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Quintessential NYC Christmas tours

Tourists and locals alike won’t want to miss these quintessential NYC Christmas tours and attractions

Photograph: Filip Wolak

There’s no better way to soak up the holiday cheer than with one of these quintessential NYC Christmas tours. New York turns into a winter wonderland at this time of year: strings of lights twinkle on rooftops, extravagant Christmas window displays brighten up Fifth Avenue, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree sparkles above the ice rink and festive holiday markets pop up all over the city. Come December, there’s a whole new list of New York attractions to visit—you’ll be dreaming of a white Christmas after taking one of these tours.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

Christmas tours and attractions in NYC

1

Tree Lighting Gala at Rockefeller Center

When the dazzling tree appears at Rockefeller Center, you know Christmas is here. There’s no need to stand out in the cold to watch the tree lighting this year—instead, get a direct view from inside Rockefeller Center. This ritzy third floor reception offers the perfect vantage point of the ceremony and live entertainment, plus an elegant buffet dinner complete with carving stations and an open bar. Wed Nov 30, 5:15pm; $575 per person

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By: Jennifer Picht
2

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

It’s no wonder why this Christmas show remains a favorite year after year: the combination of the Rockettes’ famous kick lines, live animals and Santa Claus is a definite crowd–pleaser. With 60,000 pounds of props including a floating double-decker bus and Santa’s sleigh, it truly is something spectacular. Tickets start at $76

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By: Rebecca Fontana
3
Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center

What’s better than skating around the Rockefeller Center rink? Following it up with hot chocolate, freshly baked cookies and the panoramic view from the Top of the Rock. This package even comes with a short lesson on skating basics and access to a rinkside heated chalet. Tickets start at $95 per person

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4

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

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It wouldn't be Christmas without Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Watch the New York City Ballet company bring little Clara's dream to life, complete with the sparkling Sugar Plum Fairy, evil Mouse King, and growing Christmas tree. The enchanting choreography, extravagant costumes and elaborate set will capture your imagination. Tickets start at $83

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Until Sat Dec 31
5

Ice Skating in Central Park

Head to Wollman Rink in Central Park for a serene skating experience. Though the tree-lined city skyline view is pretty stunning by day, it’s even more romantic after night falls. For the ultimate holiday date, take this nighttime bus tour of the city, then glide around the rink under the stars. Tickets start at $65 per person

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6
Holiday Window Walking Tour

Holiday Window Walking Tour

Gather five to 10 of your closest friends for this guided tour of the best holiday windows on Fifth Avenue. An expert guide will take you to some of the city’s most iconic window displays and point out a few hidden gems. Bonus: This tour includes snacks! $149 for a group of five to 10

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7
Midtown Holiday Lights Walking Tour

Midtown Holiday Lights Walking Tour

This walking tour takes you through all Midtown Manhattan’s best holiday decorations, including Macy’s Herald Square, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany and Co., and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. You’ll see it all: toy soldiers, mechanized window displays and elaborate light shows. $26 per person

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8

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour

No one takes their Christmas decorations more seriously than the residents of Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. Giant inflatable reindeer, loudspeakers blasting carols and full-on winter scenes are all par for the course. The only problem? It can be a bit of a trek in the icy December weather. Stay nice and cozy on this three-hour bus tour—you’ll get to ooh and aah over the decorations, without stepping out in the cold. $55 per person

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By: Jennifer Picht
9
Christmas in New York Walking Tour

Christmas in New York Walking Tour

Packed holiday schedule got you down? You can still squeeze in some Christmas cheer with this two-hour walking tour that manages to check all the boxes: the Rockefeller Center tree, Bryant Park Winter Village, Macy’s Herald Square and Radio City Music Hall. $25 per person

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10

Bryant Park Winter Village

With more than 100 shops and vendors, Bryant Park Winter Village is one of the biggest and best holiday markets in New York. Skate a few laps around the rink, then pick up a hot cocoa and get some holiday shopping done. Free

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By: Jennifer Picht

Looking for more to do this Christmas?

The best Christmas stores NYC has to offer

At a Christmas store, NYC brings the holiday cheer in a big way. Whether you’re Christmas shopping for discount Nutcrackers in July or getting super-psyched for the flurry of wintery holidays that are just around the corner, celebrate at these shops. As end-of-year holiday mania revs up, you can pick up everything from a couple strands of Christmas lights to an entire fully decorated Christmas tree—delivery included.

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By: Jacqueline Nochisaki

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