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ice rink nyc
Photograph: Shutterstock

NYC events in December 2020

Plan your month with our NYC events in December 2020 guide including holiday markets and and festive food

By Time Out editors
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Get ready for the most wonderful time of the year with the best NYC events in December 2020. This season's highlights include, well, you already know what they are. You can really get into the spirit when you visit one of New York's many holiday markets boasting great gifts for your friends and family as well as tasty provisions. Looking for something less festive? Check out terrific art shows and pop-up holiday bars.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2020

Check out our Winter Village video

Featured NYC events in December 2020

Viator

Dyker Heights Holiday Lights

Things to do

Dyker Heights residents take the holidays very seriously: The houses in this nabe are decked out with thousands of lights, life-size toy soldiers, inflatable Santas and more. Take in all the best displays on this 3.5-hour bus tour.

Winter Village at Bryant Park
Winter Village at Bryant Park
Photograph: Courtesy Angelito Jusay Photography

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Things to do Markets and fairs

The Winter Village at Bryant Park is back this year in all it's holiday glory. On the grounds you can peruse about 60 shopping and food kiosks—all at one of the best NYC parks. This year will be slightly different given new health and safety protocols, but you can expect loads of handmade, unique and New York City-specific gifts for your family and friends. Work up an appetite at the free, 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink and then fill up at the rinkside pop-up restaurant called The Lodge Deck for festive cocktails and hearty food.

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Saks Fifth Avenue holiday windows
Saks Fifth Avenue holiday windows
Photograph: Jena Cumbo

Holiday windows in New York City

Things to do

Half the fun of holiday shopping in New York is ogling the tricked-out window displays along Fifth Avenue that pop up to coincide with the merriest, spendiest time of the year. In between picking out sweaters and great presents from our holiday gift guide, stop outside Macy’s, Barneys and other classic department stores to take in holiday windows that feature famous cartoonists, iconic New York attractions and more.

Photograph: Filip Wolak

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting

Things to do

Lost in New York? Every Christmas, thousands of New Yorkers (and tourists) find their way to the bright and brilliant nexus of town, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Whether you’re stopping by the tree for ice-skating, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, or to see the Lighting Ceremony, you’re certain to feel the magic when you witness the wonder of the Norway Spruce illuminated with more than 45,000 LED lights.

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nyc, bronx zoo holiday lights
nyc, bronx zoo holiday lights
Photograph: Courtesy WCS/Julie Larsen Maher

The Bronx Zoo’s holiday lights

News City Life

The city was buzzing last year when the Bronx Zoo decided to reinstate its beloved holiday light show for the first time since 2007, and the Bronx Zoo’s striking seasonal celebration featuring animated lights and LED displays of safari animals from around the world is returning again this year. This year’s experience will take place in a larger area in the zoo for ample room to social distance, and visitors can expect the zoo to have close to 50 more animal lanterns than last year, and five geographically representative lantern safaris from various corners of the world. Entertainment will include holiday-themed music, ice carvings, costumed characters, stilt walkers, souvenirs and seasonal treats like hot chocolate and s’mores. Starting November 20, you can explore the grounds of the holiday lights festival at the Bronx Zoo. Holiday Lights will be on select dates from November 20 to January 10. All tickets to the show must be purchased in advance this year, and they're available to snag already here

lawns
lawns
Photograph: Relevent on behalf of The Howard Hughes Corporation

The Greens winter cabins at Pier 17

News City Life

The socially distanced dining destination, which made a splash this summer thanks to its Instagram-ready, reservable mini lawns, is transforming the mini lawns back in storage, the rooftop venue will be installing 28 individual 12’ by 10’ winterized dining cabins. Each cabin will be able to fit up to 10 guests and will be decorated with fun winter décor and amenities including virtual fireplaces, electric heating, cozy banquettes and, of course, jaw-dropping, floor-to-ceiling views of NYC from its prime location on the East River waterfront.

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Christmas in New York

Things to do Festivals

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and by “it” we mean Christmas. New York lights up into a winter wonderland each year with Christmas trees, holiday window displays and Christmas lights. Even the most tourist-averse New Yorkers have to admit that it’s a pretty spectacular sight. Get the most out of the holidays with our guide to the best holiday sales and holiday gift ideas, Christmas movies to watch with the family and plenty of festive things to do including Bryant Park ice skating, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and more.

Miracle pop-up bar nyc
Miracle pop-up bar nyc
Photograph: Courtesy Meredith Truax

Miracle holiday pop-up bar

News Drinking

 Popular Christmas pop-up bars, Miracle and Sippin' Santa, are back this holiday season from November to the end of December. Miracle will be back in business at Mace and The Cabinet and Sippin' Santa will pop up at Boilermaker in the East Village. As always, the festive bars will be serving up fun seasonal drinks like the "Snowball Old-Fashioned," the "Christmapolitan" and the "Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!" Of course, these pop-ups wouldn't be complete without an over-abundance of insane holiday decor, from a twerking Santa to twinkling lights, vintage garlands, reindeer figurines, and humorous cards all set to a soundtrack of holiday songs.

 

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community fridge
community fridge
Photograph: Time Out NY/Archer Lewis

NYC Community Fridges

News Eating

Community fridges have cropped up across every neighborhood in New York this year after a grassroots activist organization set up the first fridge in Bed-Stuy. In the season for giving, stop by one of the city's dozens of fridges to donate fresh produce and perishables to your neighborhood's community fridge to help feed hungry bellies and contribute in the fight against food disparity in New York. This is not charity this is mutual aid.

Steamy Hallows hot potion bar
Steamy Hallows hot potion bar
Photograph: Courtesy Steamy Hallows

The Steamy Hallows' hot potion bar

News Eating

Starting on Black Friday, New Yorkers will be able to apparate hot, Harry Potter-inspired drinks to their doors. Imagine not having to leave your apartment to get gourmet-style hot drinks this winter, and not just any drinks — you can choose from nine varieties of hot cocoa, including hot dark chocolate and salted caramel, as well as specialty teas and coffees between $5 and $10 each. The Steamy Hallows' hot potion bar has creatively designed hot chocolate drinks available to order through Pop Shop Kitchen, a experience delivery service by Zach Neil, who is behind the wonderfully weird Beetle House bar in the East Village and yes, Steamy Hallows. For those who don't know, Steamy Hallows was a Harry Potter-inspired cafe in the East Village, but it closed late last year, leaving Potter-heads without a witchy spot to flock to. This is its way of returning in some format.

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