8. Go Christmas shopping in SoHo
In SoHo, the holiday spirit permeates every corner, attracting New Yorkers and visitors alike into the bustling borough for Christmas shopping. The upscale boutiques, pop-up shops and department stores such as Bloomingdales offer an array of gift options. Not to mention, the window displays and interiors are covered in holiday decorations and light displays! SoHo becomes a winter village where the magic of the holidays meets the cosmopolitan flair of this iconic NYC borough.
Top tip: Trying to shop for the perfect Christmas tree this holiday season? SoHo has the cutest Christmas tree shop open 24 hours a day with a huge variety of options. 🎁
DUMBO – An acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, this area is one of the most-visited spots in New York, and once you arrive, it’s easy to see why. Expansive dining and shopping, incredible views, colourful street art and photogenic industrial architecture make this hip spot walking distance from Manhattan a must-visit.
Need inspo for gifts that aren’t things? Check out our blog on the 10 best experience gifts!
9. Experience Times Square
Experiencing Times Square in December is like stepping into a bustling winter wonderland where the heartbeat of New York City’s energy meets the festive spirit of the holiday season! Times Square transforms with holiday decorations, larger-than-life light displays and tons of excitement. While this iconic spot is not exactly “under the radar,” it’s worth a walk-through this time of the year if you’re visiting NYC for the first time! We recommend an early morning at Top of the Rock for Instagrammable views without the crowds, and it’s just a short walk to the beautiful Bryant Park. 🚕
10. Check out Greenwich Village
Nestled within its bohemian charm, Greenwich Village offers a beautiful blend of culture and art, especially during the holiday season. Among this winter village’s treasures, the highlight of the holiday season is found at the lively Washington Square Park. The park transforms into a winter wonderland scene with its towering Christmas tree and merry carols from locals and visitors. Greenwich Village is a must-see in New York City in December. ☃️
Capturing memories in NYC
Visiting New York City in December is a breathtaking experience perfect for getting in the holiday spirit. From ice skating at Rockefeller Center to marvelling at the holiday window displays on Fifth Avenue, every moment in this vibrant city is a memory in the making. And what better way to capture this than with a Flytographer photo shoot? We can’t wait to capture you and your loved ones and plenty of winter wonderland cheer! ❄️
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Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO
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Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO