NYC holiday
Rolf’s German Restaurant

New York City is home to many spectacular sights, but it’s especially known for its holiday brilliance. From whimsical lights racing across skyscrapers to the gigantic tree sitting in Rockefeller Center, nothing screams the holidays like a wintertime trip to the city that never sleeps. In addition to its notorious hotspots (aka Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes or the rink at Rock Center), there are a plethora of other NYC holiday sites that will help you spread the holiday cheer.

Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Creche

Where: The Met, 1000 Fifth Ave.
Price: Included with admission
Deets: Behold a 20-foot blue spruce tree and its 18th-century Neapolitan Nativity scene (a depiction of the Mediterranean harbor town’s multicultural society). As you pass through the installation, you’ll see the 18th-century Spanish choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid, and nod along to Christmas music. Ends January 7, 2020.

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Where: 11th to 13th Aves. from 83rd to 86th St. in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Price: Free/walk or drive by, $45-55/bus tour
Deets: Hop on a bus tour, drive or walk by and check out this festive neighborhood, where multiple houses collaborate to display tens of thousands of lights, which are visited by more than 100,000 people each year.

FAO Schwarz

Where: 30 Rockefeller Plaza
Price: Free admission
Deets: The iconic toy store and the NYC holiday fun go hand-in-hand, and thankfully, it made its return to NYC in 2018. Snap photos of the kids dancing on the store’s iconic dance-on piano and posing in front of the clock tower, plus shop everything on their wish list.

Festive Holiday Window Displays

Where: 5th Avenue
Price: Free
Deets: Wander down 5th Avenue and peruse some of the most iconic Christmas window displays in the city. See the “Believe in the Wonder” display at Macy’s Herald Square (through Jan. 1), which will show six iconic Broadway-inspired scenes. Bergdorf Goodman’s theme this year is “Bergdorf GoodTimes“, highlighting holiday celebration and nostalgic seasonal fantasy. The Magical Windows of Tiffany at Tiffany & Co. have been a holiday staple since 1837. The kids will adore the display at the American Girl store, inspired by wintry pop-up storybooks.

Frozen 2 Window Display

Where: Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 5th Ave., Fl. 9
Price: $5
Deets: As the kids likely already know, the Frozen sequel is coming out in theaters on November 22. This display called Disney’s Frozen 2 Enchanted Forest Experience at Saks is meant to be immersive and make fans feel like they’re in the movie itself. It’ll feature all four natural elements, which the kids will explore while meeting characters along the way. The kids will be blown away by the 10-story-high light show, not to mention local choir singers and dancers. There’ll also be exclusive Frozen merchandise available for purchase, so you can start chipping away at the kids’ holiday gifts. Through Dec. 24.

Holiday Handmade Cavalcade

Where: Brooklyn Heights (Dec. 7-8) and Chelsea Market (Dec. 9-15)
Price: Free admission
Deets: Check out this festive pop-up event jam-packed with vendors selling one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts for your loved ones. There’ll be greeting cards, jewelry, beauty products, clothing and more, all made by artisans in the NYC area.

Holiday Nostalgia Rides

Where: New York Transit Museum
Price: One MetroCard swipe
Deets: Hop on a vintage 1930s R1-9 train to various landmarks around the city, including Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, Columbus Circle, Washington Square and more. Sundays through December 29.

Holiday Train Show

Where: New York Botanical Garden
Price: $23-30/adults, $10-18/kids
Deets: For nearly 30 years, this exhibition has been recreating iconic NYC destinations and the model trains that zip through them. This year, visit more than 175 pint-sized landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Yankee Stadium. Ages 21 and up can also visit on Bar Car Nights ($28-38) for an after-dark viewing, ice carving and boozy hot chocolate. Reservations strongly recommended. Ends January 26, 2020.

Macy’s Santa Land

Where: Herald Square, 8th floor
Price: Free admission
Deets: Reserve a spot in advance to meet Kris Kringle at the NYC store that goes wild for Christmas. Aside from checking out the store’s iconic windows, you’ll love grabbing photos of your lil’ angels amidst the colorful and glittery decorations. Don’t head home without visiting the new toy shop. Ends December 24.

Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Tour

Where: Columbus Circle to Macy’s Santaland​
Price: $51/adults, $40/kids ages 6 and up
Deets: Join this walking tour through the city and visit some of the most popular Christmas movie locations in the city. Movies include Elf, Home Alone 2, Serendipity, Scrooged, Miracle on 34th Street and more. Reservations required. Ends January 1.

The Origami Holiday Tree

Where: American Museum of Natural History
Price: Included with admission
Deets: This 13-foot spruce features more than 800 hand folded origami pieces crafted by local, national and international artists for this year’s theme, “T. rex and Friends: History in the Making.” Want to get in on the decorating? Volunteers from OrigamiUSA will be there to teach the kids how to fold. Ends January 12, 2020.

Rolf’s German Restaurant

Where: 281 Third Ave.
Price: Free admission, food and drinks a la carte
Deets: With Christmas decorations on display until the end of May, there’s plenty of time to add this beauty to your list. There’ll be floor-to-ceiling displays of ornaments, garland, trees, lights and more. The restaurant is dressed to the nines and it’s food is also decked out in festive glory. Think: schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerkraut, duck, sausage and more. It’s a sight you’ll have to see—and taste—for yourself.

Union Square Holiday Market

Where: Union Square
Price:
Free admission
Deets: 
Bundle up for this charming holiday experience smack dab in the middle of the city. Shop unique gifts and holiday trinkets at more than 150 vendor booths, warm up with some mulled wine and shop tasty festive treats. Open through Christmas Eve.

40th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration

Where: Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Price: $58-148
Deets: Celebrate the holiday season while watching dancers, musicians and singers perform a modern version of ancient solstice rituals to honor the sun on the longest night of the year. The kids will be wowed by the 28-foot spiral Solstice Tree covered in bells, gongs and chimes, not to mention the 100-foot Cathedral vault. On December 21 (7:30-10 pm).

Winter Village at Bryant Park

Where: Bryant Park
Price: Free admission
Deets: In addition to its holiday shops (open until January 5, 2020), Bryant Park’s Winter Village boasts NYC’s only free admission ice skating rink and the bar and food hall The Lodge (open until March 1, 2020). Be sure to bundle up and bring any equipment, like ice skates and locks for lockers, so you don’t have to pay to rent them. Snap pics by the park’s beautifully decorated tree before heading home.