Free things to do in New York at Christmas

Christmas in New York is truly magical and to spend the holiday season in the big apple is on most peoples wish lists.  Christmas in New York is also expensive so with that in mind we have searched the Internet to find the best free things to do in New York at Christmas.

 

Bryant park winter village

New York has an impressive 19 Christmas markets during the holiday season, most are free entry so you can just wander around and take in the atmosphere without spending a thing!

We recommend the Bryant park winter village, one of New York’s biggest and most festive winter markets with over 170 holiday shops, including new kiosks and eateries for 2018.  There is also a new rink side restaurant this year (2018) called The Lodge – a food hall serving a large array of different things to eat and drink. There’s even an outdoor beer garden!

Ice Skating In Bryant Park is also free if you bring your own skates, It’s not as well known as the Rockefeller Center, however if you don’t have your skates it’s still $18 cheaper.  Skate rentals are $15 if you don’t bring your own pair.

 

 

Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree and displays

The Rockefeller Centre tree is one the world’s most famous Christmas trees and the postcard picture for Christmas in New York.  Made famous by films like Home Alone, Elf, Mad About You and Autumn in New York the tree has become one of the great icon’s of New York.  The tree is free to visit and photograph, however the crowds can get overwhelming so try and visit in the early morning on a weekday to get the best photographs.

The Rockefeller Centre is also a great place to explore and enjoy a piece of New York’s glitz and glamour history – so order a coffee and take in the Christmassy atmosphere.

Rockefeller Centre

 

Dkyker Heights Christmas lights

Take a trip out to Brooklyn to visit the famous Christmas lights of Dkyker Heights,  a great opportunity to see how the locals decorate their homes for Christmas.  The decorations are meant to be over the top with huge inflatable Santas, Christmas carols from loudspeakers and light displays. Over 100,000 people visit each year!  Hundreds of house take part over multiple blocks and avenues, it’s a real site for the senses and totally free.  The walk will take around 15 minutes, so grab your coat and go experience some real New York celebrations

To get there travel by subway, taking the D Train to 71st St, Brooklyn.

Dyker Heights

 

Winter Garden

Next door to the World Trade Center site is the Winter Garden located in the World Financial Centre, this giant atrium was refurbished after 9/11 and now hosts free holiday performances throughout December to get you in the festive spirit.

 

Free Juilliard Performances

Want to see some world-class performing arts, but don’t want to pay the price tag?  many of the performers you’re paying to see started out next door at the world famous Juilliard, and all of them spend time performing for free at recitals open to the public. Free performances range from Jazz, Orchestral, Solos, Dance, Opera and Drama.  For a full schedule of the December performances visit Juilliard’s calendar of events.

While you’re at Lincoln Center, catch the free water fountain presentation in the center of the plaza. Designed by the same people who created the Bellagio fountain’s in Las Vegas.

 

Holiday Window Shopping

Think extravagantly dressed Christmas windows in all the major department stores in Midtown, Manhattan.  In late November, the windows of Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylor, Bergdoff Goodman and many more come alive with movement, music, colour and craziness – this free Christmas treat delights  locals and tourists alike.

 

NYC Transit Museum’s Free Holiday Train Show

A favorite with locals over the Christmas holidays, this free train show starts mid November each year.  Taking place in the Grand Central Terminal Building, the long running show is a collection of small scale replicas of the city’s train system travelling through realistic scenery that changes each year.

Themes of previous years include a homage to New York City when it was just a small town of immigrants and a celebration of the city’s icons like the Grand Central Terminal itself.  Watch the small train replicas race through tunnels and past beautiful scenery.  The kids (and the big kids) will love it!

While your there, the station itself is a treat in itself.  The Grand Central station ceilings are covered with beautiful paintings and it’s a great place for some serious people watching.

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