Get us in your inbox

best christmas lights nyc
Photograph: Filip Wolak

Christmas tours in NYC to get you in the holiday spirit

‘Tis the season to check out all the best holiday lights and department store windows on Christmas tours in NYC

Annalise Mantz
Written by
Annalise Mantz

There’s no better way to soak up the Christmas cheer than with one of these holiday tours in NYC. 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 holiday tours.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

9 holiday tours

No one takes their Christmas decorations more seriously than the residents of Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst 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-and-a-half-hour bus tour from Manhattan. You’ll get to ooh and aah over the decorations and even meet a few of the homeowners. $55


Get your blood pumping on a 2.5-hour bike tour of all the top holiday attractions. Even in the chilliest winter weather, the ride from holiday window to window will keep you warm. Spot the famed Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, Macy’s holiday window displays, the festive fair at Bryant Park Winter Village and more. And if you do feel a chill, a steaming cup of hot cocoa at the end of the tour should warm you up. $44


Instead of going door to door singing carols, you’ll cruise around the island on a 1920s-style yacht decked out with holiday decor. Stay cozy and warm inside the heated glass salon as you pass by the city’s colorful skyline. There will be sing-along carols, Christmas cookies and hot cocoa—regular or spiked. We can already feel a verse of “Jingle Bells” coming on now… $64


Follow the footsteps of Buddy the Elf, Kris Kringle and countless other holiday movie characters on a bus tour of Manhattan film sites. Start at Central Park West, then head north to the Upper West Side and Lincoln Center. As you drive through the park, you’ll watch clips from the countless holiday movies filmed there, then pass by Serendipity 3, where John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale shared dessert in Serendipity. Stop by Rockefeller Center before heading to Macy’s in Herald Square, where Kris Kringle won the hearts of millions in Miracle on 34th Street. $42

First-time visitors who want the complete NYC holiday experience should opt for this combination bus and walking tour. You’ll start out on foot and spend 90 minutes exploring Rockefeller Center and nearby holiday window displays. Before you get too cold, you’ll hop on a double-decker bus to see the lights of Times Square, Bryant Park Winter Village and other holiday attractions. $75


Sure, the holidays bring festive lights, cheerful carols and gorgeous window displays to New York City—but they also bring the crowds. Anyone who has ever tried to wade through Times Square between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve knows how horrible it can be. Escape the masses on a private limo ride by all the big Midtown attractions, then head out to Dyker Heights to peep the over-the-top decorations. Kick your feet up, pop the complimentary champagne and prepare to sightsee in style. $399

Still need to get some holiday shopping done?


    More on Christmas

      You may also like