- 1 Bus Holiday Tours in New York City
- 2 Walking Holiday Tours in New York
- 2.1 Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Holiday Window Tour
- 2.2 Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour
- 2.3 New York City Holiday Lights and Markets Walking Tour
- 2.4 Small-Group New York Christmas Holiday Walking Tour
- 2.5 Private Customized Holiday Tour of Brooklyn with a Warm Drink
- 2.6 Tree Lighting Dinner Gala at Rockefeller Center
- 3 Cruise New York City Christmas Tours
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When does Christmas in New York City start? Now! Holiday decorations are going up all over town! The Holiday Village is open at Bryant Park! New York City Christmas tours are underway – the City is starting to transform for the holidays!
There’s so much to see in New York City over the holidays, it can feel overwhelming. As a licensed New York City tour guide, I’m quite partial to taking tours. As remarkable as it is to simply walk around the city, there’s something special about taking a tour and having someone explain the details and history behind the traditions.
Bus Holiday Tours in New York City
Ride around this Christmas in New York tour from the comfort of a bus, taking in the holiday lights. Not only will you get to see the different displays, but you’ll also get to learn a little bit about the city’s film history. Your tour guide, who is also a New York City actor, will show you both the holiday lights and different filming sites on this 2.5-hour tour.
From the apartment where Buddy the Elf stayed with his father to the Home Alone moment at Rockefeller Center, you’ll get a glimpse into where some of your favorite holiday movies have been filmed, along with all of the other holiday lights.
If you haven’t heard of THE RIDE, you’re in for a treat. This Christmas in New York tour is a theatrical tour bus experience. You ride around New York City on an enclosed bus with stadium seating to catch glimpses of set performances happening among the city.
While the company offers a few different tours throughout the year, they make this list for their Holiday Edition! It’s a kid-friendly, fun thing to do in NYC in December. Relax on your warm bus and watch the show happening outside your window!
Good to Know: If you’re trying to decide which New York City pass is the best for you and your family, THE RIDE is included in 2 of the best NYC passes for attractions – the New York Pass and the Explorer Pass. To make your decision easier, take a look at my guide to learn more about each one!
No holiday tours in New York City are complete without a stop in Dyker Heights to see the Christmas light displays. Every year, the residents of Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, go all out in decorating their homes with the most brilliant creations. This marvel, which started as a friendly neighborhood competition has now spanned decades and bridges innovation and tradition in Holiday decorations.
Have a licensed guide take you out to Brooklyn from Midtown Manhattan on this 4-hour tour and show you around the Dyker Heights neighborhood for their incredible Christmas lights both by bus and on foot.
Walking Holiday Tours in New York
Although this isn’t a backstage tour, you’ll learn about Radio City Music Hall from the outside on a walking tour around while visiting Rockefeller Center during the holidays, and the window displays on Fifth Avenue, before sitting down to enjoy the show.
This Christmas in New York tour is either before or after the Christmas Spectacular, depending on the show time, and includes the price of your ticket to the performance.
There’s nothing quite like your first time watching the Rockettes dazzle Radio City Music Hall during the Christmas Spectacular. But have you ever wanted to go backstage? Now you can!
You’ll meet at the Stage Door for the start of this tour, where you’ll go backstage to learn some of the history of the historic theatre, as well as see behind-the-scenes of an iconic New York City production. And before your tour ends, you’ll have the chance to meet a Rockette.
However, if you’re interested in seeing all of the winter markets on your New York City Christmas tours, not just the Bryant Park Winter Village, then this tour is for you. You’ll have the opportunity to explore four of the Manhattan holiday markets, as well as watch the city’s festive window displays.
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If you’re looking for New York City Christmas tours, you’ll want to take a walk through Midtown Manhattan’s Holiday light displays with a licensed tour guide. Learn about the history of the Fifth Avenue window presentations, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, do some light shopping at the Bryant Park Winter Village, and finish this Christmas in New York tour in front of the Christmas icon itself, Macy’s Herald Square department store.
On your Brooklyn walking tour, you’ll discover some of the best places to visit in Brooklyn during the holidays! Although there are many bus tours to the area, try exploring the Dyker Heights neighborhood on foot with a local. This is where the residents have been putting up their own spectacular Christmas light displays since the 1970s. Historic Bay Ridge Avenue has also become a popular destination for families looking to celebrate the season. Pick up some gifts at the local Christmas markets and shop for authentic local products and treats, all while enjoying your complimentary drink.
Only one night each year, the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center gets illuminated for the first time that season. The tree stays lit throughout the holidays, but there’s always a celebration on its first night, complete with speeches, performances from popular singers, and NBC hosting the events.
While you can go stand outside in the cold, packed in among a crowd of people to watch the tree lighting ceremony, there’s a better way to watch the events unfold. Instead, you can find a VIP experience at The Terrace Club, a restaurant on the 7th floor of Rockefeller Center with its own private terrace facing the Tree.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to watch the Christmas Tree Lighting from above in a building inside Rockefeller Center, and the NYC experience of being that close is definitely worth the price!
Cruise New York City Christmas Tours
If you’re looking for romantic winter dates in NYC, head out to the water for a boat cruise! Drift by New York City’s skyline from your private table in the heated, glass-enclosed 1920s-style yacht. The tour includes a complimentary drink with your ticket, as well as your entertainment for the experience. Listen to the captain tell you about the world you’re floating by outside or sing along to carols playing as you take in the views of the New York City skyline at Christmas. This one-and-a-half-hour cruise tour departs from Chelsea Piers during the holiday season.
The views of Manhattan from the water are spectacular. But, it can get a bit chilly on an open-air vessel in winter. Instead, try the Holiday Brunch Cruise Aboard the Manhattan. Departing on the weekends from Chelsea Piers at 10 a.m., you’ll discover views of the city on an enclosed, “1920s-style motor yacht,” all while warm and surrounded by the holiday spirit.
These almost three-hour New York City Christmas tours include a 4-course brunch with eggnog and mimosas and covers sights of everything from the Statue of Liberty to the George Washington Bridge.
Other New York City Holiday Cruises
If you’re looking for other incredible New York City Christmas tours, you might enjoy the boat cruise instead! These one-and-a-half-hour cruise tours usually depart from Chelsea Piers during the holiday season, but confirm when you’re booking to be sure.
Most of these tours include a complimentary drink with your ticket, as well as your entertainment for the experience. Listen to jazz or sing along to carols playing as you take in the views of the New York City skyline at Christmas.
Depending on your preference, there are a few different holiday cruises offered:
- New York City Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise
- New York Harbor Live Holiday Jazz Cruise
- New York City Holiday Sunset Sightseeing Cruise
What are your plans for Christmas Eve? If you’re skipping your usual celebrations to spend the night in NYC, truly drift the night away on a New York City Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise.
This 2.5-hour extravaganza includes a buffet dinner, as well as a standard open bar including wine and beer. Enjoy the views of iconic New York City landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and the Brooklyn Bridge as an onboard DJ plays your favorite holiday classics. The tour leaves at 7 p.m. from Pier 83.
From Central Park to Union Square, Brooklyn, and beyond. If you’re planning on New York City Christmas tours, there’s definitely something for you!
Are you planning to take one of these holiday tours in New York City? Let me know how it goes!