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The best of what’s open on Christmas Day in NYC

Don’t stay in on December 25—New York City has plenty going on this Christmas Day, from dinners to theater.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Need plans for Christmas Day? Whether you are staying in the city, determined to get out of the house or don’t celebrate the holiday, there’s much to take advantage of the city on December 25. Perhaps the quietest and least crowded day of the year in the city that never takes a break, pop into a late-night club, an ice-skating rink or get high up at one of the city's observation decks for some perspective.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

What is open on Christmas Day in NYC

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Midtown East

See the city sparkle from Summit One Vanderbilt. After a trip through a mirrored hallway with its own immersive elements, visitors take an elevator up to the 91st floor, where they're 1,000 feet over the streets and sidewalks of NYC. Kenzo Digital has created a totally mirrored infinity room called "Air" that reflects the sky and city views over and over, making you feel like you're walking in the sky or on another plane of existence. Looking above you and below you in this two-story space, you see your reflection repeating forever. 

Go ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center

There’s nothing quite as magical as ice skating in Rockefeller Center. Take Christmas Day to take the ice. It’s likely there will be less people in line and you’ll get more room to look up and enjoy the views as you glide on by the Prometheus.

  • Things to do

For one of the most iconic ways to spend the day, see the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes! An annual tradition since 1933, this classic Christmas spectacle offers tap dancers, a flying Santa Claus and, of course, the world-famous synchronized precision dancing of the Rockettes. And that's not nearly all: If New York City Ballet's beloved production of The Nutcracker doesn’t have enough onstage camels for you, this show will fulfill that need. Here’s everything you need to know about getting tickets, the 60,000 pounds of props used and just how many hours of high kicking it takes to prepare for a show.

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Take in a night of jazz at Blue Note
  • Music
  • Greenwich Village

Jazz up your holiday by catching a performance at the lively Greenwich Village musical hotspot. If you’re really in the Christmas spirit or want to be wowed by some of the most incredible voices in NYC, see the world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir perform live. Then, there will be toe-tapping, head-bopping tunes from the Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti, who has recorded and performed with the likes of Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell and Michael Buble. Night owls can go to get lost in the soulful saxophone sounds from Peter Valera & The Jump Blues Band during a midnight show, too. 

  • Museums
  • History
  • Central Park
  • price 1 of 4

Located on New York City’s Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum is a museum at the intersection of art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. It hosts rotating temporary exhibitions and has a permanent collection exhibition that features contemporary and modern art and Judaica. It’s a must-see! It just closes early at 4pm.

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

A favorite among tourists and young, culture-obsessed visitors, this famous wax museum is open on Christmas Day. Without the obscene crowds of tourists, see the 200-plus wax figures, which include various movie stars, singers, athletes and politicians. Each model is painstakingly made by teams of artists through the use of precise measurements, photographs, casts and oil paints and costs a staggering $300,000 to create.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lenox Hill
  • price 2 of 4

Why not celebrate the holiday or make your weekend sweet at this cheery, kitschy East Side family spot, where sandwiches, salads and burgers merely set you up for the main course: dessert. The trademarked Frrrozen Hot Chocolate—a brain-freezing chocolate slushie—deserves its reputation; the massive beast should be shared. Given the size of the Coward’s Portion of the Outrageous Banana Split, we’re guessing the full-size version comes in a trough.


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