Every Festive, Fun and Foodie Thing to Do Between Now and New Year’s

The holiday season in the city comes with a lot of headaches (just try walking down Fifth Avenue amid a thousand selfie-snapping tourists). But there are plenty of December happenings that even the Grinchiest of New Yorkers can get on board with. Here’s what to see, eat and do all month.

Our 9 Favorite Holiday Markets in NYC

things to do in nyc in december dyker heights
Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

1. See The Christmas Lights In Dyker Heights

Grab a hot chocolate and take a stroll through the Brooklyn neighborhood known for its holiday light displays that can probably be seen from space.

2. Pick up Sufganiyot from Breads Bakery

Grab a dozen of the pillowy doughnuts with strawberry, chocolate, vanilla or halvah filling for Hanukkah. Better pick up a babka pie, too, just to be safe.

3. Go Carb-crazy At The Latke Festival

Speaking of Hanukkah, the Olympics of potato pancakes (aka the Latke Festival) comes to the Brooklyn Museum, December 16.


things to do in nyc in december maison yaki late night
Courtesy of Maison Yaki

4. Check Out The New Late-night Menu At Maison Yaki

The French-Japanese hot spot's new 10 p.m.-to-midnight menu is worth staying up late for, with dishes like spicy crispy duck wings. tempura onion rings and a wagyu burger.

5. Sip Tropical Drinks At Paradise Found

While most holiday pop-ups lean into the North Pole vibe, the seasonal iteration of Last Light at Sister City hotel heads for the tropics with tiki drinks from Jersey City's Cellar 335 and island-inspired bites.

winter lantern festival
Courtesy of Winter Lantern Festival

6. Snap A ’gram At The Winter Lantern Festival

A Chinese tradition comes to Staten Island’s Snug Harbor with the Winter Lantern Festival, an enchanting light installation with features like an Instagrammable light tunnel, a glowing garden and light-up pandas. 

7. Catch A Festive Performance At The Apollo

The Apollo Theater never fails to bring the holiday cheer. This year, catch a free Winter Wonderland event, the Amateur Night Holiday Special, a holiday concert with Cynthia Erivo and Shoshana Bean, a gospel night and a Kwanzaa celebration.

things to do in nyc in december brooklyn botanical garden
Raymond Haddad/Getty Images

8. Spend A Free Winter Weekday At The Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The day after the next snowfall, call in sick and instead soak up the serenity at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden—it's free to enter from noon to 4:30, Tuesday to Friday through February.

9. Feast On Holiday Treats

’Tis the season for absurdly decadent holiday desserts, like Buche de Noel from Bien Cuit, peppermint bark cake from Milk Bar.

10. Take A Ride In A Vintage Subway Car

Even the MTA is getting dressed up for the season with its Holiday Nostalgia Rides: Sundays throughout the month, you can hop aboard a vintage 1930s train for the price of a regular MetroCard swipe.


purewow author


From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.