There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

Most Magical Places to See Christmas Decorations in NYC


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There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

Most Magical Places to See Christmas Decorations in NYC


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No city does Christmas quite like New York, so if you’re ready to get in the holiday spirit, you can’t miss the Christmas decorations in NYC.

From twinkling trees, to sparkling storefronts, to brightly-colored bulbs galore, the city is a playground for winter-loving wayfarers.

Come kick off the most wonderful time of the year with the best Christmas decorations in NYC, from the crowd-favorite classics to the hidden gems!

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

Where to Find the Best Christmas Decorations in NYC

Classic NYC Christmas Spots

1. Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is easily the most iconic place on this list for hunting down Christmas decorations in NYC.

While the entire center is beautiful, the star of the show is obviously the gigantic tree!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

The 2021 Christmas tree is a 79-foot Norway Spruce weighing in at a whopping 12 tons!

FUN FACT: The Rockefeller Center tree tradition dates back over eight decades! The very first tree went up in 1931 and stood 20 feet high. You can read more about the history of the center’s Christmas trees here.

PHOTO TIP: Since Rockefeller Center tends to get quite crowded, you’ll likely have to queue up for a photo in front of the tree. I recommend having your camera out with the settings ready so that you can quickly take your shot when the time comes.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid crowds, you may wish to visit at a less popular time (such as on an early weekday morning). However, there are no guarantees that you’ll have it to yourself!

Besides the classic tree, Rockefeller Center also offers an outdoor skating rink – the most famous rink in New York – for plenty of holiday fun!

You can purchase a ticket to the rink for a specific date and time here.

What to Know Before You Go:

2021 Holiday Season Details:

  • The tree will arrive on November 13, 2021
  • It will first be lit on December 1 and then daily from 6AM – 12AM
  • The tree will remain lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day and from 6 AM – 9PM on New Year’s Day

How to Get Here:

Rockefeller Center is located at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY.

2. Cartier 5th Avenue

Continuing with the theme of classic Christmas decorations in NYC, it doesn’t get more iconic than the famous Cartier building!

This French luxury brand goes all out for the holiday season – they literally wrap their facade in a giant bow!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

That said, it’s no secret that this 5th Avenue-favorite is the place to be around Christmastime, so expect a crowd!

PHOTO TIP: Due to its location on busy 5th Avenue, photographing Cartier can be challenging.

The main difficulty will be navigating around cars if you’re looking to be in the street for the photo. Please exercise caution if you take a street shot! I only ventured out when the light turned red and had my photographer keep a careful watch for cars.

Ideally, you’ll want to arrive here early in the morning to avoid crowds. However, you may still face the issue of morning rush hour traffic on the weekdays.

Alternatively, you may wish to avoid the center of the street altogether and shoot from the sidewalk. In either case, I recommend using a wide angle lens so that you can capture the full Cartier facade.

How to Get Here:

Cartier is located at 653 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10022.

3. Saks Fifth Avenue

While we’re on the topic of impressive storefronts, you can’t miss a visit to Saks Fifth Avenue during the holiday season.

This New York flagship store is famously known for its annual holiday light show, a spectacular feast for the eyes spanning 10 stories!

However, even if you can’t make it to see the lights, it’s definitely worth swinging by Saks to check out the festively-clad facade during daytime hours.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

What to Know Before You Go:

The Saks Holiday Light Show is set to begin on November 22, 2021.

It will then run daily every 10 minutes, starting at 4:30PM and ending at 11:35PM. Each mini light show runs for a total of 3 minutes and 23 seconds.

How to Get Here:

Saks Fifth Avenue is located at 611 5th Avenue, New York, NY.

4. Macy’s Herald Square

Macy’s Herald Square has another famous festive facade you won’t want to miss.

Each year, this flagship store is festooned with a larger-than-life “Believe” sign, encouraging passersby to “believe in the magic” of the season.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

There’s just something nostalgic about the familiar script with its glittering lights scrawled across the impressive storefront each year.

PHOTO TIP: Similar to the Cartier storefront, Macy’s Herald Square is another highly trafficked area. For this reason, I recommend shooting from the sidewalk across the street and using a wide angle lens.

A wide angle will be ideal for capturing the large facade, whether you wish to be in the shot or not.

Macy’s also has some impressive window dressings around the holidays that you’ll want to check out as well.

Speaking of, if festive storefronts are up your alley, here are a few others to check out:

  • Bloomingdales (59 Street & Lexington Ave)
  • Tiffany & Co (5th Avenue Street & 57th Street)
  • Bergdorf Goodman (Between 57th & 58th Street)

How to Get Here:

Macy’s Herald Square is located at 151 W 34th Street, New York, NY (between 7th Avenue & Broadway).

5. Radio City Music Hall

You probably associate Radio City Music Hall with its concert venue clout, but it’s also the talk of the town during the holiday season!

In addition to its beloved annual Christmas Spectacular, this popular venue is perpendicular to some of my favorite Christmas decorations in NYC – giant red Christmas bulbs!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: There are a couple of angles you can capture with the bulbs, but I think the most compelling one is with the Radio City signs in the background.

This festive spot is located catty-corner to Radio City Music Hall and directly across 6th Avenue from Rockefeller Center.

How to Get Here:

Radio City Music Hall is located at 1260 6th Avenue, New York, NY.

6. Lotte New York Palace

Just two quick blocks from Radio City Music Hall is one of the most beautiful locations on this list, Lotte New York Palace.

This stunning 5-star luxury hotel is home to my absolute favorite Christmas tree in the city.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

The Lotte New York Palace tree is prominently displayed in the hotel’s courtyard on Madison Avenue each year. It dazzles passersby with its glitzy ornaments and gorgeous red ribbons.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

And the best part?

You don’t need to be a hotel guest to access the courtyard.

Instead, the tree is meant to be enjoyed – and photographed – by everyone!

PHOTO TIP: The Lotte New York Palace tree truly looks beautiful from every angle.

That said, my two favorite perspectives to capture are at the entranceway with the ornate gate and from the inner courtyard with the stunning St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the background.

How to Get Here:

Lotte New York Palace is located at 455 Madison Avenue, New York, NY.

7. Winter Village at Bryant Park

Bryant Park’s Winter Village is sure to get even the grumpiest Grinches and sourest Scrooges in the holiday spirit!

Plus, it has one of the widest ranges of Christmas decorations in NYC!

From holiday shops reminiscent of the North Pole, to Instagrammable igloos, to twinkling trees, there’s something photo-worthy around every corner!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

In addition, you can’t miss the 17,000-square-foot ice skating rink, the heart of the Bryant Park Winter Village!

What to Know Before You Go:

Did you know that Bryant Park’s Winter Village has the only free-admission ice skating rink in the city?

If you’re looking to go skating, the rink is open daily from now until March 6, 2022. 

Skaters will need to reserve a date/time up to two weeks in advance to use the rink and new time slots are rolled out daily.

Head here and select the blue “Reserve Tickets” button at the top of the page to book your timeslot.

In addition, skates are available for rental or purchase.

How to Get Here:

Bryant Park is located at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, New York, NY.

8. Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards, still in its infancy, is one of New York City’s most modern developments.

Since its grand opening in NYC in March of 2019, Hudson Yards has attracted quite the crowd, particularly around the holidays!

And it’s no wonder; the alluring glitz and glamour of its sparkling decor is hard to resist!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: To capture a similar angle of the gorgeous golden hot air balloon installation, you’ll want to ride the escalator up two floors.

I recommend shooting with a wide angle lens so that your photographer can stand pretty close to you.

What to Know Before You Go:

While The Vessel is temporarily closed to the public (see below), The Shops at Hudson Yards are currently open.

Head here for the store directory.

How to Get Here:

The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards (the indoor mall) are located at 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY.

9. Vessel at Hudson Yards

*Please Note: Vessel is currently closed due to the tragic and most recent suicide in 2021. I will keep this post updated if/when there is news of a reopening.  

While I hate to start off this section on such a somber note, I want to be transparent about the current realities surrounding one of New York’s most beloved attractions.

Vessel is one of the most unique and special venues in all of Manhattan and the news of what transpired here – and its corresponding closing – is terribly sad.

In the meantime, I’m remaining hopeful that Vessel will undergo critical improvements so that it can reopen in the future with more reliable safety measures in place.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

How to Get Here:

Vessel is located at 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY.

Lesser-Known NYC Christmas Spots

10. Lillie’s Victorian Establishment

While I’m all for the classic Christmas in NYC, it can also be refreshing to escape the crowds and tourist traps.

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, in particular, is one of my favorite holiday spots that’s a bit more under the radar (at least for the time being).

This Irish-Victorian bar and restaurant will transport you to pubs of the past with its antique décor and charming vintage details.

*Please Note: There are two Lillie’s restaurant locations – Lillie’s Time Square and Lillie’s Union Square.

While they’re both worth a visit, the Union Square location is your best bet, as it has one of the cutest window displays of Christmas decorations in NYC!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: Since the sidewalk in front of the restaurant isn’t particularly wide (and there are often cars or other obstacles in the street), you’ll want to shoot with a wide angle lens.

I also recommend coming in the evening or around sunset so that the Christmas lights will be more prominent.

How to Get Here:

Lillie’s Union Square is located at 13 East 17 Street, New York, NY.

Alternatively, Lillie’s Time Square is located at 249 West 49th Street, New York, NY.

11. The High Line Hotel

The High Line Hotel is another one of my favorite hidden gems for Christmas decorations in NYC.

During the holiday season, you can warm up with a coffee or a hot chocolate from Intelligentsia, The High Line Hotel Coffee Bar.

Personally, I couldn’t resist the Instagrammable coffee bus located outside in the hotel courtyard!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

Also, depending on when you go, you may enjoy the added bonus of a classic, British-style red telephone booth in the courtyard as well.

(Unfortunately, the phone booth wasn’t here when we came in 2020, but I’ve seen pictures of it circulating on Instagram in previous years.)

PHOTO TIP: If you’re not a guest of the hotel, you’ll need to secure permission with a staff member to take photos in the courtyard.

While my husband and I weren’t aware of this before we first arrived, a hotel associate informed us about this after we snapped our pictures here.

I recommend calling ahead before you plan to visit.

How to Get Here:

The High Line Hotel is located at 180 10th Avenue (at 20th Street), New York, NY.

(This is also the address for Intelligentsia.)

12. Pulitzer Fountain

If you’re familiar with New York City, the Pulitzer Fountain may be recognizable.

However, have you ever seen it decorated for the holidays?

With its gigantic glowing Christmas ornaments and twinkling trees, this outdoor fountain is definitely something to add to your itinerary!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

FUN FACT: Pulitzer Fountain was named after renowned newspaper editor and publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who donated $50k to the creation and installation of the fountain.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: In my opinion, the fountain looks more compelling in person and can get a bit lost on camera. For this reason, I recommend trying a couple of different angles until you find one you like.

My personal preference is for a tighter shot to showcase the intricate details on the ornaments. 

I also recommend coming here in the evening, if possible, so that the lights really pop.

How to Get Here:

Pulitzer Fountain is located in Grand Army Plaza at 764 Central Park S, New York, NY.

It’s situated right across from the famous Plaza Hotel at the Southeastern Entrance to Central Park.

I hope this cheery collection of Christmas decorations in NYC has inspired you to get out there and take advantage of this magical season!

Speaking of magical, if you’re looking to unwind once the holiday rush is over, definitely consider one of these amazing winter getaways from NYC. You can thank me later!

In the meantime, I’ll be expanding this list over time to provide even more festive inspiration. I’m actually planning to return to NYC for the 2021 holiday season to do just that!

Also, if you know of any Christmas decorations in NYC that I missed, please do let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy holiday season!

Looking for more winter wonderland inspiration? Check out my other chilly-weather posts:

Did you find this post useful? Pin it to your boards!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday
There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday
There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

No city does Christmas quite like New York, so if you’re ready to get in the holiday spirit, you can’t miss the Christmas decorations in NYC.

From twinkling trees, to sparkling storefronts, to brightly-colored bulbs galore, the city is a playground for winter-loving wayfarers.

Come kick off the most wonderful time of the year with the best Christmas decorations in NYC, from the crowd-favorite classics to the hidden gems!

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

Where to Find the Best Christmas Decorations in NYC

Classic NYC Christmas Spots

1. Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is easily the most iconic place on this list for hunting down Christmas decorations in NYC.

While the entire center is beautiful, the star of the show is obviously the gigantic tree!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

The 2021 Christmas tree is a 79-foot Norway Spruce weighing in at a whopping 12 tons!

FUN FACT: The Rockefeller Center tree tradition dates back over eight decades! The very first tree went up in 1931 and stood 20 feet high. You can read more about the history of the center’s Christmas trees here.

PHOTO TIP: Since Rockefeller Center tends to get quite crowded, you’ll likely have to queue up for a photo in front of the tree. I recommend having your camera out with the settings ready so that you can quickly take your shot when the time comes.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid crowds, you may wish to visit at a less popular time (such as on an early weekday morning). However, there are no guarantees that you’ll have it to yourself!

Besides the classic tree, Rockefeller Center also offers an outdoor skating rink – the most famous rink in New York – for plenty of holiday fun!

You can purchase a ticket to the rink for a specific date and time here.

What to Know Before You Go:

2021 Holiday Season Details:

  • The tree will arrive on November 13, 2021
  • It will first be lit on December 1 and then daily from 6AM – 12AM
  • The tree will remain lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day and from 6 AM – 9PM on New Year’s Day

How to Get Here:

Rockefeller Center is located at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY.

2. Cartier 5th Avenue

Continuing with the theme of classic Christmas decorations in NYC, it doesn’t get more iconic than the famous Cartier building!

This French luxury brand goes all out for the holiday season – they literally wrap their facade in a giant bow!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

That said, it’s no secret that this 5th Avenue-favorite is the place to be around Christmastime, so expect a crowd!

PHOTO TIP: Due to its location on busy 5th Avenue, photographing Cartier can be challenging.

The main difficulty will be navigating around cars if you’re looking to be in the street for the photo. Please exercise caution if you take a street shot! I only ventured out when the light turned red and had my photographer keep a careful watch for cars.

Ideally, you’ll want to arrive here early in the morning to avoid crowds. However, you may still face the issue of morning rush hour traffic on the weekdays.

Alternatively, you may wish to avoid the center of the street altogether and shoot from the sidewalk. In either case, I recommend using a wide angle lens so that you can capture the full Cartier facade.

How to Get Here:

Cartier is located at 653 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10022.

3. Saks Fifth Avenue

While we’re on the topic of impressive storefronts, you can’t miss a visit to Saks Fifth Avenue during the holiday season.

This New York flagship store is famously known for its annual holiday light show, a spectacular feast for the eyes spanning 10 stories!

However, even if you can’t make it to see the lights, it’s definitely worth swinging by Saks to check out the festively-clad facade during daytime hours.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

What to Know Before You Go:

The Saks Holiday Light Show is set to begin on November 22, 2021.

It will then run daily every 10 minutes, starting at 4:30PM and ending at 11:35PM. Each mini light show runs for a total of 3 minutes and 23 seconds.

How to Get Here:

Saks Fifth Avenue is located at 611 5th Avenue, New York, NY.

4. Macy’s Herald Square

Macy’s Herald Square has another famous festive facade you won’t want to miss.

Each year, this flagship store is festooned with a larger-than-life “Believe” sign, encouraging passersby to “believe in the magic” of the season.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

There’s just something nostalgic about the familiar script with its glittering lights scrawled across the impressive storefront each year.

PHOTO TIP: Similar to the Cartier storefront, Macy’s Herald Square is another highly trafficked area. For this reason, I recommend shooting from the sidewalk across the street and using a wide angle lens.

A wide angle will be ideal for capturing the large facade, whether you wish to be in the shot or not.

Macy’s also has some impressive window dressings around the holidays that you’ll want to check out as well.

Speaking of, if festive storefronts are up your alley, here are a few others to check out:

  • Bloomingdales (59 Street & Lexington Ave)
  • Tiffany & Co (5th Avenue Street & 57th Street)
  • Bergdorf Goodman (Between 57th & 58th Street)

How to Get Here:

Macy’s Herald Square is located at 151 W 34th Street, New York, NY (between 7th Avenue & Broadway).

5. Radio City Music Hall

You probably associate Radio City Music Hall with its concert venue clout, but it’s also the talk of the town during the holiday season!

In addition to its beloved annual Christmas Spectacular, this popular venue is perpendicular to some of my favorite Christmas decorations in NYC – giant red Christmas bulbs!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: There are a couple of angles you can capture with the bulbs, but I think the most compelling one is with the Radio City signs in the background.

This festive spot is located catty-corner to Radio City Music Hall and directly across 6th Avenue from Rockefeller Center.

How to Get Here:

Radio City Music Hall is located at 1260 6th Avenue, New York, NY.

6. Lotte New York Palace

Just two quick blocks from Radio City Music Hall is one of the most beautiful locations on this list, Lotte New York Palace.

This stunning 5-star luxury hotel is home to my absolute favorite Christmas tree in the city.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

The Lotte New York Palace tree is prominently displayed in the hotel’s courtyard on Madison Avenue each year. It dazzles passersby with its glitzy ornaments and gorgeous red ribbons.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

And the best part?

You don’t need to be a hotel guest to access the courtyard.

Instead, the tree is meant to be enjoyed – and photographed – by everyone!

PHOTO TIP: The Lotte New York Palace tree truly looks beautiful from every angle.

That said, my two favorite perspectives to capture are at the entranceway with the ornate gate and from the inner courtyard with the stunning St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the background.

How to Get Here:

Lotte New York Palace is located at 455 Madison Avenue, New York, NY.

7. Winter Village at Bryant Park

Bryant Park’s Winter Village is sure to get even the grumpiest Grinches and sourest Scrooges in the holiday spirit!

Plus, it has one of the widest ranges of Christmas decorations in NYC!

From holiday shops reminiscent of the North Pole, to Instagrammable igloos, to twinkling trees, there’s something photo-worthy around every corner!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

In addition, you can’t miss the 17,000-square-foot ice skating rink, the heart of the Bryant Park Winter Village!

What to Know Before You Go:

Did you know that Bryant Park’s Winter Village has the only free-admission ice skating rink in the city?

If you’re looking to go skating, the rink is open daily from now until March 6, 2022. 

Skaters will need to reserve a date/time up to two weeks in advance to use the rink and new time slots are rolled out daily.

Head here and select the blue “Reserve Tickets” button at the top of the page to book your timeslot.

In addition, skates are available for rental or purchase.

How to Get Here:

Bryant Park is located at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, New York, NY.

8. Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards, still in its infancy, is one of New York City’s most modern developments.

Since its grand opening in NYC in March of 2019, Hudson Yards has attracted quite the crowd, particularly around the holidays!

And it’s no wonder; the alluring glitz and glamour of its sparkling decor is hard to resist!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: To capture a similar angle of the gorgeous golden hot air balloon installation, you’ll want to ride the escalator up two floors.

I recommend shooting with a wide angle lens so that your photographer can stand pretty close to you.

What to Know Before You Go:

While The Vessel is temporarily closed to the public (see below), The Shops at Hudson Yards are currently open.

Head here for the store directory.

How to Get Here:

The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards (the indoor mall) are located at 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY.

9. Vessel at Hudson Yards

*Please Note: Vessel is currently closed due to the tragic and most recent suicide in 2021. I will keep this post updated if/when there is news of a reopening.  

While I hate to start off this section on such a somber note, I want to be transparent about the current realities surrounding one of New York’s most beloved attractions.

Vessel is one of the most unique and special venues in all of Manhattan and the news of what transpired here – and its corresponding closing – is terribly sad.

In the meantime, I’m remaining hopeful that Vessel will undergo critical improvements so that it can reopen in the future with more reliable safety measures in place.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

How to Get Here:

Vessel is located at 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY.

Lesser-Known NYC Christmas Spots

10. Lillie’s Victorian Establishment

While I’m all for the classic Christmas in NYC, it can also be refreshing to escape the crowds and tourist traps.

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, in particular, is one of my favorite holiday spots that’s a bit more under the radar (at least for the time being).

This Irish-Victorian bar and restaurant will transport you to pubs of the past with its antique décor and charming vintage details.

*Please Note: There are two Lillie’s restaurant locations – Lillie’s Time Square and Lillie’s Union Square.

While they’re both worth a visit, the Union Square location is your best bet, as it has one of the cutest window displays of Christmas decorations in NYC!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: Since the sidewalk in front of the restaurant isn’t particularly wide (and there are often cars or other obstacles in the street), you’ll want to shoot with a wide angle lens.

I also recommend coming in the evening or around sunset so that the Christmas lights will be more prominent.

How to Get Here:

Lillie’s Union Square is located at 13 East 17 Street, New York, NY.

Alternatively, Lillie’s Time Square is located at 249 West 49th Street, New York, NY.

11. The High Line Hotel

The High Line Hotel is another one of my favorite hidden gems for Christmas decorations in NYC.

During the holiday season, you can warm up with a coffee or a hot chocolate from Intelligentsia, The High Line Hotel Coffee Bar.

Personally, I couldn’t resist the Instagrammable coffee bus located outside in the hotel courtyard!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

Also, depending on when you go, you may enjoy the added bonus of a classic, British-style red telephone booth in the courtyard as well.

(Unfortunately, the phone booth wasn’t here when we came in 2020, but I’ve seen pictures of it circulating on Instagram in previous years.)

PHOTO TIP: If you’re not a guest of the hotel, you’ll need to secure permission with a staff member to take photos in the courtyard.

While my husband and I weren’t aware of this before we first arrived, a hotel associate informed us about this after we snapped our pictures here.

I recommend calling ahead before you plan to visit.

How to Get Here:

The High Line Hotel is located at 180 10th Avenue (at 20th Street), New York, NY.

(This is also the address for Intelligentsia.)

12. Pulitzer Fountain

If you’re familiar with New York City, the Pulitzer Fountain may be recognizable.

However, have you ever seen it decorated for the holidays?

With its gigantic glowing Christmas ornaments and twinkling trees, this outdoor fountain is definitely something to add to your itinerary!

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

FUN FACT: Pulitzer Fountain was named after renowned newspaper editor and publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who donated $50k to the creation and installation of the fountain.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday

PHOTO TIP: In my opinion, the fountain looks more compelling in person and can get a bit lost on camera. For this reason, I recommend trying a couple of different angles until you find one you like.

My personal preference is for a tighter shot to showcase the intricate details on the ornaments. 

I also recommend coming here in the evening, if possible, so that the lights really pop.

How to Get Here:

Pulitzer Fountain is located in Grand Army Plaza at 764 Central Park S, New York, NY.

It’s situated right across from the famous Plaza Hotel at the Southeastern Entrance to Central Park.

I hope this cheery collection of Christmas decorations in NYC has inspired you to get out there and take advantage of this magical season!

Speaking of magical, if you’re looking to unwind once the holiday rush is over, definitely consider one of these amazing winter getaways from NYC. You can thank me later!

In the meantime, I’ll be expanding this list over time to provide even more festive inspiration. I’m actually planning to return to NYC for the 2021 holiday season to do just that!

Also, if you know of any Christmas decorations in NYC that I missed, please do let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy holiday season!

Looking for more winter wonderland inspiration? Check out my other chilly-weather posts:

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There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday
There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday
There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in NYC. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, to classic Macy’s Christmas decorations, to larger-than-life Radio City Christmas bulbs, to twinkling New York Christmas lights, NYC in December is a must! So if you’re looking to spend the holidays in NYC, you can’t miss these magical New York Christmas spots. Come celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! #christmasinnewyork #holidaysinnewyork #saksholiday