Here are some New York City vacation activities not to be missed

The holiday season is in full swing in New York City!

Many neighborhoods and shops are really hip this time of year, allowing New Yorkers and tourists to create lasting memories. Here are a few things to do around New York City this holiday season.

Classic NYC vacation activities

Macy’s at Herald Square
151 W 34th Street, Midtown.

Nobody celebrates the holidays like Macy’s in Herald Square. In addition to the endless Christmas shopping to do at the store, Macy’s is opening its legendary Santaland so kids have a chance to meet the great man in person. Photo packs start at $39.99. If you can’t make it in person, virtual options are available for Christmas visits. Reservations for in-person and virtual Christmas visits are available at macys.com.

Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Plaza, November 30

Each year, the spectacle of the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting ceremony draws thousands of people. This year will feature Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, as well as Immie Allen, Andrea Bocelli along with Matteo Bocelli and Virginia Bocelli, David Foster and Katharine McPhee, Brett Eldredge, Mickey Guyton, Alicia Keys, the Muppets of Sesame Street, Dan + Shay, the Shindellas, Louis York and more. If you can’t make it in person or want to avoid the crowds, catch the 8 p.m. ceremony and performances on NBC

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is illuminated in New York on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.(Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer)

NYBG Holiday Train Show
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx. Until January 16, 2023.

A time-honored holiday tradition, the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show is sure to add to your holiday to-do list. Model trains pass over 190 replicas of famous NYC landmarks, all made from natural materials. Admission is free with the cost of entry to the garden starting at $30 for adults and $15 for children.

Ice skating in the parks
Several locations

There are several ways to get on the ice this holiday season. Between the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center, the Wollman Rink in Central Park, the newly opened Ice Rink in Industry City, and the Ice Rink at the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park (to name a few), there are plenty of things to do throughout the city a nice skating trip with family and friends. The prices vary depending on the railway.

Christmas spectacle with the Radio City Rockettes
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Ave, Midtown.

Every year, the Radio City Rockettes put on the show of a lifetime: the Christmas Spectacular. Watch these dancers bring the holiday season to life on stage and get in the Christmas spirit! Tickets start at $90.

November 6, 2019: Dress rehearsal for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Radio City Rockettes.Courtesy of MSG Entertainment

light festival

Brooklyn’s largest Hanukkah Menorah ceremony
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. 18-25 December

Kick off the Hanukkah season by attending the lighting of Brooklyn’s tallest menorah at Grand Army Plaza. On December 18, the ceremony begins at 4 p.m. with a special concert to set the mood. Visitors can also enjoy hot latkes and gifts for children.

Bronx Zoo Christmas Lights
2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx. Until January 8, 2023.

The popular Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights are a holiday staple for many New Yorkers. Life-size animal lanterns illuminate the zoo after dark, depicting scenes from different geographies and ecosystems. Plus, you can enjoy live entertainment, festive treats, the holiday train, and more. Tickets start at $39.95 for adults, $24.95 for children and $34.95 for seniors.

Landscape of light in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn. Until January 8, 2023.

Hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Lightscape is one of the largest light shows in New York City. Get dressed and stroll the illuminated outdoor holiday path, with over a million lights stretching almost the entire length of the garden. Tickets start at $40 for adults and $20 for children.

Photo courtesy of Lightscape

NYBG GLOW
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx. Until January 14, 2023

Get ready to glow! The New York Botanical Garden’s GLOW has returned for its third holiday season. Explore the garden’s landscape after dark as it is illuminated by multiple bright and twinkling lights. Tickets start at $39 for adults and $24 for children. The experience is open from 5pm to 10pm on certain days. Check the NYBG website for dates.

Amazon Light Festival
Citi Field, 41 Seaver Way, Queens. Until January 8, 2023.

It’s the home of the Amazin’ Mets for the Amaze Light Festival! The festival kicked off its run in New York City on November 16 with iconic light displays calling for photo opportunities, a Christmas market for shopping, and multiple treats for purchase. Tickets start at $36 for children and $44 for adults with the option to add a VIP upgrade for an additional $50.

Amazon Light FestivalPhoto courtesy of Amaze Light Festival

Holiday markets/fairs

Unmissable Bushwick Holiday Market
1329 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn. 26 Nov and 10 Dec

There’s still time to shop locally at the Essential Bushwick Holiday Market! This market offers a ton of opportunities to find vintage, handcrafted, and locally sourced goods for everyone on your shopping list. The market is open on November 26 and December 10 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park
Until March 5, 2023.

Back and better than ever, the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park is an annual favorite for vacation fun and shopping. Between free ice skating, multiple shops to browse, and food and drink to enjoy, there’s something for everyone here. The shops are open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m

Grand Central Holiday Fair
Vanderbilt Hall, 89 E 42nd Street. Until December 24th.

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the Grand Central Holiday Fair is back! The longest-running indoor holiday fair in New York City, Grand Central Holiday Fair features dozens of local vendors and small businesses focused on quality crafts and products made here in New York as well as the rest of the United States . The fair is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m

Grand Central Terminal, New York, at night; Commuters make their way to the train home.Photo via Getty Images

Holiday market in Union Square
Union Square, 14th Street. Until December 24th.

Come rain or shine, Union Square Holiday Market is another New York City holiday shopping staple. Stands are set up around the square with various options for gifts, snacks and more. The shops are open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m

Christmas Market at Columbus Circle
Columbus Circle, Manhattan. Until December 24th

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is an internationally recognized market that New Yorkers return to year after year. From groceries and treats to jewelry and homewares, these craft vendors will have something on your list for everyone. The shops are open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Artechouse: Spectacular Factory – The Holiday Multiverse
439 W 15th Street, Chelsea. Until January 8, 2023.

Take part in a truly interactive winter wonderland with an artistic twist. Embark on a dazzling journey through immersive digital worlds that are equal parts dreamy and holiday cheer. Tickets start at $25. Artechouse is open daily from 10am to 10pm

Photo courtesy of the Paley Museum

PaleyLand’s annual holiday extravaganza
Paley Museum, 25 W 52nd St., Midtown. Until January 8, 2023.

Be curious! PaleyLand at the Paley Museum kicks off the holiday season with all sorts of family fun! With special film screenings, visits to see Santa (and some of your other favorite characters), and exhibitions to explore, you’ll be here all day before you know it. Paley members receive free admission, exclusive early VIP access and a free photo with Santa. Visit paleycenter.org for a full schedule.

Winter Wonderland “The Santas”.
Watermark at Pier 15, The Seaport. Until January 15, 2023.

Hosted by Bucket Listers, this new pop-up is an immersive experience inspired by the premiere of the Disney+ original series, The Santa Clauses. Get a real taste of Christmas with seasonal treats and photo ops, including one with old St. Nick himself. Be sure to bundle up, as most of these experiences take place outdoors. Tickets start at $20 with multiple time slots throughout the day.

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