6 Things to do in New York around Christmas
New York City is probably one of the most iconic holiday destinations in world – just think about how many classic Christmas movies take place there (Home Alone, Elf, Die Hard). When you imagine spending the holidays in a big city, you probably picture the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, the festive window displays on 5th Avenue or just taking a snowy stroll through Central Park.
The city is always fascinating, but especially charming at this festive season, with holiday pop-up stores, special shows, sweet treats and a strong likelihood of snow! If you’re planning to study English in New York this December, or even just stop by for a few days on vacation, make sure you embrace the holiday spirit and visit some of the best holiday attractions the city has to offer.
1. Go ice-skating in Central Park
During the fall and winter, Central Park is a holiday attraction on its own. The ponds, trails and bridges transform into a true winter wonderland when snow hits the city. If you are looking for a fun holiday activity in the heart of the city, a great option is visiting one of the two ice-skating rinks located inside Central Park.
The Wollman Rink, which offers an amazing view of the surrounding buildings, is located on the east side, very close to the Central Park Zoo. The Lasker Rink is located mid-Park between 106th and 108th Streets. Both rinks offer skate rentals.
2. Visit the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center
Between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Rockefeller plaza is home to one of the tallest Christmas trees in the US. This year the 75-foot tall tree comes from State College, Pennsylvania.
The plaza also features a seasonal ice-staking rink, with a prime view of the tree and the skyscrapers in the area. Rockefeller Center will be suited in Christmas décor from November, running all the way through to early January 2020.
3. Indulge in some tasty holiday donuts
A holiday getaway to NYC would not be complete without treating yourself to some tasty festive sweets. While you could probably find any pastry, chocolate or candy you want in New York, there is something special about the city’s doughnuts. The soft dough and the sticky coat are the perfect complement for the hot cup of coffee that will keep you warm during your outings.
There are plenty of quaint doughnut shops you can check out across the city. Stop by Dough Doughnuts to try the dulce de leche almonds, lemon poppy, hibiscus, and passion fruit doughnuts. The Doughnut Project offers a killer maple bacon doughnut, a brown butter carrot doughnut and even a prosecco doughnut! Doughnut Plant has classics such as cinnamon sugar, coffee cake and vegan dark chocolate doughnuts.
4. Check out the Plaza Hotel on Central Park South
Our school is on Columbus Circle so it's easy to enjoy the Holiday market on Central Park South, which is right by the Plaza Hotel, on 59th Street and 5th Avenue, and a must visit. The iconic hotel is an amazing representative of early twentieth century architecture and is a notorious NYC landmark. The hotel has been featured in a number of famous Christmas movies and including the timeless classic, Home Alone.
5. Let yourself be dazzled by a Broadway show
Any time of the year is a great time to go to a Broadway show, especially if you have never seen one before. But during the holiday season, Broadway goes all out with daily performances of all the Christmas classics. If you’re in NYC this December, you can check out Christmas-themed musicals and ballets such as The Grinch, The Nutcracker and Anastasia.
While some tickets might seem pricey, Broadway performances are incredible productions and you won’t leave disappointed. If you are looking to save some money, you can try entering a Broadway ticket lottery.
6. Stroll through a holiday market
With handcrafted ornaments, unique jewelry, books, posters and other interesting gifts, the holiday markets around New York are the perfect stops if you’re looking for unique gifts and mementos. There are plenty of holiday markets open throughout December, offering visitors the opportunity to shop in some of the coolest neighborhoods in the city.
Some of the most impressive markets are located in Columbus Circle right on Central Park South and 8th Avenue, in Bryant Park on 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues and in Union Square Park on 14th Street and Park Avenue.
New York is one of the world’s most exciting cities – with plenty of things to do all-year-round. Find out more about studying in our flagship New York Central Park school.