The best things to do on Christmas Eve in NYC

Looking for things to do on Christmas Eve? Here’s where to go if you want to get out of the house this holiday.
Miracle on Ninth Street
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz Miracle on Ninth Street
By Melissa Kravitz |

It’s the night before Christmas and…you don’t have any things to do on Christmas Eve. If you’d rather get out of the house than laze around watching Christmas movies, head to one of the restaurants serving Christmas dinner or take advantage of last-minute holiday markets in NYC for a shopping trip on Christmas Eve in New York City. Pro tip: Haggle like you mean it; everyone’s closing up shop for the season.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

Best things to do on Christmas Eve

Union Square Holiday Market

One of New York City’s best annual holiday markets, the pop-up shops in Union Square shutter at 4pm for the season on December 24. Load up on last-minute gifts for the hardest to shop for on your list, and be sure to buy a few goodies for yourself.

Pig Beach
Photograph: Dana Hayne
Restaurants, Pan-Asian

Rice & Gold

icon-location-pin Chinatown

From 1 to 8pm on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Dale Talde’s newest restaurant will be serving a special Jewish-inspired dim sum menu. Dishes will include matzo ball wonton soup, pastrami potstickers with rye sauerkraut, schmaltz roasted ribeye and smoked salmon and dill fried rice.

Movie theaters, Independent

IFC Center

icon-location-pin West Village

Skip the big holiday box office hits on Christmas Eve and opt for a classic film. IFC will be screening It's a Wonderful Life at 10:55am, 1:30pm, 4:15pm, 7pm and 9:45pm on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Bars, Cocktail bars

Miracle on Ninth Street

icon-location-pin East Village

The seasonal pop-up is sure to be crowded on Christmas Eve, so don’t plan on wearing an ugly holiday sweater unless you’re willing to sweat. Instead, embrace the tiki theme and dress for a crowd as you sip strong rum cocktails out of festive mugs.

Pete Davidson at Q.E.D.
Flickr/Eric Koreman


icon-location-pin Astoria

Astoria’s go-to comedy space and creative hangout will be hosting an open mic at 5pm (sign up at 4:30 if you want to air some hilarious family grievances) and a Christmas Eve comedy show at 7pm if you need to laugh away any remaining holiday stress.

Restaurants, Italian


icon-location-pin Chelsea

Whether you're Italian or not, you can embrace the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes. Classic Italian restaurant Pastai will prepare it in four courses, available as a prix-fixe or ala carte.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Chris N.
Things to do, Literary events

Matzo Ball at Capitale

icon-location-pin Little Italy

Back for its 31st year, this annual dance party aims to unite Jewish New Yorkers who aren’t celebrating the holiday. Think JSwipe, but IRL.

Looking for more festive activities?

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