There’s nothing like the holiday season in New York City. From the legendary tree at Rockefeller Center and light displays illuminating entire neighborhoods to virtual events and outdoor activities, the city has a little something for everyone.

Whether you’re thinking of visiting classic attractions in Manhattan or exploring a new borough this holiday season, we’ve got you covered.

Please note: All events and activities here are outdoors or virtual. Those that are outdoors are subject to COVID-19 rules and changes. Please take the proper precautions, follow city and state guidelines, and visit the sites’ individual websites to get more information.


The Winter Village at Bryant Park
Lace up your skates and enjoy some free ice skating at Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink, just a few blocks from Grand Central. Surrounding the rink are more than 170 shops and food stands where you can grab local gifts or try something new to eat.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Photo by Kelly Prinz.

Explore Rockefeller Center
There’s nothing that screams the holiday season more than the legendary tree at Rockefeller Center. This year’s 79-foot-tall Norway spruce will be up and lit until Jan. 16, so there’s plenty of time to stop by and grab a photo or two. Visitors can also reserve time to skate at the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink for $20 and up, or head up to the Top of the Rock and take in 360-degree outdoor views of the city, with tickets starting at $34.

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Go behind the scenes of The Nutcracker thanks to a new virtual exhibition from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. “Winter Wonderland: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” aims to take viewers through the early years of the classic holiday ballet’s life.


New York Botanical Garden: GLOW
Just across the street from the Rose Hill campus, the New York Botanical Garden has an outdoor exhibit called GLOW, a 1.5 mile outdoor illuminated light spectacle and a holiday night market holiday featuring diverse vendors and booths. Tickets for GLOW are $35 for adults and $20 for children under 12.

Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher, courtesy of the Bronx Zoo.

Bronx Zoo: Holiday Light Show
An immersive light display, more than 260 lanterns of animals and plants, and animated light shows, are just a few of the features of the Holiday Light Show at the Bronx Zoo. Ice carving demonstrations and competitions, a holiday train, wildlife theater, and seasonal treats are also available. Tickets are $39.95 for adults, $34.95 for seniors, and $24.95 for children 3-12.

“Chill Out” at Wave Hill
Enjoy the outdoors at Wave Hill, a public garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades in the Bronx that aims to “connect people to the natural world in meaningful and lasting ways through myriad programs.” During “Chill Out,” visitors are encouraged to explore the winter gardens with the help of expert naturalists, gardeners and wellness guides. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students.


Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour
Walk around the Dyker Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood to see some of the most extravagant decorations in the city. The breathtaking displays feature ground to roof lights, life-size Santas, and Christmas carols coming from the houses. They can be seen from 11th to 13th Avenues (also known as Dyker Heights Blvd) from 83rd to 86th St in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Lightscape
Explore more than 1 million illuminated lights along an enchanting trail that also features a holiday soundtrack. Displays include the Winter Cathedral Tunnel, Fire Garden, and Sea of Light. There will also be displays from local artists, such as a series of poems by author Jacqueline Woodson. Tickets are $34 for adults and $18 for children 3-12.


Queens County Farm Museum: Illuminate the Farm
More than 1,000 lights in hand-crafted lanterns have taken over the Queens Farm as a part of the NYC Winter Lantern Festival. About six acres of the historic farmland are now a field of illuminated farm animals, vegetables, flowers, holiday delights, and more. Tickets are $24.99 for adults and $16.99 for children 3-12. From Dec. 24 to Jan 2, adult tickets are $29.99.

Ice skating at Bryant Park. Photo by Kelly Prinz.

Queens Botanical Garden
Step outside and take in an outdoor exhibit by artists from Kew Gardens called “Here, There, and Everywhere.” The exhibit was “was born of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic stress and political division it engendered,” and aims to remind visitors of the “beauty of the world, its strangeness and its transience, and employ the power of imagination.”

Staten Island

Winter Lanterns at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
As part of the NYC Winter Lantern Festival, seven acres of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden will be lit up with 27 LED holiday installations. Along with the lights display, a variety of holiday vendors will be on hand to create a festive experience. Admission is free.