What to do in New York for the holidays

Discover holiday shows playing in New York, plus other festive attractions and restaurants to visit around the Theatre District.

Joe Dziemianowicz
Joe Dziemianowicz

In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas, and in New York, gleaming theatre marquees reflect that joyful sensation. Seasonal productions typically run from late November through right after New Year’s Day, with tons more holiday attractions and dazzling displays of decorations within walking distance. Altogether, these spectacles make NYC one of the best places to spend the holidays.

Holiday events in NYC are a beloved part of Christmas, just like gazing into elaborately decorated store windows and visiting festive holiday trees. Festive productions tend to run on a special expanded schedule during the holidays, giving you more opportunities to see them.

Read more about Broadway show holiday schedules.

Check out can't-miss New York Christmas shows, festive restaurants, and seasonal attractions below to help you plan every part of a holly jolly holiday outing in the city.

Get tickets to New York shows at Christmas.

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Christmas shows in New York City

Holiday plays, musicals, concerts, and spectaculars in New York are on stage from Thanksgiving until shortly after New Year’s Day, making it truly the happiest time of the year. With dozens of seasonal productions running along with other shows on Broadway, NYC theatergoers have more choices than ever.

Want to see an extravaganza like the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes? An imaginative take on a beloved classic like A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker? A seasonal comedy? New York theatre has your wish list covered.

With such a rich and varied roster of holiday shows running for a brief window of time, narrowing down your options means making a list and checking it twice. Each show puts its own individual spin on the holiday theme. Read about some celebrated shows you can see for Christmas in New York in 2023.

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Nutcracker Rouge

Company XIV sets its dial on sexy and combines burlesque, opera, and circus performances in this sensual, adults-only take on the ballet classic. Indulge in cocktails and champagne during this popular annual show at Théâtre XIV in Brooklyn.

Get Nutcracker Rouge tickets now.

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Radio City Rockettes

Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes

Shows don’t come more iconic or family-friendly than this one, and that’s why this world famous production has been celebrating the holiday season at Radio City Music Hall since 1933. From the high-kicking Rockettes to a high-flying 3D Santa to onstage camels to classic Christmas songs you’ll leave this storied venue humming, there’s something for everyone in this holiday chestnut.

Check back for information on The Radio City Christmas Spectacular tickets.

Discover all the holiday shows in NYC to see this season.

Holiday attractions in New York

Seeing shows is just one of the things you can do in New York to get into the festive spirit. Discover other Christmas activities and holiday attractions to check out around the city.

Lightscape

The city's most dazzling tunnel of lights returns to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for another holiday season. When the sky gets dark, the gardens brighten with over 1 million lights, and attendees can walk on a trail where these lights, along with brilliant artworks and nature, surround them. Plus, anyone can make a whole evening out of a visit to Lightscape, as food and drinks are available for purchase on-site, too.

Check back for information on Lightscape tickets on New York Theatre Guide.

The Magic Flute

The Metropolitan Opera House itself is an iconic attraction, and just stepping through the doors — in your holiday best, of course — is an event. So why not make it an event the whole family can partake in? The Magic Flute returns as The Metropolitan Opera's special holiday presentation for families. See the story of a noble prince, equipped with a flute that can charm anyone, as he goes on a quest to save a princess. At just an hour long, performed in English, and filled with plenty of whimsical stagecraft, this musical fairytale will charm anyone of any age.

Check back for information on The Magic Flute tickets on New York Theatre Guide.

Best Christmas restaurants in NYC

New York boasts numerous notable restaurants and bars, including long-timers and new hubs where you can dine and have drinks before and after a show. Even better, many are within walking distance of Broadway theatres, giving them a special spot on the nice list amid all the NYC hustle and bustle.

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Christmas food to eat in New York

Gather the family and friends and check out these festive spots to enjoy a pre- or post-show meal. Though they're sure to bring joy to your world during the holidays, they serve up great food year-round, so you can come back for your next city trip.

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment

The ornate 19th-century decor at this casual restaurant and bar serving traditional pub fare, beers, whiskeys, wines, and specialty cocktails goes all out at Christmastime with shiny garlands, evergreens, and more festive finery. You might feel like you’ve stepped back in time – or into an immersive Scrooge-free A Christmas Carol.

Address: 249 W. 49th St., near the 1/C/E lines at 50th St.
Nearby theatres: Circle in the Square Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Theatre
Hours: Open daily, hours vary.

Marseille

This French brasserie has become a go-to gathering spot for pre- and post-theatre dining, along with breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner. There’s also a oyster happy hour, perfect to enjoy with a glass of wine.

Address: 630 Ninth Ave., near the A/C/E lines at W. 42nd St.
Nearby theatres: St. James Theatre, Majestic Theatre, Broadhurst Theatre
Hours: Open daily at 11:30 a.m.

Carmine’s

This easygoing favorite serves an A to Z (antipasti to zuppa di clams) of Italian dishes in hearty, family-style portions. Caring and sharing is what the Christmas season is about, making Carmine's perfect for a family-friendly Christmas dinner.

Address: 244 W. 44th St., near the A/C/E subway lines at 42nd St.
Nearby theatres: Lyceum Theatre, Minskoff Theatre, Stephen Sondheim Theatre
Hours: Open daily at 11:30 a.m.

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Christmas drinks to enjoy in New York

These restaurants and bars are great places to have a drink with friends or family. Keep your eye on the menus for special seasonal cocktails.

Cafe Luxembourg

At this charming French bistro, holiday wreaths and greens combine with a gleaming bar and glowing lighting as flattering as a Broadway star’s dressing room. The decor all combines to perfectly set the scene for cocktails and conversation.

Address: 200 W. 70th St., near 1/2/3 subway lines at W. 72nd St.
Nearby theatres: Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera
Hours: Open daily at 5 p.m.

Rosevale Cocktail Room

Located on the second floor of the Civilian Hotel, this inviting lounge’s star attractions are evening drinks and snacks. Credit the handsome good looks to Broadway set designer David Rockwell.

Address: 305 W. 48th St., near 1/C/E lines at 50th St.
Nearby theatres: Walter Kerr Theatre, Longacre Theatre
Hours: Open 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday

Festive places in New York to visit for Christmas

There’s a show on every corner in New York, and from late November until early January, every inch of the city is decked out for the holidays. Before, after, and between Broadway shows, there are lots of must-see seasonal delights to enjoy just a short stroll from the Theatre District. Bring your hat, gloves, and holiday spirit to these annual bucket-list events.

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Ice skating in New York

NYC wintertime experiences don’t get cooler than ice skating, and there’s not a more joyous place to lace up than The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Yes, there are wait times. But gliding along under the watchful gaze of a gilded mythic Prometheus, who’s cast in bronze, adds one-of-a-kind theatrical drama. Wollman Rink in Central Park and the Winter Village at Bryant Park offer ice skating, too.

Address: Rockefeller Center, B/D/F/M subway lines to 47-50th Sts.
Nearby theatres: Radio City Music Hall, Belasco Theatre
Hours: Opens 9 a.m.

See the Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Gazing in wonder at this majestic holiday evergreen decked out in all its glory is a beloved NYC traditior for visitors and locals. This year’s tree is a roughly 85-year-old Norway spruce that stands 82 feet tall and comes from Queensbury, New York.

Address: Rockefeller Center, B/D/F/M subway lines to 47-50th Sts.
Nearby theatres: Radio City Music Hall, Belasco Theatre

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Walk around the Bryant Park Winter Village

This outdoor oasis beams small-town charm in the heart of the big city, and it’s made for Christmastime multitasking. Holiday shopping? Check – there are nearly 170 kiosks for treasures for everyone on your list. Ice skating? Check – you can hit the rink for an invigorating spin. Eating and drinking? Check — there’s a variety of places to dine and grab a cocktail or a piping hot chocolate.

If you find yourself a little further from the Theatre District, there are holiday markets in Columbus Circle, Grand Central, and Union Square, too.

Address: Bryant Park, B/D/F/M/7 at 42nd St.
Nearby theatres: Belasco Theatre, Stephen Sondheim Theatre
Hours: Open Mon.-Fri. At 11 a.m., Sat.-Sun. At 10 a.m.

Visit New York at Christmas

Christmas in New York brings a festive flurry of shows to Broadway and theatres around the city with new stories and beloved classics to tell. Along with other seasonal happenings all around the city, enjoying holiday theatre in New York is an experience that’s like a gift that keeps on giving. Holiday shows fill up fast, so get tickets now to be sure you don’t miss out.

Get tickets to New York shows at Christmas.

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