As the chill of winter settles over the bustling streets, the Big Apple transforms into a wonderland of festive lights, exhilarating events, and an infectious holiday spirit that's truly unparalleled. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to the captivating window displays along Fifth Avenue, New York in December offers an unforgettable blend of seasonal delights and cultural extravaganzas. Check out this guide to help you plan your visit to New York in December with an extensive list of things to do, information about the weather, and so much more!
December is one of the best months to visit New York because you get to experience the city in all its festive glory and holiday magic. The weather is cold and a little snowy, making it ideal for fun activities like ice skating and sledding.
Times Square, located in the heart of Manhattan, is an iconic commercial and entertainment district. Known for its colossal digital billboards and vibrant atmosphere, it's often referred to as ‘The Crossroads of the World’. It is a major tourist destination, hosting events like the New Year's Eve ball drop and offering numerous theaters, restaurants, and shops. It's a bustling and vibrant place to soak in the holiday spirit and celebrate the impending new year.
Nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is a thriving urban oasis with a rich history. It's famous for its iconic marble arch and serves as a gathering place for artists, students, and local residents. The park's central fountain and lush greenery offer respite in the midst of bustling Manhattan. It's a hub for live music, street performers, and cultural events, making it a vibrant and quintessentially New York space.
The George Washington Bridge is a colossal suspension bridge connecting Manhattan to New Jersey, across the Hudson River. It stands as an iconic structure and a vital transportation link in the metropolitan area. The bridge features massive steel towers and a double-decked roadway, providing critical access for commuters and travelers. With picturesque views of the Hudson River and the city, it serves as both a functional bridge and a striking piece of engineering.
The Hello Panda Festival in New York is a vibrant holiday event featuring intricate lantern displays, international food vendors, cultural performances, and carnival rides. It's a celebration of diverse cultures and a dazzling spectacle, perfect for families and anyone looking to embrace the holiday spirit.
"The Nutcracker" is a beloved holiday tradition in New York City. This classic ballet, set to Tchaikovsky's music, tells the enchanting story of a young girl's journey through a magical world. Various productions, including the New York City Ballet's, bring this timeless tale to life, filling audiences with holiday cheer and wonder.
Hanukkah in New York is a time for Jewish communities to celebrate the Festival of Lights. Menorah lightings, festive gatherings, and traditional foods like latkes and sufganiyot are enjoyed throughout the city, fostering a sense of togetherness and a vibrant acknowledgment of Jewish culture and tradition.
From budget hotels to luxury ones, New York City offers accommodation options for all kinds of budgets.
New York boasts a diverse culinary scene and December is the month to explore some delicious seasonal treats, popular places, and old favorites.
Yes. December is one of the best months to visit New York because the entire city is in the mood to celebrate Christmas. There is holiday lighting everywhere, markets selling decorations, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and more. If you don’t have a problem with huge crowds and really want to experience the city in all its glory, December is the perfect time to visit.
Enjoy ice skating at Rockefeller Center, attend a Broadway or Radio City Christmas Spectacular performance starring Rockettes or The Nutcrackers, explore the holiday markets at Bryant Park and Union Square, savor elaborate Christmas Dinners at restaurants, go on a walking tour of the city to soak in the holiday lighting, and enjoy Christmas-themed events and shows..
Yes. New York City is cold and quite rainy and windy in December. It also experiences light snowfall during the month.
New York is not hot in December. It experiences cold, freezing temperatures and snowfall.
No. You cannot swim at New York beaches in December because the sea temperature is freezing cold at around 8 degrees.
There are less chances of a perfect sunny day because the weather is mostly a mix of sunshine, rain, and light snow. But the city does experience a few days of sunshine in the month of December.
Wear warm clothes like heavy or trench coats, jackets, sweaters, thermal layers, scarves, hats, and gloves, to protect yourself from the cold weather. Carrie a beanie or hoodies as well.
Yes. New York experiences a good amount of rainfall and cloudy skies in December.
New York is an expensive city to visit, especially if you are traveling in the month of December because it is peak tourist season and a time for celebration.
The city is generally safe, though it's wise to avoid lonely areas at night and be cautious of pickpockets in crowded places.
Don’t miss the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center and the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square. You can go museum-hopping to The Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art for holiday exhibits, visit Central Park for its winter landscapes and carriage rides, explore medieval art and architecture at The Met Cloisters, or take a bus tour of popular attractions.
The Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center and the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square are the two major events in New York in December. Besides these, The Nutcracker, Hello Panda Festival, and Hanukkah are recommended events that you should attend.
The average temperature ranges between 0 to 7 degree Celsius in December.
Take the kids ice skating at Rockefeller Center or Wollman Rink in Central Park. Meet Santa at various locations, including Macy's Santaland and other holiday displays. Enjoy family-friendly holiday performances and Broadway shows. Visit interactive and kid-focused museums like the American Museum of Natural History and the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Don't miss the holiday train shows at the New York Botanical Garden or the New-York Historical Society. Also, visit the New York Aquarium, Bronx Zoo, Adventure Land, Luna Park, or Coney Island.