Christmas in the City: Things to see & do in NYC this holiday season

There is nothing else quite like New York City during the holiday season. From ice skating in Central Park and watching the Rockettes, to taking in the window displays on 5th Avenue while you shop, there is something for everyone in NYC this time of year. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best.

If you want more time in NYC and less time getting there, consider taking one of our private charters. Our customers bypass hectic holiday lines and security screenings at commercial airports so that they can get more out of their vacation and time with family. Call our sales team today and let our experts plan the perfect vacation just for you.


Getting There

Customers flying on one of our private charters can choose from several different destination airports near NYC (Teterboro, Morristown, White Plains, Islip, etc.). As a charter customer, you will avoid the long lines customary for commercial flights, leaving you more time to enjoy the city. We get you in and out of the airport quickly, and we can even arrange for your transportation to your hotel.


Things to See & Do

Christmas in NYC
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in Brooklyn. Photo:

Tour the Brooklyn Christmas Lights

The Dyker Heights Christmas display is technically not a competition between neighbors of this Brooklyn area, but you’ll probably end up picking a favorite anyway. The decorations are at times outrageous, with colorful lights, big inflatables, and carols playing out the windows of houses, but that’s exactly what makes this site a yearly destination for more than 100,000 people.

Decorations span 11th to 13th Avenues and 83rd to 86th Streets, and you’re free to browse them yourself. If you’d rather have a guided tour, A Slice of Brooklyn offers one each night. Tickets start at $50 ($40 for children) and include a 3.5 hour heated bus ride through the festive displays. Plus, A Slice of Brooklyn’s multimedia presentation of classic holiday songs and movies, played on screens inside the bus, will be sure to get you in the spirit.


Christmas in NYC
Bar Car Nights at the New York Botanical Gardens. Photo:

See a Holiday Train Show (and have drinks!)

From mid-November to mid-January, G-scale trains take over the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Gardens with a festive display of locomotion and familiar NYC landmarks recreated by artist Paul Busse using bark, berries and leaves. It’s all set on more than a half-mile of track and under thousands of twinkling lights. The display is open to the public during the day, but on certain nights (Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 22, 23, 29, 30), the NYBG turns into a festive spot for adults 21-and-over to enjoy a drink as they view the displays.

Bar Car Nights begin at 7:30 p.m. and, besides the trains, offer other holiday sites and sounds, like  dueling pianos in the Pine Tree Cafe, a fire pit in the visitor center, and illuminated Music Box Dancers who will gladly usher you throughout the garden.


Holiday Shopping in NYC
The Union Square Holiday Market in NYC. Photo:

Shop at the Union Square Holiday Market

This world-renowned market in the heart of the city is open from November 16-December 24th for holiday shopping. Vendors sell a variety of goods — many of them homemade, organic and made in the USA — including: jewelry, artwork, prints, candles, soap and skin care. You’ll also find handmade scarves and hats and gourmet food items like jam, oils, soup, cheese and hot chocolate. To see a full list of 2017 vendors, visit UrbanSpace.

The streets surrounding Union Square are filled with eateries and national, big-name stores. So visitors can make a full day out of this shopping stop.

The Holiday Market is located on the southern portion of Union Square Park. Access it on E 14th Street between 5th Ave and Irving Pl.


Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Celebration at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Photo: WNYC

Experience Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Celebration

For 38 years, world renowned saxophonist Paul Winter and his 10-piece jazz ensemble have done a special performance at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine to celebrate the winter solstice. Bringing the sounds of cultures around the world to one of NYC’s largest cathedrals with spectacular acoustics, this ensemble of musicians has become an annual must-see for locals and tourists alike. The 38th celebration will feature gospel singer Theresa Thomason, drummers and dancers from the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and the 15-member Pletenitsa Balka Choir.

You can hear samples of Paul Winter’s past performances at WNYC.

2017 show dates are December 14 (8pm), 15 (8pm), 16 (2 pm and 7:30 pm).  Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 866-411-8111. Prices range from $40-150.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street and Amsterdam.


A Christmas Carol at The Merchant’s House Museum. Photo:

Catch a Reenactment of A Christmas Carol

In the 1800s, Charles Dickens himself spent a month in NYC performing his classic A Christmas Carol to sold-out audiences. The experience continues today thanks to The Merchant’s House Museum, a 19th Century home-turned-museum in Manhattan that is now a protected landmark by federal, state and city officials. The museum itself contains more than 3,000 items that once belonged to the wealthy Tredwell family, who lived in the house until 1933. Guests will see period furniture, art, books, clothing (including 40 dresses) and more. Historians will no doubt appreciate the six-globe gas chandeliers and a collection of 12 mahogany side chairs that were made by Duncan Phyfe.

For the month of December, however, The Merchant’s House Museum becomes home to Charles Dickens–or, at least, an actor portraying him. For 2017, actor John Kevin Jones will play the role, telling A Christmas Carol  by candlelight in the Greek Revival double parlor. On Thursday-Saturday performances, guests are even invited into the kitchen beforehand to toast the season with mulled wine and light appetizers.

Tickets range in price from $45-75. Visit The Merchant’s House Museum online or call 212-868-4444.

The Merchant’s House Museum is located at 29 East 4th Street.


Afternoon tea at The Pierre. Photo:

Have Afternoon Tea

If it’s not the holidays until you’ve had tea and cookies, you’ll want to head over to a luxury hotel that still offers this time-honored afternoon tradition: The Pierre, a Taj Hotel. At the Pierre, afternoon tea is not an afterthought; it’s a treasured tradition. Every morning, a full pasty team bakes petit fours, scones and jam to serve alongside tea and finger sandwiches. Afternoon tea is available each day between 2-6 pm. Reservations are encouraged and can be secured by calling 212-940-8113.

The Pierre also is a perfect choice for accommodations during your holiday stay in NYC. As a 5-star hotel, The Pierre is one of the most luxurious in the city. It is located next to Central Park and just a few steps from Fifth and Madison Avenues, and it has often been the host of Hollywood stars, heads of state and royalty. (The elevator attendants here still wear white gloves, and complimentary Jaguar service is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. )

Room options include Classic, City View, and Park View. Everything from the linens to the towels, robes and toiletries are of the highest quality. Pet services are available (pets are welcome on our charter flights, too!) and there is a spa and fitness center on site.
Christmas at Rolf’s German Restaurant. Photo:

Eat Amid Dazzling Holiday Decor at Rolf’s

Rolf’s German Restaurant in Manhattan in Gramercy Park is a favorite stop for Christmas decorations lovers. The restaurant is completely decked out  in holiday decor and lights (not just a little, but alot), and it stays that way until May.

Foodies will love Rolf’s classic German meal offerings, like Wiener Schnitzel and Paprika Schnitzel, as well as their traditional German beer. There is also meatloaf, pork chops, mussels, beef stew, hamburgers and grilled chicken. For the holiday season, Rolf’s offers a roasted suckling pig.

It can be hard to get a table at Rolf’s, and usually there is a wait. If you’re pressed for time, go early on a weeknight.


Miracle on 9th Street. Photo:

Have Drinks at the Miracle on Ninth Street

Most of the year, “Miracle on Ninth Street” is actually Mace, a Cocktail Bar. Come the month of December, however, bartender Nico de Stoto turns this East Village favorite into a holiday getaway. Special holiday-themed cocktails will be on the menu and served in custom glassware (available for sale, and proceeds to to Action Against Hunger).

The bar itself will be decked out in festive tinsel, lights, garland and other decorations. Expect music and plenty of cheer. There’s even a “Hanukkah Hideaway” decorated in blue and silver and filled with dreidels.

Miracle on Ninth Street (aka Mace) is located at 649 East 9th Street.


Ice Skating in Central Park

Ice Skate in Central Park

Iconic. Classic. Like something out of a movie.

Gliding across Wollman Rink in Central Park with a background of twinkling city lights might just be the most holiday thing to do in NYC. The rink is located near the Central Park Zoo on the east side (Guests should enter at 59th and 5th Avenue). Public skating hours and prices are below. Check the website for personal skating lessons, ice resurfacing times and rental fees.

Monday and Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Adults $12, Kids $6, Seniors $5)
Wednesday and Thursday: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Adults $12, Kids $6, Seniors $5)
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Adults $19, Kids $6, Seniors $9)
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Adults $19, Kids $6, Seniors $9)


Christmas in NYC
The Rockettes star in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular. Photo:

See the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall

Precision dancing and festive costumes abound in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The current routine was recently revamped, so there’s something new if you’ve seen it before, but it still includes audience favorites like “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.”

Check out sneak peeks on

Prices range throughout the season from $50-$300+.



Contact us today and let us help you plan a trip to the iron Bowl. We operate our own fleet and can source any size aircraft from an extensive domestic and international user network, which gives you total flexibility.