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ABC Kitchen
Photograph: Noah Fecks ABC Kitchen

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.

By Alisha Prakash and Melissa Kravitz

The holiday spirit (or your relatives) may try to keep you cooped up on Christmas Day, but whether you’re determined to get out of the house or just couldn’t care less about Christmas, make sure 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 bar, an ice-skating rink or one of the many restaurants serving Christmas dinner (or regular dinner) on Christmas Day.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

What’s open on Christmas Day

Buddha Bodhai
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Izy S.

Buddha Bodai

Restaurants Vegan Chinatown

A Chinatown staple for vegetarian Buddhist cuisine, this Kosher restaurant is a popular Christmas Day hangout for Jewish New Yorkers who do not celebrate the holiday. Load up on vegan sesame chicken, faux-shrimp dumplings and fried taro duck for a holiday feast unlike any other.

Nitehawk Cinema
Photograph: Gabi Porter

Nitehawk Cinema

Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

Food, cocktails and a movie? Sounds like the perfect holiday. This dine-in theater will be screening It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation on Christmas morning as part of Nitehawk’s Christmas movie series.


Chinese Tuxedo

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

Housed in a former opera house, this buzzy contemporary Chinese restaurant will indeed be continuing New York’s tradition of Chinese food on Christmas, serving its regular seasonal menu throughout the day. Think house-made egg noodles with pork floss, baby bass steamed with ginger and a squap served whole with crispy skin and tangy black vinegar.


Restaurants American creative Williamsburg

For an upscale Christmas feast, head to this Williamsburg staple, where Chef Christina Lecki has created a menu consisting of duck liver toast on pumpkin crostini, clam chowder with celery hearts and oyster crackers, roasted rib of beef with horseradish kefir cream and green pepper condiment, duck a l ’Orange with burnt citrus and jus and more. The prix-fixe is $105 per person (tip included) and will be served from noon to 8pm.


The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

Restaurants British Flatiron

Chill out at this chic gastropub with an all-day menu from noon to 10pm, with holiday selections including a confit turkey leg with stuffing and pan jus, herbed roasted leg of lamb with mint chimichurri and natural jus and prime rib of beef with braised shallots and creamy horseradish. Desserts such as gingerbread cheesecake and chocolate yule log are also on the menu, and the bar will stay open until midnight.


Restaurants Midtown

In addition to serving the regular menu, this new Dale Talde spot in the Arlo NoMad will have a special whole roasted peking duck served with mooshoo pancakes, steamed buns, cucumber and hoisin sauce ($40) available from 1pm to 8pm on Christmas Day.

Photograph: Porter Gabi


Hotels Boutique hotels Upper West Side

Jumbo lollipops, mushroom barstools and candy cane décor characterize this Willy Wonka-inspired holiday pop-up that will offer plenty of festive drinking on Christmas Day. A gumball machineshaped cocktail has made the rounds on Instagram this season, but other saccharine creations like the Sundae Funday, topped with rainbow sprinkles, will awaken your inner child.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

This Chinatown gem has been doling out dim sum since the 1920s. A lot has changed since then, but the joint has still managed to hold onto much of its old-timey allure, with its vintage façade, retro booths and checkered tablecloths. Forget all about a traditional Christmas ham and have the fried sesame balls and the house special pan-friend dumpling platter instead. 

Photograph: Noah Fecks

ABC Kitchen

Restaurants Contemporary American Union Square

If eating well is on your wish list, consider your request granted. Head to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s farm-to-table Union Square restaurant for dishes made with locally sourced, organic and fresh ingredients. There will be an a la carte menu of Christmas specials that are as good for you as they are delicious.

Photograph: Courtesy Don Riddle

Bemelmans Bar

Bars Lounges Lenox Hill

Knock back a few martinis at this Carlyle Hotel hotspot, named after the author of the Madeline children’s books. Ice-skating elephants and picnicking rabbit scenes on the walls exude a youthful vibe that will make you nostalgic for Christmas past, while the 24-karat gold leaf ceiling and live jazz piano keep things classy. 

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Merry Tuba Christmas
Photograph: Courtesy Rachael Wright

The best Christmas caroling events in NYC

Things to do

A wise elf once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loudly for all to hear,” and you should certainly follow his advice during these fun Christmas caroling events in NYC. Some of the best NYC parks and New York attractions are welcoming carolers to partake in festive (and free!) merriment.


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