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Magical Christmas Things To Do in NYC With a Baby – Episode 116

Christmas things to do in New York City with a baby.
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Have a jolly Christmas in NYC with your baby! The holidays are a magical time of year. Christmas trees and sparkly lights, meet and greets with Santa, hot chocolate, sugar cookies, and Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas on repeat are some of the things that make this time of the year so special. New York City is already a popular travel destination and the center of many Hallmark movies and classics like Home Alone 2. But during the holiday season, millions flock to New York in December and early January to celebrate Christmas. If you’re planning a trip to New York City during the holidays, I’m sharing Christmas things to do in NYC with a baby. This guide can also double as things to do in NYC in December. 

This New York City travel guide intentionally focuses on Midtown Manhattan, so avoid inconveniences like the subway and Uber. That means bundle your mini me nice and warm with a winter hat, scarf, and glove beanie or a fleece hat and mitten winter set because you’ll be walking quite a bit. Also, in the end, I share a breakdown of how much a day in New York City costs. 

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Best Things To Do in New York City at Christmas

Prepare for your New York City Christmas trip by adding these spectacular Christmas attractions to your itinerary.

1. Winter Village at Bryant Park

Visit this European-inspired open-air market daily until 8 pm for shopping, delicious food, and treats. 

At the holiday shops, find candles, lanterns, Vermont maple syrup, hot sauces, jewelry, ornaments, pottery, art, clothing, and more.

Milk chocolate-covered donuts are yummy!

A big reason why Bryant Park was on our list of best things to do in New York at Christmas was because of all the food options. Whether you’re looking for something small to snack on or an actual meal, there’s something for everyone here, like donuts, crepes, sandwiches, waffles, fried pickles, empanadas, baos, s’mores, and more. 

I love the variety of cultural foods that reflect New York City’s diversity.  

I recommend stopping at Casa Toscana for their Nutella donuts and hot chocolate. Those donuts covered in powdered sugar melt in your mouth; they are so delicious!

As expected, Bryant Park is very popular and crowded. Exercise patience navigating with a stroller. Also, not all entrances and exits are accessible with strollers, so be mindful when entering and exiting the park.

2. Stroll Fifth Avenue 

While Fifth Avenue has a lot of shopping options, and some stores have Christmas window displays, it may be too crowded for comfort when traveling with a baby, so walk on 6th Avenue instead.

When traveling with a baby, the name of the game is safety and ease, right? 

Fifth Avenue was too chaotic and overwhelming for us, especially as we walked closer to Rockefeller Center.

Since we only saw a few holiday window displays, we skipped Fifth Ave altogether.

But if you want to see the festive window displays, check out the light show at Saks Fifth Avenue, right across the street from the Rockefeller Center. 

3. Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Where to celebrate Christmas in NYC.

Visiting the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is a quintessential New York holiday experience. 

In 1931, workers at Rockefeller Center pooled their money together to buy a Christmas tree. The men decorated the 20-foot tree with handmade and homemade garlands. 

Rockefeller Center made the Christmas Tree an annual tradition and held the very first tree lighting ceremony in 1933. They added ice skating in 1936. Admission was $0.99 and $0.49 to rent skates. By 1951 NBC televised the lighting of the tree for the first time. 

The 2022 Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center stands 82 feet tall. There are more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights on the tree, and the star at the top weighs approximately 900 pounds.

I’ve seen the tree many times, and it’s truly a sight to see. 

Avoid the evening crowds by visiting the tree in the morning or early afternoon.

The tree is lit daily from 6 am to 12 am. It is lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, from 6 am to 9 pm.

While you’re here, make your way to the Top of the Rock, an indoor and outdoor observation deck set 70 floors above the Rockefeller Center for 360-degree views of New York City.

While we chose not to get up close and personal with the Rockefeller Christmas tree this year, we found a lesser-known one not too far away. 

4. Lotte New York Palace Hotel 

The outdoor Christmas tree at the Palace may not be as massive as the one at Rockefeller Center, but it is still impressive. The tree is decorated beautifully, and because there are fewer people in the courtyard, you can take some classic and up-close holiday photos with your kids.

Ever since we discovered the Palace, it has become a popular Christmas attraction in NYC. This means that you should be prepared to share this picturesque holiday-themed backdrop with other visitors. Moreover, if you are planning to take the perfect holiday photo, it may require some extra time if your little one is not cooperating.

Take photos with the giant presents, ornaments, and nutcrackers. Take photos with giant presents, ornaments, and nutcrackers. Warm up with hot chocolate ($12 USD) or New York apple cider ($8 USD) at the Winter Bar.

By this time, Baby K was looking a little cold, so we decided to go inside the hotel to warm him up and plan our next stop. Inside, the Palace is decorated just as beautifully with garlands and additional Christmas trees, and there’s even a gingerbread replica of the hotel you can admire.

Hands down, the Palace is one of the most beautiful Christmas hotels in the city!

Fun Fact: Across from the historic Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, this 55-story iconic hotel is a Gossip Girl filming location. 

5. Radio City Music Hall 

Next, head to Radio City Music Hall, where you’ll find oversized candy canes and bright red ornaments.

This is also where you can experience the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes.

Read Next: Midtown Manhattan New York City Weekend Guide

6. Times Square 

Heading to Eight Avenue, stroll through Times Square, where, in a few weeks, millions of people will watch the ball drop. Visit the M&M’s Store, Disney, or the Hershey Store.  

7. Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair

The last stop is the Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair, the city’s longest-running indoor Christmas fair, featuring artisan goods like holiday keepsakes, home décor, and self-care products. 

Across from the fair, on the other side of Vanderbilt Hall, grab a glass of wine at City Winery.

We ate a quick bite at the Lower Level Dining Concourse before our train ride home.

One-Day NYC at Christmas Cost Breakdown 

  • (2) Round-trip train tickets to NYC – $59 
  • Parking at train station – $20
  • North Face winter hat – $40.55 
  • (2) Small hot chocolates and (2) donuts at Bryant Park – $25 
  • (2) Hot sandwiches and drinks at Grand Central Terminal – $20
  • Total Costs: $164.54 

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify here:

Whether planning a New York City family vacation, a weekend New York City Christmas trip, or a day trip, I hope you enjoyed this guide and are ready to create fabulous memories with your loved ones. 

What are your favorite Christmas things to do in NYC? What are your favorite New York family holiday traditions? 

Share your recommendations by leaving a comment with your thoughts below. 

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

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