The holiday season is a time for joy, togetherness, and creating FUN memories with friends and family. New York City is the perfect place to do this! Whether you're looking for free or paid activities, there are plenty of opportunities to have some fun during this festive time of the year. Let's explore five exciting activities that will help you make the most of the holiday season in NYC.
- The Amazing Holiday Light Displays
Gather your loved ones and visit Rockefeller Center, the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue just around the corner, or go on a walking tour of the magnificent neighborhoods of NYC, such as the West Village, Mulberry St. in Little Italy, or the beautiful shops along Madison Ave on the upper east side to enjoy the dazzling holiday light displays.
Consider visiting a local botanical garden - there are a few in NYC: the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the New York Botanical Garden, the Central Park Conservancy and Queens Botanic Garden. These places often feature stunning light displays, immersive decorations, and entertainment for a more extravagant but memorable holiday experience.
- Baking and Cookie Decorating
If you’re local to NYC, host a holiday baking day at home with friends or family. Everyone can contribute their favorite recipes, and you can spend the day baking cookies and treats. It's an affordable and heartwarming way to bond and enjoy delicious homemade goodies.
If you’re visiting, or local, check out a holiday baking or cookie decorating class at a local culinary school or bakery. Sur La Table in Soho offers holiday cooking classes! These classes provide expert guidance, and you'll get to take home your creations. It's a fantastic way to learn new skills with friends, have some fun, and enjoy tasty treats.
- Outdoor Ice Skating
It’s a NYC holiday tradition and you have several options that are all amazing: The Rink at Bryant Park, The Rink at Rockefeller Center, and Wollman Rink in Central Park. Each venue offers a festive and fun way to get into the holiday spirit.
- Holiday Movie Marathon and/or Tours
If you’re local to NYC, set up a cozy movie night at home with classic holiday films. Pop some popcorn, snuggle under warm blankets with hot cocoa or a warmed hot toddy, and enjoy timeless movies like, "It's a Wonderful Life," "Home Alone," or "A Christmas Carol" without spending a dime.
If you’re visiting, or local, check local theaters and outdoor venues for special holiday movie screenings. Some theaters host themed movie nights with extra perks like sing-along sessions, costume contests, and interactive elements for a more cinematic and immersive experience. There’s also fun holiday movie activities like a NYC Christmas Movie Tour, New York Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Bus Tour, the Midtown Holiday Movie Locations Scavenger Hunt, or explore the city tracking down your favorite holiday movie spots!
Volunteering is the true spirit of the holiday season and there are many ways to give back to the community and those in need, especially in NYC. Consider volunteering your time at a local food bank, homeless shelter, or charity organization. Many organizations are looking for donations of gifts for children and coats or blankets for the homeless.
A few places to consider:
The feeling you get from helping those less fortunate to have some comfort and to be shown some love is an incredibly rewarding way to make a positive impact and spread joy during the holidays.
No matter your budget or preferences, there are numerous ways to have some fun during the holiday season in New York City. From the simple pleasures of homemade goodies to the grandeur of holiday light displays, the holidays offer something special for everyone. So, take this opportunity to create unforgettable moments with your loved ones—whether you’re in NYC or not—and embrace the magic of the season.
With love & light,