Bucket Listers

Published Invalid Date

The Best Places to See Holiday Lights in NYC

Twelve days of Christmas…and twelve holiday light displays you have to see in NYC. ✨🎄

by New York Bucket List


In just a few short weeks, NYC will be transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday markets, sparkling evergreen trees, and seasonal pop-up bars. And in the city that never sleeps, you better believe there are some incredible night lights.

From seasonal classics like the Radio City Music Hall and epic Saks Fifth Avenue light display to newer gems like the Luminaries lantern canopy at the Shops at Brookfield Place, we’re breaking down the best places to see the holiday lights in the greatest city in the world!

Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park’s Winter Village is one of the most festive and activity-filled Christmas markets in the city. Visitors can stroll the holiday shops, glide across the ice skating rink, and grab a seasonal cocktail at the adjacent lodge among a backdrop of dazzling holiday lights and displays.

The surrounding trees and bushes are lit up with twinkling lights, the aisles of the market are strung with glowing globes, and the Bryant Park Christmas tree is decked out in holiday lights and ornaments. Grab a hot drink and a holiday treat and take it all in to round out the perfect winter day.

Where: Bryant Park: 42nd Street and 6th Ave
For more information on the Bryant Park Winter Village.

Illuminate the Farm Lantern Festival

Step into a dazzling world of illuminated Chinese lanterns, all handmade by artists. You can wander the display inspired by theme parks and Chinese mythology, ride illuminated swings, and walk through entirely illuminated tunnels. 

Where: Queens County Farm, 73-73 Little Neck Parkway, Queens 
For more information on Illuminate the Farm.


🎅 NYC's Newest And Most Magical Holiday Attraction Of The Season, Disney's “The Santa Clauses'” Winter Wonderland At Watermark

🎄 Tinseltown Pop-Up: Where Everyday is Christmas
🥂 NYC's Newest and Most Festive Holiday Cocktail Bar: Holly Jolly Holiday Bar at Mad Morton
❄️ NYC's Ultimate 2022 Winter Bucket List

Radio City Music Hall

No holiday list in NYC is complete without the famous NYC concert venue, and seeing the world-famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes! The exterior definitely plays its part, making it worth a trip all on its own. See the iconic sign lit up under a Christmas tree of lights, and don’t miss the tree-lit streets surrounding the area, and the giant ornaments decorating the fountain across the street.

Pro tip: catch the view at sunset for the ultimate holiday card backdrop. 

Where: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
For more information on Radio City Music Hall.

Rolf’s German Restaurant

Take kitsch and old-world cheer to a new level at the epic Rolf’s. This German restaurant and pub decks their dining hall out with literal floor-to-ceiling Christmas decorations. Seriously, you won’t find a corner not covered in streamers, lights, or ornaments—and it’s awesome.

The one thing to note about getting dinner at Rolf’s from September on: you need a reservation. Walk-ins are technically allowed, but the wait could be hours and you may only ever make it to the crowded bar (if that!). There is a website, but it’s periodically down, so we suggest one of two of the Rolf telephone lines: 212-477-4750 or 212-473-8718.

Where: 281 3rd Ave, New York
For more information on Rolf’s German Restaurant.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Lightscape

Despite being the concrete jungle, NYC shows out with all kinds of gardenscapes. Take the all-new illuminated trail in Brooklyn’s Botanical Garden, giving you enchanting winter forest vibes in the middle of the city, thanks to over a million dazzling lights.

Where: 990 Washington Ave
For more information on the Brooklyn Botanical Garden Lightscape.

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is known for its food hall and marketplace. From tuna poke, spare ribs, and gelato, to donuts, fries, and beer—we could eat our whole lives away here. But head in for a bite during the holiday season and you’ll walk under the rainbow of mylar fringe and ornaments all along the exterior, and into a world of dazzling Christmas trees and decorative presents inside. You can even pick up a live evergreen at the charming outdoor Christmas tree market. Fantasy comfort mode: unlocked.

Where: 75 9th Ave, New York
For more information on Chelsea Market.


Experience the magic of NYC’s largest outdoor holiday light experience at the New York Botanical Garden’s GLOW. Guests can tour the grounds after 5 pm November 18th through January 14th, 2023 on select dates, and bask in artistic flair, music, and pop-up performances around the garden, all under the glow of the Haupt Conservatory.

Combination tickets include a drink (beer, wine, or cocktails), hot cocoa, and a bite from the Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up—named New York’s Best Outdoor Food Fair by the New York Times.

Where: 2900 Southern Blvd. 
For more information on NYBG Glow.

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

Starting November 18th and lasting through January 8th, 2023, you can experience some wild holiday displays at the after-hours fest at the Bronx Zoo. During winter evenings, the park glows with immersive light displays, massive animal lanterns, and seasonal treats all across the zoo. 

There’s so much to do, but some highlights include the signature Lantern Trail, with 90+ animals and plants made of 400+ artfully assembled lanterns; the Forest of Color; a Tree Show at the Astor Court, and ice carving demos. Don’t forget to grab some hot cocoa and churros as you make your way through the displays!

PS: This program does not include animal exhibits—they are all closed by 4 pm!

Where: 2300 Southern Blvd.
For more information on Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights.

Brookfield Place Winter Garden

The Winter Garden Atrium is a stunning, glass-vaulted 120-foot tall pavilion on Vesey Street in NYC’s Brookfield Place. The Atrium offers sparkling views of the Hudson River, a majestic marble staircase on its East side, and dramatic 40-ft tall Washingtonia Robusta Palm Trees.  

The atrium has become a major community space year-round, hosting a beer garden, concerts, symphonies, and ballets—plus an unmissable new holiday tradition called Luminaries. Come with friends and family to see the mesmerizing colorful lantern canopy of over 600 twinkling lights. If you choose, you can also illuminate a “holiday wish,” which creates a donation of up to $25,000 to Outreach by Brookfield Place. 

There are also special light shows every hour from 8 am to 10 pm, set to classic holiday tunes from talent like Micahel Bublé and Pentatonix. 

Where: 230 Vesey Street
For more information on Brookfield Place Winter Garden.

Saks Fifth Avenue

The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store is an epic ten stories high, features everything designer, and helped make Fifth Ave the shopping destination it is today. And during the holidays, the iconic store puts on an impressive holiday display.

Don’t skip the spectacular Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show, drawing locals and tourists each year since its 2014 inception. Typically lasting 3-5 minutes, see the intricate and epic hundreds of thousands of LED lights synced to holiday tunes every 10 minutes from 5 pm to 11 pm.

Where: Saks on Fifth Avenue between 49th & 50th Streets

The Shops at Hudson Yards

If the weather outside is frightful, head indoors for some dazzling light displays! Over two million twinkling lights are returning to deck the halls of Manhattan’s upscale Hudson Yards shopping complex. Last year’s display featured over 100 miles of string lights, 700+ evergreen trees, and a stunning 32-ft tall hot air balloon centerpiece. Visit this year's show-stopping display and knock out your holiday shopping all in one swing.

Where: 20 Hudson Yards
For more information on the shops at Hudson Yards.

Dyker Heights

Start with the self-described “Undisputed Capital of Christmas Pageantry,” at the lavishly shining 83rd to 86th streets in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. These residential streets are such a headliner of Christmas decor that local professional decorating companies now handle most of the displays. 

Grab your crew and stroll the blocks of frosted nutcracker towers, string light-wrapped trees, Santa and reindeer, and fully bedazzled houses. Look out for the Polizzotto house with a 15-ft tall Santa, the Spata House (the original Dyker Heights lights house, signified by over 40 angel ornaments),  and the respective red and green Twin Houses.

We recommend bringing some cash, as many participating families collect for local charities outside their displays, and there are options for buying hot chocolate sold on the street.

Where: 1072 80th St 1st. Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11228
For more information on Dyker Heights.