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June 16, 2024

As Foreign Travel Returns NYC & Company Invites Visitors to Reengage with Holiday Classics in New York City

As Foreign Travel Returns NYC

NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, invites locals and visitors to enjoy holiday traditions and cultural experiences across the five boroughs, many of which are in person for the first time in two years. With the return of spectators at annual events including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes, festive shopping at NYC’s iconic department stores, ice-skating rinks, light festivities, cultural performances, winter exhibitions including the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, and more, there are endless opportunities for an unforgettable experience this holiday season in New York City. NYC & Company releases holiday activity across the five boroughs as foreign travel returns, following the arrival of the first international flights to NYC in more than 600 days last Monday.

“A visit to New York City during the holidays is unparalleled, and we’re thrilled to once again welcome travelers from around the world,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon. “New experiences, annual events and iconic traditions across the five boroughs, coupled with the timely reopening of US international borders, emphasize that ‘It’s Time for New York City’ this holiday season.” 

See below a list of holiday activity across the five boroughs by the following categories: annual big events; cheerful performances; winter exhibitions and cultural events; flagship shopping offers; shop local businesses and pop-ups; light festivals and displays; ice skating rinks; hotel offers; outdoor igloos and cabins; holidays on the water.


November 25 | Manhattan

The classic NYC celebration featuring larger-than-life helium balloons, fantasy floats, clowns, performance groups, Broadway’s best musicals, celebrity appearances and more is back in-person for its 95th year. New balloons will include Grogu; Netflix’s Ada Twist, Scientist; SpongeBob SquarePants and Gary; Smokey Bear; and Sonic the Hedgehog. New floats include Kalahari Resorts & Conventions’ Colossal Wave of Wonder, 1-2-3 Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues & You!, and Snoopy’s Doghouse. The Parade will begin at 9am, at its traditional starting line at 77th Street and Central Park West.

NYC & Company has compiled a list of hotel offers to watch the parade from the comfort of a hotel.

NYC celebrate annual big event

November 28–December 5 | Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Grand Army Plaza will light the largest Hanukkah Menorah each of the eight nights, with live music, hot latkes and gifts for children. 

December 1 | Midtown Manhattan

The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center has been a tradition for more than eight decades, lighting up Rockefeller Plaza each holiday season. The lighting ceremony will feature performances and classic Christmas songs by soon-to-be-announced artists, and be on view through early to mid-January.

People celebrate New Year Eve

December 31–January 1 | Times Square, Manhattan

The Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball will sparkle in Times Square all season, but its descent on New Year’s Eve is a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime way to ring in the New Year. The event, watched by millions of viewers in NYC and around the globe, will welcome vaccinated spectators back in-person this December; vaccination policy is outlined here. Guests can also stop by the New Year’s Eve Confetti Wishing Wall from December 1 on to submit (in person and online) a wish for the New Year on a piece of official NYE confetti that will be dropped at midnight as the ball drops.


Radio City during Christmas festival

Through January 5 | Midtown Manhattan

The beloved holiday tradition returns to Radio City Music Hall this year after being paused last year, dazzling audiences of all ages with incredible costumes, festive songs, synchronized high kicks, and new acts.

November 15-December 13 | Hudson Yards, Manhattan

Enjoy a weekly series of free, live performances from Broadway’s biggest hit shows at Hudson Yards every Monday. Cast members will sing songs from productions including Aladdin, Dear Evan Hansen, The Lion King, Moulin Rouge!, Chicago and more.

November 26–January 2 | Upper West Side, Manhattan

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center will return this year with exquisite costumes, magnificent sets, and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score that transports audiences to a land of twirling snowflakes, leaping candy canes, waltzing flowers and more.

November 27 | The Bronx

Ring in the holidays with a live performance by Grammy Award-winninglegendary singer, composer, and virtuoso guitarist José Feliciano, known for best-selling Christmas single “Feliz Navidad.”

December 1–31 | Greenwich Village, Manhattan

An actor portraying Charles Dickens will tell this timeless Christmas tale in the elegant intact Greek revival double parlor of the landmark 1832 Merchant’s House Museum.

The famous theater presents its annual Christmas Show, a two-hour production filled with high energy and a rhinestone-studded series of songs and dances that the whole family will enjoy.

December 10–January 5 | Upper East Side, Manhattan

The Met’s abridged, English-language version of Mozart’s magical fairy tale is a classic holiday treat for audiences of all ages, bringing the charming story and enchanting music to life.

December 11 | Flatbush, Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Nutcracker transforms familiar characters and scenes from the holiday classic to represent the diverse traditions and vibrant culture of Brooklyn.

December 14–January 2 | Chelsea, Manhattan

The beloved all-male drag ballet troupe returns to The Joyce for an uproarious holiday season, taking the stage for three weeks of nonstop skilled pointe work and hilarious parodying of classical holiday-themed ballet inspired by Jerome Robbins’ In the Night.

December 14–18 | Upper West Side, Manhattan

Grammy Award-winning Baroque specialist Jeannette Sorrell conducts the Philharmonic on this holiday piece including dazzling vocal solos, instrumentals and coral writing, in the neo-Gothic glory of Riverside Church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Big Band Holidays with lighting

December 15–19 | Upper West Side, Manhattan

With soulful big band arrangements of songs both sacred and secular, the Big Band Holidays series at the Rose Theater is an uplifting tradition enjoyed by audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

December 24 | Midtown Manhattan

A favorite of Carnegie Hall audiences for more than 50 years, the New York String Orchestra returns for its annual Christmas Eve concert conducted by Jaime Laredo and will feature some of the nation’s most celebrated young musicians performing alongside guest artists.

December 26 | Harlem, Manhattan

The Apollo Theater will host its annual Kwanzaa Celebration featuring Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theater in a power evening of music, percussion, and modern and African dance.


Through December 26 | Times Square, Manhattan

Times Square welcomed back the holiday “Show Globes”—large snow globe displays inspired by the designs of hit Broadway shows including Wicked, Ain’t Too Proud, The Lion King and Dear Evan Hansen.

November 17–January 7 | Midtown Manhattan

Fifth Avenue welcomes the holiday season with 32 handcrafted-in-Brooklyn animal sculptures across from the Plaza Hotel, 5,000 feet of lighting, an ice-skating rink and 24 handmade icebergs surrounding the Pulitzer Fountain, with orchestrated music from composer Paul Brill.

November 18–January 9 | Soho, Manhattan

Museum of Ice Cream’s annual holiday celebration, Pinkmas, will transform its 13 multisensory installations into a pink winter wonderland bursting with snowflakes, candy canes and pink trees. Guests are encouraged to bring a new toy—to be donated to Toys for Tots—in exchange for one scoop of ice cream at the museum café.

November 20–January 23 | Fordham, the Bronx

The City’s beloved holiday tradition returns for its 30th year with a miniature wonderland in the warmth of the Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at model trains as they zip through an enchanting display of more than 175 famous New York landmarks, all re-created from natural materials such as pine cones, acorns and seeds.

November 23–January 9 | Upper East Side, Manhattan

A NYC tradition, the Met’s Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche exhibition—an adorned tree with a nativity scene around its base—comes from a collection of 18th-century Neapolitan figures donated by American artist and collector Loretta Hines Howard in 1964.

November 24 through holiday season | Upper West Side, Manhattan

The delightfully decorated 13-foot Origami Holiday Tree, celebrating its 50th anniversary, will have a Gems of the Museum theme,featuring 50 specially created gold-colored models for the “golden anniversary.”

Throughout the holiday season | Seaport District NYC, Manhattan

It’s the most wonderful time of the year as the historic cobblestone streets of the Seaport District and Pier 17 turn into the ultimate destination for holiday celebrations. Festivities include the Hanukkah Menorah Lighting on November 28, the Holiday Tree Lighting on December 2 and decorations throughout the streets.

December 4–5 | Riverdale, the Bronx

Create natural wreaths using a grapevine base and fresh greens harvested by Wave Hill gardeners, as floral designer Hanako Shimamoto shares simple techniques for designing one-of-a-kind decorations.

December 5 | Upper East Side, Brooklyn

Embark on a playful hunt to explore striking Hanukkah menorahs; draw discoveries in a sketchbook, experiment with whimsical shapes, touch replicas of artifacts and chat with Jewish Museum educators in celebration of the holiday with timed tickets from 10:30am and 2pm.

NYC’s most unique holiday events Latke Festival

December 6 | Brooklyn

One of NYC’s most unique holiday tasting events, the Latke Festival is a charity event that celebrates the most delicious and most creative potato pancakes.

December 11-12, 18-19 | Richmond Town, Staten Island

This season, experience the tastes and scents of centuries past at Historic Richmond Town, where visitors step back in time while exploring this unique NYC tradition, illuminated by candles and oil lamps.


In partnership with NYC & Company, the following flagship department stores will offer special “It’s Time for Shopping” gifts with $100+ purchases, to celebrate the return of in-person shopping, beginning on Black Friday, November 26, through Boxing Day, December 26.

Light Show Unveiling November 23, Offer Available November 26-December 26 | Midtown Manhattan 

Saks Fifth Avenue’s classic Holiday Window and Light Show will be unveiled on November 23. The flagship will be home to a holiday market this year inspired by European open-air markers, offering special gifts, holiday décor, food, and more. Open daily, the market comes to life each Saturday, with an array of activities including street-side activations, artisans, interactive happenings, and more. Shoppers can redeem a travel pouch by providing proof of a $100+ purchase from the Holiday Market at the International Lounge on the lower level and mentioning “NYCGO.”

November 18, Offer Available November 26-December 26 | Upper East Side, Manhattan 

Bloomingdales invites shoppers to “Give Happy” this season with special offerings including holiday windows that will be unveiled on November 18; a Ralph Lauren immersive ski chalet experience featuring exclusive products; a “Happy Together Again” pop-up offering a Nespresso bar with complimentary beverages to fuel holiday shopping; and Santaland. Shoppers can redeem a limited-edition gift by providing proof of a $100+ purchase at the Visitors Center on 1 Level Balcony and mentioning “NYCGO.” A complimentary hotel delivery is also available for purchases of $250+.

Offer Available November 26-December 26 | Midtown Manhattan 

Visit the flagship store to explore a curated assortment of the best in fashion, fragrance, toys through a new partnership with Toys R Us, and more; enjoy a meet and greet with Santa; and marvel at the iconic Broadway windows—this year’s theme will feature the story of Tiptoe, a bright-eyed reindeer pursuing the ultimate dream, joining Santa’s sleigh team and delivering magic around the world on Christmas Eve. Shoppers can redeem a gift by providing proof of a $100+ purchase to the Macy’s Visitor Center on the mezzanine level and mentioning “NYCGO.”

Offer Available November 26-December 26 | Midtown Manhattan 

Nordstrom invites shoppers to “Make Merry” with three festive pop-up shops, including the Holiday Gift Shop, Pop-In@Nordstrom, and new Concepts@Nordstrom, Concept 015: Make It Bazaar. Visitors will enjoy free gift wrapping, Santa snacks, in-store pick-up, the “Santa Snow Show,” lighting, holiday décor and more. Shoppers can redeem a bag of beauty items by providing proof of any $100+ beauty purchase at the Beauty Concierge in the Beauty Hall, as well as a 15% discount on beauty and wellness services at Beauty Haven when mentioning “NYCGO.”


Sundays, through December 19 | Dumbo, Brooklyn

Visit one of the borough’s most popular locations, Dumbo, to do some local holiday shopping featuring vintage and antique items, crafts and gourmet food stands.

Through January 8 | West Village, Manhattan 

The iconic jewelry store pop-up is located in the heart of the West Village, offering shoppers a series of holiday-themed activities such as hand-painting Tiffany gift boxes and holiday cards, calligraphy, poetry readings, and more.

Through January 2 | Bryant Park, Manhattan

This year, the European-style Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park opened earlier than ever to commence the festive season, with must-buy gifts, sweets, drinks and winter activities.

November 18–December 24 | Union Square, Manhattan

Urbanspace’s longest running holiday market will return this year with over 150 vendors and a partnership with NYC’s unofficial talent scout, Nick “New York Nico” Heller, to curate a special booth of rotating budding entrepreneurs for one week.

November 29–December 24 | Columbus Circle, Manhattan

Internationally known as one of the most elegant places for holiday shopping, visitors can lose themselves in aisles of art, jewelry, home goods and delicious eats from local artisans and designers, all while roaming through NYC’s iconic Central Park.

December 4–5, 11–12, 18–19 | Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

FAD Market is bringing the holiday spirit back to Brooklyn’s BoCoCa (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens) area with two holiday market locations, The Invisible Dog Art Center on Bergen Street in Boerum Hill and St. Paul’s Church on Court Street in Cobble Hill.

Saturdays, December 4–24 | Midtown Manhattan

Grand Central will offer complimentary gift wrapping of holiday gifts purchased at any shop inside the terminal. Each shopper will be offered up to five gifts wrapped free of charge in a choice of Grand Central–themed wrapping paper, which includes the terminal’s iconic constellation ceiling. Wrapped gifts will be placed in a complimentary, exclusive and reusable Grand Central Terminal tote bag.


Throughout the holiday season | Hudson Yards, Manhattan

Hudson Yards will be illuminated in an awe-inspiring light display of over two million twinkling lights with other decor including 725 evergreen trees, 16-foot-tall hot-air balloons arranged throughout the Public Square and Gardens, and a 32-foot-tall hot-air balloon centerpiece suspended in The Great Room of The Shops.

Through January 9 | North Shore, Staten Island

The NYC Winter Lantern Festival is back at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden for its third year. Enjoy over eight acres of luminescence—an immersive world of light—in addition to a live DJ, projection mapping, food vendors and more.

November 19–January 9 | Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Explore the Garden after dark at the illuminated Lightscape which will celebrate the beauty of nature with an enchanting one-mile trail through BBG’s 52-acre landscape. Enjoy the Winter Cathedral tunnel, Fire Garden and Sea of Light, as well as new site-specific light works by local artists, accompanied by a curated soundtrack.

November 19–January 9 | Fordham, the Bronx

The Bronx Zoo will come to life with holiday cheer each evening as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. The celebration is complete with festive entertainment, seasonal treats and classic holiday music.

25 select nights; November 24–January 22 | Bronx Park, the Bronx

Discover the beauty of New York Botanical Garden through GLOW, which will illuminate the garden’s landmark landscape and historic buildings after dark with a newly expanded 1.5-mile colorful experience.

November 25–January 9 | Queens County Farm Museum, Queens

For this first time, the NYC Winter Lantern Festival will transform Queens County Farm into an immersive and radiant oasis with festive lights and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, tractors, farm animals and more.

December 1–31 | Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

Head to Brooklyn to experience the extravagant Christmas light displays in Dyker Heights, also known as “Dyker Lights.” This guided bus tour, departing from Manhattan, offers visitors a special experience to view the uniquely decorated homes, learn about the history and stories of the neighborhood tradition, and more.


Throughout the holiday season | Rockefeller Center, Manhattan

The world-famous ice-skating rink is now open for the holiday season, for visitors to ice skate under the iconic Christmas tree, a quintessential NYC experience. Santa will join visitors on the ice from December 4-24.

Through March 6 | Bryant Park, Manhattan

Enjoy the City’s free 17,000-square-foot outdoor ice-skating rink at Bryant Park’s Winter Village. Visitors can also enjoy the Holiday Shops, free shows, events, activities, and eats and drinks at The Lodge.

Throughout the holiday season | Central Park, Manhattan

The Wollman Rink just celebrated its grand reopening and will remain open through the season to enjoy skating in Central Park with the picturesque Manhattan skyline in the background.


Through December 30 | Upper East Side, Manhattan

Enjoy accommodations on Manhattan’s famed Upper East Side, steps from the City’s coveted holiday attractions, with this offer including a food and beverage credit that can be used at The Regency Bar & Grill, gift card to neighboring Bloomingdale’s and a festive welcome amenity.

November 25–January 9 | Midtown Manhattan 

Enjoy afternoon tea at The Palm Court at The Plaza, an iconic destination for holiday festivities, as well as Santa Clause visits, the Home Alone 2 experience and one-of-a-kind gifts at the Eloise Pop-Up.

December 1-31 | Midtown Manhattan 

The Langham is bringing the classic NYC Christmas to life with a minimum two-night stay in a Junior Suite decked with a decorated Christmas tree (with option to ship personal ornaments and stockings beforehand) and custom Christmas treats. Guests will also receive four tickets to the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes and transportation in a vintage taxi, a horse and carriage ride around Central Park, and more. The hotel will donate 10% of the proceeds to the Food Bank of New York City.

December 2, 9, 16, 23 | Midtown Manhattan 

Create a custom scent to gift to loved ones this season in the Conrad New York Midtown’s cozy library room, with an Olfactory NYC pop-up offering a selection of six core fragrances and dozens of accords to design a custom scent. Guests staying at the property will receive 20% off.

December 13, 14, 15, 16 | Midtown East

The hotel is hosting live choral music in the lobby this season, beginning on Monday, December 13 with PS 150 Queens, followed by Long Island Gay Men’s Chorus on December 14, Canticum Novum Singers on December 15, and Village Light Opera on December 16.


Throughout the holiday season | Rockefeller Center, Manhattan

Enjoy a glass of locally crafted wine and a bite to eat in a warm, private winter dome at City Winery, or in the Outdoor Wine Garden, offering views of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, open seven days a week. Reservations can be made through Resy.

Throughout the holiday season | Seaport District NYC, Manhattan

Back by popular demand, The Rooftop at Pier 17 will debut the newest rendition of The Greens winter cabins, open seven days a week. With a refreshed design and new menu concept, The Greens is comprised of individual dining cabins, each decked with classic decor and amenities including floor-to-ceiling views of NYC, heating and more.

Through April 15 | Rockefeller Center, Manhattan

Experience a winter oasis at one of the 17 igloos offered at 230 Fifth—with close-up views of the Empire State Building—each accommodating up to 10 guests; advanced bookings are recommended.


Throughout holiday season | Manhattan

Enjoy four-course holiday brunch cruises, a cocoa and carols cruise, and more holiday themes, while sailing across the East and Hudson Rivers with views of the NYC skyline and Lady Liberty.

Throughout holiday season | Manhattan

Enjoy a NYC Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s dining cruise, among others, featuring festive décor, meals, and stunning views of the City while sailing across the East and Hudson Rivers from the glass-enclosed deck.

New York City’s Key to NYCprogram requirespeople ages 12 and older to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 for most indoor activities, including at restaurants, event spaces, venues, museums, attractions and more. Individuals must have received at least one dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine to patronize these establishments

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