As one of the world’s most iconic holiday destinations, there’s a long list of festive experiences and events in all five boroughs of NYC through Mid-January. Here are some of the most popular things to do and see in my hometown. Happy Holidays!
New Years Eve Times Square Ball Drop
December 31–January 1 | Times Square, Manhattan
One of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world, with millions of people crowding Times Square to watch the descent of the sparkling Waterford crystal ball, to usher in 2023. Millions more view the broadcast in NYC and around the globe.
Guests can also stop by the New Year’s Eve Confetti Wishing Wall through December 29 to submit in person or online to make wish for the New Year on a piece of official NYE confetti. Your wish becomes part of the confetti dropped at midnight as the ball drops.
The “2023” numerals were towed into Times Square by an all-new 2023 Kia Telluride X-Pro SUV after completing a 2,795-mile coast-to-coast trip that started November 28th at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles. For the third consecutive year, Kia America is the Official Sponsor of the New Year’s Eve Countdown.
Most remain in place through the first full weekend of the new year. That means through Sunday, Jan 8.
The world-famous iconic Rockefeller Center tree stays up until Jan. 14, after which it is recycled into planks for homes built by non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, and mulch.
A Christmas Carol, a one-man show on Broadway
Till January 1 | Midtown Manhattan
In this astonishing Broadway adaptation, Tony Award–winning actor Jefferson Mays tackles more than 50 roles in this season’s limited run of A Christmas Carol at the Nederlander Theatre.
The beloved Dickens story featuring notable characters—Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the four ghosts—will be making its return for the first time since 2019 and will enchant theatergoers with its redemptive story.
DREAM BIG: Big Apple Circus 45th Anniversary
Through January 1 | Lincoln Center, Upper West Side, Manhattan
The Big Apple Circus is back for its 45th anniversary season and invites visitors to experience the excitement of its dazzling newest extravaganza: DREAM BIG!
For eight weeks only, Big Top at Lincoln Center will be home to astonishing wonders and daring acrobatics, setting imaginations soaring to the most astounding, awe-inspiring heights.
NYC Winter Lantern Festival: Journey to the East
Till January 8 | St. George, Staten Island
The NYC Winter Lantern Festival is back for its fourth year to transform a new venue, SIUH Community Park in Staten Island, into an immersive world of light.
Visitors will enjoy over eight acres of luminescence in addition to a live DJ, projection mapping, food vendors and more.
Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden
Till January 16 | Bedford Park, the Bronx
The Holiday Train Show—a favorite holiday tradition—has been making memories for more than 30 years.
Visitors enjoy dozens of model trains zipping through an enchanting display of more than 190 replicas of New York City landmarks, each delightfully re-created from natural materials such as birch bark, lotus pods and cinnamon sticks.
Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights
Till January 8 | Bronx Park, the Bronx
With more than 360 lanterns representing nearly 90 animal and plant species, Bronx Zoo’s family-centric holiday lights festival will connect visitors with real wildlife and wild places.
During the evenings, the park comes to life with holiday cheer as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns (with some life-size, some larger-than-life-size) and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. The celebration is complete with seasonal treats, classic holiday music and other festive entertainment. It’s a beloved tradition is sure to enchant visitors of all ages, making it the perfect way to kick off the holidays this year.
Summit One Vanderbilt
Now rated as the No. 1 tourist attraction in NYC, this high-floor observation deck in Midtown is closed Jan. 17-31.
Alternatives are Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and One World Trade Center.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Through March | Midtown Manhattan
The world-famous ice-skating rink will return for the holiday season for visitors to skate under the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a quintessential NYC experience. In collaboration with Coach, Rockefeller Center will unveil this year’s activations, including a bespoke holiday gift shop, custom hospitality cart serving special treats, and live onsite patch customization for a curated line of Coach products.
Santa will join visitors on the ice in December.
There also are ice skating rinks in Bryant Park and Central Park in Midtown, and downtown at Westgate. Also, there are ice skating rinks in other NYC boroughs.
City Cruises Holiday-Themed Cruises
Throughout the holiday season | Manhattan
Enjoy a NYC Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s dining cruise, among others, featuring festive decor, meals and stunning views of the City while sailing across the East and Hudson Rivers from the glass-enclosed deck.
NYC Hotel Week: Citywide Discounts
On sale | Citywide
NYC & Company’s second iteration of NYC Hotel Week will return for 2023 alongside signature programs, NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway WeekSM and NYC Must-See WeekSM.
Flagship Store Shopping and Holiday Windows
Throughout the holiday season | Midtown Manhattan
Locals and visitors alike are invited to various flagship stores, such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Cartier, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nieman Marcus and more, to find this season’s most brilliant holiday presents for friends and family, and enjoy holiday decorations including iconic window displays.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as 1st VP of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).
I’m also a native and lifelong New Yorker, the author of four guidebooks about her hometown and the Hudson Valley.
Contact me at email@example.com.
Also follow my NYC website, NYC Travel Guru
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter