Covid-19 has robbed us of many things this year from sporting events and concerts to large gatherings and even small family get-togethers. But one thing the virus can’t steal is the Christmas spirit!
New York City is known for its magic and wonder. Whether you’re shopping on 5th Avenue, taking in a show on Broadway, or strolling in Central Park, there’s no shortage of rich history in the Big Apple.
Are you thinking of visiting NYC for Christmas festivities this year, but aren’t sure what’s available?
Our guide will provide the inside info on things to do, places to see, and city parking so that you don’t miss a minute of the action!
1. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Nothing says New York quite like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting. An event that’s been around since 1931, this magical tradition was started by a group of construction workers.
Men who were thankful to have jobs during the Great Depression purchased a 20-foot Christmas tree and decorated it with streamers, tin cans, and handmade garland.
Now, nearly 100 years later, the tradition is one that people travel far and wide to experience. The tree is first lit on December 3rd and shines brightly until January 7th.
Visitors can see the Rockefeller tree in all its wonder while ice skating nearby (more on this in a minute) or strolling to Central Park.
2. Botanical Garden Glow
If you love flowers as much as you love Christmas lights, you can’t afford to miss the New York Botanical Garden Glow.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the garden is adding an all-new outdoor experience which includes illuminating the landmark’s landscape for 14 nights.
Guests are greeted by energy-efficient LED lights, festive installations, ice carvings, and dance performances. These are just a few of the magical features offered a this year’s event.
Tickets are available (and mandatory) for purchase online.
3. The Bronx Zoo Winter Wonderland
Are you looking for Christmas festivities to enjoy with your children? Look no further than the Bronx Zoo’s Winter Wonderland.
This holiday event combines adorable animals, gorgeous lights, and the magic and wonder of Christmas. Enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate as you stroll through the zoo’s lantern safari.
Amazing light-up animal features include creatures from habitats across the globe like caribou, gorillas, flamingos, and even sharks. After you’re done experiencing the magical safari, sit back and enjoy an intense ice carving competition!
Tickets are available for $34.95 on select dates in November and December.
4. Statue and Skyline Holiday Cocoa Cruise
Speaking of hot chocolate, Christmas in NYC wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a warm cup of cocoa while people watching.
Although the annual Union Square Market is closed for 2020, NYC is creating a new tradition that takes guests on a magical tour of the skyline by boat.
Visitors enjoy a unique skyline cruise that includes holiday decorations, Christmas music, and steamy beverages. The Statue and Skyline Holiday Cocoa Cruise welcomes guests aboard a 1920s vintage-style motor yacht called the Manhattan.
Take in the sights and wonder of picturesque NYC, including the Statue of Liberty!
5. Empire State Building Holiday Musical Light Show
Like Lady Liberty, the Empire State Building is another iconic NYC structure. Celebrate the season by taking in the technicolor light display and seasonal sounds of the world-famous tower.
From Saturday, December 19th until Christmas day, New Yorkers can experience a beautifully orchestrated light and song display that embodies the Christmas spirit. The light show is designed by Marc Brickman and includes classic numbers by artists like John Legend and Carrie Underwood.
Tune into iHeartRadio’s Z100 or LiteFM each night at 8 pm and enjoy the music and choreographed light show. Park nearby or drive by as you take in the sights and sounds of the season.
6. Holiday Window Displays
New York City is notorious for world-class shopping. During the Christmas season, the window displays of the stores and shops are some of the most beautiful and detailed in all the world.
Famous NYC stores including Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, and Bloomingdale’s are known for showing off their holiday spirit in a big way. While their main goal is to advertise and showcase this season’s top-selling items, these retailers are also embracing the wonder and joy of Christmas.
Bundle up and stroll the city street’s as you take-in these breathtaking window displays. Apps like ParkMobile make it easy and convenient to find parking close-by to all the must-see stores.
7. The Brooklyn Nutcracker
Does your Christmas feel incomplete without a seasonal show? Although the Rockettes aren’t flying high this year, you can still take-in another holiday tradition — the Nutcracker.
If you don’t mind traveling just outside NYC, the Brooklyn Ballet will present excerpts from the beloved Nutcracker on select nights in December. The jewel-box window display where the dancers perform is almost as breathtaking as the elegant dance moves.
The audience must adhere to social distancing requirements and mask mandates during this picturesque outdoor performance.
8. Turnstyle Underground Market
Shopping is all part of the Christmas festivities. While some stores and malls are closed, the Turnstyle Underground Market is open for business at the 59th St-Columbus Circle station.
Most people associate the subway with commuting, but this holiday season is different. Guests can browse countless eateries, pop-up shops, and kiosks lining the underground railway. You’ll find everything from wine and fine cheese to doughnuts, ornaments, and gifts.
Entry is free!
Enjoy All the Christmas Festivities That NYC Has to Offer
It’s a sad truth that Christmas this year just won’t be the same. But don’t fret!
With so many Christmas festivities available in iconic New York City, you’re just a car ride away from holiday activities to lift your spirits.
ParkMobile makes it easy and convenient to access all of your favorite events.
Our tips and demos page makes navigating our app the most stress-free part of your holiday season!