Things to Do in NYC in December

Things to Do in NYC in December
Despite chilly temperatures, December is one of the best times to visit New York City. Holiday lights sparkle; wreaths and garlands breathe nature into the city's stone and steel. New York's attractions are open throughout the month. Many have special holiday events or decor. From museums to the outdoors, December brings out Manhattan's latent charms.


Ice skate at Rockefeller Center; glide beneath New York's largest Christmas tree. Warm up after the adventure with hot cocoa from La Maison Chocolat (30 Rockefeller Center). For a quieter skate, go to Central Park's Wollman Rink. Snuggle under blankets in a horse-drawn carriage for a ride through the park. You can rent ice skates at both rinks.

Rockefeller Center
Fifth to Seventh Avenues, between 47th and 50th Streets
New York, NY 10020
(212) 332-6868

Wollman Rink
Central Park at 63rd Street
New York, NY 10021
(212) 439-6900


Though Rockefeller Center boasts the largest and most famous evergreen of the season--usually lit during the first days of December--New York City is filled with Christmas trees. The Metropolitan Museum of Art decorates its tree with Baroque angels, surrounded by a nativity scene. The theme is different each year at the American Museum of Natural History. Its tree is hung with hundreds of paper origami. Join the Big Apple Chorus for holiday songs every weekend in front of South Street Seaport's holiday tree.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 535-7710

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
(212) 769-5100

South Street Seaport
Fulton and South Streets, Pier 17
New York, NY 10038
(212) 732-7678


Artistry and athleticism work together in some of the season's best performances. The Big Apple Circus features acrobatics while Lincoln Center's annual presentation of The Nutcracker is famous for its adult and child dancers. Both run throughout the month. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (featuring the Rockettes) is another holiday staple, best for a family with kids.

Lincoln Center
132 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
(212) 875-2000

Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 307-7171


The Bronx Zoo hosts Wild Winterland throughout the month. The Wildlife Conservation Society used to present an evening display of lights, but has switched to a daytime celebration to save energy and carbon emissions. Horse-drawn wagons take you around the holiday-trimmed zoo. Reindeer browse. Animals open their presents. Listen to stories, watch ice carvers, canoodle with costumed characters and carolers, roast marshmallows, and make crafts. If you're already in the neighborhood, stop by the New York Botanical Gardens' Holiday Train Show. Model trains built from botanical materials--such as cinnamon sticks, pine cones and orange slices--chug through replicas of famous New York City buildings.

Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10460
(718) 220-5100

New York Botanical Garden
Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 817-8700

Article Written By Kelly Aspen

Kelly Aspen's writing focuses on natural places, cultural sites and wildlife. She has more than 10 years of experience as an editor and writer for various magazines, books and websites.

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