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Christmas at Rockefeller Center | © petercruise/Flickr
Christmas at Rockefeller Center | © petercruise/Flickr

Where To Find New York City's Most Festive Holiday Decorations

Picture of Yvonne Mambo
Updated: 9 February 2017
New York City is fantastic around the holidays. Festive beautification lines streets, retail stores, and parks to get visitors, tourists and residents into the merry spirit. Joy, cheer and an attitude of giving and thankfulness are what guide moods around the months of November and December. Catch these festive sights signaling that holidays are truly in the air.

 

Bryant Park Frozen 2015 New York City Winter | © Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Bryant Park Frozen 2015 New York City Winter | © Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Holiday shops, skating and fancy ornamentation fill this recognizable park known for hosting great events in New York City. Come with family, a significant other or friends for shopping, skating or just plain sightseeing. Any random day in December is a good time. The shops in the Winter Village are intimate and bustling and the rink is fresh with ice and ready for visitors to enjoy. All in all, the park is brilliantly decorated with lights illuminating trees providing a cheery atmosphere fit for hot cider, even hot totties or gold old fashion coffee to warm up the body.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, New York, NY, US +1 212 (212) 768 4242

Mousehole | © Alex Liivet/Flickr

Mousehole | © Alex Liivet/Flickr

Holiday Windows on Fifth and Madison Avenues

This long-time tradition of decorative window displays is an indication of the holiday consumer spirit and takes place around the world this celebratory time of year. New York City’s, however, just might be in a class of its own.  Spanning a 20 block stretch from 38th to 58th streets, noted department stores including Lord and Taylor, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and the paragon of all, Bergdorf Goodman, offer a tableaux of dreamy visual merchandising.

Bergdorf Goodman, 754 5th Ave, New York, NY, US +1 212 753 7300

Christmas at Rockefeller Center | © petercruise/Flickr

Christmas at Rockefeller Center | © petercruise/Flickr

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Who can leave out this long tradition of tree lighting in New York City? A grand celebration follows this important event to mark the start of the holiday season with performers from Sting to Mary J. Blige this year. People come from far and wide to indulge in the joyous spectacle of it all. The approximately 125-feet tall tree with 30,000 lights stays lit all day throughout the holiday season starting in December. Catch a glimpse of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree during twilight or nighttime to fully experience its glamour and enormity.

Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, US +1 212 332 6868

Shopping | © Daniel Nugent/Flickr

Shopping | © Daniel Nugent/Flickr

Macy’s Herald Square

It’s Charlie Brown’s 70th anniversary celebration this Christmas at Macy’s Herald Square, a must-see destination when in NYC. It’s absolutely not enough that it holds the always-loved Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, but it bangs out cheerful holiday windows taking up a whole block of 7th Avenue and Broadway between 34th and 35th Street of glitter, dazzle and of course, Charlie Brown. Inside is busy and bright with décor to entice shoppers of all types. Snoopy and Belle sit atop the side entrance on 34th street being adorable and telling folks there’s a Santa on the eighth floor.

Macy’s Herald Square, 151 West 34th Street, New York, NY, US +1 212 695 4400

Christmas Lights | © Abigail Batchelder/Flickr</em>

Christmas Lights | © Abigail Batchelder/Flickr

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

NYC’s Botanical Garden is a fascinating sight to see at any given time, but kids and adults can count themselves especially lucky to lay eyes on the Holiday Train Show. In the glass atrium Enid A. Haupt Conservatory filled with lush vegetation is this 3,000 square foot exhibition of G-scale model train locomotives. This miniature marvel of famous sites in the Concrete Jungle made of pine cones, twigs and foliage includes the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Grand Central Station.

New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY, US +1 718 817 8700

Lights | © Taryn/Flickr

Lights | © Taryn/Flickr

Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History

Origami is quite a skill and a fun activity to do with friends and loved ones. The Origami Holiday Tree at the landmark that is American Museum of Natural History is indeed awesome. Talented volunteers begin folding origami pieces as early as March, which amount to over a thousand at point of decoration that is hung on a 13-foot tree. They also teach visitors the art of origami folding and provide an engaging activity for families and children who frequent the museum.

The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street, New York, NY, US +1 212 769 5100

National Menorah 33840 | © Tom Eytan/Flickr

National Menorah 33840 | © Tom Eytan/Flickr

World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah

Designed by kinetic and optical artist Yaacov Agam and weighing around 4,000 pounds of steel, the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony kicks off the Jewish festival of lights. Throughout an eight day span, this gold colored 32 feet high structure on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue in front of the Plaza Hotel is lit each weekday until the eighth night. The eighth night lighting includes a grand celebration particularly enjoyed by members of the Jewish community in New York City and those who come from afar.

The Plaza Hotel, 768 5th Avenue, New York, NY, US +1 212 759 3000

lights 014 | © John VanderHaagen/Flickr

lights 014 | © John VanderHaagen/Flickr

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

In the southern Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights, a 30-year-old tradition takes place in the form of elaborately decorated resident properties for all the world to see – as folks do come from out of town to behold street blocks turned into a winter wonderland. Lucy Spata sought to enliven her neighborhood when she began this endeavor, which is now legendary. It is an extravagant affair bringing the community together as neighbors put up ginormous figurines of Santas, Rudolphs, and nativity scenes, kicking up the scene to the optimum level.

Dyker Heights, 12th Avenue and 84th Street, Brooklyn, NY, US