December in New York City

by NYJ Team

December is the most wonderful time of the year, and a wonderful time to visit New York City! Show off your best moves on the Rockefeller Center skating rink by the twinkling lights of the spectacular Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Shopping, shows and New Year’s Eve in Times Square are just some of the fun things to do in the city during the festive holiday season.

The Tree at Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree at 50th Street and 5th Avenue is a beloved New York tradition and a must-see Manhattan holiday attraction. Located at Rockefeller Plaza (which spans from 48th and 50th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues) the branches of towering tree are circled in thousands of twinkling eco-friendly lights. The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony typically takes place in late November or early December. The televised star-studded event features ice-skating performances on the ice rink and draws thousands of spectators.

Skating at Rockefeller Center
The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center opens in mid-October, but it’s a particularly wonderful winter experience for travellers visiting New York in December. That’s because in December, visitors and New Yorkers alike can glide and twirl around the ice under the towering sparkling beauty of the Rockefeller Center tree, just like a scene out of a movie! Rent skates or bring your own, and be prepared to wait during peak times as only 150 skaters are permitted on the rink at once. Skaters can stop for a bite at the Rock Center Café, located right by the ice. The world-famous rink is accessible from 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. Visit for hours of operation.

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular
Need to kick your Christmas spirit into high gear? Check out a performance of this renowned Christmas show to get you right into the spirit of the holidays. The Radio City Music Hall, located on 6th Avenue at 50th Street, hosts the annual Christmas Spectacular which features dazzling choreography and the world-famous high kicks of the Radio City Rockettes. From Santa’s workshop coming to life to the popular “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” this beloved tradition will delight the entire family. Tickets can be purchased online at or through Ticketmaster.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square
Planning to spend New Year’s Eve in New York City? Consider heading to Times Square to watch the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball drop at 11:59p.m. This symbol of New York City draws a crowd of up to a million to Times Square each year, and the vibrant celebration includes fun freebies such as confetti bags, pom-poms and balloons. Revellers will enjoy a festive firecracker display and exciting performances by top entertainers. The new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is covered in thousands of Waterford crystals, creating a stunning kaleidoscope of colours and patterns as it makes its descent from its perch on a flagpole at the top of One Times Square. Visit for tips on the best viewing areas, a schedule of New Year’s Eve events and how to get to Times Square.

New York City is a fantastic shopping destination any time of year, but the bonus of visiting in December is getting to do your holiday shopping while taking in the incredible holiday storefront windows at shops like Macy’s, Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s. A couple of tips- keep in mind that December is peak travel season in New York City, so arrange travel plans well in advance, and remember to bundle up as the weather is typically quite chilly.

When planning your trip to New York City, check our directory of hotel listings to find hotels close to the sites and attractions you would like to see.

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