12 Free Things to Do in New York City at Christmas Time

Free Things to Do in New York City at Christmas Time

New York City is undoubtedly one of the most magical places to visit during the holiday season. The entire city comes alive with a festive spirit that’s nothing short of enchanting. From the dazzling lights to the holiday markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. In this article, we will explore some of the free things to do in New York City at Christmas time. Whether you’re a local looking for holiday activities or a visitor wanting to experience the Big Apple’s festive charm, this guide has you covered.

Table of Contents

Unwrap the Magic: 12 Free Things to Do in New York City at Christmas time

Christmas in New York City is an unforgettable event. The city is famed for its lavish displays, outstanding holiday shows, and welcoming ambiance that spreads cheer throughout the season. With so much to see and do, it’s no surprise that New York City is a popular holiday destination. Let’s get started on the free activities that will make your Christmas in the city even more memorable. You can also check out the best destinations for holidays here in the USA.

Exploring the Iconic Rockefeller Center

Skating at Rockefeller Center

Skating at Rockefeller Center

One of the most iconic and free activities to enjoy in NYC is ice skating at the Rockefeller Center. The ice rink, set against the backdrop of the towering Christmas tree, creates a picture-perfect holiday scene. Best of all, it’s free to watch the skaters and soak in the festive atmosphere.

The Famous Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

The Famous Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

The Rockefeller Center conducts a stunning Christmas tree lighting ceremony every year. This event is free and open to the public, and it’s a great way to start the holiday season. Witnessing the illumination of this massive tree is an experience you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life.

Enjoying the Enchanting Holiday Markets

Union Square Holiday Market

Union Square Holiday Market

Explore the Union Square Holiday Market for a selection of artisan items, delectable cuisine, and a welcoming ambiance. It’s a terrific spot to find one-of-a-kind presents and taste some of the city’s best delights.

Bryant Park Winter Village

During the Christmas season, Bryant Park is transformed into a Winter Village. On their rink, you may enjoy free ice skating surrounded by boutique-style businesses and a cozy ambiance.

Be amazed by the dazzling Fifth Avenue displays.

Walking along Fifth Avenue during the holidays is a visual pleasure. Many premium establishments paint their windows with elaborate decorations, which you can admire for free.

Glimpse of Christmas Spectacular: The Radio City Rockettes

During their concerts in front of Radio City Music Hall, the Radio City Rockettes can be seen. While tickets to the complete event can be pricey, bits of their routines can be seen outside the theater.

Magical Macy's Santaland

Macy’s Herald Square’s eighth story is transformed into Santa landwinter wonderland complete with holiday decorations and, of course, the opportunity to meet Santa Claus. This is free experience, but expect long lineups during the Christmas season.

Experience the Serenity of St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a stunning architectural work of art. It is magnificently decorated with Christmas decorations during the holiday season and is open for visitors to view its splendour.

Ice Skating in Central Park

Wollman Rink

Wollman Rink in Central Park is another excellent ice skating venue. While skating is not free, it is free to watch and enjoy the celebratory atmosphere.

Immerse Yourself in Art at the Met Museum

The met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a cultural and artistic treasure trove. The Met is free to enter and explore their huge collection, making it an ideal indoor pastime on a chilly day.

Historical Charm at South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport, with its cobblestone lanes and antique buildings, is charming holiday destination. You can walk about, take in the ambience, and perhaps listen to live music.

Festive Holiday Lights in Dyker Heights

Dyker Heights in Brooklyn is famous for its magnificent Christmas light displays, despite its remote location. Take stroll through the neighbourhood and be impressed by the locals’ inventiveness.

Dine at New York's Cozy Winter Restaurants

While dining is not usually free, there are many cosy eateries throughout the city where you can have a nice meal while taking in the holiday atmosphere. During the holidays, New York City’s food culture is a treat, from hot chocolate to hearty feasts.

Free Caroling Events Around the City

Free carolling events are held at various sites throughout the city. Keep an eye out for event listings and join in on the singing, spreading holiday pleasure with both New Yorkers and visitors.


Christmas in New York City is a magical wonderland filled with delightful free activities for anyone to enjoy. There’s something for everyone, from major sights to hidden gems. So, whether you’re touring the holiday markets, admiring the stunning lights, or taking in some of the city’s famous shows, New York City is sure to make your Christmas season memorable.


Are there any free Christmas events in New York City?

Yes, there are various free Christmas events in New York City, such as the Rockefeller Centre tree lighting ceremony, ice skating at Rockefeller Centre, and others.

How can I see the Radio City Rockettes for free?

During their outdoor performances in front of Radio City Music Hall, you can catch a peek of the Radio City Rockettes.

What are the best places for free ice skating in New York City at Christmas?

Free ice skating is available at Bryant Park Winter Village, as well as watching skaters at Wollman Rink in Central Park.

Where can I find the most extravagant Christmas lights in NYC?

Dyker Heights in Brooklyn is famous for its magnificent Christmas light displays, which are free to view.

What is the best way to experience the holiday atmosphere in NYC for free?

Strolling down Fifth Avenue and admiring the store window displays, as well as visiting Christmas markets such as Union Square Christmas Market and Bryant Park Winter Village, are free ways to get into the holiday spirit.

1 thought on “12 Free Things to Do in New York City at Christmas Time”

  1. Pingback: Exploring the 15 Best Cities in the USA: The Ultimate Guide to American Dream Destinations - travel-interest, top destination, adventure tourism, travel guide,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *