The annual arrival of the biggest holiday in New York City brings with it a rush of recurring traditions and endless excitement: gingerbread lattes, light displays, romantic snowfall, cheerful window décor, garland on streets, carol-filled venues, shopping for trendy NYC Christmas gifts, merry shows on stage and TV, and plenty of parties!
Whether it's your first year to experience Christmas in New York or you've enjoyed more Manhattan holiday events than Santa has reindeer — rest assured you'll find no shortage of holly-jolly happenings in the Big Apple, all sure to deliver sheer delight.
And the best part of this fun holiday hoopla? These NYC Christmas events and urban activities collectively make for a great way to fill Santa's sleigh. So this year, give the elves a break! And instead, put memorable New York experiences under the tree with these 10 top NYC Christmas gifts for family, friends or your special someone.
1. Professional Stage Performance
Nothing says "NYC" quite like taking in an authentic Broadways show. And nothing says "Christmas in NYC" quite like the city's impressive productions of the New York City Ballet's Nutcracker and the Radio City Rockettes' annual Christmas Spectacular at Rockefeller Center. So score some tickets to stuff in someone's stocking!
2. Aerial Tours and Flying Lessons
Invite someone to believe in bucket list wishes by out-soaring Santa's sleigh! Cloud 9 Living's collection of New York flying experiences lets you give all sorts of high-flying fun. Find something for everyone with holiday gifts like introductory pilot lessons by airplane or flight training in a helicopter. Or treat someone to a romantic sunset tour of NYC by air that's sure to dazzle.
3. New Art Hobbies and DIYs
Give top NYC Christmas gifts that keep on giving! There's no measure to the joy that a holiday present for men or women can bring when it comes with fun skills or keepsakes that can last a lifetime! Get creative 'n' crafty and make decorations or presents for others as you explore a new trick. Or give someone else the chance to try a new trade for themselves. Check out cool art classes like painting, photography, or private glass blowing.
4. The Ultimate NYC Holiday Date Night
Sweep a sweetheart off his/her feet with romantic things to do in NYC at Christmas! You'll put stars in a special someone's eyes faster than you can say "ho-ho-ho" with merry Manhattan holiday events like ice skating at Bryant Park Winter Village, wining and dining in style, admiring Christmas lights, and perhaps ending with a classic Christmas flick back at home (Home Alone II, anyone?).
5. Ferrari Racing Experience
Spread holiday cheer with a New York Christmas gift idea that leaves the gridlocked streets of the Big Apple behind! An escape to a race track near NY is the perfect way to deck someone's halls with miles of rubber-burnin' memories — from right behind the wheel of a real Ferrari!
6. Lunch, Dinner & Brunch Cruises
Bid the NYC Christmas shopping crowds farewell with a holiday gift idea that encompasses the tranquility of harbor waters. Putting this H2O outing in a stocking will bring lots of merry and bright memories, as well as gorgeous sights, delicious food, and on-board entertainment. There's no better way to see (and savor) New York City at Christmas!
7. Wine Delivery Club
This holiday gift is second to none, especially when December is done! Make spirits bright by offering someone the chance to "un-wine'd" once the hustle and bustle of the festive season has subsided. Check out the Blue Apron offerings featured on our website, and get someone ready to raise a glass to relaxation!
8. Culinary Classes
Forget the figgy pudding. There are plenty of other culinary creations to be tried that are much more fun — both to make and mow down, thanks to tasty things to do in New York for Christmas! Inspire someone to learn the art of creating chocolate. Find out how craft a top-notch coffee as a barista. Sharpen some Iron Chef-worthy skills. Indulge in wine education. Brew your own beer. Take a cake decorating class. Or experience the city's best foods, drinks and more on guided tours of NYC.
9. Jet Ski Adventure
Make a splash in a stocking with an outing that encourages jinglin' all the way around Manhattan! And it comes complete with seeing the skyline and celebrated landmarks from an entirely new perspective. Want to avoid getting wet? Delight in the dry thrills of other action-packed NYC Christmas gifts like ziplining or downhill skiing!
10. DaVinci's Gold Scavenger Hunt
When it comes to cool things to do in New York for Christmas or as a gift, this urban adventure is tops! Warm up by running around Manhattan on a quest with family or friends. A customized route makes sure the city's hot spots are hit, as teams race to solve clues and be first to the finish line! This unique Christmas gift in New York is sure to be talked about for years to come.
New York City isn’t just the “Big Apple” anymore. Around this time of year, the abundance of things to do in NYC for Christmas make it one of the biggest hubs for holiday happenings in the country.
Festive displays and activities fill its many streets and boroughs, making for magical destinations among young and old, locals and visitors alike. With so much holiday cheer to choose from, how does one decide which NYC Christmas events to entertain?
Enjoy all of the reasons that make this season so merry and bright, without forfeiting any of your favorite things. These 14 Christmas things to do in NYC scratch every type of holiday itch you could possibly have—and just might add a few new holiday traditions to the mix as well.
1. Deck the Halls: Holly-Jolly Christmas Tree Shopping
Renowned tree dealers offer countless locations to visit throughout the 2016 holiday season in downtown Manhattan and surrounding areas. This makes it easy to enjoy an afternoon full of fun NYC Christmas events in various neighborhoods, then top the day off by scooping up a tree as you head home. No time to shop for a tree, with so many other festivities to juggle? Plenty of companies will deliver a tree straight to your door—the do all the decorating for you! Check out SoHo Trees, Greg’s Trees, Urban Garden Center, Queens Country Farm Museum and more to find your perfect tree! Obviously, you won’t need a tree from each, but it’s well worth your while to grab a peppermint mocha and stroll around each of these hot spots, admiring their ornament and décor shops.
2. Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Brunch with Santa!
Feast to your heart’s content at one of the best New York holiday events that Brooklyn has to offer! Featuring a full buffet spread and plenty of activities to keep kids busy (like snapshots with Santa, plus craft and cupcake decorating), there’s no better way to put some ho-ho-ho into your holiday season. Unless, of course, you’re an adult enjoying the brunch’s bloody marys and mimosas. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance at whichever hot spot you attend—this event is ever so popular among the merry masses!
3. Experience a Holiday Tradition: A Christmas Carol
Of all the things to do in NYC for Christmas, watching Dickens’ timeless holiday classic comes to life on stage should be at the top of the list. Often shown at multiple venues or even delivered as a one-man show, audiences never cease to embrace this treasured Christmas tale. In addition to the theatrical entertainment, audiences can typically also enjoy mulled wine and light fare (though this option may vary across venues). Scope out listings to see where it's being performed near you!
4. Find Festive Photo Opps: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree & Beyond
On the hunt for the ideal Christmas photo? A 78-foot, 10-ton Norway Spruce, adorned with over 48,000 LED lights that twinkle with holiday delight, makes the perfect backdrop! Venture over to Rockefeller Center, where the magic of the holidays meets the modern day world. Snap photos or strap on some ice skates beside this iconic holiday landmark. Warm up over a cocktail nearby, keeping your eyes peeled for an ongoing element of New York holiday events: giant, ornament displays placed throughout the city that are very deserving of sharing on social media.
5. Give a Show a Standing-O: Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes
Just as its name implies, marvel at one of the most spectacular things to do in NYC for Christmas at Radio City Music Hall! Since 1933, the Rockettes have been wowing audiences with breathtaking tap dancing choreography, glittering costumes, high kicks, and (believe it or not) live camels onstage. Intrigued yet? This is your chance to see it all for yourself, so don’t miss out! Shows run November to January at Rockefeller Center.
6. Ice Skate on Not-Just-Any-Rink: The Rink at Winter Village
Nothing beats a bit of free fun—especially when it comes to New York holiday activities. Strap on your ice skates for 17,000 square feet of gloriously smooth gliding at Bryant Park. The Rink is open late, which also makes for a great date night idea. Stop by the Winter Village Holiday Shops for boutiques full of gifts and goodies, perfect for putting under the tree. The area’s Southwest Porch also offers Christmas events in NYC like favorite holiday movies for families to enjoy. (No skates? No problem—rentals are available for an added cost.)
7. Indulge in Christmas Cookies: Milk & Cookies Bakery
A list of must-do NYC Christmas events simply wouldn’t be complete without taking a page from jolly ol’ St. Nicholas’ book. Head to this mouth-watering West Village shop for the snack of the century, and treat your taste buds to some magic. The tempting smell of freshly baked deliciousness will entice you into the bakery’s doors, faster than you can say, "Jingle bells!"
8. Marvel at Dazzling Light Displays: Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
Picture this: All of your favorite holiday characters get together to rock around the Christmas tree together. It’s a safe bet this incredible exhibit is exactly what such a festive occasion would look like. Expect to be merrily inundated with dazzling lights, blasting carols, inflatable displays, and décor galore! If all of the things to do in NYC for Christmas haven’t already filled you from head to toe with the holiday spirit, this will certainly do the trick. Dates vary in November thru January, so check before you go!
9. Pay It Forward: Volunteer in NYC
In a huge city like NYC, there is a lot of holiday cheer surrounding the Christmas season. But also a lot of folks in need—in need of a meal, a cozy coat and hat, or even a warm smile or kind conversation. Make some time for others this year. Resources like NewYorkCares.org provide great referrals to fit the way you’d like to lend a hand to New York holiday events, fundraisers, and causes this December.
10. Run, Run as Fast as You Can: Santa Suit 5K
This annual Christmas event in NYC at Rockaway Beach is just as it sounds. Get outside of the hustle and bustle of mainstream Manhattan, wearing your merriest running gear! Take to the terrain of Brooklyn or Queens on your weekend of choice for a 5K that’s over-run by red. After all, raising that heart rate a little will relieve any guilty about all those tasty treats from Milk & Cookies you’ve devoured. Then you can go eat more. The run is usually held in early December, so scope out registration and event details ASAP!
11. Shop ‘Til You Drop: Christmas Shopping in New York City
If online holiday shopping isn’t quite your cup of eggnog, one of the grandest things to do in NYC for Christmas is head to the Big Apple’s most impressive department stores. Check out the likes of Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, and Lord & Taylor, among others. As an added bonus, you can check out the festive holiday window displays that adorn Fifth Avenue as you venture from one shop to the next.
12. Sing Christmas Carols: Holiday Brass Concert
The sweeping sounds of Christmas carols in stores and throughout NY subway stations are inevitable during the holidays. But for those who prefer to sit back, relax with a formal performance, you best join the NY Philharmonic Brass and Percussion for an afternoon of joyful tunes! Sing along to traditional Christmas and Chanukah tunes, and tap your feet to the beat of pieces by Mozart, Gabrieli, and more. This event is generally held annually, featured at the charming David Geffen Hall.
13. Visit the Big Man in Red: Santa at Macy’s
Once the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has wrapped up and Santa’s made his big return to New York, take the kiddos to meet him in person! It’s bound to be one of the most magical things to do in in NYC for Christmas that they’ll never forget. Be greeted by elves as you make your way into Macy’s “Santaland”—where the young’ns won’t be the only ones who can’t believe their eyes! Wander through an enchanting atmosphere of twinkling trees, brightly-wrapped gifts, sparkling lights, colorful candy, holiday characters, and whimsical winter décor. Snag a snapshot and buy a keepsake photo package. Be sure to plan accordingly, as this NYC Christmas event is extra-popular among crowds. And catch him before he heads back to the North Pole on December 24th, to prep for his big delivery night!
14. Walk in a Winter Wonderland: Union Square Holiday Market
Join over 100 local vendors as they begin their annual spread of shopping cheer! Browse jewelry, food, artwork, and countless handcrafted goods. Daily activities include shopping, live music, warming station, kids’ craft studio area. A special kickoff celebration of this holly-jolly Christmas event in New York is usually scheduled for the end of November, offering guests portraits, treats and more! Get in on it through late December.
Looking for more NYC holiday events, that double as great gifts any time of year? Look no further. Experience some of the best things to do in NYC for Christmas and beyond with Cloud 9 Living’s diverse collection of city tours, classes, sightseeing, tastings, and more in and around New York!
Folks absolutely love unique New York… and not just because it's one of the most eclectic hubs in the country, with plenty of sightseeing and entertainment to boot. But because it truly is a city that is jam-packed with incredible things to do! On top of Manhattan's mainstream attractions, the Big Apple boasts an array of outings that conquer bucket list wishes, do date nights differently, take tours to new levels, encourage novel hobbies, and provide the most memorable Christmas gifts for men and women ever to end up under the tree!
As such, the best Christmas gifts in New York are those that are far bigger than the box they might come in. They are the experiences that can't actually be wrapped, that bring the lucky recipients a morning, afternoon or evening an unparalleled sense of wonder and joy — perfectly complementing the reasons for the holiday season. So invite someone to brave an adrenaline-pumping excursion like race car driving or flying. Send someone on a creative wander through a brand new borough they haven't yet explored. Tempt them with the city's most delicious food and drink. Get them to glimpse the Statue of Liberty from a different perspective. And plenty more fun things to do in NYC for the holidays and beyond! With Cloud 9 Living's collection of Christmas gifts in New York, there's truly something for everyone in the Big Apple.
Need clever Christmas shopping ideas for a couple in Manhattan? You'll find romantic holiday presents right here, faster than you can string up a set of twinkling lights on the tree! Treat the two of them to epic moments like soaring higher than the Empire State Building on an NYC tour for two by helicopter. Or treat them to fine dining and dancing, exquisitely paired with unrivaled city views on an assortment of scenic brunch, lunch and dinner cruises from NY's Chelsea Piers. Or invite them to raise a glass as they glide past Lady Liberty, complements of the most remarkable wine tasting in NYC by sailboat! With Manhattan Christmas presents for couples like these, there's no doubt you'll double the merry measures of their holiday season together.
Have someone on your New York Christmas shopping list who thrives on thrills? Now's your chance to dazzle them with a holiday gift they'll never forget! No rush will compare to the one that comes from unwrapping a race car driving experience at Pocono Raceway — except for maybe the one that comes with the actual rubber burnin' itself. Know a guy or gal who's itching to go sky-high? Send them falalala-flying with airplane and helicopter pilot lessons, T-6 Warbird rides, or a hang gliding excursion. Want to give someone a holly-jolly dose of the great outdoors? Get ‘em grinning from ear to ear in no time with fun experiences in New York like ziplining adventures, white water rafting trips, kayaking tours, or snow skiing at nearby Hunter Mountain. Action-packed NYC Christmas gifts like these are guaranteed to have them tellin' of cool yuletide treasures for years to come!
And for those lucky recipients who adore finding more ways to explore the Big Apple, check out Cloud 9 Living's array of urban experiences, featuring city tours and a variety of classes. Learn special skills beside some of the most talented folks in Manhattan. Try a hand at trades and arts like photography, glassblowing, DJing, ninja moves, painting, chocolate-making, and more. Or for those who are foodies, find great New York Christmas gifts for men and women who love a lil' sipping and sampling! Cloud 9 Living offers a remarkable range of guided tours in various neighborhoods, showcasing tasty topics like wines, craft beer, ethnic cuisine, food carts, NYC-style pizza, desserts, and other highly-sought bites and beverages in the city.
Can't decide what in the Big Apple's world to gift someone? Let them choose their favorite way to play in NYC! Cloud 9 Living offers gift certificates, redeemable towards any of the New York experiences found on our site. So not only does this make for a fantastic last-minute Christmas gift idea for someone living in or visiting Manhattan... but it also gives them a seriously grand adventure to look forward to with the coming of the new year!
Is a couple you know celebrating their first holiday season together? Or maybe they're some odd years in, and you'd like to give 'em fun things to do in New York to keep their adventures holly-jolly? Whether they're a twosome who takes kindly to outings that are low-key, lively, casual, classy, or anything in-between — Cloud 9 Living makes sure you find holiday presents in New York that deliver only the very merriest Christmas wishes their way!
New York City is most certainly the "yum-yummy world made for sweethearts" that the Christmas carols sing about. Don't believe it? Well you better start! Because with Cloud 9 Living's collection of delectable experiences featuring the best food tours in NYC, as well as elegant dining opportunities — there's no denying the deliciousness factor! And who better to share it with than a significant other? So bring on the sipping and sampling, the festive feasting, the wining and dining — and delight in wrapping up couples' Christmas gifts in New York that are guaranteed to be far more palate-pleasing than figgy pudding or the neighbor's annual fruit cake.
Blow their minds (and their taste buds!) with great holiday gifts highlighting the city's famed food and drink: Brooklyn bites and breweries, top NYC food carts, SoHo wines, made-in-Manhattan craft cocktails, hot pizza spots, to-die-for desserts in Hell's Kitchen, West Village treats, mouthwatering ethnic eats, and much more. And these tasty things to do in New York go far beyond the food! Explore the neighborhoods by bike, vehicle or foot, traversing to different venues. Be inspired by the boroughs' fascinating architecture, histories, cultures, and personalities. Both locals and visitors alike will love the opportunity to sip and sample their way through unchartered NYC territory together.
Speaking of unique travels and tasty eats, the unique Christmas gift ideas in NYC for couples don't stop there! Send a pair on a romantic boat ride on the NY Harbor and Hudson River aboard a luxury yacht. A scenic cruise in NYC for lunch, brunch or dinner offers a perfect getaway. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city for the tranquil atmosphere of the water. Add fine dining (plated or buffet), cash bars, music and dancing, along with a dazzling display of celebrated New York attractions — and voila! You've given a twosome an enchanted outing to share, thanks to a lil' Christmas giving magic.
Speaking of magic, the charming experiences in NYC for couples keep going! For more options by H2O, check out top Christmas gifts in New York that involve magnificent sailboats and authentic tall ships. Not only will the duo enjoy some solid sightseeing, but these outings also come with fun themes and amenities like jazz concerts, lobster and beer lunches, sushi and sake dinners, wine or craft beer tastings, and so forth. Perhaps you'd like to treat them to an escape by air? Indulge them in the sheer serenity of a hot air balloon ride! A gentle float above the lush, rolling landscapes outside of the city is a perfect way to enhance any day.
Looking for more must-have holiday gift ideas that have scored St. Nick's seal of approval for couples in NYC? Invite them to embark on creative endeavors that double as great date nights together! Send them on a private photo tour of New York, capturing incredible moments on camera, courtesy of a professional photographer. Invite them to scope out impressive behind-the-scenes art in Brooklyn's finest studios. Add an extra touch of class with remarkable stocking-stuffers like a helicopter and limousine tours of Manhattan. And to really heat things up this holiday season, why not have 'em tackle an exclusive glass blowing class in NYC?
Ready to let Cloud 9 Living help you with your holiday shopping? We sure are — especially if you have some last-minute holiday gifts to get to wrappin'! And once they've been given, you can rest assured you've filled a favorite couple's holiday with not only the best Christmas gifts in NYC, but also (and most importantly) with great cheer and lots of magical memories!