New York Shines Bright with Christmas Lights

Entertainment, Featured

The city that never sleeps comes alive with dazzling light shows when the holidays arrive

New York City during the holiday season is a sight to behold. The city comes alive with dazzling light shows, festive celebrations, and a cozy holiday atmosphere that is on everyone’s bucket list. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 must-see holiday attractions and light displays for your upcoming trip to New York City.

With thousands of lights, animations projected onto the building, and iconic Christmas music, the Saks Fifth Avenue show is a must see. Photo credit by Matthew Penrod, NYC & Company

Saks Light Show

Saks Fifth Avenue puts on a spectacular light show each year. With thousands of lights, animations projected onto the building, and iconic Christmas music, this free show is a must-see. With tens of thousands of glistening lights, animations projected onto the building, iconic Christmas music, and window displays, you’ll want to include this jaw-dropping extravaganza in your itinerary.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Just a block away from Saks, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is another iconic sight not to be missed. With over 50,000 lights, this year’s tree promises to be a spectacle. Enjoy ice-skating in Rockefeller Center or warm up with hot chocolate in the cozy chalets. With its extraordinary location, there are a number of seasonal festivities to partake in such as ice-skating right there in Rockefeller Center underneath the Christmas tree, or warming up with some hot chocolate in the cozy chalets that overlook the ice-skating rink.

With over 50,000 lights, this year’s Rockefeller Christmas Tree promises to be a spectacle. Photo by Alex Haney

Central Park

Central Park is a holiday dream come true. The park is adorned with warm lights, and you can go ice skating at Wollman Rink while enjoying a view of the city. Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride or go sled riding down Pilgrim and Cedar Hills.

Pulitzer Fountain

The Pulitzer Fountain is a hidden gem of Christmas decorations. Each year, it is adorned with oversized ornaments, decorated evergreens, and light-up reindeer. This is a great stop for group tours. In 2021, the fountain was transformed into an arctic scene with ice-skating penguins and cozy igloos.

Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards

Located in the Hudson Yards shopping mall, this newer Christmas attraction features two million twinkling lights. The entire mall is filled with festive decorations, including a 32-foot light-covered hot air balloon. It’s a great place for group travel and Christmas shopping. This newer Christmas attraction started in 2020 when the up-and-coming section of town decided to decorate the shopping center with two million twinkling Christmas lights.

Rolf’s Restaurant

Step into Rolf’s and be transported to a Christmas wonderland. This German restaurant at 281 3rd Avenue is adorned with hundreds of thousands of lights, ornaments, and festive decorations. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of festivities. Located at 281 3rd Avenue, this is a must-stop location after a day of NYC festivities.

Peninsula Hotel

If you have the opportunity to stay at or visit the Peninsula Hotel during the Christmas season, don’t miss it. The hotel is beautifully decorated with lights, and the rooftop terrace offers a cozy atmosphere.

Amaze Lights Festival

Taking place at Citi Field in Queens home to Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, the Amaze Lights Festival is the largest festival of lights in the United States. Experience five different themed worlds, with 3D decorations, dancing trees, and millions of Christmas lights.

Santa’s Village at American Christmas

Located in Mount Vernon, New York, Santa’s Village offers a peek into the decorations of Christmas past. Visitors can tour the warehouse and purchase unique decorations and ornaments that were once used as iconic displays.

Dyker Heights

In Brooklyn, Dyker Heights is a neighborhood famous for its extravagant Christmas decorations. Each house is uniquely adorned with lights, 3D decorations, and projections. Take a guided tour or explore the neighborhood at your own pace.

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By McCartney Walsh

Main photo: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Photo credit Julienne Schaer, NYC & Company

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