What could be more festive than Christmas in New York City? The entire city lights up, shop windows glow, and delicious smells drift through the air.
NYC is one of the best Christmas destinations in the USA. While it is a little different this year, there is still plenty to do for visitors and locals alike. Here are Christmas Things to Do in New York City 2020.
Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights
The Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights are a festive Christmas treat not to be missed.
Highlights include an ice carving competition, costumed characters, stiltwalkers, and a lantern safari featuring glittering versions of the zoo’s real-life animals.
Social distancing precautions are being taken, so check the website for detailed information. Tickets are required and must be reserved in advance.
Date: Select dates November 20, 2020 through January 10, 2021.
Admission: Tickets starting at $22.95
Location: 2300 Southern Boulevard Bronx, New York 10460
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a 75 feet tall Norway Spruce, 45 feet wide, and weighs 11 tons. Hailing from Oneonta, New York, it is between 75 – 80 years old. There are more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights on the tree.
Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the three dimensional Swarovski star on top of the tree weighs approximately 900 pounds (408.23 kg) and features 70 spikes covered in 3 million crystals.
The Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes place December 1 with no public access this year but visiting hours are daily from 6am – 12am. On Christmas Day, the Tree is lit for 24 hours.
Dates: Daily from 6 am–12 am until TBD
Location: 30 Rockefeller PlazaNew York, NY 10112
Randall’s Island LuminoCity Festival
LuminoCity Festival, on Randalls Island Park in the middle of the East River, features “a combination of traditional art of Chinese lantern festivals with modern design and unique storytelling.”
The stunning light displays follow Lumi, an animated light bulb, on adventures near and far, making it fun for the whole family.
COVID-19 precautions include masks, temperature checks, and limited entry per time slot. Tickets must be reserved in advance, check the website for more information.
Date: November 27 – January 10
Admission: Tickets start at $22
Location: 20 Randalls Island Park, New York, NY 10035
Winter Village at Bryant Park
Nothing says Christmas like strolling through an open air market with hot cocoa in hand.
At Winter Village at Bryant Park, you will find the Holiday Shops with handmade gifts and unique finds from artisans all over the world.
Stop by the Lodge as you browse for festive vendors serving Christmas classics like cocoa and spiced cider donuts.
You can also take a break from shopping at the Bryant Park Ice Skating Rink. Admission is free and skate rental starts at $21.
Winter Village is open for 2020 a completely outdoor event with social distancing procedures in place.
Face masks are required, and skating capacity is limited on the rink. For more details, head to website.
Date: through December 24
Admission: Free to stop by, items and concessions for sale
Location: Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Shine Bright at Hudson Yards
Experience one of a kind set pieces and over 2 million lights illuminating all of Hudson Yards along with contactless holiday shopping, seasonal flavors and don’t forget to bring the kids to the Santa Station for a virtual visit at the North Pole.
Location: Hudson Yards, 501 West 30th Street, NYC 10001
230 Fifth Igloo Bar
For something a little different, drink up the Christmas spirit at Midtown’s beloved Igloo Bar, with individual heated igloos perfect for social distancing.
They specialize in delicious, festive cocktails like spiked hot chocolate, and the Christmapolitan with vodka, vermouth, spiced cranberry, and rosemary.
Reservations are taken, but walk-ins are welcome. See the website for more details.
Date: Open now through 2021 – M-F 3-10, Sat-Sun 12-10
Admission: Drinks start at $10
Location: 230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
The New York Botanical Gardens are bringing back the Holiday Train Show in appreciation for their patrons and members.
The display includes model trains zipping through a recreation of famous New York landmarks fashioned out of natural materials like birch bark, acorns, and cinnamon sticks.
The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center are all featured against a backdrop of beautiful lights and lush greenery.
Tickets are available to members and patrons only this year for social distancing purposes, but memberships are still available, and proceeds go toward expanding biodiversity and eco-friendly education in NYC’s most beautiful green spaces.
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2020 – Sunday, January 31, 2021
Admission: Membership starts at $90
Location: 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10458.