New York (State)
Christmas Activities

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Our most recommended New York (State) Christmas Activities

From Manhattan: 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour

1. From Manhattan: 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour

Christmas in New York City is a magical time. From the adorned trees in Rockefeller Center to the festive windows of Macy’s, Bergdorf’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Dyker Heights is world-known for its light displays. Residents have been decorating their homes since the 1980s. This quaint residential neighborhood is located in the heart of southwest Brooklyn between Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, and Gravesend Bay. Originally founded as a luxury housing development in the late 1800s, the first house in this iconic neighborhood was built in the late 1820s.  Dyker Heights was originally praised for its public transit access to Lower Manhattan and its ritzy country club and well-established Episcopal Church. Like Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst nearby, Dyker Heights is an Italian-American neighborhood today. The optimal way to enjoy this tour is by bus, with an expert, live tour guide. On your tour, drive from Manhattan to Brooklyn and see lights from both on the bus and off. Due to narrow streets, buses are not allowed in Dyker Heights. Your guide will escort you to the two most illuminated streets. See Lucy Spata's house which started the tradition of Dyker Lights in the '80s. The Polizzotto home features the neighborhood's largest Santa at 15 feet tall. Next, stop at the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights. Take in the Manhattan Skyline and Brooklyn Bridge for about 25 minutes.  Return via the Manhattan Bridge. The tour ends at Bryant Park where you can admire the famous winter market or take a spin on the Ice Rink.

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New York Botanical Garden: Holiday Experience Tickets

2. New York Botanical Garden: Holiday Experience Tickets

Holiday Train Show This beloved tradition returns for its 30th year with a miniature wonderland in the warmth of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at model trains zipping through an enchanting display of more than 175 famous New York landmarks—imagine the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and other favorites—each delightfully re-created from natural materials such as pine cones, acorns, and seeds. You’ll also discover a showcase of the Garden’s very own iconic buildings such as the iconic Haupt Conservatory and—new for this year—the majestic LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building, both designated New York City landmarks. GLOW: An Outdoor Color and Light Experience This holiday season, let it GLOW at The New York Botanical Garden. Discover the beauty of the Garden and its historic buildings after dark, breathtakingly illuminated with a newly expanded 1.5-mile colorful experience. These lively nights return for their second year at NYBG with more displays to wander through and explore. See the Garden’s iconic sights and buildings come to life as dramatic, glittering canvases with the Haupt Conservatory and Mertz Library Building as the centerpieces. Washes of brilliant color, thousands of dazzling LEDs, illuminated plant stories, and whimsical, picture-perfect installations reflect the surrounding gardens and collections—creating a spectacle not to be missed! Enjoy a drink, hot cocoa, and a bite to eat available for purchase at one of the outdoor bars or the Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up. Take in even more festive evening offerings with artistic ice sculpting, music, and pop-up performances around the Garden. 

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NYC: THE RIDE Experience Ticket

3. NYC: THE RIDE Experience Ticket

Take a RIDE through the streets of New York City and experience the vibrant arts and culture that come to life around you. From the moment you step aboard the RIDE’s signature oversized bus with stadium seating and floor-to-ceiling windows, the immersive experience begins.  Sit back while your comedic hosts kick off the experience. Venture through the heart of Times Square, Grand Central, and Central Park, all while watching the streets become the stage. See live street performances taking place while interacting with them from the bus.  Enjoy three rows of stadium seats, plus the most modern audio and visual technology, including speakers that bring inside sounds out onto the streets, enabling RIDErs to go "On Air" and interact with the city. The RIDE is a unique experience featuring Broadway-style entertainment in a whole new way.

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From Manhattan: Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Bus Tour

4. From Manhattan: Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Bus Tour

After pickup from Manhattan, the tour bus will take you through the Battery Tunnel directly to the borough of Brooklyn. Once you are in Brooklyn you'll head to the Dyker Heights district, an Italian-American neighborhood famous for its elaborate houses and gardens. Each year residents compete between each other to put up spectacular Christmas decorations, illuminations, and displays. Your tour guide will tell you about the origin and history of this tradition, before giving you free time to walk the streets to admire and take pictures of the houses. Once you have finished strolling around the neighborhood, you will get back on the bus to head to the Brooklyn Bridge. There you will enjoy the different viewpoints, with more free time to take pictures of the spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Finally, you will return to Manhattan where the tour ends. You can feel free to ask your guide for local tips and recommendations on what else to see and do during your visit to New York City.

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From Manhattan: 3.5-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Bus Tour

5. From Manhattan: 3.5-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Bus Tour

This holiday tour takes you through the residential neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. These Italian-American sections of Brooklyn is where you'll find tree-lined streets and beautiful private residences decorated for the holiday season. It has been a tradition for many years to illuminate these homes with tens of thousands of lights and dazzling holiday scenes, which has become a festive competition amongst the homeowners, as to who has the "brightest" holiday cheer in the neighborhood. You won't just see the lights, you'll walk through the neighborhoods on a guided tour, and hear the stories and wonderful lore behind this fun holiday event, that brings so many here each year. You may even meet some of the homeowners, who are a proud part of this festive holiday, and truly get an understanding of why these neighborhoods come together in such a way to bring such holiday magic to New York City, and thousands of visitors from all over the world On your way back to Manhattan, you'll see the spectacular New York City skyline and some of the other beautiful holiday displays through the city. Upon conclusion of your tour, you will be dropped off in Midtown Manhattan.

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From Manhattan: Private Brooklyn Christmas Tour by Limousine

6. From Manhattan: Private Brooklyn Christmas Tour by Limousine

After pick up at your hotel or apartment in Manhattan, drive to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. Walk for 30 to 40 minutes and take pictures of the best-lit houses in New York. Wander through an Italian-American neighborhood to see the houses strewn with green and red lights. Continue to Dumbo to take great pictures of Manhattan from the Brooklyn side, and get closer to the Brooklyn Bridge. Make a quick stop to visit the Wall Street Area and take some pictures with the famous Charging Bull. Move on to Battery Park and see the Statue of Liberty, before you head back to your hotel or preferred drop-off point.

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New York Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Bus Tour

7. New York Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Bus Tour

Relax on board a festive lights and movie sites bus in New York City as a local actor guide entertains and informs you throughout this one-of-a-kind sightseeing experience. Experience the festive lights and decorations of Manhattan as they sparkle during the holidays, and spot iconic landmarks as well as some of the city’s hidden gems. Marvel at the famed tree in Rockefeller center where Macaulay Culkin reunited with his mom in “Home Alone 2.” Peek into the brilliant holiday windows at Bloomingdale, Lord and Taylor, and the same Macy's from “Miracle on 34th Street.” Learn where Bill Murray found out his taxi driver was the Ghost of Christmas Past in “Scrooged.” Pass through Central Park and reminisce about the serendipitous moment that John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale had at Wollman Rink in “Serendipity.” Whether you’re visiting New York or looking for a unique holiday experience in your hometown, this sightseeing excursion is sure to spread holiday cheer!

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New York Christmas Holiday Tour of Manhattan

8. New York Christmas Holiday Tour of Manhattan

Meet your guide in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral and get the chance to go inside to see the interior decorated for Christmas. Continue to the Rockefeller Center, famous for its winter ice rink and magical Christmas tree. Learn how the complex of buildings became such a popular place for holiday celebrations. Take a souvenir photo of the famous Christmas tree. Then, walk to Radio City Music Hall, where the Rockettes create magic every day. Move down town to the Bryant Park Holiday Market and walk past the window displays of the 5th Avenue shops. End in front of Macy's and learn the history of the world's largest department store.

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New York: Holiday Jazz Cruise Aboard Classic Motor Yacht

9. New York: Holiday Jazz Cruise Aboard Classic Motor Yacht

Join this special holiday cruise and step inside a toasty solarium in full holiday decor for a 90-minute cruise to see the lights of New York City. Cruise the Hudson River and enjoy views of Manhattan's skyline Champagne, hot cocoa, and other beverages are available. Cookies and treats for all guests will be included. Enjoy your evening with friends or a loved one and enjoy this live holiday jazz trio. Sit back and enjoy the gorgeous view of the island from the heated back deck salon of this 1920s style yacht. On this 90 minute cruise, take in picturesque views from your glassed-in observatory. Sights along the way include: - The Yacht Manhattan or Manhattan II in full holiday decor - Cocoa, cookies and live holiday jazz - Battery Park, South Street Seaport and the Financial District - Governor's Island, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island A complimentary beer, wine, spiked hot cocoa or Champagne from the bar is offered on all trips. Mixed drinks are available for purchase.

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New York Christmas Markets and Lights Walking Tour

10. New York Christmas Markets and Lights Walking Tour

Get into the Christmas spirit on a 4-hour walking tour of 4 of New York’s most attractive holiday markets, and find unique gifts among the vast array of hand-crafted goods, local art and crafts, and fashionable winter attire. Meet your guide at Columbus Circle and set off in the glow of the city's winter lights. Experience the magic of New York during the holiday season, stopping to admire the dazzling window displays of all the department stores and boutique shops. Sample traditional foods and warming drinks as you take in Manhattan's holiday light displays, Christmas movie locations, and charming holiday decorations along the way.

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What people are saying about New York (State)

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 629 reviews

What a way to see the famous skyline at night ! Crew and musicians were brilliant and very attentive. Only downside was they had cancelled our time (due to not enough passengers I presume) and we hadn’t been informed , the lady did say she’d tried calling and mailed but we never received anything. They compensated us with a drinks package. We stopped right outside the Statue of Liberty and had great photo opportunities and didn’t feel rushed. Highly recommended and was certainly a highlight on our trip.

The driver was friendly and accommodating, the limo itself was nice and clean, and the lights were amazing! It was pricey, but definitely worth it for a wonderful experience!

I had a great time! The tour guide was fun and entertaining. He guided us smoothly and seamlessly. Would definitely recommend to everyone.

It was a wonderful experience, great music, wonderful staff and unforgettable sights to see of the Manhattan skyline

Nice, very informative. Would definitely do again !