Ready to channel your inner Cindy Lou Who (ala The Grinch) and enjoy all of the very best Christmas lights in NYC?
Umm, heck yeah you are. After all, Christmas is the most magical time of the year in NYC. And the best Christmas lights in New York City are a HUGE part of that magic.
But…er…um…where do you find the top New York Christmas lights of all time? I mean, if you’re not a 30+ year local like me then it can be difficult to know where to go to find the best Christmas decor in town.
Welp, luckily for you I am a super savvy local who has created this massive, easy-to-read guide to help you find all the top Christmas lights in New York City.
Just use my free map and comprehensive list and you’ll be well on your way to planning the holiday extravaganza of a lifetime – complete with super snazzy lights that only locals know about (Shh! Keep it on the DL).
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
🎄 Looking for an epic way to see the NYC Christmas lights? I recommend taking a tour through Dyker Heights. It doesn’t get better than this! 🎅
Table of Contents
Where to Stay in NYC This Christmas
If you’re not sure where to find the best hotels in NYC this Christmas then you’ve come to the right place.
Because I’m about to give you the inside scoop on the best hotels in NYC that won’t totally break the bank. This way you can enjoy the best Christmas lights in NYC without totally going broke – regardless of whether your budget is big or maybe not so big.
Pod 39 (budget) – I love this budget hotel with my whole heart. I mean, it’s located in Murray Hill (near great Indian food), it’s found inside a vintage home from 1918, and it has comfy, modern rooms that start at $120 per night. Yup, perfect if you wanna stay somewhere nice but are short on cash.
The Arlo Midtown (midrange) – Well located in Hell’s Kitchen (right near Times Square), this contemporary boutique hotel has rooms that start at $330 per night. They also come with snazzy things like Belgian linens, flatscreen TVs, and WiFi.
Lotte New York Palace (Luxury)– This 4.5-star hotel is perfect if you wanna live the luxe life in one of the nicest hotels in NYC. It also sits across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral inside a historic 19th-century mansion. All rooms also include WiFi, flatscreen TVs, and designer toiletries too.
Best Christmas Lights in NYC – Manhattan
1. Rockefeller Center
Starting big; every year Rockefeller Center is trussed up with the best New York Christmas lights of them all.
In fact, a colossal Norwegian spruce pine is routinely placed in the square in front of the complex and adorned with colorful bulbs, twinkling lights, and a giant star on top.
Generally, the tree arrives in mid-November and is lit as part of a ceremony with A-listers like Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, and Mariah Carey performing at the event.
And while it’s free to attend (first come, first served) the tree lighting ceremony is always packed with people. So, you may want to just tune into the TV broadcast instead.
Oh, just in case you were wondering, the confirmed date for 2022 is Wednesday, 30 November.
Yeah, it’s a cool experience if you can handle the crowds. Also, although the action takes place at night, you’ll need to arrive mid-afternoon to avoid getting turned away.
Otherwise, you can visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree at any point during December and the first week of January.
As well as the tree, this is where you’ll spot NYC’s iconic ice rink. If you want to skate here, it’s pretty busy – so stay tuned for some quieter alternatives.
That being said, watching skaters zip around the rink in front of the tree is an experience you’ll not want to miss while spending the holidays in NYC and enjoying the best Christmas lights in NYC.
Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York
Hours: Open all day daily.
How to Get There: Take the M50 bus to E 50th street and walk from there. It’s also a 10-minute walk from Times Square.
2. The Edge
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5 (2,950 Reviews) Price: $42 per person Duration: Valid for 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Entrances to The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
The Edge is a daring new addition to the NYC skyline. Opened in 2020, this skyscraper features the highest outdoor Skydeck in the Western Hemisphere.
In fact, a spine-tingling platform protrudes out 1,100 feet over the streets below. Plus, innovative sloping panels make it easier to peer out!
Anyway, what you need to know is that The Edge gets dressed up with some of the best New York Christmas lights at altitude.
In fact, the interiors of the attraction welcome the festive season with bushy spruces, vibrant lights, and endless photo opportunities. These add even more to what was already a special experience as you enjoy the best Christmas lights in NYC.
“Was good to do a different view….I read about Hudson yards and wanted to visit which has been delayed due to the obvious! Was a different perspective being near the Hudson. Also was good to drink a few cocktails in the electric lemon prior at the adjacent hotel.”Martin (read more reviews now!)
This attraction is popular though so be sure to book your Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket online to avoid disappointment and reduce time standing in line.
Because as you already know, the holiday season in NYC is an extremely busy time and tickets get booked up way in advance.
Also, do know that The Edge is located in the Hudson Yards shopping mall. Therefore, you can easily explore the complex which is always brimming with Christmas lights and ornamentation.
Just don’t miss the Vessel either since this masterly structure sits right outside and resembles a giant honeycomb.
Unfortunately, the staircases remain closed to the public due to health and safety incidents. But, you can still get photos from the base.
Address: 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001, United States
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, except on Tuesday when it closes at 8:00 pm.
Price: General admission starts at $38.00 per person.
How to Get There: Take the 7 train to Hudson Yards and walk from there.
⭐️ Rating: 4.7/5 (171 Reviews) Price: $42 per person Duration: 1 hour 📍Meeting Point: Radio City Music Hall’s special tour entrance Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Not to be outdone by its neighbor around the block at Rockefeller Center, the Radio City Music Hall always whips out its very own festive tree.
In fact, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Tree sits perched on top of the main entrance to the art deco concert venue on Sixth Avenue. This neat tree is usually encrusted with thousands of lights and topped with a pretty little star too.
Yup, simple, stylish, and guaranteed to inspire festive cheer in everyone.
“Absolutely loved the tour. Gary was an amazing tour guide! I do wish I had known ahead of time that it would be so many steps, because I would have preferred to wear different shoes and planned the rest of my day differently, but I still completely loved it! I can’t wait to come back and do it again with others.”Amy (read more reviews now!)
You’ll also appreciate the view of the giant red bubls pop-up that’s always installed across the street outside Chase Bank.
By the way, if you’re looking for cool things to do in NYC at Christmas, you should check out the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Starring the Radio City Rockettes, this all-singing, all-dancing theatrical bonanza is held every year in the city’s largest and most cherished theater.
Tickets fly and it’s awesome for kids as well as adults. So, book your tickets now to nab the best seats in the house.
Yeah, you’ll be rockign all the way through to New Year.
Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
Hours: Decorations can be seen 24/7 throughout the holiday season.
How to Get There: Just take the subway to Times Square and walk from there.
4. Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue summons the masses year-round with its luxury clothing and designer products. But, even if you’re not one for shopping, the holiday lights here are beyond spectacular and easily some of the best Christmas lights in NYC.
I mean, these aren’t just regular lights. Rather, the window displays here are linked to a theme that changes yearly.
So, in 2021, Saks installed a touching narrative about reuniting with loved ones for the holidays.
As with the Rockefeller tree, the unveiling of the window display is always performed by a celebrity. Last year, it was Michelle Obama.
Just sit tight though because we should hear details about the 2022 ceremony any day now. Following the trend with the Rockefeller tree, it’s free to attend and you’ll need to arrive early. These days, the event is live-streamed as well.
However, it’s not only the epic windows that make Saks one of the best holiday spots in NYC. Every night throughout December, a light show filled with snowflakes dances across the facade of the building.
This is usually a couple of minutes long and is accompanied by festive music. It generally takes place on repeat from 4.30 pm until 11 pm.
What, fancy getting some intel from a local? Then you can visit the Saks decorations and other nearby installations as part of a New York Christmas Holiday Tour of Manhattan with a guide.
Address: 611 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
Hours: The light display occurs between 4:30 pm and 11:35 pm throughout the holiday season but you can see the holiday windows any time.
How to Get There: It’s about a 10-minute walk from there.
5. Cartier Fifth Avenue
This high-end luxury store isn’t for everyone – especially if you’ve got a small bankroll. But, the Christmassy decor totally is and is easily some of the best Christmas lights in New York City.
Because without fail, Cartier pulls out all the stops and ensures its storefront is as glamorous (if not more so) as the items this historic store sells.
Last year’s installation saw the facade wrapped in a string of lights that formed a ribbon-clad present. And while this is the general theme, another year included a panther design gazing down at the street.
Cartier is also right around the corner from Saks so it’ll be easy to visit them at the same time. You’ll get the best view early in the day but the lights pop once the sun sets.
Now, you’re probably sensing a theme here. because Fifth Avenue in general is where you’ll find a bunch of the best New York Christmas lights in Manhattan.
So, if you want to survey the Fifth Avenue illuminations without exhausting your feet, book this New York: Tour the Christmas Lights on a Horse Carriage Ride experience.
It’s kinda pricey, but, you can’t knock the festive cheer! It’s also great for couples, families, and small groups of up to 4 adults.
Also, how many times in your life are you gonna be in NYC for Christmas? So, go on. Live a little.
Address: 53 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022, United States
Hours: Lights up 24/7.
How to Get There: Take the E train to 53rd/Fifth Avenue station and walk from there.
6. The Pulitzer Fountain
The Pulitzer Fountain is located on the southeast corner of Central Park. It was dedicated to the newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer who died in 1911 after endowing $50,000 for its creation.
Throughout the year, it’s your classic fountain with elegant sculptures and a refreshing plume of water gushing forth from the pipes below the street.
Come winter, the fountain gets a cheerful makeover just in time for the holidays. It varies every year but it always delivers the goods and is easily a spot to see the best Christmas lights in NYC.
Last year, the fountain was festooned with sculptures of penguins, seals, and polar bears. Many of whom were perfecting their ice skating techniques! Lights also illuminated the installation, making it look great in either during the day or in the evening.
Now, generally speaking, the decor is revealed in mid to late November. So, if you’re in this neck of the woods enjoying frosty strolls through Central Park, be sure to swing by.
Incidentally, the Pulitzer Fountain sits right in front of the lavish Plaza Hotel. Which, of course, are the digs where Kevin set up camp after getting stranded without his parents in Home Alone 2.
So that’s worthy of a photo pitstop as well since you’re here enjoying the best Christmas lights in New York City.
Address: 764 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019
Hours: Open 24/7, 365 days per year.
How to Get There: Take the N/R train to 59th street station and walk from there.
7. Winter Village at Bryant Park
Prowling the streets of Manhattan on the hunt for the best New York Christmas lights is hungry work.
So, for your next stop, let’s make it the Winter Village at Bryant Park, located right behind the New York Public Library.
Local vendors cluster at this festive holiday pop-up market and you can buy a wide variety of yuletide foods as well as holiday gifts – including some epic NYC souvenirs.
Additionally, this space is always decked with lights, tinsel, and trees while the delicious aromas of cinnamon and eggnog waft through the air.
Now, I promised you that this guide would include advice on where to skate in NYC.
Well, this Winter Village contains the only rink in the city where you can skate for free! But, if you don’t have your own skates, you’ll need to cough up a few dollars for a rental.
Also, despite it being free, you’ll need to reserve a slot to avoid getting turned away. The pop-up opens in the fall and you’ll be able to book a time on the website then.
There’s no fee to enter the pop-up and most stalls have credit card machines. But, do have cash as a backup.
Pro Tip: You can also try your hand at curling here since local restaurants regularly come to life here and feature cool, winter-inspired experiences.
Address: Bryant Park, New York City
Hours: Open daily (once the winter village is set up) from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Price: Around $22 per hour to rent a pair of skates.
How to Get There: Walk from Times Square.
8. Macy’s at Harald Square
Another one of Manhattan’s legendary department stores, Macy’s isn’t one to shy away from the holidays.
So, head to their flagship store on W 34th Street to marvel at and get pictures of some of the best Christmas lights in NYC.
Because the team at Macy’s HQ usually spruces up the entrance with a massive “Believe” sign, a pretty Christmas tree, and several super jolly window displays.
As a result, Macy’s stylish storefront has an undeniable nostalgia that makes the holiday season here something truly special (Umm, hello. Miracle on 34th Street much?).
Yup, even the Scroogiest among us can’t resist its charm!
Also, Macy’s Herald Square marks the location of Santaland, a traditional grotto that is decorated with classic paraphernalia.
While roaming through this festive village, enchanted woodland, and toy workshop, kids have an opportunity to meet Santa Clause and hand over their list.
Booking is also available via the Macy’s Santaland website, starting in the fall.
And if you’ve seen either version of Miracle on 34th Street, you’ll recognize the setting – and understand the message behind the text!
Pro Tip: For the best photo ops, stand across the street and use a wide-angle lens.
Address: 151 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001
Hours: 24/7 through the holiday season.
How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to Penn Station and walk from there.
9. Washington Square Park
Take a wander down to Greenwich Village and experience the best Christmas lights in NYC from Washington Square Park.
Like clockwork, the Washington Square Association (WSA) installs a 45-foot Christmas tree in the foreground of the arch every November.
Dates are yet to be confirmed for 2022. However, the tree-lighting ceremony generally takes place during the first week of December.
This one is somewhat lesser known than the shows at Rockefeller and Saks. So, if you want a more chill experience, consider adding this to your NYC itinerary this winter. That’s not to say it won’t still be busy, mind you.
Also, in 2021, this event was live-streamed via Facebook Live. So, we can assume that they’ll do the same again if you prefer to tune in from the comfort of your hotel room as you enjoy a steaming mug of cocoa.
On the other hand, Christmas Eve is always a big one for this spot for the best New York Christmas lights as the WSA hosts a magical evening of carol singing around the tree.
And while both of these events are free but you can donate to the WSA if you wish.
Address: Washington Square, New York, NY 10012
Hours: The lights are on every day from 4 pm to 1 am. Christmas eve caroling starts at 5 pm.
How To Get There: Take the 1/2 train to Christopher Street station and walk from there.
⭐️ Rating: 4.8/5 (295 Reviews) Price: $128 per person Duration: 1.5 hours 📍Meeting Point: Chelsea Piers, Pier 62 Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
How about something decadent for your winter visit to the Big Apple?
If that sounds hella awesome to you then step back in time and embark on a luxurious cruise onboard a 1920s yacht.
Now, this experience is more about getting a jaw-droppingly beautiful view of the glittering skyline that hangs on millions of walls across the world.
See, this Manhattan Holiday Yacht Cruise with Jazz, Cocoa & Carols is a 1.5-hour cruise that is centered around the festive season.
So, your booking includes one beverage (champagne, wine, beer, or hot chocolate) and holiday cookies too. Also, bring cash or a credit card so that you can buy extra drinks once onboard.
“The Holiday Yacht cruise was a perfect way to spend part of our family NYC visit. Weather was perfect, and the holiday motif was very festive. Was surprised at the huge platter of cookies etc we received for our table of 6. There was something for everyone.
My family thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, especially how close they brought us to the Statue of Liberty. We got some amazing pictures. I would recommend this cruise to all!”Marilyn (read more reviews now!)
And then enjoy the route, which gives you the chance to ogle the full glory of the Manhattan skyline. You’ll also get a rad perspective of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island too.
Now, you won’t really be able to see the Christmas decor from the vessel. But, the experience is jovial and full of charm. The interiors of the cabin are also decked out with decorations and trees.
A live jazz band will also perform, accompanied by a session of carol signing. Which, FYI, you are more than welcome to join in on.
Address: The meeting point varies but the provider will let you know once you’ve booked your trip.
Hours: Afternoon and evening departures available daily for a 1.5-hour cruise.
Price: $123.00 per person.
11. South Street Seaport
South Street Seaport is a historic neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. It’s an awesome destination for foodies and in December, for some of the best NYC Christmas lights on the waterfront.
In fact, Pier 17 was totally rehauled following the destruction from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Now, it’s a hip hangout with restaurants, bars, and concert venues aplenty.
Then in December, a rooftop ice rink at the “Winterland” welcomes the holiday season. This one is around the same size as the Rockefeller rink, but it offers unparalleled views of Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.
An oversized Christmas tree is also placed on South Street with decor that typically alludes to the area’s maritime history. And, best of all, pop-up stalls mean you can keep warm with a mulled wine (or ten).
And after a sequence of successful years, Winterland is expected to return in late November. However, keep an eye on the Seaport’s mailing list and socials for details.
Address: 89 South St, New York, NY 10038, United States
How to Get There: Take the 2 train to Fulton Street and walk from there.
12. New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) isn’t skipping out on the holiday spirit!
Every year, the NYSE rings in the start of the holiday season with a gigantic tree with all the trimmings.
The tree is erected in Experience Square at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. As with the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and the Saks window installation, the event is accompanied by all the usual bells and whistles.
Additionally, stalls will pop up around the site where you can grab cocoa and yummy snacks. Artists will also perform at the event. In the past, the Radio City Rockettes have been known to make an appearance or two.
NYSE’s tree-lighting event usually includes some ace kid-friendly activities as well.
And this year marks the 99th Annual Tree Lighting and the event is confirmed for 30 November. The event starts at 2 pm and lasts until 6 pm by which point the stars will be out, and the lights will be on.
It’s free to attend and you’ll need to arrive early to secure a good spot.
Address: 11 Wall St, New York, NY 10005, United States
How to Get There: Take the 4 train to Wall Street and walk from there.
No list of the best Christmas lights in NYC without mentioning Rolf’s, a classic German restaurant in Gramercy Park that routinely starts putting up some of the best Christmas lights in New York City around May.
So, stop by in the summer to about the crowds and enjoy a bit of Christmas in July since this place is no joke when it comes to the best New York Christmas lights of them all.
Therefore, if you’re imagining Christmas bulbs dangling from the ceiling, garland adorning every wall imaginable, and lights so bright they’ll make your eyes hurt then that’s exactly what you’ll get from Rolf’s.
And while the food here is mediocre at best, go with a vanilla bourbon egg nog instead and you will NOT regret it.
Address: 281 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010
Hours: Open daily from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Price: Entrees start at $25.00 each.
How to Get There: Take the 6/R/W train to 23rd Street Station and walk from there.
Best Christmas Lights in NYC – Brooklyn
14. Dyker Heights
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5 (541 Reviews) Price: $59 per person Duration: 4 hours 📍Meeting Point: In front of the Treehaus Liquor Store Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Dyker Heights is where you’ll find the biggest, brightest, and boldest best New York Christmas lights of all!
See, Dyker Heights is a regular residential neighborhood in Brooklyn that transforms into a giant Santa’s Grotto every winter.
And that’s mainly because Christmas-loving residents adorn their houses and yards with lights, wreaths, trees, angels, reindeer, candy canes, ribbons, and nutcrackers – in addition to just about every other holiday symbol imaginable.
So, there’s nothing else in the world that compares to what you’ll see here.
And even if you’re staying in Manhattan, these lights are well worth a visit over the river. Plus, Dyker Heights residents are used to seeing locals and tourists armed with cameras inundating their streets.
“Mike was awesome! He was very informative from the time the tour started to the time it ended. He gave plenty of time to see everything and take pictures. The bus was very comfortable and it had a restroom that was really convenient. I would definitely recommend this tour, it is definitely worth it!”Roy (read more reviews now!)
Now, because the subway ride does take at least an hour, it makes sense to book one of the bus tours to the area. This streamlines the experience and is significantly more comfortable.
Plus, The From Manhattan: 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour is top-rated and comes highly recommended.
It even includes pick-up from Manhattan and return transit via private bus. The event then wraps up at the Bryant Park Winter Village where you can grab some delish food and drinks (Breads chocolate babka for the win).
These tours are popular though so do plan ahead (or book now). And, if you choose instead to visit independently, make sure you wear warm clothes and grab a coffee from a nearby Brooklyn coffee shop since it gets hella cold outside.
Lights are also best-viewed after sunset so plan your visit to the best Christmas lights in NYC accordingly.
Address: From 83rd St. to 86th St. between Eleventh Ave. and Thirteenth Ave, in Dyker Heights Brooklyn.
Hours: Lights come on after sunset (best seen between 5 pm and 9 pm), daily, from late November through early January (Avoid the crowds and visit after Christmas).
Price: Free or $56 per person for the tour.
How to Get There: Take the D train from Rockefeller Center to 71st Street station and walk from there.
15. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Lightscape
Lightscape is an enchanting installation that takes place every winter in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens of Prospect Heights.
Over a million lights of all colors under the sun are artistically draped throughout the 52-acre green space. NYC-based artists also work with event planners to create wondrous installations that are easily some of the best Christmas lights in NYC.
Yeah, it’s kind of like attending a gallery opening except its interwovn with nature and the magical ambiance of a winter wonderland.
A trail will then lead you through the park, with endless photo opportunities. Obviously, you’ll need to dress with care for this one as you’ll be wandering through the botanical gardens for at least an hour in the middle of winter.
Now, what’s really special about Lightscape is that it celebrates winter on the whole while glorifying the beauty of nature.
And you’re in luck because Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Lightscape is confirmed to launch on 16 November 16, 2022 and run through to January 8, 2023.
Adored by New Yorkers, this event always sells out. So, snap up those tickets online before they’re gone!
Pro Tip: Bring a card since all vendors are cashless. Also plan on spending around 1.5 hours here.
Address: 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Hours: Open November 16th through January 8th from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm (but the facility itself closes at 9:30 pm).
Price: Tickets are $34 for adults, $18 for kids, and free for anyone 2 and under.
How to Get There: Take the 2/3 train to Brooklyn Museum and Eastern Parkway Station and walk from there.
Best Christmas Lights in NYC – The Bronx
16. The Bronx Zoo
Prepare to be razzle dazzled because the Bronx Zoo is easily home to some of the best Christmas lights in NYC.
Yup, every year this amazing institution puts on its annual holiday lights show – an extravaganza of epic proportions that astounds adults and kids alike since immersive displays feature 200+ animal-inspired lanterns.
Add in vibrant light shows that are scattered throughout the grounds in addition to live performances, holiday-themed food, a holiday train, ice carving, and characters in costume, and you have an amazing event to attend this Christmas season.
Just be sure to dress in warm clothes since walking through outdoor tunnels of lights with holiday music blaring in the background can be hella cold.
Address: 2300 Southern Boulevard Bronx, New York,10460
Hours: Holiday lights come on at 4:30 pm but tickets can be purchased for 3:00 pm (ideal if you want to see real animals), 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and 8:00 pm time slots.
Price: $39.95 for adults, $24.95 for kids (3-12), and $34.95 for seniors (65+).
How to Get There: Take the 2 train to the Pelham Parkway station and get an uber from there.
⭐️ Rating: 4.5/5 (207 Reviews) Price: $35 per person Duration: Valid 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Main entrance is located at NYBG Leon Levy Visitor Center Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
In addition to the one in Brooklyn, the official New York Botanical Gardens are actually located in the Bronx.
And during the holidays this garden gets a thoroughly festive makeover. In fact, it’s pretty similar to Lightscape, with dozens of light installations illuminating the gardens and buildings. There’s also a 1.5-mile walking route that tells the stories behind the plants displayed here.
“Absolutely beautiful show. There were so many different orchids, colors, variants! The display was really beautifully arranged. So much to say, I highly recommend making the trek. The gardens in itself are beautiful site.”Tina (read more reviews now!)
You can even upgrade your experience to include a ride on the Holiday Train. Just be sure to arrive with an empty tummy and a big appetite since the Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up is on hand with all your favorite yuletide eats!
Now, NYBG GLOW is confirmed again for 2022 and tickets for the best New York Christmas lights in Brox are required. And, surprise surprise, these also sell at lightning speed.
At present, NYBG GLOW tickets are only on sale to NYBG Members. So, keep an eye on the website for a general release date so that you can enjoy the best Christmas lights in NYC.
Pro Tip: If you visit this attraction outside of winter, you can snap up a cheaper New York Botanical Garden: All-Garden Pass with Get Your Guide now. Also, don’t forget to check out the Holiday Train Show here too.
Address: 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Hours: Open from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily between November 24th and January 22nd.
Price: Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for children, and free for anyone 2 and under.
How to Get There: Take the B, D, or 4 train to Bedford Park Blvd. Station. From here take the B26 bus east to the Botanical Garden’s Mosholu Entrance.
Best Christmas Lights in NYC – Queens
18. Illuminate the Farm @ Queens County Farm
And now, for something completely different. Because, yes, the Big Apple does contain its very own farmstead!
See, as part of the Winter Lantern Festival, Illuminate the Farm sees dozens of lanterns light up Queens County Farm.
And you can find this urban farm in Glen Oaks where it has been around since 1697. It remains in use today and produces food for the city.
Queens County Farm also hosts seasonal events and educational programs for adults and kids alike.
So, every holiday season this place transforms into a winter wonderland. Plus, all the lanterns on display are made by hand and they’re usually crafted in the shape of animals, marine creatures, flowers, and farmyard machinery.
As a result, the lanterns are absolute marvels to behold; they fully constitute some of the best Christmas lights in NYC.
Yes, Queens is a little off the beaten track. But for the chance to see these lanterns (and befriend the farm animals) it’s totally worth the bus ride.
Pro Tip: Plan your visit for Saturday, December 17th since there will be a reading of O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi at 1:00 pm.
Address: 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, Queens, NY 11004, United States
Hours: Runs from late November through late January. Open daily from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
Price: General admission is $24.99 per person.
How to Get There: Take the Q46 bus to the Union Tpke/252 St stop and walk from there.
19. AMAZE Light Festival
The AMAZE Light festival is held in New York Mets Station in Flushing every year and boy do they put on a light fest! In fact, it is one of the largest light festivals in the country. The festival transforms the stadium into a winter wonderland. There are twinkling lights in the forest which coincidentally is also covered in a blanket of snow.
There are 5 world exhibits. Each one has their own charm. Every 2 hours, you will find that they put on performances at these exhibits. As you can see, visiting the Amaze light festival is more than taking in the light displays.
So grab a cup of hot chocolate and wander around because this is without doubt one of the best things to do in NYC during Christmas!
Pro Tip: There is an animated show where the trees come alive. It is held every 30 minutes and is something that children absolutely love. So make sure that you catch it when you visit.
Address: 41 Seaver Wy, Queens, NY 11368, United States
Hours: Open between 4 – 10pm. Closed on Mondays.
How To Get There: Take the train to Met – Willets point and walk from there.
Best Christmas Lights in NYC – Staten Island
20. Escape @ Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
And one final lush botanical garden to wrap up your ultimate guide to the best Christmas lights in NYC!
Now, Snug Harbor is located in the Randall Manor/New Brighton area of Staten Island. And this uber fab cultural center hosts a ton of events throughout the year, in addition to the museums, galleries, and garden that can be found here.
And Escape @ Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is brought to you by the same folks who handle Illuminate the Farm. In fact, both are part of the Winter Lantern Festival which provides everyone with some of the best Christmas lights in New York City.
Therefore, the lights on display are the same as the exquisite lanterns mentioned for the previous event.
Plus, there’s usually a series of cultural performances as well as a food market on-site to sweeten the deal.
As with Illuminate the Farm, dates, and tickets haven’t yet been released. But, you can expect Escape to launch in late November after Thanksgiving.
You can also stay ahead of the curb and join the Winter Lantern Festival mailing list to get 30% off admission to 2022 events.
And, in case you didn’t already know, you can travel to the borough via the free Staten Island Ferry (which is one of many free things to do in NYC).,
Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301, United States
Hours: Open daily from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm from late October through early January.
Price: General admission is $24.99 per person.
How to Get There: Take the S40 bus to Snug Harbor and walk from there.
21. Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island
If you are a fan of the New York Christmas lights and are on Staten Island, you should really head over to the Historic Richmond town. This place transforms every year and it looks something like a Dicken’s novel.
The decor is always mesmerizing and there are some really cool light displays. That however isn’t all. You will find horse drawn carriages, little quaint shopping stalls which sell some epic NYC souvenirs, sweets and treats and so much more. Why you can even visit Santa and his elves for a photograph!
Needless to say, this is one of the New York Christmas light displays that children absolutely love. Unlike many child centric activities, this one has lots of attractions for adults too. Definitely a win-win all around!
Address: Historic Richmond Town – Main Village, 441 Clarke Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10306
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday: 11am -5pm. Monday and Tuesday: Closed.
Price: $12 per person. Children below 11 years old are free.
How To Get There: Take the ferry to Staten Island and then take the bus to Arthur Kill Rd.
New York Christmas Lights FAQ
What Date Do The Christmas Lights Go On In New York In 2023?
This year the New York Christmas lights will go live on the 29th of November. So make sure that you have your flights to the city booked way in advance!
Early December is the perfect time to visit because the Christmas crowds haven’t arrived yet but the ambiance is all set!
Early January in NYC is another great time to visit since the decorations are still up but the crowds have dissipated since Christmas is already over.
What Street Has The Best Christmas Lights In New York?
Fifth Avenue is without doubt the best street when it comes to Christmas lights in New York. It is also one of the most popular and expensive places to shop in the city. All the popular stores have their own displays. It is pretty cool to see how differently each one decorates their windows.
Does Central Park NYC Have Christmas Lights?
Yes! Central Park is lit up with lights and honestly it is magical. I mean, I get the allure of the stores and their window displays but there is something to be said for the quiet and peaceful charm that Central Park exudes during Christmas.
🎄 Looking for an epic way to see the NYC Christmas lights? I recommend taking a tour through Dyker Heights. It doesn’t get better than this! 🎅