The Definitive Guide to Christmas in NYC

No matter how many times you’ve visited New York City, if you’ve never had the opportunity to experience NYC during the holiday season, you should start planning your next trip — yesterday. There’s no other city quite like New York, and New York knows how to bring it’s own distinct flavor to the holiday season. From parades, to shows, to Christmas shopping unrivaled by anywhere in the world, NYC has been spreading it’s own brand of holiday cheer for decades — and it’s definitely an experience that should be on your travel bucket list. From the traditional to the quirky, we’re bringing you the definitive guide to Christmas in NYC.

See a Show

If you want to see a show, NYC is the place to be any time of year, and the holidays are no exception. In true NYC style, shows range from classic to quirky, so there’s something sure to please everyone. For a more traditional holiday feel, check out the high kicks of the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, or The New York City Ballet’s rendition of The Nutcracker. If culture is what you seek, the New York Philharmonic puts on a performance of Handel’s Messiah each year. For a quirkier, racier twist on the holiday season New York is home to many a holiday-themed drag or burlesque show.

Brunch with Santa

If there’s a meal NYC is known for, it’s brunch. And if you visit New York without taking part in it’s favorite meal at least once, you’re certainly missing out — no matter what time of year it is. During the Christmas season, many restaurants offer a brunch with Santa to add a festive twist. For an all-inclusive NYC holiday brunch experience, check out the Sea Grill Santa Brunch in Rockefeller Center.

Kids can enjoy visits and gifts from Santa, carolers, and the opportunity to eat gingerbread for breakfast. Adults will enjoy the included mimosas and bloody marys — though you may not want to indulge in too many before you take advantage of the opportunity to skate on Rockefeller’s famous ice rink, which is included with your ticket.

Take a Holiday Tour

If you’re looking for a little guidance on your NYC holiday excursion, there are plenty of tours to help lead the way. For a mix of Christmas, art, and consumerism, check out a Holiday Window Walking Tour. If Christmas lights are what get you into the holiday spirit, check out the Cocoa and Cannoli Tour of the Italian-American sections of Dyker Heights, known for it’s over-the-top light displays. If you’re a holiday movie buff, check out the Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Tour, where you’ll get to see some scenes from your favorite holiday movies as you drive past.

Get Into the Christmas Spirits

Maybe you’re like for a bit more – ahem – spirited approach to the NYC holiday scene. New York City’s bars aren’t immune to the Christmas mania that spreads throughout the city this time of year. Check out the controversial Santacon if you’re not looking to endear yourself to the locals, many of whom are calling for an end to this raucous holiday tradition. If you’re looking for a more widely accepted holiday bar crawl, the West Village’s Twelve Bars of Christmas may be more your speed. For something off the beaten path, check out Miracle¬†on 9th Street, a holiday-themed pop-up bar open through the 23rd that showcases it’s selection of spirited drinks on Christmas Cards.

Are you an NYC local or enthusiast who knows of some awesome activities in the city to get you into the holiday spirit? Let everyone know your thoughts in the comments.