Staying in New York during the Christmas season? Here are the 10 things you shouldn't miss.

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, you’ve no doubt dreamed of going to New York City for the festivities. The city is decked out in a thousand lights, the atmosphere changes dramatically, and you’re totally in the Christmas spirit. You want some ideas to enjoy your winter stay? Follow the guide (well, me) and have fun.

New York during Christmas time

© Can Stock Photo / demerzel21

1. Illuminate your stay

Let’s start with the festive illuminations. I’m not going to suggest the classic places like Rockefeller Center, but rather to go to a space a little less known by tourists, but which is also worth a detour to immerse yourself in the magic of Christmas.

Go to Brooklyn, more precisely in the Dyker Heights neighborhood. Here, it is the inhabitants themselves who decorate the facades and you will be able to observe all kinds of atmospheres from the most refined to the most incredible. Some people even pay professional decorators to make a statement. Indeed, there is a contest to choose the most beautiful house.

Take a stroll around the place as soon as night falls and “leave” the Big Apple for a fairy-tale world. You can even attend a guided tour (many houses have an incredible history to know).

2. And here is the Christmas tree!

Well, it’s impossible not to mention it. You have to see the inauguration of the mythical Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center! You can’t spend a few days in New York without seeing the star!

The event takes place on the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving in Rockefeller Plaza. The tree lights up around 10pm, but I advise you to be there well before, because it’s crowded! Everyone is singing, dancing, having fun! Impossible to resist.

Take the opportunity to explore Rockefeller Center and shop for souvenirs and gifts.

3. The most famous ice rink in New York?

Since you’re already here, you’ll definitely have to go to the Rockefeller Center ice rink. But you can also discover other New York rinks. There are many of them. Among the most famous, you can have fun on the Wollman Rink in Central Park. This is the rink you see the most in the movies and it is without a doubt the one that will offer you the most enchanting scenery between the vegetation of Central Park frozen in the cold and the skyscrapers.

I recommend you another ice rink: the one located in Bryant Park. The atmosphere is more intimate and you can enjoy the Christmas market that is present.

4. Did we mention the Christmas market?

Although the city has many small squares that turn into Christmas markets, there is one that is particularly worth your attention: the Brooklyn Flea Winter Market. The place combines a totally vintage flea market, but also a hall dedicated to local delicacies without forgetting many events. You can enjoy delicious doughnuts or fall in love with an antique in an old-fashioned decor that is very appropriate for the Christmas season.

5. Continue shopping

Let’s continue shopping and for that, I advise you to go to the local department stores. You won’t believe your eyes as the decoration is incredible. It’s a real visit in the Christmas universe that is proposed.

An example? Macy’s of course! You will visit Santaland, the identical reproduction of Santa Claus’ village. The character takes place there during the whole holiday season to entertain children and adults.

You can also discover the wonderful windows of Tiffany & Co, ultra chic or Lord and Taylor on 5th Avenue.

Read also Top 5 best burgers in New York ! Enjoy your meal!

6. A Santa Claus parade!

Are you a fan of the old man in red? Then SantaCon is a must. Go to Time Square the Saturday before Christmas Eve, around 10am. You will find yourself surrounded by a multitude of Santas having fun, going from store to store and from bar to bar to set the mood. It’s unique and totally amazing. There are no other words. It’s a red wave that rolls in with the rhythm of cheers and musical improvisations. It’s the place to be for fun with friends and family.

7. A festival of light just for you

I have one more tip for you if you love the subdued atmosphere of Christmas. Well, when I say dimmed, it would be more accurate to say illuminated. The New York Zoo is indeed decorated with a thousand lights.

To start the Advent season in the best way possible, exploring the alleys of the Bronx Zoo is a sure bet. Luminous animals rub shoulders with real little (or big) creatures, plants are dressed in light and create a special atmosphere. Sparkling lights, colors and soft music accompany you throughout your visit.

8. Singing Christmas carols is a must!

If you like to sing traditional Christmas carols, you must go to Washington Square (under the famous arch). It’s on the night of December 24th to 25th that hundreds of carolers gather here to sing the most famous songs. And don’t worry if you’re not sure about the lyrics in VO. You can have at your disposal song books to participate at best. Ready to give your voice?

9. Get on the Christmas train

You’ll have to go to the Botanical Gardens to see the Holiday Train Show, a totally extraordinary journey. All the trains you’ll see here are carefully reproduced miniatures. These models run in an exceptional setting and every year the organizers compete with ingenuity to create a unique fairy-tale world.

10. A breathtaking show

At Christmas, there’s a must-see event in New York. Do you know what I mean? No ? It’s simply the legendary Radio City Christmas Show. It’s a must-see if you’re in the Big Apple this Christmas whether you’re with friends or family. It is a gigantic enchantment that is offered to you. Dance and song numbers, but also humorous sketches and bewitching light effects are on the program of this showroom located on Broadway.

A tip? Remember to reserve your seats in advance, it’s always full!

One last thing to do?

Yes, there is. But this one will take you out of the festive atmosphere of the moment. It is simply to attend an NBA game during this period. The games take on a festive air that you won’t find at any other time. Spectators dress up in Christmas outfits. Christmas music takes over and livens up the stands in a unique way. You’re watching a game and participating in a festive event at the same time.