Countdown To Winter Holidays: New York City Tourism + Conventions Invites Visitors To Celebrate The Holidays In NYC’s Five Boroughs

September 30, 2023

Festive Events, Arts and Cultural Experiences, and Hotel Deals on Offer Citywide.

New York City Tourism + Conventions, the official destination marketing organization for New York City’s five boroughs, invites local and global visitors to join the festivities this holiday season, which officially kicks off with the 97th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23. From November to January, events such as cheerful performances, winter exhibitions, holiday lightings, and more across all five boroughs will surprise and delight even the most discerning traveler coming to NYC.

Countdown To Winter Holidays: New York City Tourism + Conventions Invites Visitors To Celebrate The Holidays In NYC’s Five Boroughs
Holiday Train Show | Courtesy, New York Botanical Garden

Countdown To Winter Holidays: New York City Tourism + Conventions Invites Visitors To Celebrate The Holidays In NYC’s Five Boroughs


    “New York City is one of the world’s most iconic and aspirational holiday destinations, with magical energy felt across all five boroughs and an incredible number of seasonal activities to enjoy at this special time of year,” said New York City Tourism + Conventions, President and CEO Fred Dixon. “The fourth quarter is the most popular time of year for visitors. We expect to welcome nearly seven million travelers between Thanksgiving and New Years in 2023 – a very strong indicator of New York City’s enduring popularity.”

    Following are ways to celebrate the holiday season in New York City:

    ANNUAL CELEBRATIONS


    Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

    November 23 | Manhattan

    The iconic New York City celebration is making its return for its 97th edition, showcasing larger-than-life helium balloons, imaginative floats, clowns, captivating performance groups, beloved Broadway musicals, soon-to-be-announced celebrity cameos, and much more. The parade is set to kick off from its usual starting point at West 77th Street and Central Park West, culminating in front of the flagship Macy's Herald Square store.

    Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

    November 29 | Midtown Manhattan

    For over 80 years, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has cemented its place as a classic NYC holiday tradition, illuminating Rockefeller Plaza throughout the festive season. The November 29 event will include timeless performances presented by soon-to-be-revealed artists. This tree will continue spreading holiday cheer throughout the season, remaining on display until mid-January.

    Lighting of the Largest Menorah in Brooklyn

    December 7—15 | Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

    Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza will light the largest menorah on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, with live music, hot latkes, and gifts for children to enjoy.

    New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop

    December 31—January 1 | Midtown Manhattan

    The Times Square New Year's Eve Ball sparkles in Times Square all year long and throughout the season but watching its descent in person on New Year’s Eve is a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime way to ring in the New Year. Millions view the broadcast event in NYC and around the globe along with spectators in Times Square on December 31.

    CHEERFUL PERFORMANCES


    Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

    November 17—January 1 | Midtown Manhattan

    Revel in the timeless and beloved holiday tradition as it once again graces the stage of Radio City Music Hall. With a history spanning nearly a century, this musical extravaganza has consistently charmed audiences of all ages. Featuring dazzling costumes, joyful songs, synchronized high kicks, innovative acts, and multiple daily shows, now is the perfect opportunity to experience this festive custom.

    George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Presented by New York City Ballet

    November 24—December 31 | Upper West Side, Manhattan

    Discover the enchanting world of George Balachine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. Viewers will dive into a world of beautiful costumes, stunning sets, and Tchaikovsky's iconic music as they experience twirling snowflakes, lively candy canes, graceful waltzing flowers, and more, during this cherished annual performance.

    'Twas the Night Before... by Cirque du Soleil at The Theater at MSG

    December 7—28 | Midtown Manhattan

    Perfect for families, ‘Twas the Night Before…, Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever holiday production, is a whirlwind of love, holiday cheer, riotous fun, and adorably endearing characters that will establish a new tradition for all to treasure.

    The Christmas Show at St. George Theatre

    December 8—10 | St. George, Staten Island

    This year, the St. George Theatre celebrates the 20th anniversary of its beloved Christmas Show, a two-hour production filled with high energy and a rhinestone-studded series of songs and dances that the whole family will enjoy.

    The Magic Flute Holiday Presentation at The Met Opera

    December 8—30 | Upper West Side, Manhattan

    Celebrate the holiday season with The Met Opera as it presents an abridged, English-language adaptation of Mozart's magical fairy tale. This enduring performance is perfect for all age groups, delivering a captivating narrative and delightful melodies. Guided by conductors Patrick Furrer and Gareth Morrell, a standout cast takes the stage in Julie Taymor's imaginative production, promising an unforgettable experience.

    Holiday Programming at the Apollo Theater

    December 9 and 30 | Harlem, Manhattan

    This holiday season, the world-famous Apollo Theater will have several special events to welcome locals and travelers alike, including the annual Kwanzaa Celebration on December 30, led by choreographer Abdel Salaam and Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, which joyfully honors Kwanzaa principles and African diasporic traditions. 

    More to see, the Apollo Amateur Night Holiday Special December 9 highlights accomplished alumni, echoing stars who began at the Apollo like Ella Fitzgerald and H.E.R. The theater also welcomes families for festive activities, Santa photos, and exceptional performances, hosted by the Apollo Theater’s Tour Director and Ambassador, Billy Mitchell.

    Candlelight Holiday Concert Series

    Select dates from December 13—21 | Brooklyn Heights

    Experience the enchantment of Candlelight concerts at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, the Church of Heavenly Rest, and The Williamsburg Hotel, where live, multi-sensory musical performances transport guests to awe-inspiring locations in New York City like never before.

    The Brooklyn Nutcracker at Kings Theatre

    December 16 | Flatbush, Brooklyn

    Showcasing an exceptional burst of creativity, The Brooklyn Nutcracker offers a fresh take on the cherished holiday favorite. Brilliantly weaving in the tapestry of Brooklyn's varied traditions and dynamic culture, the show pays homage to the historical Dutch influence and the iconic Flatbush Avenue through its innovative and skillful performance.

    O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi at Queens County Farm

    December 16 | Glen Oaks, Queens

    Join Queens County Farm Museum for a free, outdoor reading of O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi by acclaimed actor Kevin R. Free. The program takes place in the farm’s three-acre pasture, where Free will recount the heartwarming tale of selfless love and Christmas spirit, enriching the holiday season with its everlasting significance since its publication in 1905.

    Circle Songs: A Holiday Concert Series at Perelman Arts Center (PAC NYC)

    December 20—23 | Lower Manhattan

    During PAC NYC’s inaugural season, experience a four-evening holiday concert series featuring world-class artists, including countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo with The Knights, Toshi Reagon's circle of sonic experiences, Time for Three's innovative transformation of Western music, and the dynamic Broadway duo; Orfeh and Andy Karl.

    The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis at Carnegie Hall

    December 22—23 | Midtown Manhattan

    The New York Pops’ annual holiday tradition returns for a merry night of classic carols, contemporary favorites, and a few surprises with Broadway baritone and Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis.

    WINTER EXHIBITIONS AND CULTURAL EVENTS


    Seaport Celebrations

    Throughout the holiday season | Lower Manhattan

    Embrace the holiday season as the historic cobblestone streets of The Seaport and Pier 17 transform into a festive haven, including the tree lighting on November 28, the Hanukkah Menorah Lighting on December 7, and decorations throughout the streets. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest culinary delight, the Tin Building, is located just steps away, ready to welcome visitors for the holidays.

    Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden

    November 17—January 15 | Bedford Park, The Bronx

    For over three decades, attendees of the beloved Holiday Train Show have been captivated by model trains zipping through a magical exhibition featuring over 190 replicas of iconic NYC landmarks. These charming creations are meticulously crafted from materials like birch bark, lotus pods, and cinnamon sticks, which will be presented on an all-new outdoor train display this year. Tickets go on sale on September 14.

    Coming Together, Giving Thanks with Lewis Latimer House Museum & Voelker Orth Museum

    November 19 | Flushing, Queens

    This Thanksgiving, visitors are invited by Lewis Latimer House Museum and Voelker Orth Museum to dive into the tapestry of gratitude and explore diverse rituals and traditions for giving thanks, guided by local faith leaders and community members. Visitors are also welcome to share their own traditions during discussions and creative projects throughout the event.

    Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at The Met Fifth Avenue

    November 21—January 7 | Upper East Side, Manhattan

    An NYC tradition, The Met's Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche display features a beautifully decorated tree with a nativity scene encircling its base. This ensemble originates from an assemblage of 18th-century Neapolitan figures generously contributed by American artist and collector Loretta Hines Howard back in 1964.

    A Christmas Carol: The Manuscript at The Morgan Library & Museum

    November 21—January 7 | Murray Hill, Manhattan

    Every holiday season, the Morgan displays Charles Dickens’ original manuscript of A Christmas Carol in J. Pierpont Morgan's Library. Bound in red goatskin leather, the manuscript was gifted to Dickens’ solicitor, Thomas Mitton, and later came into the possession of Pierpont Morgan in the 1890s. This season, the manuscript will be turned to page seven.

    The Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History 

    November 22 throughout the holiday season | Upper West Side, Manhattan

    Showcasing more than 1,000 hand-crafted models, the delightfully decorated Origami Holiday Tree is opening to the public on November 22 at the American Museum of Natural History. The theme of this year’s 13-foot tree is Elephants, featuring models inspired by the museum’s new exhibition The Secret World of Elephants, debuting November 13.

    Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection at New York Historical Society

    November 24—February 4 | Upper West Side, Manhattan

    At the New-York Historical Society, an annual wintertime favorite unfolds: the Jerni Collection takes center stage, displaying handcrafted and hand-painted toy trains spanning the years 1850 to 1940. Alongside these, an assortment of toy train stations illustrates the design evolution from the early 20th century to the era of World War II.

    Holiday Wreath Workshop at Wave Hill

    December 1—3 | Riverdale, The Bronx

    Join in on a weekend spent at Wave Hill, filled with wreath making workshops from professionals and learn simple techniques for designing one-of-a-kind decorations, as well as strolling through an artisan market on site.

    Christmas in Historic Richmond Town

    December 9—10 | Richmond, Staten Island

    In December, visitors can experience the magic of the holiday season as Historic Richmond Town undergoes a charming Dickens-style makeover. From engaging living history demonstrations, unique gift shopping, crafting, and exploring the tinsmith, carpenter, and general store, to encounters with Santa, delectable local cuisine, and many more joyful attractions, this two-day event promises a jolly ambiance for all ages to enjoy.

    HOLIDAY LIGHTS


    NYC Winter Lantern Festival: Illuminate the Farm at Queens County Farm Museum

    November 17—January 7 | Glen Oaks, Queens

    Enter the whimsical world of NYC Lantern Festival lighting up the holiday season with unique light displays throughout six acres of historic farmland. This stunning array of artisanal lanterns creates an unforgettable immersive experience featuring a dazzling display of lights and illuminated Chinese lanterns, all handmade by artisans with decades of dedication to their craft.

    Lightscape at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    November 17—January 1 | Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

    Lightscape returns to Brooklyn Botanic Garden this holiday season bigger and better with a longer illuminated trail, more works of art from around the world, and brand-new, immersive experiences along the way. Explore the beauty of winter in the moonlight as dozens of monumental light sculptures and over a million lights create a winter wonderland along a one-mile outdoor trail. A curated playlist of music enlivens the trail and pop-up snacks, and dining areas offer seasonal treats along the way.

    Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

    November 17—January 7 | Bronx Park, The Bronx

    With more than 390 lanterns representing nearly 100 animal and plant species, the Bronx Zoo’s family-centric holiday lights festival will connect visitors with real wildlife and wild places. During the evenings, the park comes to life with holiday cheer as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns, and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. The celebration is complete with seasonal treats, classic holiday music, the Holiday Train, new interactive experiences, and other festive entertainment.

    NYBG GLOW

    Select dates from November 17—January 13 | Bedford Park, The Bronx

    NYBG GLOW offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to discover the beauty of the New York Botanical Garden’s landscape and historic buildings, breathtakingly illuminated. Returning for its fourth year with special evening events, the Garden’s iconic sights and architecture, including the Haupt Conservatory and the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building, become dramatic, glittering canvases during NYBG GLOW.

    FESTIVE HOTEL OFFERINGS


    NYC Hotel Week: Give the Gift of an NYC Hotel Stay this Winter

    On sale from November 14 | Citywide

    New York City Tourism + Conventions’ NYC Hotel WeekSM will return as part of NYC Winter OutingSM. Give the gift of New York City with a 24% discount on hotel stays at over 100 hotels. Reservations open November 14; valid for stays over January 3–February 4, 2024.

    Letters to Santa at Lotte New York Palace

    Throughout the holiday season | Midtown Manhattan

    The hotel will hold its annual Letters to Santa program, where customized postcards are provided to all guests upon check-in, allowing visitors to write their very own letter to Santa where the hotel’s “Guest Experience Elves” will address a personalized response. The hotel will also spread holiday cheer with its confectionery masterpiece – a Gingerbread Palace replica of the historic Villard Houses – in addition to its beautifully decorated Christmas tree greeting guests as they enter through the courtyard.

    Winter Suite Savings Offer from Loews Regency New York

    November 15—January 2 | Upper East Side, Manhattan

    Experience the magic of Manhattan during the winter months with exclusive savings on any of Loews Regency’s 58 suites, accompanied by delightful seasonal flavors at The Regency Bar & Grill with the Winter Suite Savings Package. The package offers guests a 10% discount on suites and a $50 food and beverage credit with special menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, alongside festive cocktails throughout the season.

    Holiday Postcards and Cookie Decorating at the InterContinental New York Barclay

    November 23 throughout the holiday season | Midtown Manhattan

    Get ready to embrace the holiday spirit at InterContinental New York Barclay. Locals and visitors alike are invited to experience the joy of sending letters to Santa with provided postcards, complete with personalized replies from the Barclay elves. Join in the fun of ginger cookie decorating with the hotel’s very own Chef Ruben and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere as holiday choirs perform in the hotel lobby, making lasting holiday memories.

    Holiday Cheer at The Plaza

    November 24 throughout the holiday season | Midtown Manhattan

    Celebrate the holiday season at The Plaza with Holiday Afternoon Tea, the Home Alone 2 experience , and more. This festive season, Santa will be spreading cheer throughout The Plaza for overnight and dining guests spending time in the lobby and dining outlets. On select Fridays and Saturdays, he will host story time in the Rose Club.

    New Year’s Eve Exclusive Offer at M Social Times Square

    December 31 | Midtown Manhattan

    Celebrate the New Year and be a part of the Times Square Ball Drop with an exclusive package from M Social Times Square. With this exclusive offer, guests can save 10% on a room showcasing a full or partial view of the iconic ball drop and join in on the thrilling countdown firsthand.

    Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Tempo by Hilton Times Square

    December 31 | Midtown Manhattan

    Be a part of the celebrations and ring in 2024 with one of the spectacular 31 Ball Drop rooms at the new Tempo by Hilton Times Square, offering close-up views of the famous Times Square Ball Drop via floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests of the flagship hotel for Hilton’s new contemporary lifestyle brand are also invited to celebrate at its new signature restaurant and cocktail lounge, Highball, which features an expansive outdoor dining terrace with views of the Times Square celebration.

    The Ultimate New Year’s Eve Experience atop Times Square at The Knickerbocker

    December 31 | Midtown Manhattan

    Ring in the New Year with an over-the-top celebration just 150 feet below the Times Square Ball at The Knickerbocker Hotel—the closest live view of the event in the world. The lavish rooftop event features luxurious packages with an array of delights, including a legendary buffet dinner at Charlie Palmer, a premium open bar, live entertainment, and a Dom Pérignon champagne toast for an unforgettable Times Square experience.

    ICE SKATING & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES


    The Rink at Bryant Park

    Throughout the holiday season | Midtown Manhattan

    Returning for its 22nd season, NYC’s celebrate Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park invites visitors back to experience the City’s largest free-admission skating rink, a holiday market comprising nearly 200 merchants, and a rinkside bar and food hall at The Lodge. The Winter Village typically opens in time for Halloween in late October and remains open through early March.  

    The Rink at Rockefeller Center

    October 21 through March 2024 | Midtown Manhattan

    The world-famous ice-skating rink is back for the holidays, offering the classic NYC experience of skating under the iconic Christmas tree. Rockefeller Center, in collaboration with Coach, will once again offer exciting additions, including a unique holiday gift shop, a custom hospitality cart with special treats, and live on-site patch customization for a curated line of Coach products. Santa will also join skaters on the ice in December.

    Wollman Rink

    October 28—March 15, 2024 | Central Park, Manhattan

    The Wollman Rink’s 2023–2024 ice season reopens to the public, inviting visitors to kick off the season and enjoy skating in Central Park with the picturesque Manhattan skyline in the background. This year, Wollman Rink is continuing its partnership with Culture Pass, as well as the expansion of the Wollman Rink Access Program, to help provide access to New Yorkers who have historically not been able to afford to visit the rink.

    Sky Skate at Hudson Yards

    November 15 throughout the holiday season | Hudson Yards, Manhattan

    Visitors to Edge at Hudson Yards will have the opportunity to glide high above the city streets as Sky Skate Presented by Dunkin’ Rewards, New York City’s highest skating rink, reopens for the winter season. Beginning November 15, guests will be able to skate on a 1,024 square foot Glice® rink, a zero-energy ecological and synthetic ice rink positioned in the indoor portion of Edge’s sky deck, all while taking in the sights of New York for a truly epic winter adventure.

    Classic Harbor Line Holiday-Themed Cruises

    November 15 throughout the holiday season | Manhattan

    Indulge in wonderful holiday adventures on board-themed cruises, including four-course holiday brunches, Cocoa and Carols, and Holidays Jazz. Set sail across the East and Hudson Rivers, treating yourself to captivating views of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

    City Cruises Holiday-Themed Cruises

    November 23 throughout the holiday season | Manhattan

    Experience the magic of NYC on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s dining cruises, plus more. Delight in the festive decorations, delectable meals, and breathtaking city views from the comfort of the glass-enclosed deck as the cruise glides across the East and Hudson Rivers.

    NYRR Midnight Run in Central Park

    December 31—January 1 | Midtown Manhattan

    Visitors are invited to join the fun with a running head start for 2024 at the NYRR Midnight Run. As 2023 comes to a close, the countdown to 2024 begins at 11:59pm and at the stroke of midnight, a fireworks display will light up the night sky and kick off the start of the four-mile race.

    Coney Island Polar Plunge

    January 1 | Coney Island, Brooklyn

    Every January 1, members of the Polar Bear Club and anyone daring enough to participate boldly journey into the frigid waters at Coney Island. Locals and visitors alike are invited to watch hundreds of people take an icy dip into the Atlantic Ocean. The event is free, but in lieu of admission, participants are encouraged to donate to community organizations.

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