Christmas lights and decorations in New York

Light up your Christmas with our guide to the best Christmas light displays and decorations in New York.

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  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    dykerhlights18

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    dykerhlights20

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

    Pictured: Tony Muia, the guide of the Christmas Lights and Cannoli tour

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Dyker Heights Christmas lights and decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn


As the days grow shorter and darker, the strings of twinkling Christmas lights in New York grow longer and brighter. After you've polished off your holiday shopping or gone ice skating in Central Park, check out these glittering displays for a dose of cold-weather cheer. After all, there's more to NYC at Christmas than the Rockefeller Center spruce.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York guide

Christmas lights in New York

Holiday lights in Dyker Heights

  • Critics choice

On the day after Thanksgiving, the neighborhood of Dyker Heights undergoes a transformation, as residents along several blocks in the area festoon their homes with elaborate holiday decorations. And we're not talking about a Christmas tree or a simple nativity scene: Among the kitschy pieces you might see are life-size reindeer, huge inflatable Santas and snowmen, Christmas carols blaring from loudspeakers and tens of thousands of lights. Before you join the curious onlookers who

Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

More than 100,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to this south Brooklyn nabe every December to see larger-than-life Christmas displays, which in past years have included massive nutcrackers, silicone Santas, and hundreds of thousands of sparkling holiday lights. For the optimum twinkly experience, sign up for Tony Muia’s Christmas Lights and Cannoli tour. The three-and-half-hour bus jaunt takes you through the ’hood’s best spectacles and ends with cannoli and hot cocoa for

  1. Location TBA
  2. Mon Dec 1 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Holiday Under the Stars

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out Time Warner Center’s state-of-the-art holiday light display. The spectacle features a dozen 14-foot LED stars that do a colorful “dance,” flashing more than 16.7 million color mixes in time to classic Yuletide tunes. You’ll be so moved, you won’t even care that you maxed out your MasterCard getting Aunt Judy that back massager she’s been wanting. When you're done marveling, don't forget to check out the ten new stores

  1. Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle, at Broadway and 59th St
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

Winter Garden Holiday Lights

  • Critics choice
  • Free

A holiday tradition since 1989, the display features 50,000 twinkling white lights that are strung throughout the Winter Garden, transforming the glass-enclosed atrium into a festive wonderland.

  1. World Financial Center Winter Garden 200 Vesey St, at West St
  2. Until Thu Jan 3
More info

Snowflake Spectacular

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Great White North descends on Saks Fifth Avenue’s ten-story facade this season. This year’s LED holiday light projection features snow flurries and a yeti, who according to a tie-in tale by Daily Monster creator Stefan J. Bucher, came down from Siberia to live on the roof of the department store (as is the wont of fashion-conscious horror beasts the world over). The two-minute show repeats every seven to eight minutes and ties in with the Snowflake Spectacular display in

  1. Saks Fifth Avenue 611 Fifth Ave, at 49th St
  2. Mon Jan 13
More info

Christmas decorations in New York

New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Within Grand Central Terminal you’ll find the New York Transit Museum’s eleventh annual Holiday Train Show, an ode to all kinds of locomotives. You’ll feel positively giant while wandering around the 34-foot-long display, festooned with miniature versions of city landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. Watch as Lionel model trains travel over the river (the East River, to be exact) and through the woods to reach their final destination, the north pole.

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Until Sun Feb 23
More info

Holiday Train Show

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

In NYBG's wildly popular diorama, more than a dozen model railway trains traverse an incredibly detailed New York City scene, including such landmarks as the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall, made of natural materials such as leaves, twigs, bark and berries.

  1. New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Pkwy, at Fordham Rd
  2. Wed Nov 26 - Mon Jan 19
More info

Christmas window displays in New York

Macy's holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Macy's is sticking with the classics this year: The venerable department store's window displays will pay homage to Yuletide traditions through history in "The Magic of Christmas."

  1. Macy's 151 W 34th St, at Seventh Ave
  2. Sat Dec 20 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Bloomingdale's holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Bloomingdale's is getting acrobatic this holiday season, with window displays that depict scenes from Cirque du Soleil's new cinematic offering, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.

  1. Bloomingdale's 1000 Third Ave, at 59th St
  2. Thu Dec 4 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Henri Bendel holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Henri Bendel has partnered with the Brooklyn Museum to create storefront displays that evoke 1920s fashion. The main window has been tricked out to look like the department store's interior of 90 years ago, complete with mannequins wearing outfits inspired by actual Bendel designs from that era.

  1. Henri Bendel 712 Fifth Ave, at 56th St
  2. Until Thu Jan 1
More info

Lord & Taylor holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Lord & Taylor marks the 75th anniversary of its annual festive displays with windows depicting a globe-trotting Santa Claus making the most of his day off.

  1. Lord & Taylor 424 Fifth Ave, between 38th and 39th Sts
  2. Until Sun Dec 29
More info
See more Christmas window displays in New York

Christmas trees in New York

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The lineup has not yet been set for this year's festive celebration, so check the Rockefeller Center website for updates. Proceedings start at 7pm, but the area is always mobbed, so get there as early as you can. The actual lighting takes place at the end of the program; most of the two-hour event is devoted to celebrity performances (Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and Michael Bublé have been among the recent human luminaries). Then the 30,000 energy-efficient LEDs covering the massive evergreen are switched on to mass oohs and aahs. If you’d rather gouge out your eyeballs with the tree’s nine-and-a-half-foot-diameter Swarovski-crystal star than brave the crush, there’s plenty of time during the holiday season to view the tree at your leisure.

  1. Rockefeller Plaza Fifth and Sixth Aves, between 48th and 49th Sts
  2. Wed Dec 3
More info

Origami Holiday Tree

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

More than 500 handmade origami ornaments adorn the holiday season's craftiest Christmas tree. This year's theme is "Museum’s Collections," so keep your eyes peeled for baubles representing exhibits and creatures from the AMNH’s trove, including lemurs, spiders, monkeys and even a murder of crows.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St
  2. Wed Nov 26 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Park Avenue Memorial Trees

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The 104 balsam firs that line Park Avenue are more than just festive holiday adornments: The topiaries were first lit in 1945 in remembrance of those who lost their lives during World War II. The tradition continues to this day, and each tree is strung with 25 strands of white lights. Park Ave between 54th and 96th Sts.

Madison Square Park Tree Lighting

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In 1912, this park lit the first community Christmas tree in America. According to the park's conservancy, a wealthy local organized the ceremony when a visitor told him of "his loneliness...during the holiday season." The lighting retains its neighborly vibe, with a performance by kindie band AudraRox. All ages.

  1. Madison Square Park E 23rd St to E 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Tue Dec 9
More info


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